The Totally Free Trick That’ll Make Your Trash Can a Million Times Better

published Jul 17, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

What’s the one thing that’s guaranteed to make your head explode in the kitchen? It’s got to be when you’re taking the trash out. You know what I’m talking about: You go to remove the bag from the can, you pull … and you pull … and you pull. It was cooperating at first, but now it’s barely budging one millimeter at a time. It’s not even halfway out and you just can’t pull any harder. (Because your hand is cramping and you’re worried you’re going to rip the top of the plastic bag right off.) You consider putting the trash can on the floor and pushing against it with your feet in your best yoga pose while you pull the drawstring. (Ridiculous!)

Instead, you take a break, dab your forehead, and get back to it. Eventually, you get the bag out and you look around, expecting someone to give you a medal to celebrate the show of strength you just exhibited. Alas, no one is there. So you woosh open a new bag, put it in the can, and prepare yourself to do this all again the next time the garbage is full.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

There has GOT to be a better way. 

Leave it to the internet to find one. Deep in the annals of Reddit/lifehacks is a heated discussion of just how to hack your way out of this situation.

See, your issue is not necessarily that the trash bag is too full — it’s that you’re creating a vacuum. As you fill the bag, the air at the bottom of the can gets pushed out and a vacuum forms. If you can equalize the air pressure between the bottom of the bag and the outside atmosphere, you’d be good to go. But how?

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

It’s so simple! Many Reddit contributors suggest drilling a few drill holes in the sides of the can (toward the bottom). This way, as you pull the bag up, the holes allow some air to circulate into the can, thus eliminating or minimizing the vacuum. Note: While a few commenters worried about leaks, it didn’t seem to be an issue for most people. 

I was prepared to turn this into a home experiment (there are no lengths I won’t go to in the name of Kitchn research!) when I realized something: We recently got a nice new trash can when we retired our other one to our newest Airbnb, and I had yet to empty it myself. (I handle some of the unpleasant chores, and my husband handles others, like trash emptying).

The can is a sleek black number from Hefty that I ordered online at Target (for a LOT less money than the fancy ones I had been admiring). And nowhere in the description did it let me in on a little hidden secret: It actually CAME WITH holes pre-drilled in the bottom. I had absolutely no idea! They hadn’t even mentioned this feature in the production description. (I feel like they could add 10 bucks to the price if they bragged about these holes a little bit!) I pulled a super-full bag RIGHT OUT and was taken by surprise by how easy it was.

Bottom line: I can now tell you — with full confidence — that having holes in the bottom of the can works magic. And if you’re not in the market for a new can, it’s a free and easy trick you can do yourself with a little power drill. Just poke a couple of holes in the sides of the can (or liner) and voila! No more garbage yoga.