Dirty Job No. 5: Scouring the Kitchen Trash Can
Time it takes: 15 minutes.
Why it matters: When traces of food and liquid that escape the trash bag are left to fester, mold, mildew, and bacteria can grow, causing a nasty stench. Mold and mildew can also get into the air and exacerbate allergies.
Step 1: Take the can outside and hose it down. Pat dry. (No outdoor space? Work in your bathtub.)
Step 2: Spray the can inside and out with a cleaner designed for pet messes; these products contain enzymes that kill bacteria and neutralize odors, says Mary Findley, a veteran house cleaner and the founder of Mary Moppins, a manufacturer of green cleaning products in Eugene, Oregon.
Step 3: Wearing rubber gloves, scrub the can with a toilet brush or a nylon-bristle broom. Rinse with the hose and towel-dry. Or, even better, let the can dry in the sun. The heat helps eradicate mold.
Try to do this: Every other month or whenever the can smells funky.