How to Get Rid of Trash Can Smell in 10 Seconds (or Less)

You can banish that trash can smell for good with this safe, quick and easy trick. No harsh chemicals needed!

Trash can in the kitchen cornerJenson/Shutterstock

It’s time to fix the stinky trash can. Banishing kitchen odor can be a daunting chore, but it doesn’t have to require a ton of money or elbow grease. Sure, you can buy products that guarantee a fresh-smelling home.

To combat the unpleasant smell of your trash can, you’ll need two simple items. Nope—they’re not scented trash bags or fancy adhesive attachments.

Plus: Learn secret cleaning tips from the pros here.

The Easy Way to Get Rid of Trash Can Smell

Believe it or not, cotton balls can do more than remove makeup and nail polish.

Simply soak a cotton ball in essential oil (5-15 drops) and toss it into your trash can before putting in a new liner. This will keep the inside of your trash can—and your entire kitchen—smelling clean. How does it work? Well, cotton is an extremely absorbent and durable material. It soaks up the liquid without falling apart—which means the essential oil scent will stick around.

P.S. Here’s how to get the smell of garlic off your hands.

For best results, replace the cotton ball every week or so, as the cotton will start to absorb the other odors as well.

Editor’s Tip: To help you remember, replace the cotton ball every trash collection day!

This is how you make homemade cleaning with simple ingredients.

Use Our Recommended Essential Oils

Essential oils have become increasingly popular over the past several years, even though they’ve been used for millennia. Each oil has amazing benefits and can be used for a variety of purposes, from cooking and cleaning to haircare and beauty.

Here are some classic kitchen scents:

  • Lavender has a calming aroma and disinfectant properties, making it both fragrant and totally safe.
  • Citrus like orange and lemon are natural cleaning agents. The oils emit a bright, invigorating scent that will powerfully shield nasty odors.
  • Peppermint offers an uplifting, crisp scent—and even helps deter rodents.
  • Tea tree has antiseptic and antiviral properties, which make it a great bacteria fighter.

You tackled the trash can. Up next—de-stink the dishwasher, refrigerator and garbage disposal.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara Milligan is an avid people fan and an unabashed brand geek. Her true passion lies within research, where she unveils consumer, brand, and industry insights and discovers the many ways in which people shop, communicate, search, and design a unique presence both online and offline. She loves staying informed about trends that affect the outlook of businesses every single day. She has extensive experience in developing digital and brand strategies and inspiring creativity across all channels and touchpoints. She has implemented strategies for brands in various industries, including healthcare, agriculture, food and beverage, travel and tourism, CPG, nonprofit, insurance, financial services, beauty, education, retail, B2B, and automotive. Ceara graduated cum laude from Marquette University in 2012, where she studied Marketing, Information Technology, and Advertising. When she isn't in marketer mode, Ceara can be found listening to Third Eye Blind, cheering on Marquette Golden Eagles basketball, playing trivia, petting strangers' dogs, and baking up a storm.