The 7 Best Trash Can Deodorizers of 2022

Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating & Deodorizing Packs are our top pick

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Best Trash Can Deoderizers

The Spruce / Lecia Landis

No one wants to smell last night’s leftovers or a stinky diaper lingering in the trash. Short of grabbing the garden hose and scrubbing out a garbage bin, a trash can deodorizer is an easy way to battle any smelly, unwanted odors coming from your wastebasket. To get to the bottom of the most effective trash deodorizers out there, we chatted with expert Melissa Homer, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro. "In any home, creating trash is inevitable, but its smell doesn't have to be,” she says. “All odor removers have their pros and cons that really are driven by your lifestyle more than the product itself.” 

We spent hours researching trash can deodorizers, carefully evaluating products on their type, longevity, scent, and ingredients. After sniffing our way through several contenders, our top pick is a bag of Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating & Deodorizing Packs. The packs feature a plant-based formula that effectively eliminates tough odors. 

Here are the best trash can deodorizers to keep your home smelling fresh. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating & Deodorizing Packs

4.9
Fresh Wave Odor Removing Packs, odor packs for trash can

Amazon

What We Like
  • Effective at eliminating odors

  • Contain plant-based ingredients

  • Affordably priced

  • Versatile uses

What We Don't Like
  • Scent can be overpowering

While Fresh Wave Packs can be used just about anywhere, we found that they are super effective at eliminating odors when placed strategically at the bottom of a trash can. Each resealable pouch contains six odor-fighting satchels, which are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But don't let their compact size fool you; they have big odor-fighting capabilities! The packs are stuffed with deodorizing beads that contain plant-based ingredients—such as lime, pine needle, and cedar wood—and leave your garbage smelling oh-so-fresh. 

Each pack will last up to 60 days before needing to be replaced. At less than $2 per pod, they also offer a good price-to-performance ratio. This product is available in three scents: original, lavender, and lemon. You may have mixed feelings about the smell. Some find it pleasant, and others find it strong. On a positive note, it has the power to eliminate the worst trash smells, including pet urine and discarded seafood, which is why it’s our top pick. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Amount: 6 per pack | Type: Beads | Scent: Original, lavender, and lemon | Lasts For: Up to 60 days

Best Budget: Air Wick Stick Ups Air Freshener

Air Wick Stick Ups Sparkling Citrus scent

Amazon

What We Like
  • Adjustable amount of fragrance

  • Versatile uses throughout the home

  • Cling to any surface

What We Don't Like
  • Adhesive doesn’t stick well

You'll find that these effective and affordably-priced air fresheners are small enough to tuck under the lid of a trash can. With adhesive tape on the back, they can cling to almost any dry surface. The benefit of using stick-on deodorizers, such as Air Wick, is that they have the same odor-fighting effect without the powdery mess, explains Homer. Plus, the air fresheners come in a few scent options: lavender and chamomile, sparkling citrus, and crisp breeze. By twisting the disc, you can easily adjust the amount of fragrance that’s released. 

Air Wick Stick Ups come in packs of two, and each puck lasts up to 30 days. Although they may need to be replaced more frequently than other options, they offer an affordable price point. They can also be tucked away in a variety of other spots throughout your home, including closets, bathrooms, and litter boxes. For best results, they should be placed directly at the source of odors. The adhesive tape may not be super strong, but you can easily reapply your own tape to reinforce it.

Note that air fresheners simply diffuse fragrance, which means they mask odors rather than eliminate them. The manufacturer explains that the wicks can also cause skin irritation if touched, so it’s best to keep them away from children and handle them with caution and care.

Price at time of publish: $2

Amount: 2 per pack | Type: Pucks | Scent: Sparkling citrus, crisp breeze, lavender and chamomile | Lasts For: Up to 30 days

Best Stick-On: Simplehuman Odorsorb Pod Starter Pack

Odorsorb pod and holder by Simplehuman

Simplehuman

What We Like
  • Easy to attach and replace

  • Very effective

  • Releases the right dosage consistently over time

  • Plant-based oils

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

Simplehuman’s Odorsorb pods can be attached to the underside of any trash lid with an adhesive strip. The pods use plant-based oils to combat odors, making them an eco-friendly alternative. With a microporous membrane, the oils are continually released at an exact dosage over 45 days. For that reason, each pod is equally effective every single day of its lifespan. 

Each pack comes with two pods and a pod holder, which makes them easy to remove and replace. The pod holder has an adhesive strip that can be conveniently attached under a trash can lid. With such a simple installation process, our tester says that “almost anyone can use this easy tool to combat smelly trash cans.” 

But does it work? Yes, it does! Our tester also notes that the Odorsorb pod successfully keeps unpleasant smells at bay. “In the weeks since I installed my Odorsorb pod, I’ve barely noticed the trash in my kitchen,” she explains. “No smells, good or bad, have wafted out when I open the can, and even when the trash is full, I don’t notice any unpleasant odors.”

