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Photography by CHRISTIAN JOHANSSON

No matter how hard you try to keep your home smelling fresh and clean, there’s always one area that seems to permeate the air with its foul stench — the trash can. 

Fear not! There are quite a few simple ways to remedy a stinky trash can. From bleach to air fresheners, one of these helpful tips (if not all) should help eliminate the rancid smell from your home, once and for all.

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Photography by LA TIMES

Bleach

Bleach is a tough disinfectant that can make almost any smelly, trash bacteria disappear. To disinfect your trash can with bleach, first make sure you are in a well-ventilated area — if you can work outdoors, we recommend you do so. Second, mix about a quarter cup of bleach with two gallons of warm water. Why the water? Straight bleach might leave an overpowering smell in your trash can and also has the potential to ruin the finish on the can itself. Remember, bleach is not a cleaner, so if you want to make sure your trash can is spotless, give it a wash afterwards. Bleach is merely used to kill unwanted germs.

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Photography by @ANHHONG_SKINCARE

Baking Soda

Have a brand new trash can and want to avoid future smells? Sprinkle a little of this baking staple on the bottom of your trash can to prevent stinky odors from escaping. Baking soda helps absorb both moisture and odor. But, make sure to wash your trash can and replace the baking soda at least once a week to make sure the trash smells don’t escape.

Bonus Tip: Baking soda can also be sprinkled directly onto a full trash can to remedy any odors. This is especially helpful if you have a trash full of rotting food that you can’t take out for another day or two. 

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Photography by @BAKESTARTERS

Vanilla or Mint Extract

Sometimes your baking essentials can double as scents for your trash can. Just pour a few drops of either extract on a handful of cotton balls, drop them into your trash can and let them work their magic. This quick smell fix should last 5-7 days.

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Photography by @SMEDLEYSHOTS

Coffee

Make your ground coffee work for you. That’s right, you can make your whole house (or at least your kitchen) smell like fresh coffee by placing a bit in your trashcan. We suggest placing the ground coffee in a small, open tupperware container and placing it at the bottom of your trash can. Put your garbage bag in as normal and wait for the coffee smell to permeate the air.

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Cat Litter

If you’re brave enough, try using cat litter in the bottom of your trash can to absorb any foul odors. Similar to baking soda, kitty litter can inhibit smells and absorb bad bacteria and moisture that may leak from your garbage. You can either place a small bowl of litter at the bottom of your trash can, or toss a handful into your empty garbage bag. For the latter method, add a handful of litter two or three more times before the bag is full. 

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Courtesy of DELISH.COM

Charcoal

Have a bit of extra charcoal laying around? Grind it up and toss it in the bottom of your trash can to help eliminate any unwanted smells. Leave it overnight (or for a few days) to make sure the job is done right.

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Photography by @BATHANDBODYWORKS

Air Fresheners

Sometimes all your trash can really needs is a good old-fashioned air freshener. Tape an air freshener to the lid of your trash can or place it at the bottom of the bin.

Note: This method may only work for smaller trash cans that are emptied on a regular basis. 

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Photography by Brooke Holm

Dryer Sheets

Believe it or not, dryer sheets can also be used as odor eliminators. Toss a few in within an empty garbage bag to prevent smells from escaping. We don’t recommend placing them inside the can directly, as if they get wet, they can be extremely hard to remove!