Honestly, Do I Really Need to Clean My Trash Can?

Two trash bins with purple bags are filled with trash and pulled out from a hidden compartment.
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There are a lot of to-do items on your cleaning list, and that might lead you to skip a few key spots. One of them might be your trash can. Because yes, we’ve got bad news. You need to clean your trash can.

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense to clean your trash receptacle. This area of your home regularly harbors mold, germs, and bacteria. You don’t want all that sitting in your home for long periods of time.

EatingWell spoke with Abe Navas, general manager for Emily’s Maids, who explained that food residue can easily escape the bag, and when that happens it’ll naturally start to break down in the base of your trash can. Ultimately, this can result in mold and bacteria that bring odor into your home.

So how do you clean a trash can? It’s an easy process. You’ll simply wipe or dump out any large bits of debris. Then, use a disinfectant—like a store-bought spray or even a blend of bleach and water—to wipe down the inside and outside of the receptacle. Follow that up by washing it with warm soap water, rinse, and allow it to dry.

Typically, you should clean your trash can monthly to avoid bacterial buildup, and of course, doing it regularly will make the process less labor-heavy. To keep it clean in between washes, be sure to use thick, high-quality trash bags to prevent leaks.

Cleaning your trash can help your space be tidier, but if you want to go a step further, try this hack for making your trash can smell great, too.

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