Just How Dirty Is The Kitchen Wastebasket?

While you might not want to think about that seemingly harmless little can in the corner of your kitchen as a magnet for a host of nasties you don’t want in your home. No matter how clean your kitchen, the wastebasket can attract ants, cockroaches, mice, and bacteria. In fact, people who study such things tell us that a typical kitchen garbage bin has over 400 bacteria per square inch. While that’s not a lot compared to the 3.2 million per square inch in the toilet bowl or the 134,000 in your kitchen sponge, the bacteria in the wastebasket can easily be kept under control with a few basic steps.

It’s in the Bag
Paper and plastic bags from the grocery store often double as wastebasket liners and are not suitable for the task. Plastic bags leak and often have holes in the bottom to prevent accidental suffocation, and paper bags soak up liquids from your garbage. So with either, you’re allowing bacteria-laden liquids to come into direct contact with your bin. These germs multiply quickly and can cause unpleasant odors. To solve the problem, buy plastic bags designed for your wastebasket. They fit properly around the rim, don’t leak, and keep the spills off the bin. To avoid a pile up of plastic bags, try reusable cloth bags for your grocery shopping needs.

Take Out the Trash
Even a nice, thick, tightfitting garbage bag can leak or split apart when it’s overfull. Taking out the trash every other day—or at least once a week—means you won’t have to wrestle massive dripping, stinking garbage bags out to the trashcan.

Wipe It Down
After you take out the trash snap on the rubber gloves and wipe down the can inside and out with a damp soapy sponge. Keep a special sponge for this task, you don’t want to use your dish sponge on the wastebasket. If the can is really dirty fill it with water and few tablespoons of bleach. When you’re done, dry all the surfaces thoroughly, especially inside. A damp wastebasket invites bacterial growth.

Finish the Job
After you clean the wastebasket, clean the floor where it sits. If you keep it in the cupboard, don’t forget to wipe down the door and sides as well as the floor. Finally, sanitize the sink, sponges, rubber gloves with a good cleaning solution. This will kill the germs that have been transferred out of the wastebasket and into the sink.

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