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The Comprehensive Steps to Clean Your Wheelie Bin Properly

dirty red and yellow wheelie bin on a curb

If you think the rubbish bin inside your house smells bad, wait till you get a whiff of the wheelie bin outside! The odour is far worse because 1) it’s left out in the sun all day, and 2) it accumulates more garbage than your rubbish bin does. 

The combination of extra rubbish and the intense heat that leaves garbage baking inside the wheelie bin can cause a terrible stench inside. You may not pay much attention to it because the only time you have to deal with it is when you take the garbage outside; and even then, you probably hold your breath as you quickly open the lid and dump the bag inside. Nevertheless, it really shouldn’t be that way, nor should it get to a point where your wheelie bin is stinking up the place with the lid closed. 

Yes, it’s not a fun job to clean a smelly wheelie bin but if you clean yours more often, you won’t have to deal with a disgusting stench ever again! So, take a look at these comprehensive steps to clean your wheelie bin thoroughly.

NOTE: You should wear a mask and elbow-length rubber gloves while cleaning your wheelie bin.

Step 1: Remove Debris

filthy green wheelie bin inside

After the bin has been emptied, take off the lid and keep it aside. There is likely to be some loose debris left inside and/or hardened gunk stuck to the bottom. To remove it, put the bin on its side with the bottom placed against a wall, and use a long, hard-bristled brush to scrape off as much gunk as possible; clean out the debris and dispose of it in a garbage bag.

Step 2: Wet the Interior

inside green wheelie bin after being rinsed with soapy water

Stand the wheelie bin up, and wet the interiors with a hose. If the garbage has left some wetness inside, rinse the bin thoroughly by spraying the interiors with water, and then emptying it out. You might need to soak the bottom of the bin if there is stubborn grime present; in this case, fill the bin with 5 inches of water (or more if needed), and leave it for 15 minutes. Rinse off the lid and allow it to soak as well by pooling water in it. 

NOTE: A high-pressure hose is generally recommended when cleaning a wheelie bin as it is more effective in blasting away stuck-on grime.

Step 3: Give the Inside a Light Scrub

the inside of a green wheelie bin filled a quarter way with soap suds

Now that the inside has been dampened, and the bottom has had time to soak, get rid of the sludge by lightly scrubbing the interior of the wheelie bin with the same long-handled brush. Place the bin on its side again, and rotate it until you have lightly scrubbed each of the interior walls including the bottom. Rinse the bin once again to remove the wet debris.

Step 4: Clean with Soap and Water

cleaning inside black wheelie bin with hose and soap

In a bucket of room temperature water, mix in ½ cup white vinegar, and 1 cup liquid dish soap; give the water a few stirs to combine the ingredients and then pour it into the wheelie bin. You may need a second bucket of the cleaning solution so keep the ingredients at hand.

Step 5: Clean with a Mop

the interior of a wheelie bin being cleaned with soap and water

As odd as it may sound, the best cleaning tool to use to scrub your wheelie bin is a nylon string mop! It has a long handle, covers a wide area in one go, and the material is effective in scrubbing away stains. Start by tilting the wheelie bin forward (ask someone to give you a hand with this), and mop each side of the interior; rotate the bin as needed, finishing off with the bottom whilst in an upright position.

If the water becomes too dirty during this step, replace it with a fresh cleaning solution, and be sure to rinse the mop thoroughly too. When dealing with stubborn grime in your wheelie bin, consider using a long brush to scrub the interior before mopping inside. 

Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly

after photo of a black wheelie bin that's been thoroughly cleaned with water and soap

When you have finished scrubbing the inside of your wheelie bin thoroughly, it will require a thorough rinse as well. This requires a lot of arm strength as these bins aren’t exactly lightweight. Enlist the help of a household member or friend for this. 

The best way to rinse off the inside of a wheelie bin after scrubbing it clean is to lean it on its side, spray the inside with water, and lift the bottom to empty it out. Again, you might need to rotate the bin while it is on its side to thoroughly rinse off the cleaning solution. This is also a good time to check for any missed stubborn grime which can be spot cleaned then and there. 

Step 7: Clean the Lid

4 wheelie bins sitting open on a driveway curb

Since you don’t have to deal with depth when cleaning the lid, a handheld scrubber or brush can be used in place of a long-handled cleaning tool. To begin, dump the water that has been soaking the lid, and rinse it off. Next, squirt some liquid dish detergent over the inner side of the lid and scrub it clean. Flip it over and do the same for the top before rinsing both sides clean.

Step 8: Scrub the Exterior

outside of black wheelie bin being cleaned with soapy water

When cleaning your wheelie bin, don’t ignore the exterior which can also get rather dirty and give off a foul smell. To do this, simply wet the surface, make a soapy solution, and scrub all sides of the bin with a scrubbing pad or brush. Spray the exteriors with a hose to rinse off the cleaning solution.

Step 9: Sanitise the Wheelie Bin

black wheelie bin being pressure washed

Any disinfectant can be used for this. Simply follow the directions on the label to make a solution that can be poured into the bin (just like the bucket of your cleaning solution). Again, take the mop which should be cleaned off thoroughly by now, and mop the entire interior of your wheelie bin from top to bottom, followed by the exterior using the wet mop. Sanitize both sides of the wheelie bin lid using a rag and disinfectant of your choice; fix the lid back on after the bin has dried.

Step 10: Rinse and Dry the Bin

three wheelie bins on a curb

Empty out the disinfectant solution and give your wheelie bin one final rinse. Now, to dry the bin properly, turn it upside down and rest it over a low step or curb. Never place your wheelie bin flat, (upside down) on the ground as this will trap moisture inside which, in turn, encourages mould. After the wheelie bin and lid have dried completely, stand the bin upright and allow it to air out further for a few hours before reattaching the lid. After this, your wheelie bin will be ready to use again!

The fact is that cleaning your wheelie bin is an unpleasant job that is made 10x more unpleasant by waiting until it has an unbearable stench! So, before it comes to that, why not maintain a sanitary bin that is 10x easier to clean using Maid For You’s comprehensive steps to clean a wheelie bin.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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