How to stop a bin from smelling in the heat - 8 tips for keeping a kitchen fresh

Banish bad smells with these top tips for keeping your kitchen bin clean and fresh

Blue Brabantia bin in a yellow kitchen.
(Image credit: Brabantia)

The summer months are full of blissful moments at home and in your garden, but the heat can also cause some issues, with preventing a bin from smelling bad at the top of the list.

The decrease of airflow in your kitchen can mean that odours stick around for longer, and the heat can also cause food to rot much faster, so it's likely you're looking for a solution to stop your kitchen bin from smelling. This isn't to mention the issue of getting rid of fruit flies that hang around in your cooking space and linger at the opening of bins.  

Warmer weather often means hosting family and friends regularly, whether it's for BBQs or long weekends spent catching up, so it's essential to create a fresh and inviting environment. Luckily, there are several kitchen bin ideas you can try at home to prevent your rubbish from smelling this summer, leaving you free to enjoy the scent of the outdoors.  

How to stop your kitchen bin from smelling in the heat

‘Outside and in, nasty smells emanate from our bins, especially after a long hot summer. As well as making sure your bin is regularly emptied (and not forgetting which bin day it is!), it’s also important to regularly disinfect both your indoor and outdoor bins,’ says Michelle Chadwick senior brand manager at Zoflora

1. Change your bin frequently

kitchen room with recycle bin and steel tap with sink

(Image credit: Brabantia)

One of the simplest ways to stop your bin from smelling is to increase how often you empty it. Increased temperatures mean that any food waste will turn mouldy much faster, which can cause foul odours - even if you can't see it. 

Heidi Phillips, cleaning expert at The Organised Home and Mind, adds 'Change the bag more frequently and always use a bag - don't put rubbish directly into the bin itself'. 

The size of your household will alter how often you need to empty a bin in the summer months. If you're a couple who usually only changes the bin bag over once or twice a week, consider increasing that by one more change - the same goes if you have a larger family. 

Rachael Kiss from Alliance Online also recommends taking out the bin more often 'ahead of fruit fly season'. 

'Rotting food is the perfect attraction and breeding ground for fruit flies', she says. Lingering flies that buzz around your bin add to an unpleasant and unsanitary environment, so to keep both smells and bugs at bay make sure you up your rubbish  routine. 

2. Make use of diffuser sticks

faucet with glass and blur background

(Image credit: ava may aromas)

It may feel counter-intuitive to buy specialist products to use in your bin - after all, it is just going to waste. This is why finding fragrance for your bin is a great opportunity to look around your home for things that are already on their way out - for example, diffuser sticks. 

You might have found that the reeds in your diffuser need replacing, so consider popping them in the bottom of your bin, under the bag. This will add a waft of your favourite home scents to your kitchen, especially when you open the bin. 

2. Dabble with essential oils

room with wooden flooring and white coloured recycle bin

(Image credit: Orthex)

If your goal is to use products sparingly in your bins, then this essential oils tip might be one for you. 

Heidi recommends 'to keep your bins smelling beautiful place 3-4 drops of your favourite essential oil onto a piece of kitchen towel and place at the bottom of the bin. This will keep your bins not only clean but smelling good too'. 

What's more, 'the smell of essential oils like mint, lemongrass, and lavender are hated by flies,' says Polly from TapWarehouse. So you could combat the issue of bad smells and persistent fruit flies this summer by using an essential oil in one of these scents at the bottom of your rubbish bin.  

3. Make use of bicarbonate of soda

Affordable cleaning alternatives are key in maintaining a thorough routine - after all, you don't want to feel precious about using products liberally to wash out your bin. 

Alex Hall, Founder of Born of Botanics, advises 'sprinkling the bin with bicarbonate of soda', for an easy way to neutralise any pungent smells. 

'This will absorb the moisture and odour. Next, add a few drops of essential oils to leave the bin smelling fresh and floral'. This way, you can customise the fragrance of your kitchen to your exact preference, without investing in specific products. 

