We all know the dilemma of long car journeys. There are food wrappers. There are soft drink bottles. There are candy bags and wrappers. If you’re not careful, by the time you get where you’re going, you can barely see over the top of the garbage pile!
OK, sure, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s a real problem – especially when some of the garbage is sticky, or soggy, or chocolatey, and maybe the upholstery’s camel colored velour, and you know darn well that stain’s not coming out without a full ker-ching-worthy valet service that you just can’t spring for this month.
So, obviously, there’s a solution – the in-car trash can.
But even then, you don’t need just any in-car trash can. You can go with a weighted option, but that’s just a challenge to your nerves as you wait for the sharp bend or sudden braking that will overcome its weighting and topple your garbage all over the floor.
The safest option is a hanging trash can that you can fix to your car door. That way, being suspended rather than sitting on the floor of the car, means you really have to work hard to spill its contents, and everyone’s happy, dry, and not covered in stinky banana peel by the end of the trip.
So which are the best car door trash cans on the market? Which are really worth your consideration and your money?
Let’s take a look.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
In this post we'll cover:
- Best Car Door Trash Can
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Car Door Trash Can
If you need your car door trash can to be small, compact, secure, and relatively inexpensive, the EPAuto Waterproof has got to be on your list of contenders.
With a set of adjustable straps, it attached to car doors with almost insulting ease – no special tools or special expertise needed here. And from then on, it does the job it tells you it does.
It’s waterproof, so those half-filled “I’m done with this now” juice boxes can leak all they like, they won’t get grape juice over your upholstery.
At 10 inches by 8.75 inches by 5.75 inches, it’s compact enough to fit most any car on the US market today, so it’s as near universal as it comes.
Built-in Velcro straps along the top form an effective lid to the trash can, keeping the garbage out of the eyes – and especially the noses – of everyone in the car, making the whole journey more agreeable.
And as well as being a highly effective car door trash can, it also comes with three extra mesh pockets for keeping everything from hand wipes to the absolutely essential action figure that has to make the journey with you.
An all-purpose car door trash can that holds more than you’d think, it’s our pick for the best of the bunch.
- It combines compact design with an inside that holds more trash than you’d think
- Extra mesh pockets give you storage space as well as garbage space
- Waterproof lining avoids any wet garbage accidents
- An effective lid keeps in-car garbage smells to a minimum
- Reinforcing the stitches on the straps may be a good idea, because if the bag is very full, it can unravel some of the stitching
Lusso is well-known in the car accessories market for making your life and your car journeys more pleasant. So, when a 2.5 gallon car door trash can comes from Lusso, you sit up and take notice immediately.
The strap on the Lusso is adjustable, so while it belongs on a car door, you can also move it around the car somewhat if you want to – hand it on a headrest and no-one will whine.
Like the EPAuto, this trash can is a breeze to install, and it comes with a vinyl lining, so again, half-empty Coke cans are no drama in the Lusso can.
The 2.5 gallon capacity suits medium-length journeys – you may want to empty it before it’s properly bulging with garbage, though, on hygiene grounds alone.
It also comes with three extra pockets. Two of those pockets are mesh, like the EPAuto, but one is zipped, which means anything you need to keep safe but not loose in the car – phone, cash for tolls, etc – you can keep alongside the trash can and dip into as and when you need it.
The Lusso is designed to fit in any kind of vehicle on the road today – all the way up to RVs – again, adjustable straps are your friend here, and give you a great deal of flexibility.
And hey – if you’re of the fashionable persuasion, the Lusso trash can is available in five color variants – choose the one that best matches your upholstery, and dump your garbage in style!
- Adjustable straps mean easy installation, universal fit, and alternative options alongside the car door placement
- 2.5 gallon capacity is enough for most of the trips you’ll take
- The vinyl interior lining means wet and squishy garbage is no drama
- Extra pockets – including a zipped pocket – means you can keep road trip essentials close to hand
- 2.5 gallons might be a little on the large side for some drivers
If the whole 2.5 gallon Lusso vibe is a little intimidating to you and you want something smaller in your car, you may fall more in love with the Zone Tech Universal.
Collapsible, practical, and discreet as a hedgehog’s cough, it’s just 6.14 inches by 7.7 inches, so this is not going to make too much of itself on your car journeys.
With a simple elastic strap, it’s among the easiest installs you’ll find for a car door trash can, too. If you can figure out how to put on a backpack, you’re more than capable of fitting this can.
The fun of it being collapsible means it never really stands out as an add-on fixture in the car – if you’re not using it, collapse it, boom, what trash can?
Like the other two options on our best car door trash can list, the Zone Tech is leakproof, so just because it’s small, it doesn’t compromise on dealing with wet garbage.
Small, convenient, collapsible but effective – the Zone Tech is specifically designed not to turn your car into a garbage truck.
But for shorter journeys, across town and then some, it should be more than enough to meet your car garbage needs.
- It’s small and discreet enough to use for everyday driving
- It’s been treated to be leakproof, and comes with an easy-to-clean interior lining
- While we love it on a car door, it’s flexible enough to fit in several other places in your car
- Small may be beautiful, but there’s no escaping the fact of its limited capacity
When buying a car door trash can, there are a handful of things to consider before you click on the “Buy” button.
There’s a little bit of algebra involved in the choice of the right car door trash can for your needs.
You need to take into consideration the size of your car – if you have something like a Nissan Leaf, while a 2.5 gallon trash can might be a nice thing to have, and it won’t be outside your budget, it might take up a lot of real estate inside the car that it would never be wise to fill.
The relative size might make the trash can look uncomfortably large, and it might make too much of itself in the smaller space.
Likewise, how many people regularly use the car? What are their ages and relative trash production frequency? Kids have a knack of making garbage at a phenomenal rate, older passengers less so.
Who’s going to be in your car on a regular basis?
And also, how many long journeys do you make, and how regularly? How much car door trash can space do you actually need to pay for? Prices and purchases are all relative, but there’s never a need to pay extra for capacity you’ll never use.
Leakproofing is priceless
Whatever size of car door trash can you go for, it’s always worth checking that it’s waterproof, or at the very least leakproof. That’s because it’s in the nature of the universe to ruin your day with a leak of something noxious and liquid – protect yourself ahead of time!
While if you’re buying a car door trash can this is always optional, getting one that can also work in other locations, like being hung from a headrest, allows you to make the most of its accessibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a non-waterproof car trash can?
Honestly, probably not. If nothing else, it unreasonably limits what you can safely put in the trash can, and the price differential is not big enough to justify such careful living.
Should I buy a car door trash can that matches my upholstery?
Sure, if one’s available and it pleases you. It’s not the first thing to consider – function before fashion! – but if it’s available, why not go for it?
Is a bigger trash can better for my car?
That depends – you should always empty the trash can when you get either to your destination, or back home, so more size is only valuable if there are enough people making garbage on that trip to need the space.
Also read: these car trash cans clip on very easily
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.