How to Seal a Trash Can

Conventional wisdom when dealing with roaches, ants, raccoons or other pests trying to get into your trash can is to seal the lid tightly.

Cute but determined: Leave the lid loose and racoons'll get in your garbage.Cute but determined: Leave the lid loose and racoons'll get in your garbage.
That works well, if you know how to seal the lid in such a way that you can still open it without inconvenience. Sealing a lid that doesn't already have a tight seal can create a little inconvenience for you when you try to remove the lid, but it is better than the trouble caused by breeding bugs and scavenging animals. There are several methods to consider.

Strap at least two bungee cords around the trash can lid: Place two bungee cords on the ground or floor so that one is lying across the other. Put the can on top of the cords where they cross. Bring the two ends of one cord up around the top of the lid and hook them together; repeat for the other cord's ends. Depending on the size of the can and the length of the cords -- you'll have to test out a few cords to find which length works best -- the lid could be rather tight. Be careful that you don't get your fingers caught when hooking or unhooking the cords.

Place bricks or weights at the bottom of the can if the problem is mainly animals tipping the can over to knock the lid off. Put another few bricks or weights on top of the can if needed. If you're working on an outdoor trash can, the Los Angeles Times advises removing the weights or bricks on garbage day, otherwise the brick will disappear right along with the trash.

Tape plastic over openings that slide or flip on indoor kitchen garbage cans. Lift up part of the tape when you want to dispose of something, and reseal the tape afterward. You'll probably have to replace the tape every few days as its adhesive weakens from regularly being pulled off.

Measure the perimeter of the can and cut a length of flexible plastic tubing. suggests the type of tubing used in water supply lines for ice makers. Split the tubing down one side lengthwise. Push the tubing onto the rim and try to replace the lid. Adjust the tubing as necessary to make it fit. Seal the two ends of the tubing together with duct tape and place duct tape along the length of the tubing where it meets the can to ensure the tubing won't pull off every time you remove the lid.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 or more bungee cords
  • Bricks or weights
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Plastic tubing
  • Utility knife


  • You can switch the bungee cords in Step 1 so that the hooks rest underneath the can if you prefer.
  • Combine any of these strategies as you see fit; for example, recommends placing heavy objects on the can lid even after attaching tubing to the can's rim.

About the Author

Suzanne S. Wiley is an editor and writer in Southern California. She has been editing since 1989 and began writing in 2009. Wiley received her master's degree from the University of Texas and her work appears on various websites.