In my last post, we talked about how to get rid of maggots in a bin, which led to a considerable amount of emails asking if I had any tips for cleaning a wheelie bin, so in this post, I will address some of those dirty bin questions you’re all dying to know!

The bacteria breeding in your bins.

Look away now if you are squeemish!

Studies show that:

  • The average toilet seat produces 500 bacteria.
  • A weekly bin collection produces over 4 Million bacteria.
  • A fortnightly bin collection produces 240 Million bacteria.
  • Those millions of bacteria can multiply five times in one week!

Our bins are getting more rancid and stinky as the bin collections are getting less and less. Therefore, food, nappies and other waste is sitting rotting in the bins for longer and longer, causing more spillages, grey residue, flies and at times, even maggots.

Wheelie bin cleaning is one of the worst jobs around the home, but somebody’s got to do it!
There’s no better time than the summer for cleaning wheelie bins, and I’m not going to lie, bin cleaning is a dirty, time-consuming job, especially if you’ve let them get smelly and full of crud!
In the summertime, it is so easy to dry the bin in the sunshine so let’s roll our sleeves up and get rid of that rancid bin juice for good!

To read how to get rid of maggots in the wheelie bin read this post

How to clean a smelly bin.

  1. You will need :

    A yard brush or shovel
    A mop
    A garden hose or jet wash
    Disinfectant or bleach
    A bucket of soapy water
    Old clothes
    Wellington boots
    Old rags
    Scrubbing brush
    Dettol spray

  2. Lay the bin on it’s side.

    Try to work any debris from the bottom of the bin before you use any water as it will be easier to dispose of it while it is dry. You can scrape at the bottom and sides of the bin with either your long yard brush or a shovel. Bag the debris up and put it in the bin immediately.
    Stand the bin upright again.

  3. Use a hose to soften the dirt.

    Spray the hose into the bin concentrating on all the soiled areas. I prefer to use a jet wash to blast away at the bin crud at the bottom. getting rid of all this sludge is not an easy job and takes ages, but you just have to stick with it, it will be worth it in the end!

    cleaning a wheelie bin

  4. Leave the sludge to soak.

    Sometimes the garden waste sludge can be really difficult to remove and I often fill the bin with soapy water and leave it to soften up over a few hours before I blast it with the hose pipe.

  5. Get rid of the dirty water.

    After all the nasty crud is removed pour the dirty water down the drain picking any bits of food and waste up with gloves.

  6. Use a mop to give the inside of your bin a good old scrub!

    Fill up a bucket with hot soapy water and pour it into the bottom of the bin. Clean the inside of the wheelie bin thoroughly using your mop to clean the sides, lid, and the bottom of your bin. Keep this mop for cleaning wheelie bins only, do not use it to mop anything else! Clean your mop thoroughly, you’re going to need it again in a few minutes!


    cleaning a wheelie bin

  7. Wipe down the outside of the wheelie bin

    Scrub the outside of the bin including the lid, sides and wheels with a scrubbing brush or cloth to remove any dirt from the outside of the bin. cleaning a wheelie bin

  8. Sanitise the inside and outside of your bin

    Now your bin is lovely and clean you may want to sanitise it with either bleach or disinfectant.
    Fill up a bucket with either a bleach solution or disinfectant solution and pour it into the bottom of your bin.
    With your clean mop, sanitise the inside, lid and bottom of your bin as you did before, making sure you cover all areas.

    Sanitise the outside of your bin with a bleach or disinfectant solution and an old rag, paying close attention to the lid area.
    Pour the dirty water down the drain.

  9. Give the bin a thorough rinse.

    Rinse the bin inside and out with a hose or bucket of water.

  10. Allow the bin to dry thoroughly.

    Turn the bin upside down to allow the water to drain then leave the lid open to allow the bin to dry, or dry it with an old towel before using it again.
    If you put rubbish in the bin before it’s dry you will find that the grey bin slurry will soon return.
    Look how amazingly shiny and clean my bin looks now, it’s not a home for flies anymore!

    a clean wheelie bin

  11. Clean your mop and cloths with bleach

    Make sure you clean your mop and cloths well after use and only use them for cleaning the wheelie bins.

How often should you clean your wheelie bin?


After the first initial clean I would regularly rinse out the wheelie bin every time it is emptied, this will prevent your bin from going smelly and getting a build-up of sludge at the bottom.

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How to keep your wheelie bin clean

Obviously it would be better to prevent our recycling bins from getting smelly rather than having to clean the mess up later. Here are a few things you can do to keep your wheelie bin cleaner!

  • Wash it every time it is emptied.
  • To avoid spillages make sure you put any food waste in a sealed bag before you put it in the bin.
  • Rinse bottles and cans that have foodstuff in them before you put them in the recycling bin.
  • You shouldn’t need to use any special cleaning products on your bin however, I find that sprinkling a little bit of bin powder in your waste bins every couple of days helps to keep flies and maggots at bay.
  • I also spray the bin lids with disinfectant every day to stop the flies from buzzing around.
  • Use wheelie bin liners or place a newspaper or magazine at the bottom of your bin to soak up any spillages or leaks. I got these jumbo wheelie bin liners from my local B&M.
wheelie bin liners

Frequently asked questions 

Can you advise me how to clean the green bin?

Green bins can get extra dirty in the winter when it is unavoidable to put wet leaves and branches in. Making sure that you hose out the bin after each empty will keep the crud from forming at the bottom. You can also get biodegradable paper 240L wheelie bin liners specially made for your green bin here.

How can I get rid of maggots in brown bins?

It can be daunting to know how to get rid of maggots in your bin. However, it needn’t be a headache. Usually, you can get rid of maggots in your outside dustbin by pouring boiling water over them. You can read in-depth about how to get rid of maggots in this post

Can I bleach bins?

Yes, it’s safe to use a bleach solution on your bins, just be careful if you are using it around pets and small children and do not mix bleach with any other cleaning chemicals.

Can you tell me how to clean a wheelie bin without a hose please?

If you don’t have a hose to clean your black bin, you can use a mop and bucket as started above then use a few buckets of fresh water for the final rinse.

Is there a wheelie bin cleaning service and how much do they charge?

There are a few wheelie bin cleaners near me, and they all seem to charge around £10 per bin, they also take the dirty water away with them. If you learn how to clean a bin properly and do it regularly, you shouldn’t need a professional unless you struggle to do it yourself.

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