How can I stop my rubbish bin stinking?
November 24, 2005 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Something in my rubbish bin stinks, and since I was away for rubbish collection day it's going to be there for a while longer. What can I do to get rid of, or at least reduce, the smell?

That something specifically is 2 pounds of uncooked prawn heads and about a pound of ricotta cheese. Yeah, I'm an idiot. When I put them in my large rubbish bin outside I tried sealing them away in their own plastic bags but it didn't make the slightest bit of difference. The next day was boiling, and since then the smell makes me feel sick just to walk within 5 meters of the bin. This is particularly bad as a shared driveway falls within the stench zone.

I now have about a week until the rubbish will be collected, and I would quite like to avoid facing the consequences of what amounts to putting raw seafood in a box outside my door. How can I get rid of this smell?
posted by teem to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dump a box of baking soda in the bin.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:23 AM on November 24, 2005

Spray it with Lysol.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:29 AM on November 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Put the smelly item in a small baggie and put it in your freezer.

I have the same dilemma---whe I travel for work sometimes I leave that leftover container that I really souldn't have and it's 6 days until pick-up when I get back. The bag (to prevent odours from spreading) and freeze works quite well. Just don't forget to clean out your freezer on garbage day.
posted by bonehead at 6:31 AM on November 24, 2005

Put a layer of crumpled newspaper in the trash. It creates a barrier, and absorbs moisture. Baking soda over that will help as well.
posted by theora55 at 8:23 AM on November 24, 2005

When there was a garbage pickup strike for a month here, any items that were going to get stinky I put in sealed containers in my deep freeze and waited out the strike. This only works if you have freezer space available, of course.
posted by raedyn at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2005

Freezer! Make sure to mark the item as trash. Sounds obvious, but I once had to throw away good frozen chicken because I couldn't remember which bag the bad one was in.
posted by wryly at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2005

Sprinkle a healthy amount of ground coffee in the bin. It'll kill the smell.
posted by LGCNo6 at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2005

Pour some Pine-Sol -- lemon, orange or original -- over the mess.
posted by CMichaelCook at 11:16 AM on November 24, 2005

Pine-Sol or any other antibacterial should do wonders against the smell. You need to kill the bacteria to stop the smell. Of course, you'll probably need to do this more than once, since I doubt you'll be able to kill ALL the bacteria.
posted by shepd at 11:51 AM on November 24, 2005

Oh, of course option #2 is to drive down to the tip and dump it yourself. Or perhaps find a nearby dumpster at a shopping plaza and put it in there (I'm not advocating that, but it's not like you're dumping old tires in there or something).
posted by shepd at 11:52 AM on November 24, 2005

You don't eat prawn heads? Not even the sweet sweet red stuff? For shame.

Seconded on the recommendations. Lysol/bleach to kill some of the microorganisms (their metabolic breakdown products contribute to the smell) and then coffee grounds.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2005

I'm with shepd's #2. Just go dump throw it away behind some stores. Then it becomes somebody else's problem.
posted by 6550 at 12:48 PM on November 24, 2005

Once the offending items are gone...the smell may not be. I faced this problem last year. Dead squirrel sealed in a bag, that the garbage guys neglected to pick up one week in the middle of the summer. You can't even imagine.

I had to use a pressure-washer and heavy-duty cleaning formula to rid the bin of the smell once it was gone.
posted by gimonca at 1:38 PM on November 24, 2005

Make a solution of bleach and water -- one part bleach to 10 parts water. Wash thoroughly. 99 percent of everything organic will be dead. And contrary to popular belief, bleach is essentially harmless to the environment (it decomposes to salt water).
posted by frogan at 2:37 PM on November 24, 2005

Don't throw food in the garbage. Compost it.

Here is a precis of the nature of the problem.

In this case, you can bury your problem.
posted by singingfish at 4:17 PM on November 24, 2005

How about dumping in some cat litter? It absorbs odours and moisture.

Shrimp heads are tough, though. When the time comes to clean the stench out of your bin, try vinegar and hot soapy water.

I don't envy you.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:56 PM on November 24, 2005

Composting is great for some things, but it's not good for animal products like prawn heads and cheese.
posted by raedyn at 6:57 PM on November 24, 2005

I suggest using fresh coffee grounds in the bottom of your garbage container. I had a stinky trashcan, and that seemed to do the trick.
posted by cass at 11:04 AM on November 28, 2005

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