Trash Can: Proper Way to Clean and Disinfect

We often overlook our trash cans when it comes to regular cleaning routines. Yet, this household item plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and hygienic living environment. A dirty trash can can be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and unpleasant odors, making it essential to clean and disinfect it regularly. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the proper steps to keep your trash can spotless and germ-free. Whether it’s your kitchen bin, bathroom wastebasket, or outdoor garbage can, these tips will help ensure your trash receptacles stay as clean and fresh as the rest of your home.

Here is a step-by-step guide to properly clean and disinfect your trash can:

Materials Needed:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Disinfectant spray or solution (e.g., bleach solution or commercial disinfectant)
  • Garden hose (optional)
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth
  • Baking soda (optional)


  1. Empty the Trash Can:
    • Remove any remaining trash and dispose of it properly.
    • If you use a trash bag, take it out and set it aside for disposal.
  2. Take the Trash Can Outside:
    • If possible, bring the trash can outside to avoid making a mess indoors.
  3. Rinse the Trash Can:
    • Use a garden hose to rinse out any loose debris and grime from the inside of the trash can.
    • If you don’t have a garden hose, you can use a bucket of water and pour it inside the can to loosen the debris.
  4. Scrub the Trash Can:
    • Fill the trash can with a few inches of warm water.
    • Add a few squirts of dish soap to the water.
    • Put on your rubber gloves and use a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the interior and exterior of the trash can thoroughly.
    • Pay special attention to the bottom and the corners where grime tends to accumulate.
  5. Rinse Again:
    • Empty the soapy water and rinse the trash can again with clean water to remove all the soap residue.
  6. Disinfect the Trash Can:
    • Spray the inside and outside of the trash can with a disinfectant spray or a bleach solution (1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water).
    • Allow the disinfectant to sit for at least 5-10 minutes to ensure all bacteria and germs are killed.
  7. Rinse and Dry:
    • Rinse the trash can one final time to remove the disinfectant.
    • Wipe down the trash can with paper towels or a clean cloth to dry it thoroughly. You can also leave it to air dry completely before bringing it back inside.
  8. Deodorize (Optional):
    • To help keep the trash can smelling fresh, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the bottom of the can before placing a new trash bag.


  • Regular Cleaning: Clean and disinfect your trash can at least once a month to keep it sanitary.
  • Bag Use: Always use trash bags to line your trash can to reduce the amount of cleaning needed and to prevent leaks.
  • Immediate Action: Clean up any spills or leaks immediately to prevent odors and bacteria build-up.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your trash can remains clean, odor-free, and free from harmful germs.

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