How to Neutralize Garbage Can Smell: 20-Effective Tips and Techniques

Are you tired of holding your breath every time you open your garbage can? The lingering stench of trash can be a natural mood killer. The main approaches to tackling a smelly garbage can are neutralization and prevention. Here’s how How to Neutralize Garbage Can Smell with both methods:

  1. Deep Clean: First, you need to get rid of the source of the smell. Give your trash can a thorough cleaning with hot, soapy water or disinfectant (depending on the intensity of the odor). You can also use a vinegar solution (around four parts water to 1 part vinegar) for a natural cleaning option.
  2. Baking Soda Power: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that absorbs odors. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda in the bottom of your can or make little pouches out of coffee filters filled with baking soda and place them at the bottom.
  3. Citrus Peels: Citrus peels add a fresh scent and help mask unpleasant odors. Toss in some lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels when you empty your trash.
  4. Coffee Grounds or Charcoal: Like baking soda, coffee grounds, and charcoal absorb odors. Place a small amount in the bottom of the can to neutralize smells.


  1. Line it Right: Use a trash bag that fits your can snugly. A loose bag can allow leaks and trap odors.
  2. Trash Takeout: Train yourself to take out the trash regularly, especially for items that decompose quickly and release strong odors.
  3. Double Duty Bags: For messy or particularly smelly items, use a double bag to prevent leaks and contain the odor.

By combining these techniques, you can keep your garbage can smelling fresh and prevent unpleasant odors from wafting through your kitchen.

Keeping Your Kitchen Fresh: Essential Tips on How to Neutralize Garbage Can Smell

How to Neutralize Garbage Can Smell

Dealing with unpleasant odors emanating from your garbage can be pretty bothersome.

Thankfully, there are several tried-and-tested methods to neutralize garbage can smells effectively.

I will explore various techniques to help you eliminate those unwanted odors and keep your surroundings fresh and clean.

1. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

The first step in tackling garbage can odors is maintaining a clean and hygienic trash receptacle. Follow these steps for optimal results:

  • Empty the garbage can regularly: Regularly empty the can to prevent the accumulation of decaying and smelly waste.
  • Thoroughly clean the can: Use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or a cleaning solution to wash the inside and outside of the garbage can. Scrub away any stains or residue, and rinse it well. Ensure the can is completely dry before using it again.

2. Utilize the Power of Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile household ingredient known for its deodorizing properties. Here’s how to use it to neutralize garbage can smells:

  • Create a vinegar solution: Mix water and white vinegar in a spray bottle or container.
  • Spray or pour the solution: Spray the vinegar solution into the garbage can, ensuring you cover all surfaces. Allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight.
  • Rinse the can: After the vinegar has had time to work its magic, thoroughly rinse it with water.

3. Odor-Absorbing Abilities of Baking Soda

Baking soda is another excellent natural deodorizer. Follow these steps to employ its odor-neutralizing properties:

  • Sprinkle baking soda: Generously sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the garbage can. Leave it to sit for several hours or overnight.
  • Empty and rinse: Empty the can thoroughly once the baking soda has absorbed the odors.

4. Activate Charcoal’s Odor-Eliminating Potential

Charcoal is a natural and powerful odor absorber. Here’s how to utilize it in neutralizing garbage can smells:

  • Place charcoal pieces: Put some activated charcoal or charcoal briquettes in a small container or breathable bag.
  • Position in the garbage can: Position the container or bag at the bottom of the garbage can and ensure the lid is closed.
  • Replenish as needed: Replace the charcoal every few weeks to maintain its effectiveness.

5. Citrus Peels for a Fresh Fragrance

Citrus peels emit a pleasant scent and help mask unpleasant odors. Follow these steps to utilize citrus peels:

  • Add citrus peels: Place a handful of citrus peels, such as lemon or orange, at the bottom of the garbage can before adding a new bag.
  • Change regularly: Replace the citrus peels when they dry out or lose their fragrance.

