Outdoor trash cans can get really gross in the summer. The thought of cleaning them may even make your stomach turn. I’ve got some good news! I’m going to share my tips and show you how to clean outdoor garbage cans and keep them clean without having to actually get yourself dirty and nasty in the process.
I wrote this post after a brief come to Jesus with myself a few weeks ago, and I’m about to spill the beans on my laziness. While I’ve been busy writing this blog and sharing as many home tips and cleaning tricks with you as I possibly can, I’ve gotten super lazy about actually cleaning my own home. I mean, I still clean it all myself (with the help of my husband and kids). But, I have started to pay someone to mow our yard, clean up after our dogs, groom our dogs and do our mulching when needed. I used to do all of these things myself, besides mowing the yard. We had asked our older son to mow our yard, but he has a full time job now and also college, so we now pay someone to do that. Y’all…all of these things add up and can get pretty expensive.
So, 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? Come on now…surely I can do this myself without spending a dime, 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.
First, let’s talk about some ways to prevent your outdoor trash cans from getting dirty and nasty…
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.
Now, let’s get to the real nitty gritty of how to clean your trash cans. Disclaimer – if your trash can is really dirty like mine was, it’s probably not going to look brand new once you finish cleaning it. There may be some stains leftover, but the whole purpose is to get it clean from dirt, debris and bacteria.
Here is a quick video that I made showing the steps, or you can click HERE and see the step-by-step photos showing How to Clean Outdoor Garbage Cans in my latest article for eHow.