25 Jun, 2024
Written By: Josh Morris

How to Stop Your Bin from Smelling 

Cartoon of a person with a clothespin on their nose next to a smelly, overflowing trash bin under the sun. Text reads,

Smelly bins are part and parcel of dealing with waste management.

All the nappies, food waste and other odour fuelled items that we chuck away, bubbling at the bottom of the bins, just waiting for you to lift the lid again, so that you can get wafted with that musty smell on a hot summers day. 

But, do bins have to be smelly all the time? Is there anyway that homeowners, business owners & renters can keep on top of this? 

Well, hold your nose and fear not...as Busy Bins have just the strategy & remedy for those stinky coffins of waste. 

In this blog, we have got 7 top cleaning tips and tricks to keep your bin from smelling, how to stop the smell going forwards & how to make a bin deodoriser which leaves your bin smelling fresh and clean...so let's open the lid and get straight into it!

What causes your bin to smell?

Where there is waste, there is going to be a stench. Rubbish smells come with the territory. 

Ever wondered why your bin has that unmistakable odour that makes you wrinkle your nose in disgust? It isn't just your imagination or your partner lifting their arm pits up...there are several factors that create bad odours...

These are the culprits:

  1. Food Waste Bin: We have all opened the kitchen bin to be greeted by a brick wall of outrageous whiffs of meat, fish, eggs and fruit. 
  2. Liquids: Spilled drinks add moisture, creating a breeding ground for odours. 
  3. Spoiled Food: Tossing in spoiled food items contributes to the unpleasant aroma.
  4. Dirty Nappies: The stench is bad enough to keep you up at night. 
  5. Pet Waste: Your Baby, Your Sweetheart, The Apple of your Eye, but one very stinky specimen. 
  6. Heat and Humidity: Warm weather will boil that stink up like nothing else can. 

How to prevent your bin from smelling

First and foremost, you need to get cleaning before you can think about it smelling better. So get the marigolds on and dive headfirst into the stench. It won't be pretty...

To clean your wheelie bin:

  • Prepare: Wear gloves and old clothes for protection.
  • Rinse: Use a hose or pressure washer to thoroughly rinse the inside and outside of the bin.
  • Scrub: Scrub the interior with a mixture of washing up liquid and warm water, paying attention to corners and crevices.
  • Rinse Again: Ensure all residues are washed away with another thorough rinse. You can find the best cleaning products in our cleaning section at the bottom of this blog. 
  • Clean Exterior: Wipe down the exterior with a cloth or sponge soaked in a mild cleaning solution. Turn it upside down so that the antibacterial solution runs out of the bin. 
  • Dry: Let the bin air dry completely before using it again.
  • Regular Maintenance: Consider rinsing the bin after each collection

Aftercare once you have cleaned: 

  • Use Bin Liners: Line your bin with plastic bags to contain leaks and spills, making the clean-up easier and reducing odours.
  • Double Bagging: If you find you have particularly pungent waste, consider double bagging it. 
  • Sunlight: Position your bin in a well-ventilated area with access to sunlight, as this helps to dry out moisture.
  • Dry it out: Wipe down any moisture or spills promptly to prevent mould and bacteria growth, which can lead to unpleasant smells.

7 Top Tips 

  1. Strategic Placement: Keep your bin in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to stop those rays heating your waste up like a boil in the bag rice. 
  2. Use Baking Soda: Bicarbonate of soda helps neutralise odours. Sprinkle this at the bottom of your bin or directly onto those pongy items to stop your bin from smelling. 
  3. Freeze Smelly Items: If you have particularly odorous items like fish or meat scraps, consider freezing them until your collection day. Just make sure not to mistake it for your tea. 
  4. Citrus Peels or Vinegar: Place citrus peels or a splash of vinegar in your bin to add a fresh scent.
  5. Ventilation: Ensure your bin has adequate airflow to prevent moisture build-up.
  6. Regular Washing: Give your bin a regular wash with soapy water and disinfectant to keep the bacteria at bay.
  7. Take the rubbish out: Make sure to empty your bins regularly and routinely. Especially, your food kitchen bin!

How do you make a bin deodoriser?

This one is an unconventional hack to stop your bin stinking out the place. 

Your armpits need deodorant and your bins are no different...a makeshift deodoriser is a great way to keep your bin fresh and stop a bin from smelling rotten. 

