Clean Your Carts with Care and Consideration

Even with normal use, your compost, landfill and recycling carts might need periodic cleaning to minimize pests and reduce odors. 

The gutters along our streets lead to storm drains that flow untreated directly to local creeks and waterways.

When disposed of improperly, materials found in cart cleaning wash water, such as bacteria, dirt, and soapy water can be harmful to water quality and creek habitats.

Wash water should never be discharged directly to a street, gutter, parking lot, driveway, or storm drain.

Visit for more information on storm water pollution prevention.

Here’s how you can clean your carts with care and consideration:

  • Locate a spot in your yard that can absorb the cleaning wash water. Areas such as gravel, grass, or landscaped areas are usually good options as long as they do not have any storm drains nearby.
  • Scoop out any loose debris from the cart and dispose of it separately.
  • Rinse the cart with clean water, preferably using a pressure nozzle to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Apply cleaner to the cart and allow it time to work. Follow the manufacturers recommendations on how long cleaner
    should be active. Consider using EPA Safer Choice certified products for environmentally friendly options.
  • Once the cleaner has loosened buildup, rinse the cart thoroughly. Some carts might require additional application of cleaner to fully clean. Ensure that the cleaner is fully rinsed from the cart, as residue might cause additional buildup over time.
  • Allow the carts to dry completely before using them again.

You can also check out our Curbside Food Composting page for more tips on keeping your compost cart clean.