How to Clean a Garbage Can

Cleaning out a garbage can is probably not one of your favorite chores, but it's necessary to keep odors, insects and even mice out of your kitchen.

Be sure to use plastic garbage can liners regularly to make your job easier.

Remove everything from the garbage can, including the plastic liner.

Take the garbage can outside and don rubber or latex gloves for the dirty task at hand.

Hose down the garbage can.

Use a brush and detergent to scrub the can inside and out. If your garbage can is especially dirty, clean it with a disinfectant (such as Lysol) mixed with water.

Use an old toothbrush to scrub scummy crevices and corners.

Wash off the soapy water with the hose and drain the garbage can.

Leave the can out to dry, or dry it thoroughly with a rag or towel.

Take the garbage can back into the house.

Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the can for odor absorption.

Replace the plastic liner.

Things You Will Need

  • Brush
  • Baking Soda
  • Old Toothbrush
  • plastic garbage can liners
  • detergent or disinfectant


  • Help eliminate bacteria from your garbage can by sprinkling 1/2 cup Borax in the bottom of the can before putting in the plastic liner.
  • Keep your garbage can clean by placing crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the can to absorb any drips from food scraps.


  • Avoid putting broken glass or other sharp objects inside garbage can liners. They can cause the bag to tear and leak.