Most people have trash cans, and they can get very dirty. A dirty trash can could lead to pests and bad smells, and nobody wants that. Cleaning trash cans can be a good business that many people may need.


– Everyone has garbage cans so the potential client base is huge

– Start-up is simple and quick

– Skill level needed is minimal


– Some supplies may be expensive

– You may need a car to reach customers outside of your area

– The work is messy and can be physically demanding

How to Get Started:

NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.

First, you need the right supplies. For cleaning trash cans, there are many many different options for cleaning solutions. Some options are a mixture of vinegar and water, and basic cleaning solutions. A long-handled cleaning brush can be used to clean the inside of the trash can. Gloves are recommended to keep your hands clean, and masks can be used to protect from potentially harmful particles that can be kicked up when cleaning. Another thing you need is water, which would most likely have to come from the customer’s hose.

Next, you need to find customers. Because everyone has trash cans, customers should be somewhat easy to find in your neighborhood. To get started, put up flyers around the neighborhood (be sure to laminate them to protect against the rain); if your neighborhood has an online community (e.g. Nextdoor or Facebook), post notices there.

Operating the business

Make sure you time when you’re going to clean the trash can, as the best time is after the trash has been picked up, when the trash can is most likely to be empty. Contact the customer and schedule a date and time for when you’ll come and clean it.

In order to clean the trash can, rinse it with water, removing any dirt or debris on or inside the trash can. Using your cleaning liquid, use the brush to clean the inside of the can. Empty the can of any remaining water and cleaner and leave it to dry in the sun. If you want more detailed instructions, a good explanation of how to clean garbage cans is here.

How Much to Charge:

Generally, you’ll want to charge per cleaning. Existing services charge between $10 to $15 per can, so that’s a good place to start. (As a newcomer to the business, you might want to start a little lower to attract clients.)

Taking it to the Next Level:

  • Reach New Customers. Using a car, you can reach more customers that are further away from you, and sites like can help you contact people in those areas.
  • Get Repeat Customers. Setting up a subscription service can be helpful for people, and you can make it match the trash pickup days, in order to be more efficient.


Photo ©Thanachai Kesonpikul

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