Most dogs poop between one and five times a day. That can amount to almost 2,000 times a year on the upper end! And a lot of poop means a lot of odor. This is because dog food has lots of protein, which contributes to the stink. So if your garbage bin smells from all that poop, you're not alone. Here are some ideas and tips on how to remove dog poop smell from your trash can.
1. Use Dog Poop Bags
Bagging and sealing dog poop individually is helpful when trying to contain the smell. For even more odor neutralizing power, opt for scented poop bags. Some people even use two poop bags per one poop for the extra barriers. Although this method isn't as good for the environment, there are many affordable eco-friendly dog poop bag options that are biodegradable.
Pro Tip: I find that tying the bag over itself in a knot, rather than taking two edges and tying them (like shoelaces), is better to contain the smell.
2. Opt For A Designated Steel Trash Can
The kind of garbage container you use can also affect the smell. For instance, steel trash cans are a bit more effective when it comes to trapping odors (than plastic bins, at least). In addition, using a separate can designated just for your dog's waste means you won't have to smell poop every time you use the bin for your own trash.
Pro Tip: No matter what type of container you use, make sure it has a tight seal. This will keep odors from leaking out, as well as prevent pests and bugs from accessing (or worse, breeding in) the poop contents.
3. Use Scented Trash Bags
Scented trash bags can provide another line of defense against poop odor. They are only slightly more expensive than unscented ones, but they can make an impact when it comes to taming smelly poop.
4. Deodorize With Every Use
One of the most effective ways to combat the smell of dog poop is by using a deodorizer, especially with every use. There are lots of options to choose from and you may have to experiment to find what works best:
- Baking soda, which is an alkaline compound that can neutralize the acidity of dog poop caused by the higher protein in a dog's diet (you can sprinkle some in the bottom of the trash bag and on top of the contents, as well as place an open box on top of or next to the can)
- White vinegar (spray on top of the contents with every deposit)
- Odor fighting essential oils (put a few drops on top of the contents with every deposit), such as:
- Special deodorizing sprays on the market, like ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor and Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor
- Charcoal packets (secure to trash can lid or place inside the bin)
- Cat litter deodorizer (sprinkle into the bin)
- Dryer sheets (place one or two under the bag every time you change it and you can try putting sheets inside the bag as well)
5. Store The Trash Can Outside
Storing the bin outdoors can also help with dog poop odors, particularly during the winter and cooler months. This is because dog poop has a lot of bacteria and bacteria becomes smelly in warmer temperatures. Leaving your bin outdoors - rather than in the garage - can help keep temperatures down and increase airflow (which means some odors just waft away). You may, however, need to move the bin somewhere cooler during the hottest months.
This option may not be possible for everyone though, as some cities and homeowner's associations prohibit leaving trash outdoors. So it's important to first check if you're able to leave garbage bins outside, rather than winding up with a reprimand or hefty fee.
Pro Tip: It is extra important to make sure you trash can has a tight seal when storing it outside. This will prevent pests and critters from accessing (or worse, breeding in) the poop contents.
6. Clean The Bin Regularly
For the best chance at eliminating as much of the poop odor as possible, you'll want to clean the bin regularly (every few weeks or months). This is easy to forget if you successfully neutralize the smell, but is important. Cleaning the bin with a strong disinfectant can remove lingering odors and bacteria or traces of anything that may have leaked. This also helps prevent the can from becoming a breeding ground for flies and other bugs. Just make sure to let your bin dry before replacing the bag and reusing. Vinegar and baking soda (plus essential oils as desired) make for a natural cleaner, while bleach and water are super strong (and only suitable for use with certain materials). For something in between the two, look for commercial disinfectants, like Clorox.
7. Alternative Solutions
If none of these solutions seem to work, there are some other options you can try:
Special Dog Poop Waste Stations
There are also self-contained waste stations and disposal systems similar to diaper pails but created specifically for dog poop. One example is the PawPail Pet Waste Station. It uses controls odors in two ways, with an activated carbon air filter inside and dual ventilation system for airflow to carry away smell even when closed. It includes poop bags and can be used outside, as it's made from weather-resistant materials.
Flush The Poop Down The Toilet
This option is more work for us (though supposedly easy once in the habit). But it's more green (endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even) and a great solution to smelly trash cans. You can use some toilet paper, bags (there are even flushable dog poop bags) or a pooper scooper to transfer the poop to your closest bathroom.
Pro Tip: This may be easier for those with smaller dogs (or in other words, smaller poops) and those that don't poop a ton each day. Also, some cities prohibit this, so make sure yours allows it before doing so.
Compost The Poop
It may be surprising that dog poop is compostable, given it is not a good backyard or garden fertilizer on its own. But when mixed with other compostable food and organic yard waste, it can become a natural and eco-friendly fertilizer.
Unsurprisingly, there is some debate whether composting dog poop is safe, though the general consensus is yes. This is because you're only composting the poop of your own dog, who you know gets regular vet care. So the risk of parasites in your compost is very low, given you should be regularly testing and treating your dog for parasites like Heartworm. There's also little risk of these medications entering the compost since almost all of it is absorbed by your dog. In addition, any bacteria or pathogens that can survive outside your dog's body will typically die in the compost, unless there is an overwhelming number of them (which is unlikely). There's also some concern that it's too hard to keep your compost pile at a high enough temperature to kill bacteria and pathogens, but the risk of this is supposedly low as well.
Pro Tip: This option can be smelly too (in a different, more earthy way), so you'll want to keep the compost bin sealed (to prevent leaking smells and animal access) and away from your house.
Mini Septic System For Dog Poop
There are actually mini septic tanks made specifically for dog poop, like the Doggie Dooley 3000 Septic-Tank-Style Pet-Waste Disposal System, which gives you another option. It's a galvanized steel tank that sits underground in your yard with a foot-operated lid opener and a digester. The dog waste is compost naturally into an environmentally-safe liquid using water, bacteria and enzymes that then seeps into the ground. This particular one is sufficient for two large dogs or four small ones
What Not To Do With Your Dog’s Poop
Don't leave dog poop on the ground or bury it. Dog poop takes a long time to decompose and contains substances that are harmful to you, your dog, other animals and the environment. For instance, poop left to breakdown on its own can end up in waterways through runoff, contaminating water sources with bacteria and algae. If you want to use dog poop as fertilizer for your yard or garden, you'll want to start compositing it. Otherwise, look to one of the options listed here as a way to dispose of your dog's poop.
What Works For Us
After some experimenting, we found a system that works pretty well:
- Steel trash can stored outside
- Scented trash bags
- Scented poop bags
- White vinegar (spray after every deposit)
- Lemongrass essential oil (a few drops once or twice a day)