6. Keep the Lid Closed

One of the simplest ways to prevent odors from spreading is to keep the garbage can lid securely closed.

This helps contain the smells and prevents them from permeating the surrounding area.

Ensure the lid fits appropriately, and consider using a can with a tight-sealing lid or a pedal-operated lid for added convenience.

7. Use Garbage Can Liners

Using garbage can liners or bags is essential for maintaining cleanliness and reducing odors.

However, opting for strong, high-quality bags designed to resist leaks and odors is advisable.

Additionally, ensure that the bags are correctly sized to fit your garbage can, with no excess material hanging over the edges.

8. Deodorizing Discs or Sachets

Consider using deodorizing discs or sachets designed specifically for garbage cans. These products are often infused with pleasant scents that help mask and neutralize odors.

Place them in the bottom of the can or attach them to the lid to keep your garbage can smelling fresh.

9. Avoid Liquid Waste Leakage

To prevent liquids from leaking and causing unpleasant smells, double-bag containers containing liquids, such as food scraps or beverage cartons.

This extra layer of protection helps minimize the chances of leakage and keeps your garbage can cleaner.

10. Regularly Disinfect the Can

In addition to cleaning the garbage can, it’s also essential to periodically disinfect it to eliminate bacteria and germs that can contribute to odors.

Use a disinfectant spray or wipe to sanitize the inside and outside of the can, paying extra attention to handles and other frequently touched areas.

11. Proper Waste Segregation

Separating your waste into different categories, such as recyclables, organic waste, and general trash, can help reduce the overall odor in your garbage can.

By keeping food waste separate, for example, you can minimize the potential for strong and lingering odors.

12. Odor-absorbing Cat Litter

Place a layer at the bottom of your garbage can if you can access unused cat litter.

Cat litter contains properties that can help absorb and neutralize odors effectively.

This method can be beneficial if you have strong or persistent smells from your garbage can.

13. Essential Oils

Harness the power of essential oils to combat garbage can odors.

Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender, lemon, or tea tree oil, to a cotton ball or a small piece of cloth.

Place the scented item at the bottom of the garbage can to help mask unpleasant odors with a pleasant fragrance.

Refresh the cotton ball or cloth as needed to maintain the desired scent.

14. Natural Air Fresheners

Consider using natural air fresheners to keep your garbage can area smelling fresh.

You can create your own by combining water with a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle.

Mist the air around the garbage can area to help eliminate odors.

Alternatively, you can place bowls of baking soda infused with a few drops of essential oil near the garbage can to absorb odors and release a pleasant scent.

15. Regularly Disinfect the Surrounding Area

Odors from the garbage can sometimes spread to the surrounding area.

Regularly clean and disinfect the floor or surface around the garbage can to combat this.

Use a disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of water and vinegar to wipe down the area thoroughly.

16. Proper Waste Disposal

Properly disposing of waste can help minimize odors in the garbage can.

Ensure food waste is securely wrapped or sealed in a bag before placing it in the garbage can.

This prevents direct contact with the can and reduces the chances of odors seeping out.

17. Store garbage in a Cool Place

If possible, store your garbage can in a cool area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Higher temperatures can accelerate the decomposition process and intensify odors.

A cool and well-ventilated location can help minimize unpleasant smells.

18. Regularly Replace the Garbage Can

Over time, even with proper cleaning and maintenance, garbage cans can develop lingering smells that are difficult to eliminate.

If you find that your garbage can continues to have persistent odors despite your efforts, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new one.

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A Final Word: How to Neutralize Garbage Can Smell

There you have it. Remember, each garbage can and environment may require different approaches to neutralizing odors.

Experiment with these methods and find the combination that works best for you. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively neutralize garbage can smells and maintain fresh and pleasant living space.

Remember, consistency is critical. Make deep cleaning a regular part of your routine, and embrace the power of natural odor absorbers like baking soda and citrus peels.

Train yourself to take out the trash regularly.

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