How to clean a trash compactor

Key tips to remember

  • Unplug the trash compactor
  • Remove the trash bag
  • Clean and dry
  • Check the air filter
  • Replace the bag

Trash compactors are a true marvel of modern engineering. Instead of having to take out the trash once or twice a day, this appliance can save you time and energy by crushing your trash into compact cubes. But even a trash compactor needs routine cleaning and maintenance every so often. And while your appliance may look a little intimidating at first glance, take a quick read through these tips and you'll be a pro in no time.

A quick caveat: In between cleanings, it can help to spray your trash compactor with a germ-killing deodorant or to sprinkle a few pinches of baking soda every time you change the trash bag in order to control odors.

Step 1: Unplug the trash compactor

Unplugging your appliance is a crucial. Many of these appliances are self-activating, and while most have safety devices in place to prevent any harm from coming to you, there is no reason to take unnecessary risks.

Step 2: Remove the trash bag

When you take out the trash bag, make sure that there are no pieces of trash left behind. Anything that can get stuck in the lid or block the "eye" (which scans the unit to determine when it should be working) should be carefully removed. If the eye is covered, it is possible for some units to work continuously when they are plugged in, which can cause your unit to overheat and wear out.

Step 3: Clean and dry

Use either a commercial disinfectant or a mixture of water and dish detergent to spray down the inside of the walls. Do It Yourself recommends that you let the mixture sit on the walls for at least a few minutes before wiping it off in order to really let the grease dissolve. When you wipe off the mixture, make sure that you completely dry all of the internal surfaces. Wet or damp walls could lead to mold or bacteria growth, making cleanup much harder the next time.

Step 4: Check the air filter

Many trash compactors use an air filter to keep odors from getting into the rest of your kitchen and to prevent the growth of mold. Read your manufacturer's guidelines in order to find out how often you should be replacing your air filter, and mark it down on your schedule.

Step 5: Replace the bag

Once your trash compactor is clean, replace the trash bag and lock it into place. Wipe down the exterior, and again, sprinkle some baking soda or give the appliance a few sprays of a germ-killing deodorant.

At Cinch, we know that every homeowner dreads the thought of getting an appliance repaired or replaced only to have it break down again shortly after. But the good news is that built-in trash compactors are just one example of the several appliances covered under the Cinch home protection plan. Visit our website to see what peace of mind our home protection plans can offer. You can rest assured knowing that Cinch is the only home protection company that comes with a 180-day workmanship guarantee, so you know the problem will get fixed and stay fixed. No questions asked.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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