Price at time of publish: $20

Amount: 2 per pack | Type: Pod | Scent: Fresh scent | Lasts For: 45 days

Best for Outdoor Trash Cans: Stinky Bins Absorbing Granules

Stinky Bins Odor & Sludge Control
Stinky Bins granules.

Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs odors and sludge

  • Works immediately

  • Biodegradable granules

What We Don't Like
  • May not remove odors entirely

Stinky Bins granules absorb spilled liquids and sludge, converting them into odor-free, stable compounds. For best results, spread a thin layer on the bottom of an empty trash receptacle or garbage bag. Because the product immediately neutralizes odor-causing bacteria and eliminates the source that attracts flies, you’ll find that this product is an excellent choice for outdoor trash cans. While Stinky Bins doesn’t eliminate odors entirely, it’s a biodegradable solution, making it an eco-friendly alternative to chemical-based cleaners. 

According to the manufacturer, 3 ounces is an adequate amount to treat your garbage can for a week, meaning a 24-ounce package should last about two months. Plus, if you love the smell of cherries, then you’ll love the Stinky Bins’ scent, too, and find it pleasant rather than overpowering. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Amount: 24 ounces | Type: Granules | Scent: Cherry | Lasts For: 2 months

Best Powder: Arm & Hammer Trash and Dumpster Deodorizer

Arm & Hammer Trash Can & Dumpster Deodorizer
Arm & Hammer Trash Can & Dumpster Deodorizer.

Walmart

What We Like
  • Eliminates tough odors

  • Can be applied as needed

  • Versatile

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Initial strong smell

  • Powder can be messier than other formulas

Arm & Hammer’s powder formula uses odor-fighting baking soda to eliminate tough smells on contact. For best results, sprinkle a little powder at the bottom of your trash can before use. Then sprinkle it directly onto the garbage each time you pile more on. Like all powders, it can be messier and easier to spill than other types of formulas. Still, the 42-ounce container lasts for a long time—several months to a year on average—making it a great value. 

The fragrance can be strong at first, but the good news is that it dissipates quickly. Everyone may not be a fan of the scent, but this powder effectively eliminates some of the worst smells, including garbage that has been subjected to hot weather. Use it in all types of indoor and outdoor trash cans, diaper pails, and dog waste bins. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Amount: 42.6 ounces | Type: Powder | Scent: Fresh scent | Lasts For: Several months to a year on average 

Best Unscented: remodeez Trash Can Deodorizer

remodeez Trash Can Deodorizer
remodeez Trash Can Deodorizer.

Amazon

What We Like
  • Eliminates odors and moisture

  • Made of eco-friendly ingredients

  • Easily sticks to any surface

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Adhesive may come loose over time

  • Needs sunlight to charge

Made of activated charcoal from coconut husks, remodeez Trash Can Deodorizers are unscented, and use an eco-friendly method to eliminate odor. These adhesive pods contain a charcoal pouch that is surrounded by a foam casing with ventilation holes. The charcoal bags attract and pull moisture from the air, which helps to get rid of smells. Thanks to 3M Dual Lock Technology, the deodorizers stick to almost any surface, including garbage lids and recycling bins. You might find that the sticker won’t adhere well and may come loose over time. An easy fix is to reapply the pod with double-sided tape.

The purple deodorizer is specifically designed for use in trash cans. However, the charcoal deodorizers also come in three other colors and are intended for a specific purpose: fridge, litter box, and shoe deodorizing. According to the manufacturer, activated charcoal can last up to a year. If that’s the case, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth. To “recharge” the charcoal pouch, just place it out in the sun for a few hours. While the outer casing is not recyclable, once the pouch is totally spent, the carbon powder can be composted in a garden

Price at time of publish: $10

Amount: 1 | Type: Pod | Scent: None | Lasts For: Up to a year

Best for Pet Owners: PureAyre Plant-Based Pet Odor Eliminator

PureAyre Odor Eliminator
PureAyre Odor Eliminator.

Chewy

What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces and fabrics

  • Eliminates tough odors and other pollutants

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

PureAyre sets itself apart from the competition by being the only food-grade odor eliminator on the market. It’s made from naturally-derived enzymes, which means it’s safe to use around people and pets. It’s recommended for hard surfaces, too, making it a great choice for trash cans. This versatile formula can also be used on carpets to eliminate stains and odors.  

