Recently I had the opportunity to take part in the process of deodorizing a dumpster area. A friend of mine works as an apartment building superintendent and he asked me if I wanted to help him clean up a particularly messy dumpster area when I was recently visiting him. Years ago I had deodorized a dumpster area with only sand and I don’t think it worked too well.
The dumpster area at his building holds two dumpsters. One is intended to be used for regular garbage including food waste, clothing and other non-recyclable items. The other dumpster is smaller and is intended to be used for recyclable items. In reality however, some of the tenants disregard the intended use of each of the dumpsters. Worse yet, some of the tenants don’t even put their garbage in the dumpsters; they simply leave bags of garbage on the ground. Quite frequently those bags of garbage open-up or fall over, leaving trash strewn about the ground.
Especially during the warm weather months the garbage can easily begin to produce a very unpleasant odor. Juices and other matter from food products in the large dumpster often leak from the bottom and mix with other substances creating odors that are quite funky.
Along with a wheelbarrow half-full of sand, a garden hose, shovel, cleansers and a couple of brooms my friend had brought along three boxes of corn starch. Regular kitchen corn starch like the type I make slurries to thicken sauces with at home. When I asked him what the corn starch was for he said that it helped to absorb and eliminate odors.
The first thing we did was spray water from a garden hose onto the ground near the dumpsters. After wetting the area each of us opened a can of AJAX powdered cleanser and sprinkled it onto the ground surface all around the dumpsters. Next we each used a broom to rub the AJAX cleanser into the water and onto the paved surface. The superintendent said that once a year he uses AJAX cleanser to deodorize the dumpster area and once a year he uses dishwashing liquid.
Once the cleanser was rubbed into the pavement my friend sprayed the area with the garden hose again. We then sprinkled more AJAX onto the wet ground and repeated the process of rubbing the cleanser into the surface with the brooms. By doing so we were loosening-up the various substances on the ground, some of which contribute to an overall unpleasant dumpster area aroma. After loosening-up the stuff on the ground the whole area was again sprayed with water.
After the pavement was scrubbed and rinsed it really did look a lot cleaner than it did just a little while earlier. We let the dumpster area air-dry for a few minutes then the superintendent did something that I’d never seen done before. He started taking sand out of the wheelbarrow with the shovel then sprinkled it all over the damp ground. Since there was only one shovel I spread some sand around with my hands.
Once the ground was pretty well covered with a light layer of sand my friend opened two of the boxes of corn starch. He handed one to me and said to sprinkle it lightly into the sand all around the smaller dumpster while he would cover the larger dumpster area. When I asked him why we were sprinkling corn starch on the ground he said it was because the corn starch absorbs odors and the sand helps it to permeate the pavement.
The superintendent said that he used to place moth balls around the dumpsters but they didn’t alleviate the odors during the warm weather months.
When the dumpter area was coated with sand and corn starch we then used the brooms again to mix the sand and corn starch together. The pavement was damp and in some places wet and the mixture became almost pasty in some spots. The superintendent said that we were done at that point. It was supposed to rain the next day and he said that the rain would complete the deodorizing process.
Deodorizing the dumpster area was a fun and interesting experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn how to do it.
Personal experience with deodorizing a dumpster area