Should You Keep a Trash Can in The Bathroom? (Four Reasons)

Trash cans are not typical of all bathrooms. That’s probably why you might wonder whether you need one in the first place.

Accordingly, Should You Keep a Trash Can in The Bathroom?

Absolutely. I can’t – and I don’t think anyone else can – imagine a toilet without convenient trash can somewhere in the corner.

Four Reasons To Put A Wastebasket In The Bathroom

There are several reasons to have one:

1. Collecting The ‘Unflushables’

Your toilet’s flushing system was designed to take down specific things like human waste and toilet paper.

That’s probably why regular newspapers tend to clog it in the long run.

Yet we produce quite a significant amount of trash while in the bathroom, much of which isn’t anywhere close to the kind of stuff the system was designed for.

a) Sanitary pads

Sanitary pads are one of the top reasons why every bathroom, not just residential bathrooms, needs to be equipped with a trash can.

Pads consist of layers of Perforated Polyethylene (PE) which is responsible for the plasticky feel and woven cloth-like plastics that may or may not be reusable.

While these materials enhance the effectiveness of the pads, they can’t be flushed down the down toilet.

b) Earbuds/Q Tips

Once in a while, you will clean your ears with a few of these.

A small can with several sticks is probably resting on your sink right now.

Once used, they have to end up elsewhere other than the toilet preferably in the trash can.

c) Toilet Cleaner Containers

The bathroom must be washed and kept smelling great with soaps and deodorants.

The resultant packages and bottles need to be kept somewhere before being disposed into the main garbage collection point.

d) Medications

Chances are you keep your medication in a cabinet somewhere in your bathroom.

Once you run out of medications, you will want to get rid of the containers and packages. Waste or expired medications need to be disposed of properly as well.

All these create a need for trash cans.

Other common unflushables are:

  • suppositories
  • dental floss
  • razors
  • razor blades
  • toothbrushes
  • condoms

2. Culture

Another reason why you might want to equip your bathroom with a trash can is that your culture demands one.


Some things are only embarrassing in your culture. That’s probably why culture shock is a thing.

In western culture – which is now spreading across the world –you don’t parade your sanitary pads in front of the guests to dispose of them outside.

It’s very much like the metaphorical ‘washing your dirty laundry in the public,’ meaning revealing your private stuff to everyone.

Although “naturalia non sunt turpia” – what’s natural isn’t dirty – some things are better kept private and hidden, preferably in the trash can.

The Idea Of Paperless Toilets

Some cultures, especially Asian, don’t flush down their used toilet paper.

Instead, an individual puts it in a trash can for later disposal.

While it may come across as disgusting, it makes sense in cultures where water is a pricey resource.

Another probable justification is a water pressure that’s below the standard range (40 – 80 psi).

So, if you subscribe to such cultures, a trash bin is a must-have.

3. Cleanliness Is the Scourge of Art

Nothing looks good with dirt on it. If you want your bathroom to look clean and presentable at all times, meaning even the tiniest bits of unwanted items need to be kept out of sight.

The perfect place to put it would most definitely be the trash can.

4. Convenience Reasons

The best thing about all trash cans, not just those designed for bathrooms, is that they help you deal less with waste.

Without them, you’ll probably have to pile your garbage in a corner to scoop it later for disposal elsewhere.

This equipment also gives the convenience of not having to trek with your trash from the bathroom to the disposal point every time you have something to throw away.

When Shouldn’t You Add A Trash Can To The Bathrooms?

Trash cans are integral but are not a must-have. Here is when not to add one in your bathroom:

a) If It Makes You Forget to Dispose the Garbage

Sometimes trash cans tend to lull you into a false sense of security especially knowing that all your garbage is locked out of sight somewhere in a bid behind the door.

It literally lets you forget that your unsightly wastes are still in the room, rotting.

So, if you always find yourself forgetting or postponing throwing them away, start thinking of a way of getting rid of the garbage immediately without the can.

b) If It’s Prone to Stink

If your bathroom is too small and poorly ventilated, even the best trash cans will stink if it gets full.

Such things as medications and items contaminated with body fluids may start to reek within a day.

Even if the lid is airtight enough, the bad odor will certainly creep out every time you open it to add more trash.

So, unless you use your trash can to hold trash waiting for immediate disposal, you are better off without it.

c) If You Can’t Make Right Choices

There are two choices to make here – first regarding the best type of can for your toilet and, secondly, what should and shouldn’t be thrown in it.

When it comes to type, you will need to choose from numerous choices: 3 in 1 bin, step-on trash cans, disposable cans, recycling cans, etc. Choosing one from these can be overwhelming.

Another thing is that basic trash cans can’t take everything.

Medical wastes are especially problematic and should have a dedicated can.

If you don’t want to make all these choices, then you should probably get rid of the trash immediately instead of storing it somewhere in the bathroom for some time.

d) If You Don’t Plan to Use It Regularly

It may sound a bit silly to advise anyone to use their trash cans regularly but it doesn’t make sense to have one if you don’t produce trash often enough. Low frequency of use might mean as well mean you aren’t producing enough trash to require a trash can.

e) If You Don’t Have Space for It

For tiny bathrooms, it would make sense to minimize your garbage production and get rid of the little you produce immediately it’s created.

Fortunately, there are smaller trash cans that can fit even in the smallest bathrooms imaginable.

The downside is that they may not deliver the capacity and a few other things that you might be looking for.

Hereof, What Should You Not Throw In The Trash Can?

Anything that can corrode the surfaces especially if the can is stainless steel.

Hazardous materials that could kill or make you sick if you are exposed to them should be avoided as well.

Harsh chemicals that might burn or cause discolorations need to be kept at bay.


To summarize everything, YES, you should have a trash can in your bathroom.

The main reason is to store all the garbage typical of bathrooms like waste toilet paper, toothpaste tubes, waste medications, etc.