How to keep garbage cans clean and closed

Get longer wear from your metal or plastic garbage cans by keeping them in a shed and away from moisture; line them with plastic bags.

Periodically hose garbage cans and then scrub them with an industrial detergent containing a disinfectant; when possible let the cans dry in the sun. To deter corrosion, coat their insides and undersides lightly with used motor oil or with asphalt roof cement.

Patch small holes in metal cans with an epoxy-base mending compound from a hardware store. Repair larger holes with a patch of light gauge (20 24gs.) galvanized sheet steel epoxied in place or fastened with stainless-steel pop rivets. Repair splits in plastic cans by sandwiching them between pop-riveted strips of aluminum roof flashing.

To deter raids by dogs or raccoons, secure the lids of metal garbage cans to the handles with elastic shock cord, available at auto supply stores. Fasten one end of the cord permanently to a can by drilling a hole in one of the handles and hooking one cord end through it; crimp the hook closed with pliers. Hook the free end to the other handle.

For plastic garbage cans with molded lid grips, you can screw a grooved block of wood to the grip, groove down. Run a length of rope or shock cord through the groove and fasten its ends to the can’s handles.