Stop Your Trash Can From Stinking Up The House

If you sometimes get a faint whiff of rotting garbage when you step into a friend’s place but don’t notice anything amiss at your own home when you haven’t taken out your trash in a week, you’ve either got a superpowered garbage can or have just become accustomed to the stench. Rest assured that visitors aren’t so lucky.

To help keep your trash can from cursing your home with an unwieldy aroma, Hillbilly Housewife offers tips for taming the smell of your waste:

* Seal the nastiest stuff. If it stinks when you’re ready to throw it away, it will only get worse as they hours and days roll by. Double-bag it and close it up with a rubber band or slip it inside a sealed baggie.

* Use magic powder. Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of your can to absorb the smells. Just don’t forget it’s there when you’re dumping out your can to avoid spilling it everywhere.

* Scrub your trash can. When the smell sticks around after you’ve removed the offending items, it’s time to clean the can itself. Take it outside, then pour in a gallon of water and two cups of bleach before scrubbing the insides.

How To Keep Your Trash Can From Smelling [Hillbilly Housewife]


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoosdad says:

    I have a garbage disposal and trash pickup once a week. If there’s something I can’t put through the disposal but don’t want stinking up my trash bin, I bag it up in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer until trash day.

    Even then I can’t put it out until the last minute due to animals in the neighborhood who can apparently smell right through the ziplock bags and don’t mind nibbling on frozen garbage.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      “I bag it up in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer “

      Note to self: Decline all dinner invitations from scoosdad.

      • dwasifar says:

        Why? How is it different from leftovers, except that he doesn’t want to eat it?

        We do this same thing. Roast chicken, for instance. Scraps go down the disposer; the plastic wrap, the bones, the carcass, and the raw neck (which we never do anything with) go in the freezer until garbage day. We’ve found ziplock bags are not needed; we just tie it up in a plastic grocery bag.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        As long as the outer bag is clean and sealed there should be little problem. In other words use a clean bag, I like supermarket and dollar store bags. Get debris into bag, wash hands after handling debris THEN tie off bag.

      • Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

        That is what cruise ships do with their garbage to keep odor down.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      We have the same problem. Between animals, the homeless, and pillheads looking for metal and medication bottles, our garbage has to wait until the last possible minute to go out.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I’ve found it best to leave metal out of the bag on the top or beside the can. You help recycle too. I always take off the prescription labels off the bottle and empty the pills. You can resue script bottles for things like screws since you can see whats in them. Otherwise recycle them.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          The problem is that they shred bags looking for things, whether they’re there or not. Putting cat litter and dog poop in the top of all bags does keep some of them out of it. The homeless are usually looking for food and the pillbillies any metal.

          The plus side is that broken and bulky things can be left out and within an hour, somebody will throw it in the back of a pickup if there’s any metal in it. The city charges $75 for bulk pickups, so it’s easier to leave out old TVs and appliances in the alley and just assume a random stranger will haul it off.

      • gman863 says:

        Put some rat poison in the empty Rx bottles. Hopefully they’ll scamper off and die on the next block over.

  2. Me - now with more humidity says:

    The first one brings to mind Phil Hartman’s “Anal Retentive Chef” on SNL 8-)

  3. Rachacha says:

    Even simpler, if you have raw chicken, or fish, just take the partially filled trash bag from the kitchen, fill it with trash from your bathroom/office/bedroom and take it outside.

    I pour a little pine sol in the bottom of my kitchen trash can, as well as my outside trash can to cut down on any smells.

  4. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    We wrap the stinky items in two grocery store backs before they go in the trash. It makes a big difference.

  5. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Usually easiest to dump the dead hook… I mean full trashbag in the swamp as soon as the flies start to swarm.

    • magnetic says:

      Wow! You’re a wild-n-crazy guy! A woman rents her body out to you for an hour, but then, hilariously, she dies in a kooky accident. You charming rake, you.

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        What the hell are you talking about? I’m just referring to a trashbag of old and broken meat hooks that I had to replace.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        An hour? Wow, you must be a big spender.

  6. Bibliovore says:

    My grandparents, who had no garbage disposal (and couldn’t get one installed per city regulations), kept two garbage cans in the kitchen: one regular-sized one for general trash, taken out whenever it was full, and one tiny one for rottable/stinky trash, which was tied off and removed from the house daily.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      This is an excellent idea. I keep a used rinsed carton in a used bread bag for garbage. Until full I can push down the top of the carton. When full I close the carton and tie off the plastic bag around it. Unless a huge family or huge food waster one carton be good for one person a week.

  7. dwasifar says:

    A gallon of water to two cups of bleach? That sounds like serious bleach overkill. I wouldn’t do it; it’d give me an instant screaming headache, but if you’re going to follow that advice I’d recommend rubber gloves and eye protection.

