Should You Have A Trash Can In Your Bathroom? (Solved!)

We’ve always had a trash can in our bathroom – so you can already tell what my answer to this question will be – but here it comes officially:

You should have a trash can in your bathroom, so family members and house guests have somewhere to put cotton wool pads, baby wipes, sanitary products, and other items which cannot be flushed down the toilet. Not providing a bathroom bin puts people in an awkward position.

Let’s look at this topic in more detail, and discover why people put trash cans in their bathroom, where you should put them, how big they should be, and whether they should have lids or not. We’ll also try and make sure this article is not completely rubbish!…

Should You Have A Trash Can In Your Bathroom?

Why Do People Have Trash Cans in Their Bathrooms?

People have trash cans in their bathrooms for a number of reasons. Often, the bathroom trash can is used for the disposal of items such as cotton wool pads, baby wipes, or sanitary pads. These are generally disposed of in the bathroom, but won’t flush down the toilet.

The trash can isn’t just for fem-care products, however. Like every other room in your home, bathrooms generate waste, and it’s simply more convenient to dispose of it immediately. Disposable contacts cases, hair from your brush, toothpaste tubes… These all need to go in the trash, and it’s easier to throw it away in the bathroom.

Some people go the extra mile and have two trash cans in their bathroom, one for general waste and the other for recyclable items like toilet tissue tubes and empty shower gel bottles.

Is It Rude Not to Have a Trashcan in the Bathroom? (Do You Really Need One?)

This is a good question: if you live in a house where nobody uses sanitary protection, do you really need a trash can near the toilet? We’d say yes, to save any house guests from having to carry their trash down to the kitchen (nobody wants to do that).

And a bathroom trash can makes life easier for everyone anyway. Choose a neat little design, maybe even with a lid, and it will sit tidily in your bathroom, ready to dispose of dental floss, elastoplasts, and all those other things that shouldn’t go down the pan.

Where Should I Put My Trash Can in My Bathroom? (Especially a Small Bathroom)

The usual place is next to the toilet. Square and rectangular-shaped designs sit closer to the wall than round ones, enabling you to store them right out of the way.

If you’re short of floor space, you can get small trash cans that attach to the inside of cupboards and bathroom cabinets. A pivot-out trash can is typically used in the kitchen rather than in the bathrooms; however, if you have a suitable cabinet (such as under the basin), this is a neat solution.

Look out for smaller designs, as the typical kitchen trash cans will be larger than you need in the bathroom.

If you haven’t installed one before, watch this short film that takes you through how to fit a pivot-out trash can.

Want to make a home-made, budget version of a cabinet trash can? You can simply attach hooks to the inside of the cabinet door (something like Command hooks make this even easier), then hang a bin liner on them. Cheap, simple, and discreet.

What Size Is a Small Bathroom Trash Can?

The smallest bathroom trash cans we found on Amazon start at about 1.2 gallons. This really is tiny, and the 1.2 and 1.5 rectangular models would hardly take up any room at all.

However, if there’s more than one person regularly using the bathroom, a 1.2 gallon can would fill up very quickly! If you live in a busy household, go for a 2 or even 3 gallon trash can.

What Is the Standard Size of a Bathroom Trash Can?

The typical trash can for a bathroom has a capacity of between 1.2 and 2 gallons. You can get larger ones that hold up to 3 gallons of waste, but of course, these will take up more room in the bathroom.

We’d recommend sticking to bathroom or kitchen trash cans and not being tempted to repurpose a living room or bedroom waste paper basket. This is because the bathroom trash can has to survive in a humid environment without risk of mildew spots or rust. 

It should also be easy to rinse out and clean. Which brings us to…

Trash can in bathroom

How Do I Keep My Bathroom Trash From Smelling?

There are several easy ways to prevent unpleasant odors developing in your trash can. Here are a few tips:

  • Empty the bin regularly. This is where a small-size trash can comes in handy – you have to empty it all the time!
  • Use a trash can liner, which makes emptying it easier and prevents anything from sticking to the inside of the can itself. You can even buy scented trash can liners
  • When you empty the trash, get into the habit of rinsing out the trash can as well. With a small can, you can simply rinse it round under the faucet or shower head. Dry it before putting in a new liner
  • Think about what’s going in the trash can. Sanitary products can go into biodegradable bags or paper disposal bags. Make house rules about what goes in the bathroom trash can, such as no food waste
  • Choose a bathroom trash can with a lid. This helps to keep any odors inside the can in between cleans

Don’t forget to wash your hands after working in the bathroom, and if you get thirsty then don’t be tempted to drink from that bathroom tap!

Should My Bathroom Trash Can Have a Lid?

It’s a good idea to choose a bathroom trash can with a lid. You can easily pick up a bathroom trash can with a foot pedal-operated lid (Amazon has a great choice), which is more hygienic than a lift-up lid. 

However, if you like the look of a more traditional lid, you can get bathroom bins in a mini garbage can design, which look really cute. There’s also a third type of trash can lid, which is the soft-touch design. This opens easily when you gently press the lid.

Why should a bathroom trash can have a lid? Well, as we discussed earlier, it keeps unwanted odors inside the bin. It looks neater, and let’s be honest, you don’t want your bathroom trash on display…

It also prevents your pets from investigating the can’s contents and potentially scattering them around the house. A kid will also keep out any inquisitive toddler fingers.

You can get garbage cans for the bathroom in a range of different colors and finishes. Look out for stylish and contemporary chrome finishes, or pretty pastel colors to match your bathroom decor. Plain white will fit in with most bathrooms.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll save quite a few dollars by losing the lid (you can pick up a simple plastic trash can for as little as $12). Just be sure to empty it regularly to prevent an unsightly overspill or an odor buildup. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Out of My Bathroom Trash Can?

If your dog is allowed in the bathroom, you’ll need to find a way to keep them out of the trash can. A can with a lid should prevent your pup from sticking their noise inside the can. 

A foot pedal design is the best option, as dogs have been known to push off a separate lid with their noses… Also, a swing lid isn’t the best idea, as a determined dog can easily deal with these (and this short film shows, there are consequences for dogs who try to headbutt lids…).

Of course, the other option is to make the bathroom a no-go zone for your pooch, period. However, as we all know, it can be hard to banish a dog from a room they see you enter all the time, so a pup-proof bin design is the easier option.


I think it’s about time we binned this article – or trashed it – whichever you prefer (editor: that’s enough trash-related jokes please!).

The long and short of this topic is that yes – you should have a trash can in your bathroom.

After all, where would your playful pooch get its head stuck if it didn’t have a bathroom bin lid to play with?! 🙂