Is it a trash can or garbage can? Regardless of what we call them, we all know that they smell! In this blog post we are going to focus on cleaning both your indoor and outdoor garbage cans in no time with our quick guide.

Cleaning Your Indoor Garbage Can:

  1. Start off by taking out the trash so that your garbage can is empty. After all, you cannot clean a full can!
  2. Spray an all-purpose cleaner on the outside surface of the garbage can. (We recommend a homemade all-purpose cleaner consisting of 1 tablespoon of dish soap and plenty of warm water.)
  3. Spray down the inside of the garbage can with the same all-purpose cleaner. Be sure that every inch of that interior surface is absolutely soaked. Focus on any areas with stuck-on garbage stains.
  4. Next up: deodorize! Take about ½ cup of baking soda and sprinkle it into the inside of the garbage can. Make sure to coat the walls and bottom completely. Leave this mixture of deodorizing and grease tackling agents to do their work for around 5-10 minutes.
  5. While the interior is soaking, take a dry, clean rag or cloth and wipe down the outside of the garbage can in an “S” pattern.
  6. After you have let the interior soak, take a durable sponge and scrub the inside of the garbage can from top to bottom. This is also a good time to scrub the lid of your garbage can too. Pay extra close attention to stubborn bits of residue. Rinse your sponge as needed.
  7. When everything has been scrubbed, it is time to rinse off the soap and baking soda – a garden hose is a good choice for this part.
  8. Dry your garbage can thoroughly using an absorbent cloth. If you have a stainless steel can, pay extra attention to the outside to ensure a streak-free shine.

Bonus Tips:

Tip#1: Before you replace the bag, crumple up newspaper and throw it into the bottom of the can. This will help actively deodorize your garbage can on a daily basis and soak up any garbage juices that leak out.

Tip#2: We recommend cleaning out your garbage can at least twice per year – once in the spring and once in the fall.

Cleaning Your Outdoor Garbage Can:

  1. Right after garbage day is the best time to clean out your outdoor garbage cans. You will get things started by making up a homemade deodorizing and degreasing solution of dish soap and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Using a 3 phase system, spray down your garbage can, inside and out.
  3. Apply coat #1, let it soak in for 5 minutes and repeat the process 2 more times.
  4. After the 15 minutes of soaking has passed, fill up a bucket with warm soapy water, grab your sponge or a heavy brush and get scrubbing.
  5. Finally, hose it down and leave it out to dry.

Love these tips? Go over them again by watching our video version of this blog post!

We want to know, when was the last time you cleaned your garbage can?

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. It’s a good thing you talked about several ways on how to be able to get rid of dog poop because it’s grown to be a considerable problem especially with how improperly-disposed waste can contaminate not just groundwater but can make people sick too. One way to help reduce the load of cleaning up against dogs is to pick up after them when they go in public because there are bacteria in dog poop that can potentially get other animals sick as well. If I had a chance to help reduce doggy doo when I’m out and about then I would at least pick up after those who don’t dispose of their dog’s business afterward.\

  2. Hi Melissa,
    I saw a product called Bagez, a garbage bag holder for garbage cans or rubbish bins as our buddies from the UK call them.
    From what i see, it takes away the hassle of washing out bins, because now any bag can be used in the bin, no matter the size..
    i’m going to try it before i start getting into by bin, to do some scrubbing.
    Do you have any idea about it?

    • We haven’t tried this product but please let us know how it goes. Even with the right size bag it is still necessary to clean your bins.

  3. And in the UK we call it Rubbish Bin, Wheelie Bin 😀 Great tips! The “newspaper” tactic is great, and you should use it for your bins outside. However, cleaning the garbage bin outside outside with vinegar!? Are you trying to put us out of business young lady 😀

  4. I Clean my garbage CAN several Times a Year, probably because i did not put newspaper at the bottom. I will sure try this eventhough newspapers are rare in my house as i read electronic “newspaper”.


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