It doesn’t take long for a wheelie bin to become dirty and smelly. Despite our best efforts at keeping them clean, they seem to attract grime, bad odours, grease and pests.
Wheelie bin cleaning companies now patrol our streets in an attempt to keep our outdoor waste bins in a respectable state. But is this expense really necessary? Can we be doing more to keep our wheelie bins clean and fresh?
The good news is that this issue is easily overcome. All you need to do is change your household habits and commit to regular cleaning. If you can do these simple things, you should be able to save money and make your local neighbourhood a better place.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you keep your wheelie bins clean and fresh. You may not need to adopt all of the advice here. But taking on board just a couple of top tips could make a huge difference to your home and your local community.
Throw away less food
Let’s face it: all those nasty smells that emanate from wheelie bins are caused by food. Get rid of food waste, and you get rid of those bad odours. But that’s easier said than done, right?
Wrong. Keeping your wheelie bin clean and fresh starts in the grocery store. Think carefully about what you’re buying. Do you really need that multipack of butter when you only use one pack every two weeks? Will you get to eat that ready-made lasagne, or will it end up going in the bin?
Before you go shopping, create a meal plan for your household. And from that plan, create a detailed shopping list. Avoid bulk buying offers and discounts — they’re often not worth the hassle. Buy what you need and no more.
Despite your best efforts in the supermarket, however, you’re always going to have a degree of food waste to deal with. After all, people won’t be clearing their dinner plates every time they eat. Compost as much of your waste food as possible. You’ll find some very cheap composting containers in home improvement stores these days. And don’t worry if you don’t have a garden. There’s always someone looking for compost for their flowerbeds and vegetable patches.
Wrap food before throwing it away
When you have no option other than to throw food away, wrap it up as best you can. Not even a strong bin bag will stop that discarded bolognese sauce seeping out. Do you have other food containers you can use to store your waste food? Use old paper and magazines — anything that adds an extra barrier between your leftovers and the interior of your wheelie bins.
Keep the lids shut
It’s vital that you keep your rubbish hidden away at all times. Warm air and pests can make food smell really bad very quickly. Flies and wasps love food waste. Flies in particular can be a real menace. They lay their eggs in rubbish. And before you know it you’ve got a serious maggot problem — and the odour problem it brings.
Dogs, cats and feral animals such as foxes love to explore rubbish bins. They may tip your bins over and leave food scattered around the surrounding areas. And when this happens, you run the risk of attracting rodents.
Firstly, make sure your wheelie bin has a fully functioning lid. Some of the collection vehicles used to collect refuse have a tendency of ripping off lids. If your bin is damaged in any way, inform your local authority.
Make sure everyone in your home is closing the wheelie bin lids every time. And position your bins in a way that makes access by animals and pets difficult.
If you find that you’re creating more rubbish than your wheelie bins can cope with, don’t balance bags on the top. Think through your household habits carefully to reduce the waste you create. And take a trip to the local refuse centre if you’re holding onto excess rubbish.
Rinse bins after they’re emptied
Get into the habit of rinsing your bin out every collection day. You might already pay a company to do this for you — but it’s quite an easy job. Some hot, soapy water is enough to freshen up the bottom of a wheelie bin. A pressure washer or a garden hose is even better.
And don’t forget about your other wheelie bins. Your blue recycling bin and your brown garden waste bin can also get smelly and dirty. Once you’ve cleaned your wheelie bins, line the bottom with absorbent paper towels. And to mask any lingering smells, add a little citrus rind or essential oil.
Clean the lids regularly
One area a lot of homeowners forget about is their wheelie bin’s lid. This gets dirtier as the bin gets fuller. And just before a collection, it can be smeared in grease and old food.
Every time your bin is emptied, wipe down the exterior and interior of the lid with antibacterial wipes. This should keep them looking presentable and smelling fresh.
Keep your bins out of the sun
Imagine a full bin that’s been standing in hot sunshine all week. The food waste is probably decomposing fast — and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and pests. Over the course of the week, the smell gets worse and worse.
Try to locate your wheelie bins in shaded areas. Think about where the sun is in the sky at different times of the day. If you don’t have a lot of shade, position your bins somewhere that isn’t subjected to direct sunlight all day.
The best solution is to invest in a wheelie bin storage cupboard. It won’t be cheap, but it could make refuse management in your home a lot easier. And it will tidy up the exterior of your home nicely.
Get together with neighbours
We’re all responsible for keeping our own neighbourhoods clean and tidy. That’s why you shouldn’t shy away from helping your neighbours with their bins.
If you have elderly or immobile people living close to you, offer to help them keep their bins clean and fresh. When you go away, ask a neighbour to watch over your bins. You can do the same for them when the need arises.
Keeping your wheelie bins clean and fresh isn’t difficult — but it requires vigilance, habit changes and regular cleaning.