Sometimes it feels like it takes just a single trip for a car to go from spotless to mess. All it takes is one dropped water bottle, a couple of receipts, and that chip packet that really should have been cleared weeks ago. But how can a car stay clean when there’s nowhere else for the mess to go?
The problem with cars is you have to make an actual effort to clear them. The only place to put trash is on the seat next to you, so it’s no wonder the floor gets littered quickly. And most of us, sadly, don’t drive cars with enough space for a decent trash can.
There is a solution: the cup holder trash can. These things are small and compact, but with enough space to fit in a decent amount of trash. They even sit easily in the cup holder, so you don’t have to worry about storage space, or things falling about. The only downside? You still have to remember to empty them.
Also read: the ultimate guide to car trash cans
In this post we'll cover:
4 Best Cup Holder Trash Cans
Who says a trash can can’t be attractive? This diamond design is stylish, sleek, and will look good in your car. A trash can you’ll actually want to own. There’s even a choice of colors, so your trash can will feel like a feature, rather than a necessity.
At 7.8 x 3 x 3, this is a compact design that still has enough room for holding a good amount of trash. It should fit in both your cup holder and the car door pocket (or both, because there’s a 2 pack available). The easy swing lid moves with bounce, so you can quickly slip in just a bit of trash whilst you’re driving along, without having to struggle. The swing feature also keeps the lid closed, stopping bad smells from leaking out. Made from a strong and durable plastic, this is a safe way to store your rubbish.
When it comes time for cleaning, the OUDEW trash can pops open. The swinging lid comes off, and the entire lid can be pulled away. Rinse it through with some hot water and dish soap, and everything slots back together.
- Design – The diamond design is ideal for anyone who likes style, and the variety of colors takes the look to another level.
- Easy bounce cover – Drop your trash in on the go, without any struggle.
- Easy cleaning – The trash can twists apart, so you can clean away any bad smells.
- Spring lid – Lid held on with springs, which can break.
One of the reasons cars manage to get so messy is because when you’re focusing on the road, it’s hard to really take stock of everything else. You reach out to drop your pen into the cup holder, the car in front of you moves, and suddenly the pen has been thrown on the floor. Careful driving really has to take precedence over tidiness.
The FIOTOK trash can solves two problems in one go. What makes this design so good is the unusual lid. Made of a soft and bendable plastic, there’s a cross design cut into the lid which gives it a half-open/half-closed convenience. This means that as well as being a trash can, it’s a handy storage system. Every car owner has wasted time combing through a car trying to find where those coins have rolled off to. With FIOTOK, you just have to pick them out from the upright storage.
This unusual opening also has the advantage of stopping things from falling about. If you need to break suddenly, the lid won’t fly open, and your trash won’t be thrown out.
When it comes time to clean it, the top pops off. The plastic is durable, and easy to wipe down with hot water.
- Cheap – This is a 2-pack with a low price, for double the amount of storage.
- Soft top – Use it as a trash can, or store pens etc. with the convenient cross design.
- Pop off top – Comes apart easily, so you can wipe it down and remove any smells.
- 4.72 x 3.15 x 2.36 – A shorter trash can, it won’t fit as much inside.
We’ve probably all been guilty of keeping a disposable cup just slightly longer than we should. Rather than throwing it into a trash can, it becomes the trash can. Tissues, receipts, gum – all gets pushed into the disposable cup.
If this is something you find yourself doing, then take a look at the YIOVVOM garbage can. It’s shaped very much like the kind of cup you might get with a Frappuccino, but it has the advantage of durability and convenience. This sleek garbage can fits neatly into a cup holder, with an unobtrusive design. The sloped top prevents the trash can from hindering driving, and it’s easy to push down when you need to drop in your trash.
A real advantage of the YIOVVOM design is the size. At 7.87 inches tall, it can hold a lot of trash. The height is particularly useful for anyone who finds themselves regularly tossing plastic straws. With a 2.5 inch base, it slips easily into cup holders and car doors, but it tapers upwards. This gives it an overall impressive amount of space.
The easy cover can be pushed down with the thumb for quick use when driving, but it bounces back to seal. This keeps the trash, and the smells, inside. When you need to clean, the top comes off. All you need is hot water, and dish soap.
- Bounce lid – Swings down when you push it, and back up on release. Prevents leaking, and keeps everything contained.
- 7.87 inch height – Extra space, for particularly messy people.
- Sloped lid – Won’t get in the way when you’re driving.
- Spring lid – Spring lids are useful, but more likely to break if you aren’t paying attention.
It’s the lid of this BMZX cup holder that should appeal to those who are particularly messy. At 3.5 inches, it’s wide enough that you can push in banana peels, chip packets, and even those giant receipts you get at certain stores.
This BMZX car cup holder looks very much like a full-sized trash can in miniature. The lid lifts up, and pulls back down, which may look slightly less convenient. However, the smooth motion makes it actually incredibly easy to use, so you can bin things one-handed.
The total seal is a real feature, because it closes the whole cup, and won’t swing open. If you’ve thrown anything away, it won’t come back out to haunt you. Smokers can also appreciate this feature. It makes the trash can harder to use as an ashtray, but does help to tone down the smell of stale smoke.
The longer mouth tapers down into a smaller base, at only 2.6 inches. It isn’t quite as tall as other trash cans, only 6 inches, but that big top gives it an incredible capacity. The small base also means the trash can be slipped into the cup holder, or the door compartment.
At a decent price and made of a durable silicone, there’s a lot to appreciate in this convenient trash can.
- Swing lid – Opens and closes with just one hand, and locks in the trash.
- 15 oz capacity – Can hold a lot, so you don’t have to worry about emptying it out.
- 3.5 inches opening – You won’t have to struggle to fit larger items in.
- Silicone – Bendable silicone does make it easy to fit into gaps, but it can warp the opening.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cup holder trash can?
A cup holder trash can is a miniature trash can that fits conveniently in the car. Most designs are built to slot into the cup holder, and some can also go into the car door pocket. Then you have an easy place to drop any small items of trash.
What can a cup holder trash can be used for?
The most obvious answer is as a trash can. Simply toss any small bits of rubbish in, wait until the trash can is full, and then throw everything away at home. It stops the car from looking (or smelling) bad, and prevents people from littering. This can be particularly useful for anyone with young kids.
Smokers can also appreciate a cup holder trash can. Many of the designs have openings that are easy for tapping away ash, and the closed lids stop the smell of stale smoke from permeating the car.
When it isn’t being used as a trash can, it also makes a handy storage container. Pens, money, even keys can all be kept inside, so there’s a lot less fumbling for things on the floor.
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.