How To Keep Garbage Can From Smelling In Garage?

Garages tend to be warm, dark places – the perfect environment for bacteria, mold, and other pathogens to flourish. If you’re wondering how to keep garbage cans from smelling in garage storage areas, this post will give you some of the best tips to do so. 

Why Does Garbage Smell?

Why Does Garbage Smell

If it’s summertime, there’s a good chance that you’re more acutely aware of the garbage cans sitting in the corner of your garage than ever before.

Many people keep the garbage cans in the garage to prevent animals and bugs from getting into them – which can create bigger problems.

While it’s a great place to store your garbage cans, once the hot summer weather arrives, the bins are bound to start stinking. Since you likely keep your car and countless other valuables in the garage (that you don’t want to start getting stinky!) It’s important to understand how to keep bad smells away. 

Garbage cans don’t innately smell – after all, you don’t bring them home from the store that way! They start stinking when we put moldy, spoiled, or rotten foods in them.

Particularly strong-smelling foods, like fish, onions, meat, and garlic, produce odors that are tough to get rid of. They can linger for days or even weeks after the products themselves no longer exist in the can. 

Because of this, it’s a good idea to practice double bagging – always put these stinky foods in their own bags before you drop them into the trash bin in the garage. That’s one easy way to keep odors at bay!

How to Keep Garbage Can from Smelling in Garage: 17 Tips

Aside from double bagging the more pungent foods you put into your garage trash cans, there are a few other tips you can follow to keep the garbage can from smelling in the garage.

1. Reduce Food Waste and Separate Compostables 

What kind of food are you putting in your trash cans? Chances are, you can’t stop throwing away so much food. Can you donate any leftovers? Compost food waste to reduce what goes in the trash? This can make a huge difference – and also contributes to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, too. 

2. Use Your Garbage Disposal

Whenever Possible, use your garbage disposal before putting food in the trash. Granted, this isn’t an option for everyone (particularly those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a garbage disposal).

However, a garbage disposal that’s attached to the kitchen sink can be lifesaving. It will chop up unwanted food into finer pieces before it moves to the drain. You can put less food into the trash and prevent smelling up the garage. 

If you have a garbage disposal, get into the habit of using it more often!

3. Clean With Bleach

It’s a good idea to clean your trash cans regularly – once a week, if you can manage it. 

After taking the trash out, give the garbage bin a thorough cleaning. If you have a power washer, you can use it to hose down the garbage can. If not, use a long handled bristle brush to scrub the interior and exterior of the garbage can. A bit of dish soap is all you need. 

For serious smells, add bleach. This will kill any lingering bacteria that’s causing smells to hang around. 

4. Use Charcoal

A few chunks of charcoal strategically placed at the bottom of your trash can may also help to eliminate odors. These absorb bad smells before they can even occur. 

5. Try Baking Soda

Just a few tablespoons of baking soda can absorb bad smells. The plus side of using baking soda is that it can also help to soak up any spills that might occur in your trash can.

6. Give Cat Litter a Try

Kitty litter works in much the same way as baking soda, helping to absorb spills and prevent odors from developing. 

7. Dryer Sheets to the Rescue

Even dryer sheets can help! Just put one or two dryer sheets at the bottom of the trash can and you’ll find that these cancel out bad smells while also absorbing messes. 

8. Clean the Garage Drain

Get in the habit of cleaning your garage drain on a regular basis. This will help eliminate smells not just from your garbage can, but other odors that might be stinking up the joint, too. 

Here’s a video with tips on how to clean the garage drain quickly and easily:

9. Use Tight Bags

Be sure to tie bags tightly when you put them in the trash bin. This can prevent trash from spilling out and causing smells.

Make sure you’re using high-quality bags, too. Trash bags made out of thick material will trap smells when they’re sealed. Plus, they’re thicker so they’re less likely to break – sharp items aren’t going to be as likely to poke through the side and let garbage make its way out. 

Deodorizing bags aren’t always necessary, but scented or deodorizing options can be helpful.

10. Read the Newspaper

…after you’re done cleaning the garage, of course!

However, newspapers are beneficial in more ways than one. You can use it to control odors in the trash can. It will help absorb ujn pleasant smells – all you need to do is place some newspapers at the bottom of your garbage can. 

11. Give Vanilla Extract a Try

Vanilla extract smells great in all of your favorite baked goods – and it can also be used to stop smells in the garbage in your garage. Just soak a few cotton balls in vanilla and put them at the bottom of the trash bin. Easy peasy! 

12. Try Deodorizers

Commercial deodorizers, like the ones Arm and Hammer makes specifically for trash cans and dumpsters, can help dispel bad smells and make it easier to spend time in your garage. 

13. Improve Airflow  

Although this isn’t a panacea to everything that smells bad in your garage, you can often get rid of unpleasant odors (particularly those that tend to linger) by opening up some windows or turning on a fan. This circulates the air and prevents it from sitting in one place for too long. 

14. Use Citrus Peels 

Citrus zest is one of the best all-natural air fresheners. It can mask and neutralize odors in a  safe, effective way. 

15. Try Essential Oils

There are a few types of essential oils you can use to remove bad smells, too. Combine a cup of distilled water, half a cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and ten drops of each of your favorite essential oils. Some of the best include lime, lemongrass, oregano, tea tree, and fir oil. 

16. Have a Cup of Coffee

Have a cup of coffee before you tackle your trash can cleaning chores – and afterward, layer some coffee beans at the base of the trash can. It will give off a more pleasant smell while also absorbing bad odors. 

You can even make a DIY sachet with coffee filters! Fill a coffee filter with baking soda, then tie up the top with a bit of floss or twine. Put the sachet at the bottom of the trash can and take a deep breath – no more stinky smells! 

17. Take the Trash Out Regularly 

Don’t let trash linger for too long. Get rid of trash before it starts to smell bad – don’t wait until the bin is overflowing with tarsh. The sooner, the better! 

It’s Not Just the Stink: Other Problems With Smelly Trash in the Garage

Although a stinky garbage can is probably the last thing you want to contend with, it’s important to note that it’s not just the smell of the trash that can be problematic. Having too much trash around – particularly stinky, rotten trash – can pose major health hazards.

For one, the bacteria that is found in garbage cans can be harmful to your health – and if your trash cans are starting to smell, it’s probably this bacteria to blame. Also, moldy foods like cheese and bread can release harmful spores. 

Follow these tips, and you can protect your health – and keep your garage stink-free. If you’re looking for more cleaning tips, check out this guide about oil stains in your garage.

1 thought on “How To Keep Garbage Can From Smelling In Garage?”

  1. It’s not a good idea to keep your garbage cans in the garage, especially when the space is small and not well ventilated.


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