Even if you're pretty diligent about taking out the trash, there will come a time when it gets stinky. Whether you left seafood in there overnight, or something buried in the depths finally hit its tipping point, stinky-smelling garbage is inevitable.
Naturally, the most effective way to eliminate the smell is to take out the bag of trash, but sometimes that smell just lingers. Most trash can bins and liners are plastic, after all, and that material's just porous enough to hold on to a smell. Fortunately, there's an easy, foolproof way to deodorize your trash can: Sprinkle baking soda in it!
Baking soda is a solution because it's both an odor absorber and an odor neutralizer. "When odors are around baking soda, they turn into a salt, which is not able to volatilize in the air where it would come in contact with our noses, making any odors undetectable," says Dr. Steven A. Bolkan, director of research & development at Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer Baking Soda's parent company). After turning the odors to salt, baking soda then absorbs those molecules, too.
So what does that mean for your trash can? If it's stinky, liberally sprinkle baking soda inside the can or liner, and leave it there until the odor is gone. It works in your actual trash, too. If you have stinky garbage you're not ready to take out yet (it's not full, it's hailing outside, you're in your inappropriate-for-outside pajamas), give it a coating of baking soda. It should keep odors at bay until you're ready to take it out. You can even apply multiple layers of baking soda as you add stinky trash, if you want. It'll just keep working. Easy-peasy!
Every few months (because trash cans do get a little grimy after a while) the Arm & Hammer team recommends washing out the can with a mixture of 1 cup baking soda to 1 gallon water to clean it and eliminate any surface orders.
Another thing you could try: Soak a cotton ball in essential oil and throw it in either under the liner or between the can/liner and the bag. This won't absorb the smell, but it will help to mask it!