Only 1 in 50 clean their wheelie bins

Only 1 in 50 clean their bins – Britain’s stinky streets

That’s wheelie grim

Shocking results of a survey by a waste collection company show that just 1 in 50 – that’s 2% – of all people regularly clean their wheelie bins – leaving unsavoury bacteria to multiply.

Our household bins aren’t often given much thought, it seems, as the result of’s survey of over 3,000 households shows that very few ever cleaned out their rubbish bins. While it may seem pointless to clean something that’s going to be filled with waste, there’s method to the madness. In warmer months, the heat combined with food debris and decomposing rubbish mean these dark, warm enclosed spaces become a magnet for flies and, horrifyingly, bins can quickly become full of maggots.

As well as helping control that unpleasant bin smell that plagues back alleys and bin stores everywhere in summer, cleaning your wheelie bins helps remove the build up of bacteria and food debris that accumulates through use, deterring flies and their larvae – the pesky maggot.

The survey respondents were a mixed bunch. Of those surveyed:

87% ‘never’ cleaned their wheelie bins at all

11% had cleaned their bin ‘once or twice’

2% cleaned their bins regularly

Many saw cleaning as pointless, with Katie, 32, from Northampton, echoing a popular sentiment: “I’m just putting rubbish back into it – why would I bother?”, and many others saying the job was “disgusting”, “smelly” or “too difficult due to size”.

The rare few who cleaned their bins regularly were horrified to learn this wasn’t the done thing, with one survey respondent noting: “There’s nothing worse than the smell of the bins in summer – I wouldn’t be able to open my kitchen window if I didn’t make sure it wasn’t stinking of bin juice”. One concerned friend, Mike from Ilkley, said “We even bought our friends a year’s worth of a wheelie bin cleaning service as a jokey wedding gift – and they didn’t renew it!”.

360 L wheelie bin

How can I stop my wheelie from smelling?

General waste bins, food caddies and glass and can bins are the biggest culprits, as they’re more likely to be attractive to pests and flies than cardboard bins.

Properly rinsing all recycling – as we should be doing anyway – will help deter flies from your recycling bin or box, as will ensuring all general waste is disposed of in bags. But once the bin has started to take on that familiar whiff, how can you get rid of it?

Hot soapy water swilled in after bin collection and tipped down the drain is a great start – and a capful of disinfectant liquid will help to kill germs. For those whose bins are further gone, a hose or garden jet washer will get the more stubborn (or disgusting) matter off the bottom and tackle the bacteria causing smells. Tipping bins on their side will make it easier to access them and prevent any unpleasant ‘falling in’ accidents.

Of course, if you’re desperate to tackle the smell but don’t want to take on the task yourself, there are dedicated wheelie bin cleaning services that will take on this important job for you. Coming at regular intervals and for reasonable prices, they’ll take your bin from grim back to sparkling – keeping flies and maggots at bay, and ensuring your back garden or side return doesn’t smell like the last day in a festival toilet.

Learn how to clean a wheelie bin

Mark Hall, spokesperson for, said:

“It’s shocking but perhaps not surprising that so few people clean their wheelie bins – after all, they’re dirty, smelly, and generally kept out of sight and out of mind. But as anyone who’s had an infestation of maggots in their bin knows, it can quickly become very unpleasant during the summer months, and with the current hot weather set to last throughout summer it’s the perfect time to give your bin a spruce up.”

“Although your wheelie bin might be causing a stink, it’s still not the worst smell, the 10 worst smells

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