My Pull Out Trash Can Won't Stay Closed

Troubleshooting Pull Out Trash Can Issues

Pull-out trash cans are an improvement over the hidden or out-of-place alternatives. We can keep the best kitchen trash can in a central location and use it easily without reaching under the counter. But when things go wrong with a pull-out trash can, it can be a significant problem.

Do you find yourself saying “my pull-out trash can won’t stay closed?” Is it sticking out from the counter, ready to catch your knee every moment you pass? Then you’re in the right place.

Pull-out-cabinet-trash
Under Counter Pull Out Trash and Recycling Cans

This article will help you fix the underlying problem causing your pull-out trash bin to stay ajar. Starting with some easy pointers that might solve your problem instantly, then moving on to more thorough inspection and repair ideas before finishing up with the worst-case scenario, replacement.

Check for Obstructions

How do you fix a slide-out trash can? Obstructions are the most common problem that might prevent your pull-out trash can from closing. It might seem obvious, but it’s crucial to ensure this isn’t the issue before moving on.

For a lot of pull-out trash cans, there is very little room left inside of the cabinet opening for anything except the trash cans. After all, why would anyone leave extra space that isn’t used?

But this means that small items can get caught between the bin and cabinet. If you’re thinking, “my pull-out trash can won’t stay closed,” the first step should be to check for anything that has fallen inside the cabinet.

It might be a relatively thin piece of cardboard. Or maybe a can that somehow made its way into a far corner. It could even be the trash bags or small kitchen appliances stored there since day one.

Whatever the case, look at the trash can, the cabinet opening, and the general area to ensure nothing is blocking the trash can from going all the way in.

If you find yourself asking, “How do I keep my kitchen trash can from sliding on the floor?” verify that the trash bin is fully seated in place and not slipping to block movement.

Hopefully, that fixed your problem, and you can move on with your day. But if not, don’t worry. Let’s move on to other solutions, which can still be quick and painless ways to get your pull-out trash can working well again.

Remove Trash Cans and Inspect

If you can’t see any obstructions with a quick look, then it’s time to dig deeper.

Inspect the Area

For this step, begin by removing the trash bins, trash bags, and anything else stored in the trash cabinet.

Pull-out-trash-kitchen
Installing a Pull Out Trash and Recycling Cans

This will allow you to access every part of the drawer slides and see the entire cabinet door and interior.

Once you have removed everything you can easily take out, it’s time to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Some might see this as a time-consuming step. But you're not redecorating your entire home decor or anything that significant. Just a careful inspection of a problematic area.

Check the Slides

Now you can see the drawer slides or rails from all angles. How do you fix a sliding trash cabinet? Extend them fully and inspect the inside and outside of both drawer slides.

Is there anything inside of them that shouldn’t be? Did a screw come loose and is lodged in the rail? Did a hard piece of food fall into the small area, causing problems?

Another common issue is when plastic or rubber pieces of drawer slides wear out. While most metal pieces are unlikely to fail quickly, plastic or rubber can degrade rapidly and cause your pull out trash can to not close properly.

If you can’t see anything in the way of the rails and nothing seems overly worn, there is one final check to do before moving to the next step.

Verify the Rails Are Level

If the slider drawers are tilting away from the cabinet, it might cause your cash can to stay open. This can happen if improperly installed or if a screw comes loose or falls out.

If you find that they aren’t level, try to see if there are any missing screws and replace them. Look for existing holes in the wood of the cabinet where a screw used to be. Grab a screwdriver to check the hardware is firmly in place.

How do you adjust a garbage cabinet? If the rails need to be adjusted more than that, you might need to remove and replace the existing unit to fix the problem.

Look For Water

Problems can arise if water or moisture has entered the cabinet too. While the coffee maker steam is more likely to hurt the overhead cabinets, water can still trickle down and cause warping and other premature failures of components.

Are you still saying to yourself, “My pull-out trash can won’t stay closed!” There’s still more help ahead.

Replace Slider Rails or Parts

If you have carefully inspected all the pull-out trash can components and found nothing obstructing the mechanism or drawer, it’s time to get serious about fixing this.

As trash compactors have declined in popularity, people often quickly throw in pull-out trash cans as an alternative. Unfortunately, some weren’t installed very well or used cheap parts.

Before you take a trip to Home Depot to replace the entire unit, contact the manufacturer. Many companies stand behind their products. Some will even provide help or replacement products after the warranty expires.

Look for the manufacturer's name and model number, then contact them for help. Maybe they’ll be able to provide you with a full or partial replacement. And if not, they still might be able to help identify the problem.

Undercounter-trash-can
A Pull Out Trash Can Underneath a Utility Drawer in a Kitchen

If all else fails, it's time for a new pull-out trash can mechanism.

Thankfully, most of them are relatively affordable, especially for how often they are used. They are also usually quite easy to replace and come with full instructions. It’s not like you’re replacing an entire sink or some expensive wall decor.

Before calling in a pro, consider giving it a shot yourself. When you’re ready to install the new unit, pay close attention to the details.

The sliders are simple, but installing them according to the instructions is critical. Take caution when measuring everything to get the right size, use any templates they provide to line it up properly, and always ensure it is level before mounting it permanently.

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Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me

I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
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