How to Choose the Right Bathroom Trash Can

The variety of bathroom trash cans on the market is almost infinite. There are big ones, small ones, medium ones, countertop ones, square ones, round ones… and that’s not even to mention the colors. Having options might be nice, but it can get confusing. How, out all the possibilities, do you decide on the right one? In essence, a trash can is just a trash can. Whether it’s blue or red, long or short, slender or wide, it’s a place to store your trash. But that doesn’t mean it can’t look good while it’s doing it, or that some trash cans are better suited to their purpose than others. So, how do you decide on the best bathroom trash can? To start, you could try reading our very helpful guide to choosing the right bathroom trash can….

Think About the Obvious

When you’re buying any kind of trash can, whether it’s for the kitchen, the bathroom, or anywhere else, think about its primary purpose. A trash can is designed to hold the stuff you don’t want anymore. And the stuff you don’t want anymore can often be a little smelly… or at least, has the potential to get a little smelly after several days of sweating it out in a plastic bag. So, don’t forget to think about how odor resistant (or at least easy to clean) your choice of bathroom trash can is. As a general rule of thumb, you might want to take’s advice and plump for plastic cans (which often have germ-resistant or odor-resistant features) or metal ones (which are usually incredibly easy to wipe clean) over cans made from natural woven materials. While natural materials can often look very nice, they have the unfortunate habit of soaking up more odors than they resist.

Pick the Right Size

Size might not be everything, but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing, either. While a tall, wide trash can might be suitable for the kitchen or utility room, most bathrooms benefit from something a little more discreet. If your bathroom is more pokey than it is spacious, look for a can that can fit comfortably into the little space you do have. A narrow trash can will do everything that’s required of it but take up next to no room at all; see if you can squeeze one into the space between your toilet and the wall, or the shower and the door. A short, squat trash can, meanwhile, can often be fitted quite easily into the space beneath a sink (or even tucked away out of sight in an under-sink unit). All that being said, don’t go smaller than you need to. If the trash can isn’t big enough for your needs, you’ll end up spending more time emptying it than you do filling it. If it’s a family bathroom, consider just how much waste you produce on a daily basis and size accordingly – and remember, two small bins can often be easier to accommodate than one huge one.

Pick Function over Beauty…

There’s no rule to say your trash can can’t look good, but don’t make the mistake of picking a can for its style rather than its function. As notes, trash cans don’t always have the easiest of lives, and can be the subject of some pretty rough treatment. After all, what other items in the house get so much thrown at them quite so regularly? If you see a bin with a pretty pattern, don’t get so bowled over by its looks that you forget to check how resilient it is to a little abuse. If it looks like it’ll fall over the first time you levy a balled-up tissue it’s way, leave it in the store.

… But Don’t Overlook Style Altogether

Function is paramount. But that doesn’t mean you need to put up with an ugly trash can that’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Take a look at the other fixtures and fittings in your bathroom. If they’re mainly steel, continue the theme with a steel trash can. If your decorations are blue, look for one in a similar, or at least complementary, shade. If your bathroom’s monochrome, why not introduce a pop of color with a vibrant trash can?

Look for a Durable Material

If you’d rather not go through the palaver of buying a new trash can every few years, look for one made from a material that’s built to last. A low-quality material will start to tarnish, stain, rust, and dent after barely any time at all. One that’s made from a robust material like stainless steel, on the other hand, will last for years while looking as good as new. Plastic is a little less durable than metal but providing you don’t subject it to too much abuse, it should be a decent enough choice for the bathroom. If there’s one material you should avoid like the plague, it’s wood: it might look nice enough, but it’s difficult to keep clean and bacteria free. In more bad news, it soaks up odors like there’s no tomorrow.

How Easy is it to Access?

A trash can that’s hard to open is no use to man nor beast. If you want your trash can to do the job it’s meant to, it’s vital to ensure it’s easy to access. If it’s got a lid, check how smoothly it lifts. If it’s got a push button or pedal opening mechanism, check how effective it is; if it’s a pain to open, you can bet more trash will end up on the floor than the bin. Just as important as how easy it is to put trash in the can, is how easy it is to take the trash out of it; if it’s got a self-contained bag, you might want to think about just how easy it’ll be to shake out.

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