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Getting pests out of your garbage can be a big deal – and making sure they stay out can be even trickier. But with the right strategies, you can keep pests away from your garbage for good. In this article, we’ll go over the key steps for pest-proofing your garbage cans, from using airtight lids to protecting your garbage from unwelcome critters. Let’s get started!

1. Choose Garbage Cans with Lids

When searching for garbage cans, look for ones with lids. Not only do lids prevent garbage from spilling out, they also keep most critters at bay. The lids should fit tightly and be made of a durable material like metal or hard plastic. Some cans even come with hinged lids, making it easier to add and remove garbage.

A. Select the Right Sizing and Shape

When it comes to sizing and shape, find a can that has enough capacity to hold your garbage without becoming too full. Larger cans may be difficult to maneuver and take up too much space. As for shape, select straight-sided cans instead of tapered-sided models, which offer the best protection against critters.

B. Look for Pest-Proof Lid Designs

When it comes to lid design, look for cans with lids that feature tight-fitting edges and a deterring lip to keep pests out. For added security, find lids with clips and hooks to grab onto the can beyond the end of its lip. Quality lids also come with airtight latches to keep out water, dust and other pests.

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2. Maintain Your Garbage Cans

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your garbage can functioning properly and free from pests. Even with the right lid, keep an eye on your garbage can to make sure it doesn’t become rusted, cracked or otherwise damaged. Here’s what else you can do to maintain your can:

A. Keep Your Can Clean

Regularly clean, rinse and scrub your garbage can. Remove wet garbage, as this can damage the can’s interior and leave it more susceptible to pests. Use a hose to rinse both the inside and outside of the can. Make sure the can dries fully before you put it away.

B. Lubricate the Hinges

To keep your can intact and functioning properly, lubricate the hinges and latch of the lid. Use a spray lubricant once a month and wipe away any extra oil. This maintenance can help keep the can working for a longer period of time.

3. Protect Your Garbage

Make sure to protect your home and your garbage from pests by taking proactive steps. Start by ensuring curbside garbage collection is sealed with an airtight bag. Put all food waste in the garbage can along with any other waste. Tie all the bags to ensure that critters can’t rip them open.

A. Be Careful What You Put in Your Can

Prevent pests from entering your garbage can in the first place by being careful what you put in your can. Make sure that any organic material is placed on the bottom without making the can too full. Avoid mixing organic and non-organic material, and make sure to cover organic material with sheets of paper, avoiding plastic bags.

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B. Monitor Animal Activity

Monitor your landscape and take extra steps to discourage animals away. Remove fallen fruit and other potentially attractive materials, as well as standing water. Mow and water your yard frequently and make sure to clean up areas where critters might hide.


Protecting your garbage cans from pests isn’t rocket science, but it takes a bit of maintenance, vigilance and the right supplies. By finding the right garbage can and keeping up on preventative measures like cleaning and monitoring wildlife activity, you can significantly lower the chances of one surprise visit from a furry critter.