Growing up my mom was always adamant about taking out the kitchen garbage every day. She would not go to bed until whoever was on trash duty took out the bag(s) to the dumpster.
I must admit that I hated it when it was my turn. The dumpster was a short walk from our house, but it was an annoying routine. Sometimes the bag wouldn't even be full, which often left me wondering why she couldn't just take the trash out every other day instead.
Unlike me, who enjoys take-out a couple of times a week and does not have a lot of food waste, my mom cooked every day and she used fresh ingredients at that. So, at the end of the day, there would be all sorts of food waste in the trash. As we all know, the longer this sits, the more it starts to stink.
We didn't have the fancy garbage cans or scented bags that are available nowadays that help suppress odor so your whole house doesn't smell. We also did not know about the ingenious cotton ball hack from Apartment Therapy.
If you've been struggling with smelly trash, and don't have the time or energy to take it out at the end of the day, this trick is all you really need to keep your garbage can and kitchen smelling fresh.
According to the folks at Apartment Therapy, there are a few tricks you can use to ensure your trash always smells good, including throwing a dryer sheet into the bag, adding kitty litter to the bottom of the can, and sprinkling baking soda into the can.
However, the one that caught my attention the most was the cotton ball and essential oil tip. Not only is it easy to do, it is also the one that smells the best.
So here's how it works:
You'll need a cotton ball or two and a few drops of essential oil. Soak the ball in the oil, then place it into the can, and let it work its magic. Not only will it deodorize the inside of the trash, it will also leave the area around it smelling great.
You can use any of your favorite essential oils, but there are some that are likely to do a better job at fighting unpleasant odors.
Citrus-based essential oils like lemongrass are great for fighting bacteria and balancing odors, while stronger oils like tea tree, mint and neem will keep insects and rodents at bay, especially if you keep your trash outdoors.
How often should you do it?
It really is up to you when it comes to how often you want to add a new essential oil-scented cotton ball into the liner of your trash can. You can do it as soon as you start to notice a smell, or you can make a habit of adding one every time you change the bag.
You'll get more use out of the cotton ball if you place it at the bottom of the bin under the liner, then replace it at least once a week.
I love this trick because it is one of those things that you just do and forget about for a while. Even though I don't have nearly as much garbage as my family did back in the day, I still do it for my garbage bin because you never know when trash decides to smell bad.