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

Updated: Oct. 13, 2023

You can banish trash can smells for good with this quick and easy trick. No harsh chemicals needed!

It’s time to fix your stinky trash can. Sure, you can buy products that guarantee a fresh-smelling home. But there are also DIY solutions to banish kitchen odors.

To combat unpleasant trash can smells, you’ll need two simple items. Nope—not scented trash bags.

The Easy Way to Fix a Stinky Trash Can

Simply soak a cotton ball in essential oil (5-15 drops) and toss it into your trash can before putting in a new garbage bag. 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.

To keep trash can smells at bay, replace the cotton ball every week or so, before the cotton starts to absorb less pleasant odors. It doesn’t hurt to give the trash can a wipe-down every now and then, either.

Editor’s Tip: To help you remember, replace the cotton ball every trash collection day. And make sure you know how to use garbage bags the right way.

Essential Oils That We Recommend

Each type of essential oil has specific benefits and can be used for a variety of things, 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 safe.
  • Citrus scents like orange and lemon are natural cleaning agents. The oils emit a bright, invigorating scent that will 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 stink fighter.