PureAyre is also powerful enough to tackle some of the worst pet odors, including cat urine and skunk spray. It contains enzymes that break down the molecular bonds of odor-causing compounds. Once the bonds are broken, stinky smells and other harmful contaminants are eliminated. PureAyre comes in a 22-ounce spray bottle and has a light mint scent. It’s pricier than other options, but it successfully tackles some of the toughest odors. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Amount: 22 fluid ounces | Type: Spray | Scent: Mint | Lasts For: Not listed 

Final Verdict

The Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating & Deodorizing Packs earn our top spot for a trash can deodorizer, thanks to their ingredients, effectiveness, and overall value. Plus, each satchel filled with deodorizing beads is compact, without minimizing its effective, odor-busting power. If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option with a pleasant fragrance, Air Wick Stick Ups Air Fresheners are versatile and easy to use. 

What to Look for in a Trash Can Deodorizer

Type and Amount

Trash can deodorizers typically come in three types: pods, powders, and sprays. While pods have a specified period of effectiveness, powders and sprays can be applied to your trash can as needed. Pods are designed to go directly into your trash can and usually have an adhesive backing that can attach to the lid. It’s worth noting that the outer packaging on pods usually aren’t recyclable. 

“Sprays only work if you're willing to grab the can and spray it over and over, pods only work if you remember to replace them, and powders only work if you're willing to wipe out your powdery trash on a regular basis,” says Melissa Homer, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro. “There is no magical solution to odors that don't require remembering to do, replace, or dispense something, so you really have to pick your poison based on how your brain works.”

How Long It Lasts

Trash can deodorizers that come in pod form have a specific lifespan, which typically ranges from from 30 to 60 days before they need to be replaced. Still, Homer notes that “the majority of trash deodorizer products are most effective during their first 30 days, though many claim up to 90 days of odor removal.” She suggests that shoppers carefully read manufacturers’ instructions on how to get the most out of the product. 

Some activated charcoal products, such as remodeez Trash Can Deodorizer and Odor Eliminator, can be placed in direct sunlight to improve their longevity and effectiveness and may last up to a year. It’s a bit trickier to gauge how a powder or spray formula will last. It all depends on the recommended amount of product and how often you use it. Typically, powders and sprays can last at least a month or two before needing to be reapplied. 

Scent

Many trash can deodorizers come in a variety of fragrances, from earthy scents to more fruity and flowery options. One of the most common complaints with scented trash can deodorizers is that the fragrance can be strong, or even overpowering for some. If your nose is sensitive to smells, or you are concerned about chemicals in certain fragrances, an unscented option is your best bet. Our best unscented pick, remodeez Trash Can Deodorizer and Odor Eliminator, is both odorless and eco-friendly. 

Ingredients

Ingredients vary by product, but both chemical and eco-friendly trash can deodorizers are on the market. If you have small children or pets in your household, you may want to opt for the latter, and look for deodorizers using eco-friendly ingredients, such as activated charcoal and essential oils, to eliminate odors. In addition, although they might smell great, several trash can deodorizers contain fragrances. Rather than eliminate odors at the source, their purpose is to mask the smell. To really deodorize your trash can, find a product that targets the source of the smell, rather than just the smell.

FAQ
  • How do you use baking soda in a garbage can?

    Baking soda is an easy and affordable DIY method to prevent odors in your trash can. Sprinkle a ¼-cup of baking soda into the can each morning to absorb odors all day. For a neater solution, Homer suggests putting your baking soda in a small, sheer, drawstring gift bag and placing the odor-fighting sachet at the bottom of the barrel.

    There are also plenty of products that have baking soda right in them, such as our best powder pick, the Arm & Hammer Trash and Dumpster Deodorizer.

  • How do you clean a trash can?

    If you have an especially stinky can, you might need a full clean. According to Homer, “If your trash can needs a routine cleaning, all you need is disinfecting all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber towel to wipe the can inside and out.” The easiest way is to rinse the garbage receptacle outside with a garden hose. Trash cans that are sticky or heavily soiled will require a deeper cleaning. Along with warm water, add about one teaspoon of an all-purpose cleaner or dishwashing liquid to clean the can. Allow it to soak for about 30 minutes, then scrub any gunk and offending bacteria with a nylon-bristled brush.

    To keep your deep-cleaning sessions to a minimum, Homer advises taking out the trash more frequently, especially with stinkier items. She cautions, “If you made an amazing dinner of fancy shellfish, part of the gig is taking those foul-smelling shells out to the dumpster right after the dinner party is over—unless you want your home to smell like a fish market by morning!”

  • Does heat make garbage smell worse?

    It sure does. “Warm, dark, and moist environments are the favorite breeding ground of germs and mold, so trash cans always smell worse during hot summer months,” advises Homer. That’s why our top pick for outdoor trash cans is the Stinky Bins Absorbing Granules, which eliminates odor-causing bacteria that attract annoying flies.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Sage McHugh, a home and lifestyle writer who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. To select the best trash can deodorizers on the market, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their type, longevity, scent, and ingredients. Sage consulted hundreds of customer reviews, as well as recommendations from third-party websites. For expert insight on cleaning practices, Sage interviewed Melissa Homer, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro.