Organize & Clean

Why You Should Put a Cotton Ball in Your Trash Can

published Nov 13, 2017
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I’m trying to watch my waste. And we recycle a lot. So my trash can—it doesn’t get a lot of attention. An egg shell here, and some uneaten leftovers there. (I should probably start composting, I think.) It takes some time for my trash to get full, and in the meantime… it can kind of start to stink.

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I’ve heard a gentle sprinkle of baking soda into the can every once in a while can help, but the truth is, I need something more “set it and forget it.” So when I read about this tip, I was hooked:

Soak a cotton ball in some essential oils and drop it at the bottom of your trash can, under the liner.

What Essential Oils Do for the Trash

Well… it’s simple. They mask the smell.

By soaking a cotton ball in a few drops of essential oil and dropping it into the trash, you’re leaving behind a sort of fragrant and puffy little odor-fighting cloud that helps to keep the area inside and around your trash can smelling nice. And in fact, some essential oils have added benefits beyond just smelling nice:

  • Lemongrass oil is a natural bad-odor balancer
  • Both tea tree oil and citrus oils (like grapefruit) help to combat bacteria
  • Mint oils help to to deter rodents (good for outdoor trash cans)
  • Neem oil can help to keep bugs away

You can drop a new oil-soaked cotton ball into each liner as you fit it on the bin (or just use it as an on-the-fly fix as things start to stink). But you can probably reap the benefits of this tip for a few loads of trash by dropping your oiled cotton ball in the bottom of the bin under the liner. Just remember to replace it once a week (maybe on trash pickup day?) or every few loads.