After a long hot summer, outdoor garbage cans have spent a lot of time roasting and the smell can knock you out (but not in a good way). We’ve got a great project to clean and refresh those bins while the weather is still pleasant. Try it out and thank yourself every time you breathe freely around your cans.
- Reserve time on or immediately after garbage collection day, so that you start with an empty can.
- Technically, one person can perform the job, but it’s much easier with a partner.
- You’ll need rubber gloves, a non-toxic disinfectant (we recommend Simple Green), a long handled broom, a flashlight, a garden hose with a jet attachment, and a sunny, safe spot like a patch of grass or a driveway to perform the task.
- A power washer is not necessary, but extremely effective. If you use one, remember to wear safety goggles and be careful to avoid spraying any skin or paint.
- Turn the can on its side with the lid open.
- Use the flashlight to inspect the inside of the can and identify any areas that have stuck-on debris. Depending on the size, depth and color of your can, it can be hard to miss problem areas.
- While wearing your rubber gloves, use the broom to shake loose any debris.
- Use the jet hose attachment or power washer to spray into the can for an initial rinse. Hold the water on any problem areas for 20 seconds to give them a soak and loosen debris.
- After rinsing, tip the can upside down to drain.
- Turn the can upright and pour a thin drizzle of disinfectant all along the edge of the can, allowing it to dribble down and coat all the sides. Use your flashlight to determine if you need more. Once the sides are coated, pour a thin layer over the bottom of the can. Allow the disinfectant to sit for 15 minutes.
- Tip the can on its side and use the broom to scrub the inside and bottom of the can. This should get sudsy and break down any debris.
- Use the hose again to give everything a thorough rinse. Tip the can upside down to drain as much moisture as possible.
- Tip the can upright and shine the flashlight to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Spray and scrub any debris off the outside of the can and lid.
- If clean, allow to air out (preferably in the sunshine) for an hour or two. The sunshine will help disinfect.
- Finally, use the hose to thoroughly rinse your broom. Use disinfectant if necessary.
- Enjoy a fresh, clean garbage can for months to come!