Cleaning

A 'Why Didn’t I Think of That?' Way to Tie a Trash Bag

How to keep it from slipping ever again.

January 30, 2019

Out of all my household chores, taking out the garbage is my least favorite. My roommate and I put it off until it’s absolutely necessary, crushing down our boxes and trash until the smelly bag is almost too heavy to handle. Heaven help us when the bag slips from the trashcan's lip, letting the contents fall to the bottom of our can—the smell lasts for days. From there, we hold our breath and rush the garbage down five flights of stairs, praying the cheap plastic doesn’t slip open. (Surprise! It always opens!)

Our, um, “method” definitely has room for improvement. Which is where this Earth Angel comes in. Meet Max McDonough, Food52’s Office Coordinator, and the man who volunteered to teach me a better way.

This is Max!

Every day, Max empties our office's 30-gallon trashcan about eight times. Eight times. So, you could say he’s a seasoned pro. And according to him, the key to keeping things clean: a simple knot to keep bags from slipping.

Here’s how he does it:


Step One

Grab opposite sides of the trash bag.


Step Two

Fill the bag with air. (Max recommends exaggerated arm motions, or using the help of an air conditioner in the summer.)


Step Three

Cover two corners of the trash can with the bag and pull taut.


Step Four

With the other corners of the bag, tie a simple, loose knot.


Step Five

Pull the knotted side over the other end of the trash can; then tighten or loosen to fit the lid.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Most trash cans are tapered from the bottom to the top, so I insert the inflated bag, pull about 1/3 of the way down the outside of the can, then tie a knot. Simply slide the bag up to the top and it is cinched tight. The method described in the article can damage the lips of the can twice as fast, because you have to stretch it over the can twice, once for putting the bag in, and again for taking it out, which can cause cracks or splitting over time. My method should double the life of the can.”
— Frank J.
Comment

Yep! It’s that simple! My roommate and I are still filling up our poorly (i.e. loosely) bagged trashcan at home, but I'm planning on giving Max's method a try ASAP.

Thanks, Max! Already life feels a little less messy.

How do you keep your trash bag from slipping? Share tips in the comments section below!

17 Comments

MG February 7, 2019
I honestly can't believe this was published. If you've worked anywhere in the hospitality industry (any foodservice operation), you would have already known this "trick."
 
Deborah February 3, 2019
I drilled threes small holes at the top of the trash can on each side to allow air out. Works great.
 
Jamie D. January 31, 2019
The custodial staff of most any job you've ever had probably did this. (In fact, they'd probably have many "genius" tips that could be covered here.) It doesn't reflect well on Food52 that it only warrants coverage when you notice a photogenic "earth angel" doing it. I'm a fan, but this story really irritated me.
 
Janet January 30, 2019
If you always use trash bag liners. Drill vent holes a few inches from the base of can, and bag will slip in more easily.
 
Linda January 30, 2019
I have news for you—people in the restaurant industry have been doing this for years! No news to me here.
 
Frank J. January 30, 2019
I work in bars, so our trash cans get full pretty quick. Most trash cans are tapered from the bottom to the top, so I insert the inflated bag, pull about 1/3 of the way down the outside of the can, then tie a knot. Simply slide the bag up to the top and it is cinched tight. <br />The method described in the article can damage the lips of the can twice as fast, because you have to stretch it over the can twice, once for putting the bag in, and again for taking it out, which can cause cracks or splitting over time. My method should double the life of the can.
 
Jen January 30, 2019
The one I have has a lift-out plastic bin liner inside the stainless steel outer can, but I can see this working if you have an open-top plastic bin: It has a hole roughly the size of a nickel on one side, and after you put the bag into the bin, you fold it over the top a little and poke the top of the bag through the hole and pull it taut. It's kind of hard to explain. It's a simplehuman brand can.
 
Valarie A. January 30, 2019
Thanks for the tip.<br /> However I was disappointed to hear that you are throwing boxes in the trash! Why on earth is a young informed person not recycling those boxes! Almost everything can be recycled or composted.<br />If your city does not have a good program; please work to change that. We all need to do everything we can to protect our world. Please, please reconsider and do what u can.
 
jamahl January 30, 2019
This is the technique that workers in the service and hospitality industry do. Did it really need a four step breakdown?!
 
D January 31, 2019
IKR? This also happens in an office environment. :)
 
Pam W. January 30, 2019
I use small binder clips-one on each side. But I only empty it once a day!<br />
 
ktr January 30, 2019
You can also get extra large rubber bands made to go around the trash bag to keep them from falling down inside.
 
Susan L. January 30, 2019
I use those rubber bands and they work great.<br />
 
Diana January 30, 2019
FYI: photo shows bag being flared open by flipping it to fill with air, caution if you have overhead light fixtures. My husband did that, caught the edge of the fixture - fell down and broke on his head and a piece of it slashed his hand requiring several stitches! Crazy but True!
 
Ella Q. January 30, 2019
Love this! My trash bag ALWAYS slips.
 
Jacky R. January 30, 2019
I thought this was how everyone tied their trash bags haha
 
Skeys January 30, 2019
That's been the normal way since before I worked in a restaurant, about 40 years ago. I don't think Max can claim that as his idea. It works well, though.