Outdoor trash cans can get downright disgusting, and cleaning them isn't the most fun activity. These easy step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to clean outdoor garbage cans and keep them clean all year round...even when they get really nasty in the summer!
A few weeks ago, I was walking a bag of trash to our outdoor garbage can, and the trash bin stunk soooo bad! Also, there were a couple of maggots. I know, so gross, but I'm keeping it real here. I quickly tossed the bag of trash in the can and ran as fast as I could back into the house to call and complain to my husband about the grossness. I immediately told him that I knew there was a service that would come and clean the outdoor trash bins and that I was calling them as soon as I got off of the phone with him. This guy knows me well, and just said, "whatever you need to do, Jess." So, I called the first trash can cleaning service I could find, and got a quote. It would cost $45 per can. I'm not going to lie, I scheduled a time for them to come and clean mine. Then I thought to myself...am I really going to pay someone $45 to clean my trash bins? Is this what the world has come to? Come on now...surely I can do this myself, right? So, I decided to wait until after the next trash pick up day, and clean it myself no matter how gross it was. I also came up with a list of ways to keep it from getting that gross ever again.
What do you need to clean outdoor trash cans?
While most of these items can be purchased at your local grocery store, I like to provide Amazon links to the products as well, just in case you'd like to purchase them there. If you click any of the affiliate links to Amazon in this post and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.
- 4 cups of white distilled vinegar ( Purchase HERE )
- ½ cup of dish liquid ( Purchase HERE )
- Water hose ( Purchase HERE )
- Bucket ( Purchase HERE )
- Scrub brush ( Purchase HERE )
- Extendable tub and tile scrubber ( Purchase HERE )
- Rubber gloves ( Purchase HERE )
- Tarp ( Purchase HERE )
How to Clean an Outdoor Trash Can Video
I put together a quick video showing just how easy it was to get my nasty outdoor trash can clean in this cleaning video...
How do you clean outdoor trash cans?
- Start by rinsing out your trash can. You can turn the trash can on its side and spray it out really well.
2. Next, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups of distilled vinegar, ½ cup of dish liquid and water.
3. Dip your extendable scrub brush or any scrub brush you'd like to use in the solution and start scrubbing the inside of your trash can. I like the extendable scrubber because it means I don't actually have to get all the way into the nasty trash can to scrub it.
4. Once you have scrubbed the inside of the trash can really well, turn it on its side and let all of the gunk out. I like to lay down a tarp to do this on so the debris doesn't go into my yard or driveway.
5. Rinse the inside of the trash can out with water.
6. Now it's time to clean the outside of your trash can! Dip a scrub brush into the cleaning solution and give the outside a good scrubbing.
7. Rinse the outside of your trash can with the water hose.
Once your trash can is clean on the inside and out, open the lid and let the inside dry overnight.
Now that I've shown you how to get those trash cans nice and clean, let's talk about some easy ways to keep them cleaner going forward...
How to Keep Outdoor Trash Cans Clean
1. Don't Overstuff Trash Bags
First of all, when you overstuff trash bags inside of your home, it just makes them harder to tie up and take out without ripping the bag. We are really guilty of doing this because everyone just smushes the trash down as much as they can, so they can fit what they are throwing away in and not have to actually take the trash out themselves.
2. Make Sure Trash Bags are Sealed Tightly
This goes back to my first tip. When you take a trash bag to the outdoor garbage can, it should be sealed tightly so that the contents of the trash don't attract flies, which lay eggs that lead to maggots. It will also help keep leaks from happening and mucking up your outdoor cans.
3. Don't Throw Small Loose Items in Outdoor Bins
We have been really guilty of taking items like fast food bags and store packaging straight to the garbage bin without bagging them. The fast food bags should be thrown away in a tightly sealed bag. You can reuse grocery bags for this as long as they don't have any wholes in them and they are tied tightly. Loose items like packaging from a recently bought toy can puncture the other trash bags in the bin or can blow out of your trash bins if the lid of your bin comes off for some reason. There isn't much worse than walking out your door and seeing your neighbors trashcan lid has blown off and their trash has blown all over your neighborhood.
4. Recycle. Recycle. Recycle.
I shouldn't even have to share this tip at this point, but even we are guilty of not recycling as much as we should or not recycling properly. Most homes are provided with a recycling bin, and if your home isn't, it's easy to recycle as long as you have a dedicated spot for recyclable items. For more information on how to properly recycle, check this article on Recycling 101 from Real Simple.
5. Rinse Your Outdoor Garbage Can After Pick-up
Once the trash has been picked up, give your trash can a quick rinse with your garden hose and leave the lid open so it can dry for about an hour. This will wash away any liquid from leaks that may have occurred in your trash cans.
Looking for more home tips and cleaning tricks? Find hundreds of them HERE on my Home Tips Page!