How to defuse a stink bomb: trash cans and cannots

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How to defuse a stink bomb: trash cans and cannots

By Yoav Margalit, Staff Writer

It’s in your kitchen, it’s in your bathroom, but you never want it to be a topic of conversation. It’s full of your scraps and unwanted leftovers. It’s a container for holding your garbage, and whether you like it or not, it can get a little stinky.

It seems like a good idea: Save the strain of walking each and every scrap out to the bin or dumpster outside. But sometimes, this idea backfires. Some dark, desolate days, you open the trash can to add something, and you realize the previously unnoticed odor that had been building has its source right in front of you.

And it isn’t a good smell.

There are some ways you can prevent this discovery from affecting you. If you take just a few well-measured steps, you can avoid the whiff of defeat. That all starts with the can itself.

If you have a big trash can, you’ll revel in the power of only having to take one trip to take out a few days’ or even a full week’s worth of garbage at a time. But, to paraphrase an over-quoted idea, this power comes with great responsibility. Here, that responsibility comes with knowing what you’re throwing away.

If you throw away something that stinks up the place the day after you took the trash out, then expect to repeat yourself soon. Chicken, beef and anything that is even remotely fish-related will destroy your kitchen’s carefully planned redolence.

It isn’t a matter of if, only when. So take out the trash immediately after cooking any of the items mentioned above. If it’s easier, just use a couple of smaller trash bags to take out the worst offenders separately, to save you from having to take out the entire can all for one meal’s sake.

Fruits deserve the same kind of thinking. While they take longer to stink up the place, fruit scraps, especially rotten scraps, will increase the insect count in your kitchen faster than you can say “go forth and multiply.” While they aren’t the ticking time-bomb of proteins, or the paint-peeling stench of seafood, fruits should be taken outside of the trash can within a day or three of being thrown out.

Other than these two offenders, keeping the trash from your nostrils is relatively easy. Keep in mind that moisture in the can makes bacteria and fungi grow faster, making the smell worse. No matter how waterproof your trash bags might be, it’s never a bad idea to pour liquid trash down the sink. It also helps to avoid pouring oils or melted fats in there, for the same reason.

And for entirely obvious reasons, don’t put anything hotter than you can touch in the trash. Nobody finds the scent of burning garbage and melting plastic particularly satisfying.

That sums my solutions up. If you too have faced the tyranny of a trash can drunk on its power over your kitchen, then do not lose hope. If you follow the steps listed here, then you can rest easy knowing instead that the worst smell your kitchen will face will be your cooking.

Yoav is a senior in LAS

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