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!

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. But there are also DIY solutions made with items you already own.

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.

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!

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. (Psst! Here’s how to cook with essential oils.)

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 “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.