4. Repurpose toilet freshener

Mrs D's unconventional hack to stop your bin from smelling is popular for good reason - it allows you to double up on how you use different cleaning products around your home. 

Toilets and bins are too unpleasant spots that require a bit more attention when it comes to reducing odours, so it makes sense that you can repurpose toilet fresheners in your kitchen too. 

They're easy to apply and can simply be stuck on the lid or rim, so you don't need to reach in. 

5. Freeze your food waste

kitchen room with green food caddy on kitchen cabinet

(Image credit: EKO)

 If you live in a county that has specialist food waste disposal, you've likely faced the issue of bad-smelling bins pretty consistently in the past. Even without the heat to contend with, leftover vegetable cuttings and dinners can create some unpleasant odours, so it's essential to find ways to combat them for a pleasant kitchen environment. 

Claire Hull from The Furniture Restylist recently had a client who 'freezes all their food bin waste and only puts it outside on collection day to save it getting hot and smelly inside'. 

'They add any food waste to a bag in a box in their freezer to store it throughout the week rather than let it sit in the corner of the kitchen / outside in the garden, and then on collection day, they transfer it outside. The result is no nasty smells', she recommends. 

6. Invest in an odour filter

Many bins, especially food waste caddies, have been upgraded with anti-odour technology, which makes the task of maintaining a fresh scent even easier.  

Ideal Home's Ecommerce Editor, Amy Lockwood, has had the issue of a 'south-facing kitchen which means that when the temperatures rise it can get pretty warm'. 

'The food caddy is usually the first thing to start smelling a little unpleasant if it hasn't been emptied, but this Joseph Joseph Stack 4L Food Waste Caddy features a replaceable odour filter in the lid that seems to be doing a great job of keeping smells at bay during the heatwave. I have the blue version which also coordinates with the brand's Extend Expandable Dish Drainer and Wash&Drain Washing-up Bowl - yes I may be a little Joseph Joseph obsessed, but anything that encourages me to scrape the plates and do the washing up!' she says. 

7. Clean more regularly

room with tiled flooring and recycle bins in wooden cupboards

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The best cleaning products can make light work of your chore routine and prevent any bad smells from coming from your bin - but only if you put in the work. It's likely you already give your bin a wipe-down if there are any spillages from the bag, but how often do you spray it down for a full clean? 

Heidi recommends to 'clean the bin every week, using a mild solution of washing up liquid in warm water. Wipe away any stains or debris that might be stuck, paying particular attention to the lid and bin edges'. 

She then says to 'finish off cleaning by wiping over with a mild solution of a perfumed cleaning product (e.g. Zoflora) mixed in water. Preferably, leave the bin to sit and air dry before popping in a new bag'. 

8. Give BinBrite a go

Foul smelling bins have been a hot topic on the Ideal Home desk in the recent heatwave, and our Ecommerce Editor, Molly Cleary, has offered up her favourite product to take control of the problem. 

'My favourite buy for sorting out a ripe-smelling bin is BinBrite, which you can get on Amazon for £8.99. It's a fresh-smelling powder that you can routinely shake over your bin to soak up bin juice and get rid of bad odours. My favourite is the Citronella & Lemongrass, but there's a range of scents to choose from. It works like a giant salt shaker, making it really easy to reach for after mealtimes to get rid of food-related smells', she says. 

How often should you clean a bin?

Finding a cleaning calendar that works for you and your home is essential to keeping things looking and smelling fresh. Whether you have a demanding job or a large household that accumulates more dirt and grime, your needs and capacity to clean will vary. 

Heidi from The Organised Home and Mind recommends to, 'clean the bin every week, using a mild solution of washing up liquid in warm water and wipe away any stains that may be there'. 

Changing the bag will also depend on how much rubbish you acquire, but it's a good idea to also increase this during the summer months so that food isn't left to rot in the heat. 

When you clean your kitchen counters down or take the rubbish out every few days, consider spending an extra few minutes spraying down the inside of the bin or trying out a method to neutralise any odours. This way, keeping a bin smelling fresh is easily incorporated into your regular chores. 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).