Smelly Trash Cart? Here’s How to Clean It

By Rachael on August 9, 2022

In a previous blog post, we talked about what you can do to keep your cart cleaner and less smelly. But what if it’s too late and it’s already dirty and smelly? Don’t panic. You don’t need to request a new cart. They’re actually pretty easy to clean using items you have around the house and without getting yourself too messy. Here are some step by step instructions.

  1. Make sure the cart is empty. Obviously, it makes the most sense to clean the cart after your collection and before you put any more trash in it. So, make clean up your new trash day tradition! The whole family can join in.
  2. Use a hose with a sprayer attachment to spray the insides of the cart. If it’s warm out, you may want to hose the kids down too.
  3. Once you have sprayed the inside completely, squirt a small amount of dish soap into the bottom of the cart. We suggest using an eco-friendly dishwashing liquid.
  4. Fill the bottom of the cart with a couple inches of water. This should generate some bubbles and give you some soapy water to work with without wasting a lot of water.
  5. Use a broom, long-handled scrub brush or mop to scrub the inside walls of the container. Scrub the entire surface and spend a little extra time on problem areas.
  6. Rinse the inside of the cart and put the soapy water down a utility drain that connects to a sanitary sewer.
  7. Use the spray attachment on your hose to address any problem areas on the outside of your cart.
  8. Leave the lid off the cart and allow it to dry for several hours (ideally in the sun, although it can be difficult to find the sun in Michigan at certain times of the year).

Bonus Tip: If your cart is particularly stinky and needs to be disinfected, wait for it to dry and then spray the inside of the cart with some diluted bleach or a disinfectant spray.

Read our blog post about how to keep your cart cleaner and you won’t have to repeat this task very often.

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