The garbage container seems to be one of the toughest areas to keep clean – and no wonder, it's used countless times every day and often in a hurry. The professional house cleaners at MOLLY MAID have created this guide to keeping garbage sorted and garbage containers clean.

WIPE IT DOWN:  Keep the lids and sides of all garbage containers in the house clean and stain-free. Be sure it's on the list of every big clean – and keep your eyes on the lids throughout the day. When it is garbage day, give the insides a good clean too with warm soapy water.

REDUCE THE SMELL:  To prevent trash can odours, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the bin, which will absorb the smell. Don't have baking soda? Use a bit of scented kitty litter or dryer sheets, which will both help.

SORT THE GARBAGE: Make it easy to sort waste in the kitchen. You should have two to three containers: the garbage can, a plastic-lined container for compost (if your municipality or village has wet compost pickup or if you have a backyard composter), and a conveniently-located recycling bin (this may have to be in the garage, on the back porch or in another location). 

COMPACTOR: You can reduce the amount of waste you put out for pickup, in terms of the amount of space it takes up, with a trash compactor. It can reduce waste volume by up to 75 percent.

COMPOST: Whether you have pickup or a composter in the backyard, it's important to sort wet food waste and dispose of it properly. Some municipalities that pick up wet compost allow you to put every type of food and food scrap into the container. Otherwise, you will have to sort food waste a bit. For example, if you can't throw meat trimmings, etc. into the compost, be sure to wrap them before you put them into the trash or they'll smell up your kitchen.

STORING TRASH: Be careful about where and how you store your trash outside. If raccoons or other creatures live in your neighbourhood you may end up with the trash bag littered all over your front yard. Use a metal or plastic garbage bin and secure the lid or store the container in a lockable area.  

RECYCLING: Follow the rules for recycling materials in your area. Be sure to break down cardboard boxes and bundle them up if there is a lot of cardboard and it won't all fit into the recycling container. Rinse out food containers to keep everything clean and stop it from smelling – and be efficient about how you fill the recycling container. Stack containers, break down cereal boxes, etc.

PUT IT OUT:  Be sure to put the trash out on the street on the right day and by the right time. Most municipality buildings offer a calendar for the trash, recycle and compost pick-up schedule.

OUTDOOR COMPOST BIN: If you compost yourself and it begins to smell, add wood chips to increase air circulation and rake regularly. To avoid attracting wildlife, bury approved food scraps at least eight inches deep and install a wire mesh barrier over the top. There are also sealed compost tumblers available in some areas.