How to Clean a Metal Trash Can

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Things You'll Need

  • Water hose

  • Bucket

  • Dish soap

  • Sponge

  • Cloth

  • White vinegar

  • Lemon juice

  • Cream of tartar

  • Towel

Metal trash cans can quickly become dirty, stained and rusted.

Trash cans are available in various sizes, styles and materials. Metal is a common material for garbage cans because of its durable nature and ease of maintenance. A metal trash can will keep the garbage in the disclosed location in a stylish manner. Over time, the trash can will become dirty and develop an unpleasant odor. Fortunately, cleaning a metal trash can requires only a few common household items and a little time. To keep your trash can looking and smelling its best, clean the can once a month.


Step 1

Remove the trash bag from the metal trash can. Remove any remaining debris from the bottom of the can. Take the metal trash can outside. Rinse the inside of the trash can clean with a water hose.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Fill a bucket with warm water and add several drops of liquid dish soap. Mix the water and soap together until a soapy mixture forms.


Step 3

Saturate a sponge in the soapy mixture and scrub the outside of the trash can. Rinse the sponge in the mixture when it becomes soiled, and continue scrubbing the outside of the can until clean.

Step 4

Scrub the inside of the metal trash can in the same manner as you did the outside. Repeat the process on the lid.


Step 5

Remove unpleasant odors by wiping the inside of the trash can with a cloth dampened in white vinegar. Let the vinegar sit on the inside of the trash can for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 6

Remove rust spots from the metal trash can with a thick paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Scrub the spots with a cloth dampened in the paste.

Step 7

Rinse the inside and outside of the trash can as well as the lid with the water hose. Wipe dry with a towel.


Always line your metal trash can with a trash bag. The bag will keep the trash can clean.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...