Trash Can Cleaning & Sanitation | A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean and Sanitize your Trash Can by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

It’s time to do your nose a favor and send those odors packing, folks. This step-by-step trash can cleaning and sanitation guide makes the entire process ridiculously simple; let’s put it this way, if you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, you’ve got time to clean and disinfect those nostril-curling trash cans. Let’s get started!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Aside from a little bit of elbow grease and a few minutes of spare time, you’ll also need the following items to clean and sanitize your trash cans:

  • Several Towels or Rags
  • Garden Hose
  • Heavy-Duty Scrub Brush
  • Disinfectant Spray(s)

Step #1: Seriously Saturate

Empty your trash cans completely (including the bag), and head outside so that you can easily access your garden hose. With your hose in hand, saturate the inside, outside, top, bottom, and everywhere in-between with a generous amount of water. Tip: for blasting away stuck on food particles, try amping up the pressure of your hose. After you’ve removed all food and debris, pat the trash can dry with a towel.

Step #2: Disinfect & Deodorize

Depending on just how stinky your trash can is (since you’re reading this, we’re guessing it’s pretty bad…) there are several products you can use to deodorize.

Typical Trash Can Stink: If you’re only dealing with the regular amount of odor that’s to be expected from trash cans, you can get away with using a homemade disinfectant spray.

Super Stinky: If your trash can is much stinkier than it should be, it’s a good thing you’re taking the time to clean and disinfect it! Your homemade disinfectant spray probably won’t work on these odors, so you’ll have to turn to the magic power of vinegar to absorb that heinous stench.

OMG Odors: Holy cow – this is one stinky trash can. Firstly, you may want to get a mask. Once your nostrils are safely plugged and shielded from the smell, get your hands on an enzyme-based cleaner. For the best de-stinking results, search for an enzyme-based cleaner designed specifically for pet odors; Nature’s Miracle is our favorite!

No matter which disinfecting product you choose to deodorize the stink, be sure to coat the entire trash can – including the bottom, inside, and under the lid.

Step #3: Scrub the Stink

It’s time to break out the scrub brush! Start scrubbing every area of your trash can, focusing heavily on stuck-on foods and sticky areas, and then rinse it thoroughly with your garden hose again. If you’re in a hurry, you can pat the trash can dry with a few rags, but we recommend letting them air-dry outside to eliminate any remaining mold, and prevent future mold growth.