Reasons Not to Keep Your Kitchen Trash Can in a Cabinet

Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

Kitchen trash cans quickly accumulate garbage. From vegetable peels to food wrappers, we throw all kinds of trash in them, making them a rather unpleasant sight. 

Surely, you can use leak and tear-proof Simplehuman trash bags. Or, just change the bag frequently (if your budget allows it!). But even then, nobody wants people to look at their kitchen trash can. 

So, to get rid of the problem, most of us hid the can in the cabinets. The kitchen instantly becomes more aesthetic, spacious, and stink-free. 

If you have been practicing this too, let us tell you something – this is a huge mistake!

Keeping a trash can in a cabinet can become one of your worst nightmares. Read more to learn how and why you should never do it again!

reasons not to keep your kitchen trash can in a cabinet

1. It’s Inconvenient & Messy.

When a trash can is placed inside a cabinet, accessing it is a problem itself. You have to open and close the cabinet every time you want to throw the garbage. But what is an even bigger problem is the mess it creates. 

You must throw garbage really carefully in the trash can. If you toss it from a distance or without paying enough attention, some of the stuff can miss the can and litter the cabinet floor. It can also fall onto any items stored near the trash can. 

And guess what? You won’t know this has happened until the place starts stinking. However, if the trash can had been in the open, you would have instantly noticed any mess around it and would have cleaned it easily. 

2. It Produces a Horrible Smell.

Most people place their trash cans in the cabinet without a lid and don’t change the bag regularly. Since the trash can isn’t in sight, they simply forget to throw the bag away. This causes trash to stay trapped in a closed space for more than a day. 

With no ventilation, the bag becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold. All those food scraps and vegetable peelings start producing a horrible stink. You won’t smell it from the outside, but once you open the cabinet, the smell is intolerable. 

3. It Damages Your Cabinet.

This practice damages your cabinet in two ways – excessive use and mold. When you open and close the cabinet constantly, the hinges and handles become loose. The wood around the edges may also chip away. 

Plus, the mold can spread from the trash can to the surrounding wooden surfaces. You won’t realize how bad the situation inside is until the wood starts blackening and creating an unpleasant moldy smell. 

These damages can cost a lot to repair. According to Forbes, you should expect to pay at least $200 for a stock cabinet and $300+ for customs. This is way more than a large lid trash can to be placed outside. 

So, What Now?

You must be wondering – I can’t place the trash can inside the cabinet, nor can I leave it in plain sight. Certainly, there must be another solution to this problem. Yes, there is!

We recommend buying a decorative trash can with a lid. It will look pretty and conceal the trash well. If you’re not in favor of buying a new trash can, cover it with a curtain or a houseplant. Hope this helps!

smith brad omni

Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.