The battle with trash can odors is a never-ending one in many households. It might reach a point where you may even dread stepping on the lever to pop it open for fear of filling the whole house with a foul smell.

Well, you can’t place all the blame on the trash can, as long as you keep throwing those leftovers in there. The good news is that it does not have to be this way. With time, I have come to realize that when you put certain measures in place, these odors do not have to be a problem.

To help you take the battle to the trash can odors, we have compiled these 7 Easy Ways to Battle Trash Can Odors. In this way, you will keep the pungent smell, flies, bugs, rats, and mice at bay.

  1. Baking SodaIs there a household cleaning problem that baking soda cannot solve really? When it comes to battling the odor from your trash cans, it is pretty good at it too. If you are looking to prevent the odors or get rid of it if it has already set it, a sprinkle of baking soda is the first step.For prevention, first sprinkle about ¼ cup at the bottom of the can before you replace the trash bag. If the foul smell is already there, sprinkle the same quantity directly onto the trash. In the event that the odor had seeped into the trash (for the plastic ones), use the baking soda to scrub the can thoroughly.
  2. Use Cat LitterIf you are a cat lover like me, then you definitely have a cat litter. Just as it battles the smell from the cat’s litter box, it can be used for the same purpose in your trash can. Better still, you can use it to eliminate any other musty smell in your house.The working principle is that the refined and pure clay acts as a good absorbent for odor, stains, and impurities. A freshly scented trash can is therefore realized as a result of all the moisture having been absorbed. Simply pour the litter at the bottom of the can, and replace it after a week or once it becomes so filled up.
  3. Use some BleachA Trash Can that emits foul odor in the house sometimes needs a powerful bleach to get rid of the germs responsible for the odor, and the odor as well. The bleach will come with its own odor, but I think it is better than the one your can is emitting. Before you use any bleach, ensure it will not interfere with the finish applied to the trash can.After you have taken out the trash from the smelly can, use the bleach to wash the can, and ensure the work area is adequately ventilated. About a mixture of ¼ cup of bleach mixed with two gallons of water (preferably warm) should do it for you.
  4. Recycle and CompostThe biggest culprits causing the foul smell from your trash can are the food scraps from your cooking and the left over from your dinner table. So, instead of throwing them into your trash can, why don’t you collect and compost them like any other yard weed? In this way, you would be providing nourishment for your garden while also keeping your house odor free.And there are the bottles, cans, and cardboards that occupy lots of space in your trash can which contribute to the smell too. You can rinse these and keep them separately for recycling. You do not want a piece of cardboard among the waste as it emits a pungent smell once any liquids spill on it.
  5. Dryer SheetsWho said dryer sheets were only for clothes? It turns out; these too can be used to give stinking trash cans a refreshing smell. So, the next time after you have taken the trash out, place a couple of dryer sheets below the new bag. As the foul odor eliminates from the trash inside, the sheets absorb these, leaving behind a freshly pleasant smell.If the stench is too much, you can even toss one or two directly into the trash. Another great thing about the use of dryer sheets is that you don’t necessarily have to use new ones. Used ones can still do the trick in keeping away the stench from your cans.
  6. Use Coffee BeansI know you prefer your coffee in your cup and not the trash can. But you will not enjoy that magnificent cup with the foul smell all over the house. Besides the great taste, aromatic coffee beans are another easy way of combating the trash can odor thing.And using it is quite easy too. All you will be required to do is taking a handful and pour it onto the base of the trash can. You then replace the trash can bag. The coffee beans work by absorbing the dustbin air filled with the bad smell.The great coffee smell will then fill your house, just as you like it. Once the effectiveness starts to fade, discard it and pour another one.
  7. Mask the SmellStill can’t battle the smell? Why don’t you try hiding/masking the smell using a more powerful and great smelling scent? This new addition will suppress the trash can odor. This is basically how perfumes and fragrances work. The good news is that it is very easy to find such like products that you can use to hide the trash stench.Drops of vanilla essence on cotton wools and then tossed into the trash can masks any smell that may be coming from there. Another common addition is lemon peels. The citrus scent emanating from these would replace any other in the trash after a couple of days. Or if you can get mint extracts, they would work wonders for you too.


A trash can is an essential addition to your living space. It makes your life a lot easier, albeit with the foul smell that results after a while. This results from the decomposition of the organic food matter inside it.

The good news is that with the seven ways we have provided you, the smell should not be an issue after all. Just remember to take out the trash out on a regular basis and then clean it. This way you can be 100% assured of getting rid of the foul smell from your trash can.


Barbara Herring is a contributor at, where she writes about everything from hydroponics and aquaponics to regular garden chores. She loves troubleshooting plant problems, and when she’s not knee-deep in her garden, she’s usually skateboarding, surfing, or playing with her cat.