When’s the last time you washed your wheelie bin? Never? Actually – hang on a minute – does anyone even wash their wheelie bins?!

Yes, some sensible folk do, and it’s a good idea for everybody with a wheelie bin to get in the habit of cleaning it.

They might live outdoors, but wheelie bins can be a breeding ground for germs and attract the likes of ants and flies (not to mention creating a stench!), which isn’t pleasant for anyone.

If you’ll struggle to do the job yourself, there are professional cleaning companies that offer the service (or rope in a helpful relative or neighbour).

That aside, how can you keep your wheelie bin clean, and how do you go about cleaning it?

Dispose of rubbish carefully

You can help keep your wheelie bin clean by being careful about how you throw rubbish away. Firstly, obviously, separate items that can be recycled – cleaning them as appropriate before putting them in recycling bins/boxes. This will also cut the amount of rubbish that goes in your main wheelie bin; this should all be secured properly in a bin liner that can be tied up to avoid spillages inside the bin, and loose items of rubbish and food waste left to rot at the bottom.

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Clean spillages quickly

If you do notice that a bin liner splits, and liquid or food waste, for example, spills all over the wheelie bin, it’s a good idea to clean it up sooner rather than later – don’t leave it to rot and attract unwanted visitors!

Use common sense

If you take care with the above points, you shouldn’t need to give your wheelie bin a thorough clean too often. If it stinks and you can see there are items of rubbish stuck at the bottom or on the sides, it obviously needs a good clean! If it’s generally OK, you won’t need to do it so often.

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Pick a suitable spot to clean it

Wheelie bins are quite big, so you’ll need somewhere with enough space to give it a good clean, to allow space for water splashing around, and for easy – and suitable – disposal of dirty water. (If you’re going to be pouring, or letting water drain down an outside drain, make sure it’s suitable/not breaking any local regulations to do so. In some areas, surface drains for instance, might flow into nearby water systems. Main sewer drains, or down the toilet, should be fine.)

Use a mop or suitable broom to scrub inside

Often the dirtiest bit of a wheelie bin is the corners inside at the bottom, where leakages have pooled and debris has got stuck. A suitable broom or mop will help you reach down to clean these areas, and along the sides. A big sponge could be used to clean the outside and around the lid and wheels.

Hose it down

If you have suitable space, plus a garden hose or pressure hose, this will help make light work of the task.

Pick products carefully

Which products you use may be determined by how much space you have, how you’ll be disposing of the dirty water, and how filthy the bin is. For hardcore cleaning, a product containing bleach or an antibacterial formula (always read the label before use), might be called for. But there is now much greater choice of more environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Plus, if you generally take care of the bin and don’t let it get too vile, plain old soapy water will do the job.

Let it dry thoroughly

Moist, dark environments can make it easier for germs to thrive, so ensure you let your bin dry thoroughly after washing it. On a dry day, you could leave it outside to air.

When’s the last time you gave your wheelie bin a good clean? Tell us your own tips and tricks in the comments below.