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7 Trash Can Tips
By Sarah Aguirre, About.com Guide
I load my trash into the trash can and want to forget about it until trash day. What happens when we have an issue with our trash can? How can we keep it from becoming gross? How can we clean it after an incident happens?
Sounds obvious, right? If you had less trash, you wouldn't have to worry about your trash cans so much. So how do you make less trash? Have a separate recycling bin for items that your community recycles. In our town we can drop off recyclables at different places in the community. Many towns have curbside recycling pick up. Break down cardboard boxes. Rinse out plastic containers. You'll be amazed at how much less trash you really have.
Rotten food in our trash accounts for most of the spills, sloshes, and messes that we have to clean out of our trash cans. Reduce the amount of food waste by utilizing a garbage disposal and/or a compost pile for items that can be composted. For items that must be thrown in the trash but may present a problem for your trash can, you can double bag. I often use plastic grocery bags to wrap up meat trimmings or other items that need to be trashed, but could make a mess.
One of the worst things about trash cans can be the odor. There are quite a few things you can do to actually prevent trash can odors. You may have known that sprinkling baking soda in your trash can could help absorb those smelly smells. But did you know that kitty litter and dryer sheets could be used with the same results? Be creative and you'll be able to make that trash can smell like it doesn't even exist.
For your outdoor cans, drilling holes in the bottom of your trash cans can actually be a great help. You'll be able to wash out the inside of a nasty trash can without dumping the dirty water out. This is also helpful for allowing rainwater to drain out of the trash can if it has been rained in. Just rinse using an outdoor hose. For really dirty jobs, a mild dish soap will work wonders. Then all you have to do is allow the can to dry out. It will be good as new.
I hate storing my trash cans in my garage. I much prefer having the outdoor cans on a concrete slab behind our house. This really is a matter of preference and may even be determined by city codes or a homeowners association. Outdoor trash cans can attract bugs and animals so that will have to be a consideration. It's always a good idea to try to prevent insects from being attracted to your house. Unfortunately, trash cans are a likely culprit. Of course the bugs and animals could be attracted to your garage if that is where they are stored. The tips above should help eliminate some of that risk.
It's the worst feeling in the world, seeing the garbage truck drive away when you know you have multiple bags of trash in your cans that NEED to be on that truck. To keep yourself from having trash around longer than necessary, set a reminder on your phone or computer to alert you before each trash day. I use to use sticky notes on my dashboard to remind me to take out the trash before I left the driveway. If you do miss a trash day, it may be worth it to try to take the trash to your city dump yourself if your city allows this.
Before you haul your trash cans back up to the house after trash day, take a moment to clean them out. All it really takes for most trash cans is a water hose. Rinsing out your cans and allowing them to dry will go a long way towards preventing issues from happening. if you have a bigger mess in your can, using a mild dish soap can work wonders.
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