How Often Should You Be Cleaning Your Exterior Garbage Cans?

Hygiene extends to all corners of your home, including that big exterior trash can in front of your yard. Even though it tends to be ignored, your outside garbage can needs to be deep-cleaned. Your outdoor garbage can is a hub for all sorts of nasty things, not just the pests but also the stench. Cleaning your main disposal center is of the utmost importance, but the burning question is how often should you scrub your garbage can. The practical answer is — twice a year should suffice.

If your mentality is that it doesn't really matter because the bin is so far removed from you to affect you, then you couldn't be further from the truth. That garbage can is home to flies which we all know are walking health hazards, carrying around a host of pathogens. They in turn lay their eggs which turn into the maggots that you see your garbage riddled with every time you open your can. Not to mention all the diligent disease-harboring pests like rats and raccoons that visit in the night to claim the forsaken bounty. You do not want your neighbors strolling by and scrunching up their noses as they pass. You also don't want your pets playing around near the garbage and tracking garbage ooze all over the house. Cleaning your exterior trash can every six months will save you from irritated looks and potential illnesses.

Use a bleach and soap solution to sanitize your garbage can

According to Clorox scientist Mary Gagliardi, via Martha Stewart's blog, the ideal time to sanitize your outdoor trash can is right after the garbage truck comes to empty it. You want to deal with an empty can and not have to clean it only to throw the same junk right back in. Because organic waste, trash, and non-recyclables go here and stay marinating under the hot sun, you know the smell is bound to be stubborn and the grime as well. You're going to need cleaning products potent enough to kill any pathogens and lay waste to the maggot population. Snatch up that bottle of bleach from your supply closet as well as some dish soap and a handled brush. 

Make the job easier by getting rid of any large debris. Rinse out the garbage can as thoroughly as possible with hot water, preferably with a hose so that you can force out any gunk and insect eggs. Next step: laugh maniacally. Then, pour a gallon of water into the can and add about a third cup of bleach and some dish liquid. Let this sit for about ten minutes and then scrub the can with the brush, making sure to get in all those nooks and crannies at the bottom, too. Rinse, and let the garbage can sit in the sun on its side to dry completely before setting it upright again.