Smelly Outdoor Trash Can


I have an outdoor trash can that is issued by the city. The prior owners obviously put trash in there without bagging it. The trash can is disgusting to smell. It is at least 55 gallons. I have filled it and soaked it in bleach water in the sun several times. I have scrubbed it with all kinds of cleaners that include vinegar, baking soda, bathroom cleaners, everything I can think of. Nothing will take the stench out. It is made of really hard plastic, rubber material. Please advise if you know of anything I can do.

Thank you.


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By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post) 09/08/2005

Have you tried taking the can to the carwash and using the high pressure hose and soap? Maybe the smell has "soaked" into the plastic and maybe the high pressure wash will help?

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By Ann (Guest Post) 09/08/2005

Since I know that crumpled up newpaper is good for taking smells out of shoes, I wonder if it would work if each week you put crumpled up newspaper in the bottom of the can. It would take a while to remove the odor, but each time the trash is picked up, they'd be taking away the smelly paper.

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By it's.only.me 169 254 09/08/2005

Try spraying the inside with straight ammonia a few times without rinsing. Or maybe try a few mothballs.

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By guest (Guest Post) 09/08/2005

Try leaving an open bag of charcoal in the garbage can. Leave the lid closed. Leave it in their for about a week. It worked for us when we forgot to take the garbage to the dump and the garbage stayed in the trunk of the car for a whole week. The smell was terrible. Good luck.

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By Syd (Guest Post) 09/09/2005

Contact the City that supplies the trash cans and tell them what you have done to eliminate the smell ... ask if they can exchange this trash can with a new one!

Doesn't hurt to ask.

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By Georgia from Wisconsin (guest post) (Guest Post) 09/12/2005

Try putting about a cup of fresh dry coffee grounds in the container and let sit for a week with the lid on.

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By (Guest Post) 09/13/2005

A family member's trash can was so bad I couldn't stand the smell bringing it to the curb, so I crumpled up newspapers, a lot of newspaper, and placed them in the bottom and the top of the garbage under the cover, and in one month the odor was gone. Now I just place a large entire newspaper in the bottom every week after it's emptied and if really smelly stuff goes into it, so does some more crumpled paper, an+}"-- it's fine now. I'd try all of the suggestions one at a time. I think you are bound to get it done. Do you have one of the desktop air filters machines like The Sharper Image sells. Might work. Hasta La Vista, mis amigo

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By suzi homemaker (Guest Post) 09/13/2005

Thank you so much for all of your advice. I can always count on this website!! I put an entire bag of open charcoal, a cup of coffee grounds in a little throw away bowl, sprinkled some baking soda, and a full container of Glade carpet deoderizer all inside and closed it up. After 2 days, it is smelling very good! I have had to borrow space in neighbor's trash cans so that I could keep this one shut and empty during the process. I did contact the city and tell them about the problem after I first moved in and they said they would check and see if they had a new can and get back to me and of course they never did. I like the idea of keeping newspaper in the bottom all the time. I always keep everything in bags, but trash is trash!! Thank you all so much. I will still leave it closed up for a few more days! Thank you again!

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By Annie Rios Hill 14 1,777 09/14/2005

Call the city and tell them you need a new trashcan and why...you will get a replacement...I just did this
after our deep freeze went out with meat and we did not discover this for weeks in the hot summer...
Anyway they do not immediately offer a replacement
but they will if you insist. Ours is new and looked like
it had been just washed...Don't waste your hard earned money on this.

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By Maureen (Guest Post) 10/31/2005

Try adding aquarium rock salt to the bottom of the garage can and crumbled newspaper. It might take a while but it will eventually come out.

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By Carrie 2 351 11/09/2005

I like the idea of letting the garbage company worry about the odor. If they have to trade enough cans, maybe they will give you some good, thrifty advice about deodorizing the cans.

Until then, try ZeroOdorStore.com . It's not inexpensive, but it works. Hooray!


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By Charlie (Guest Post) 05/30/2007

If you live near Birmingham, AL call The Wheelie Bin Cleaning Service at 205-527-4132. They will come and clean, sanitize, and deodorize your cans monthly for a small fee.

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By Mike from CA (Guest Post) 03/12/2008

We got this new service in bay area. www.vipbincleaningusa.com. they came, washed, dried and de-odorized my trash can. Well I have to say for the first time in 5 years it smells good. And fees it not much either....$7.

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