  8. u1itn0w2day says:

    I think sealing up the nasty trash and cleaning the can on occassion helps alot.

    Another thing alot of people do is throw away liquids which stops debris from drying out and keeps odors active in many cases. Empty that extra ice or undrank drink first. Keep the trash as dry as possible. Also some people keep a separate container for actual garbage. Mixing food garbage with man made trash makes thing worse. The man made garbage can slow down the decay and/or drying out of food garbage. And if you had an onion filled sandwich get the food debris off the wrapper then ball up or crush then throw out. I also give styrofoam backing and packaging a quick rinse or cleaning just to get the juicy wet stuff off.

    Simply put keep your garbage as clean and dry as possible.

  9. rmorin says:

    These work incredibly well. Anything that could be really smelly really quickly (seafood mostly for me) just tie up in an old plastic shopping bag first.

  10. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Easy: stuff that can compost goes into the pile at the end of the garden, all bones, fat, and other stinky stuff goes into a clean plastic bag in the freezer until garbage day, #1 and #2 plastic, glass, and cans get rinsed out with soapy water and go to recycling. The balance of the garbage is just misc paper, plastic, or other items that can’t be recycled, with virtually no smell.

  11. lagotech says:

    There’s not enough Baking Soda, or ziplock bags in the world that will subdue my funky chicken, shrimp scraps, or litterbox fixins.

  12. g051051 says:

    did you guys even notice that the original post is from 2008? Not exactly breaking news…

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I try to get my garbage out as soon as possible. Even if it’s not trash day yet, I can still put it in the container outside. It’s tall enough that animals can’t get into it and holds quite a bit.

    The can gets washed once a month or so, sooner if it’s particularly stinky. I usually spray some deodorizer in it when I change the bag, but the baking soda is a good idea. I may try that. It’s cheap and I usually have some around.

  14. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    1. Stinky garbage can into the back yard at midnight.
    2. Over the fence into neighbor’s yard.
    3. Problem solved.

  15. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    We keep a can in the garage for stinky stuff and empty it every couple of days.

  16. gatewaytoheaven says:

    Back in undergrad, I’d literally sprinkle my trash can (with a lid) with vinegar. You get used to the smell after five minutes, but then there’s not trash smell!

  17. notovny says:

    If only there was some kind of bag that could be placed in a trashcan to contain the baking soda, so that when you take out the trash, the fouled baking soda could be easily trashed with it.

  18. 3.1415926535898 says:

    Wasn’t there an article last year how baking soda does nothing for smells? This was an excellent marketting campaign that turned an old-wives tale into reality.
    Make a compost pile -> problem solved. All food can go there. They even sell ones that you assemble (it’s a giant plastic ball you put stuff inside ~ $100) if you live in an appartment.

  19. kataisa says:

    We had two trash baskets: one in the kitchen that was used for general trash such as empty milk & egg cartons, wrappers, assorted junk mail and other paper waste; stuff that doesn’t decompose and smell after you throw it away.

    The other trash can went hidden under the sink, this is where we placed food waste, and it was emptied daily or every other day. The kitchen never smelled bad.

  20. NotEd says:

    After reading another article on the same subject I found the most useful suggestion was to spray the odor neutralizing sprays they sell for pet “accidents” useful to:
    a) lower the level of stink
    b) clean out the can outside (as weather allows).

    • sponica says:

      i used pet accident cleaner to remove the smells of alcohol induced regurgitation while in college…that worked wonders

  21. chipslave says:

    I will put a dryer sheet in the bottom of the can and that has worked with some success. Doesn’t stomp out the more pungent stenches like chicken or seafood but still pretty effective.

  22. Cacao says:

    I always seem to time the making of a whole roasted chicken with when my garbage bag is almost ready to throw away. That way, when I add the bag full of chicken juices and cut off chicken skin, I throw it in the almost full garbage bag, tie it up and throw it out. It can’t fester and stink.

    If the garbage bag is somewhat empty, I put the chicken detritus into a supermarket vegetable bag, knot it closed and go throw it out in the dumpster.

    Another thing I do is save empty bags like bread bags/cereal bags. After I put a new garbage bag in the bin, I put these empty bags on the bottom. It reinforces the bag and makes it less likely to tear.

  23. KFW says:

    Another mesmerizing piece. So, to prevent the stink of trash, I should scrub the trash can and keep it clean, sprinkle powder in it and/or take the stinkiest stuff outside? BRILLIANT! What gems of wisdom.

  24. Michael S. says:

    Change the trash can everyday, or when it gets stinkey.

  25. MrEvil says:

    I also don’t know why, but black garbage bags seem to help whatever is making the foul odors. If you’re throwing out food waste use the white kitchen bags. A buddy of mine uses black bags in his kitchen and in less than 24 hours his apartment smells like the city dump. I use the white bags in my kitchen trash and it’ll sit a week without a whiff of foul odor.