First, you will need: 

  • Baking soda
  • Drops of Essential oil (such as lemon or lavender)


  1. Source a small container with a lid. This could be a jar or a small bowl.
  2. Fill the container with baking soda, leaving some space at the top.
  3. Add several drops of your chosen essential oil to the baking soda. You can adjust the amount based on your preference for fragrance strength.
  4. Stir the baking soda and essential oil together until well combined. If you're using a jar or bowl, shake it gently to distribute the oil evenly.
  5. Close the lid tightly if you're using a container with one.
  6. Place the homemade deodoriser at the bottom of your bin before adding a fresh liner. Alternatively, you can sprinkle it directly onto the bottom of the bin before putting in the liner.
  7. Replace the deodoriser every few weeks or as needed.

Natural Cleaning Remedies 

As you have probably seen us mention above, there are various natural cleaning remedies out there, that you can use to keep your bin glistening and smelling like roses. 

Here are some natural cleaning remedies that you can use to help eliminate that nasty bin odour: 

Vinegar Solution: Use equal parts white vinegar and water and place this together in a spray bottle. Once in the spray bottle, you can then spray this onto the interior and exterior surface of your rubbish bin. You can then give the bin a good old scrub to remove stains and odours. 

Lemon Juice: Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the interior surfaces of your bin. The acidic nature of lemon juice helps to break down grease and grime while leaving behind a fresh citrus scent. Alternatively, you can mix lemon juice with water in a spray bottle and use it as a natural cleaning solution.

Citrus Peels: Place citrus peels, such as lemon or orange peels, at the bottom of your bin before adding a new trash bag. The natural oils in citrus peels help to neutralise odours. 

Baking Soda: Get your paste making skills on. Mix baking soda with a small amount of water, to create a paste. Then, apply the paste to inside your bin and let it sit for about 15 minutes. After the minutes are up, scrub the areas of your bin with a hard bristled brush, then rinse with water. 

Specific Cleaning Products you Can Buy

Bin Deodorising Spray - Febreze are always a reputable brand to use. They have a wide range of odour eliminators - Our go to is the Pet Odour Eliminator Spray, as this really focuses on getting rid of those bad smells. 

Amazon Febreze Page: https://tinyurl.com/ywtfserb

Charcoal Odour Absorbers - Brands like Clevast are great places to start for these. How it works is, the charcoal absorbers are placed at the base of the bin, then the charcoal will actually absorb and trap the odours and soak up any liquids that lurk within your bin, which can keep your bin smelling fresh for longer. 

Bin Cleaning Tablets - These tablets can be dropped in your bin to clean and deodorise it. The tablets dissolve which gets rid of stains, germ, grease and odours. There are a variety of products out there. To search for this, as Amazon is an American Company, you would have to type Garbage Disposal Cleaning Tablets instead of Bin. 

Amazon link: https://tinyurl.com/39jscw84

Scented Trash Bags - For all the parents out there, you will have experienced the nappy scented bags, well you can actually purchase a scented bin bag for your household waste as well. These are effective if you have items with a particularly nasty smell such as Cat Litter, Baby Waste and General Waste. 

Amazon Link: https://tinyurl.com/mr3ufusn

These are also available in your local supermarkets

How often should you clean a bin?

The answer is as regular as is needed to keep your bin looking and smelling fresh and clean. 

There are certain times when you should be cleaning your bin more often...these are: 

  1. Warmer weathers: In the warmer months, your bins are guaranteed to get smellier and dirtier. 
  2. Humid days: Humid days will cook your rubbish up like nothing else. 
  3. Type of waste: Your food and garden waste bin should be cleaned more regularly then the others. 
  4. Visual Condition: Pay attention to the condition of your bin. If you notice visible signs of dirt, grime, or odour, it's time for a clean, regardless of the regular schedule.


Getting your bin to perk up that smell doesn't have to equal kilograms of washing up liquid and a constant supply of warm water, there are plenty of products out there that specialise in making your bin cleaner then a hospital operating room! 

By following our Busy Bins Top Tips & cleaning your bin when needed, you can have your bin smelling fresh all year round. Remember, your household bin upkeep shouldn't be back breaking work, just clean regularly, empty regularly and you will be fine. 

It is time to close the lid on this one, but make sure to have a look on our website, at all our other interesting & helpful blogs that can make your life a little bit easier.

Thanks again.

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