Tips for cleaning a smelly kitchen garbage can

A smelly kitchen garbage can is not only unpleasant but can also attract pests and compromise the hygiene of your kitchen. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance are essential to keep your garbage can smelling fresh and clean.

In this guide, we will provide you with effective tips and techniques to tackle the odor and ensure a hygienic environment in your kitchen.

Empty the Garbage Can Regularly:

The first and foremost tip for keeping your kitchen garbage can smelling fresh is to empty it regularly. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Daily Emptying: Aim to empty your garbage can at least once a day. This will prevent the buildup of odor-causing waste materials, such as food scraps, spoiled leftovers, or other organic matter.

Assessing the Fill Level: Pay attention to the fill level of the garbage can throughout the day. If you notice the can becoming full or reaching its capacity, empty it promptly. Avoid over-stuffing the can, as it can lead to spills and odors.

Dispose of Odorous Items Immediately: If you have particularly pungent or odorous waste, such as raw meat, fish, or strong-smelling leftovers, consider disposing of them immediately instead of letting them sit in the garbage can. This will help prevent the spread of strong odors.

Secure the Trash Bag: Ensure that the trash bag is properly secured to prevent leaks or spills. Tie the bag securely or use a garbage can with a lid that seals tightly to contain odors.

Use Separate Bags for Wet and Dry Waste: If possible, separate wet waste (such as food scraps, liquids) from dry waste (packaging materials, paper, etc.) by using separate bags. This can help minimize the potential for moisture buildup and the subsequent development of odors.

Clean the Garbage Can During Emptying: While emptying the garbage can, take a moment to quickly inspect the interior. If you notice any residue or spills, use this opportunity to wipe or rinse the can before inserting a fresh trash bag.

By emptying the garbage can regularly and practicing proper waste disposal, you can significantly reduce the chances of odors developing and maintain a clean and fresh-smelling kitchen environment.

Hot, Soapy Water

Hot, soapy water is a simple yet effective solution for cleaning a smelly kitchen garbage can. Follow these steps to use hot, soapy water for a thorough cleaning:

Gather Supplies: Prepare a bucket or basin filled with hot water and add a generous amount of dish soap or a mild detergent. You may also want to have a long-handled brush or sponge for scrubbing.

Empty the Garbage Can: Before cleaning, empty the garbage can of any remaining trash or waste. If there are any large debris or food particles, remove them separately.

Start Scrubbing: Dip the brush or sponge into the hot, soapy water and begin scrubbing the interior of the garbage can. Pay attention to the sides, bottom, and any areas with visible residue or stains. Use firm but gentle strokes to loosen any stuck-on debris or grime.

Focus on Trouble Spots: For areas with stubborn stains or buildup, apply extra pressure and scrub more vigorously. You may need to let the soapy water sit on these spots for a few minutes before scrubbing to help break down the residue.

Clean the Lid and Handles: Don’t forget to clean the lid and handles of the garbage can as well. They can accumulate bacteria and contribute to unpleasant odors. Use the hot, soapy water to scrub these areas thoroughly.

Rinse the Garbage Can: Once you’ve scrubbed the entire garbage can, empty the soapy water and rinse the can with clean, hot water. Ensure all the soap residue is removed.

Dry the Garbage Can: After rinsing, it’s important to dry the garbage can completely before using it again. You can let it air dry or use a clean towel or paper towels to absorb the moisture.

By using hot, soapy water, you can effectively remove any residue causing the odor and leave your garbage can clean and fresh-smelling. Regularly cleaning with this method will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and keep your kitchen environment hygienic.

Baking Soda Absorption

Baking soda is a natural and effective solution for absorbing and eliminating odors from a smelly kitchen garbage can. Follow these tips to use baking soda for odor absorption:

Empty the Garbage Can: Start by emptying the garbage can of any remaining trash or waste. Remove any large debris or food particles that may be contributing to the odor.

Sprinkle Baking Soda: Generously sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the garbage can. Make sure to cover the entire bottom surface with a thick layer of baking soda.

Distribute Evenly: Use a clean brush or sponge to spread the baking soda evenly across the bottom of the can. This will ensure maximum coverage and odor absorption.

Allow Time to Work: Let the baking soda sit in the garbage can for a few hours or overnight. This gives it ample time to absorb and neutralize the odors.

Dispose of Baking Soda: After the designated time, carefully dispose of the used baking soda. You can either empty the can into a trash bag or use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck up the baking soda.

Repeat as Needed: If the odor persists, repeat the process of sprinkling fresh baking soda and allowing it to sit for a longer period. Stubborn odors may require multiple applications of baking soda.

Regular Maintenance: As part of your regular garbage can maintenance, remember to replace the baking soda every time you change the trash bag. This will ensure ongoing odor control.

Baking soda is a safe and natural deodorizer that helps to neutralize unpleasant smells in your kitchen garbage can. By using baking soda regularly, you can keep your garbage can smelling fresh and clean.

Activated Charcoal Odor Absorption

Activated charcoal is a highly effective method for absorbing and eliminating odors from a smelly kitchen garbage can. Follow these steps to use activated charcoal for odor absorption:

Obtain Activated Charcoal: Purchase activated charcoal specifically designed for odor absorption. You can find it in the form of small pellets, granules, or in breathable bags.

Empty the Garbage Can: Start by emptying the garbage can and removing any trash or waste. Make sure the can is completely empty before proceeding.

Prepare the Charcoal: If you have loose granules or pellets of activated charcoal, fill a breathable cloth or mesh bag with a sufficient amount of charcoal. If you have ore-packaged charcoal bags, ensure they are ready for use.

Position the Charcoal: Place the charcoal-filled bag or bags in the bottom of the garbage can. If using loose charcoal, spread it evenly across the bottom surface. The charcoal should cover the entire area.

Close the Garbage Can: Once the charcoal is in place, close the lid of the garbage can tightly. This allows the activated charcoal to work effectively by trapping and absorbing odors.

Replace as Needed: Over time, the activated charcoal will become saturated with odors. Replace the charcoal bags or loose charcoal granules every few weeks or as recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures optimal odor absorption.

Dispose of the Charcoal: When replacing the charcoal, dispose of the used charcoal appropriately. You can discard it in the trash or use it for gardening purposes as a natural soil amendment.

Activated charcoal is known for its exceptional ability to absorb and neutralize odors. By incorporating activated charcoal into your garbage can maintenance routine, you can effectively eliminate unpleasant smells and keep your kitchen environment fresh.

Preventive Measures:

Taking preventive measures can help reduce odors and maintain a fresh-smelling garbage can. Consider the following tips:

Double Bagging: For particularly odorous items, double bagging can provide an extra layer of protection against leaks and odors.

Regularly Clean the Garbage Bag Holder: Clean the garbage bag holder or the area where the garbage can sits to prevent buildup of dirt and grime that can contribute to odors.

Keep the Garbage Can Dry: Moisture can contribute to the growth of bacteria and cause odors. Make sure the garbage can is dry before placing a new bag inside.

Dispose of Food Waste Properly: Avoid placing loose food waste directly into the garbage can. Use separate containers or bags to contain food scraps before disposing of them in the garbage can.


A smelly kitchen garbage can can create an unpleasant environment in your kitchen. By implementing these effective cleaning tips and preventive measures, you can eliminate odors, maintain a fresh-smelling garbage can, and ensure a hygienic kitchen. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance will keep your kitchen smelling clean and inviting.

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