Taking out the trash

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Dear Home Ec 101,
Where I live we have to pay for trash disposal. The trash disposal company we use gives us great big trash cans that most of us around here call dumpsters. Today, I was so embarassed when I got this note from the trash disposal guys:

“Could you please clean out your dumpster? The stuff sticking to the bottom makes all the trash fall out onto the ground.”

I looked inside and it looks like bags with cat litter have broken, because the bottom of the dumpster has cat litter and paper trash stuck to it. How can I clean this with a minimum of actually touching this mess?
Dirty Dumpster

how to clean your garbage can

Ivy says:

The inside of my dumpster gets really nasty, too. I totally feel your pain. I try to clean mine out quarterly- generally whenever I get the trash bill I clean it out. The key to not having to touch much trash is to soak it.

I use my hose to fill my dumpster about a quarter full, then I add either some laundry detergent or dish detergent. I think that helps with the smell. Then I let it sit for at least half a day, but sometimes 24 hours if it’s really nasty down there.

Once it’s had time to soak, I dump it out on the driveway or other hard surface. Take it from me, who learned the hard way- don’t dump it out on your grass. Usually there will be bunches of nasty bits on the bottom which are really hard to pick up but aren’t that hard to just sweep up.

clean the outside of your house
Click the picture for more tips!

Then, all you have to do is use the hose on its highest sprayer setting to spray out any leftover bits. Don’t forget to spray the outside and the lid so the whole thing will be sparkly clean. And yes- the soaking method does work with clumping cat litter, as I had a cat litter explosion myself in my dumpster fairly recently.

Now your “dumpster men” -as my youngest son calls them- will be happy!

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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2 thoughts on “Taking out the trash”

  1. I have always tried to be extra nice to my trash men. I leave them cookies some times, or say thank you when I am out, and they are picking up my trash.

    You never know when you are going to need something disposed of that isn’t necessarily in the ‘rules’.

  2. My dad often would leave a cold 6-pack of Pepsi on top of the trash barrel just before they were due to arrive.

    He also would leave construction materials – a no-no – and they always were taken away.l


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