How to avoid a big stink this summer by cleaning your wheelie bins
The recent hot weather highlighted quite a stinky problem for many Irish households, but one that is easily remedied. Often we can forget about our wheelie bins – particularly the household waste and compost bin – and how dirty they can get. Generally, it’s not a concern but when the temperature rises, so too does the stink. If your bins are stored near any area in which you might indulge in outdoor entertaining like barbecuing, then you’ll want to avoid it ruining another sunny day.
The first steps to a more hygienic outdoor bin start inside your home. Where possible, rinse packaging before you place it in the bin. This is something you should already be doing for your recycling but doing so on non-recyclable materials it can prevent a smell from forming. Similarly, if you use bin liners, make sure you expel as much air from them as possible before tying them off and placing them in your wheelie bin. Try to keep your bin in a shaded area as well. Too much direct sunlight will accelerate decomposition and make smells rise, which can also attract insects and flies.
You should wash out your bins every two months. Pour half a cup of white vinegar and some washing-up liquid into the bin and half-fill it with hot water. Allow it to sit for an hour before rinsing the water down a drain. Repeat this a few more times for the best result and turn the bin upside down with the lid open to air dry.
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You can also scrub the inside of the bin to remove any grime. The easiest method is to turn the bin on its side so it’s lying on the ground. Using a long-handled brush, such as an old sweeping brush, scrub the side of the bin closest to the ground. Rotate the bn to repeat this on each inner side.
If this is impossible to do for any reason, there are a number of companies who provide deep cleaning services for wheelie bins – your own waste management provider might offer this service too.
One of the most obvious reasons to keep a bin clean is to avoid attracting flies to it. However if you’ve noticed an increasing presence of them, there are a few other things you can do to keep them at bay. Flies hate citrus scents, so rub down the lid with citronella oil or any other citrus essential oil to repel them.
Don’t forget the exterior of the bin either. Give it a scrub with a solution of white vinegar and washing-up liquid in warm water to remove dirt and prevent a stink on the surface. And to avoid major smells from forming again, sprinkle the end of the bin with bicarbonate of soda and a splash of lemon juice.
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