I have an embarrassing confession to make: I treated my car like trash.
Anything I could crumple up and throw in the front passenger floor of my battered, rattling Subaru Crosstrek, I would. Crumpled receipts, balled up fast food wrappers, empty plastic coffee cups, even used tissues – my car was grossly disgusting, but I just couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort I assumed it would take to keep my car clean. (Especially since that car, with over 150,000 miles and a check engine light that always seemed to be on, made me a regular mechanic.)
But then I traded in my trash of a car for a shiny, clean Subaru Crosstrek that still had that new-car smell. I couldn’t bring myself to mess it up with trash. Something had to give — I had to take better care of my car this time around, especially since, as a lease, it’s not even technically mine.
Enter: the car trash can. (The carbide box?)
You can hang this $10 2-gallon lidded trash can on the back of a seat, in the floor of the front passenger seat, or behind the center console. It’s also leak proof, essential for those nearly empty coffee cups. Most importantly though, a trash can provides a convenient place to effortlessly store trash while on the go – and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’m a cleaner, better person now that I have a carb box.
The cabbage of my dreams
I researched nearly a dozen options before finally landing on the Hotor car trash can. Not only did it have thousands of positive reviews and a rubber cover to conceal the contained mess, but it only cost around $10, making it a very low-stakes and affordable choice. After ordering, I was so excited about my future as a tidy person that I checked the front door almost every hour of my scheduled delivery window – even though I still didn’t know what to expect. expect, in terms of quality, from such an inexpensive box.
So when the Hotor finally arrived, I was pleasantly surprised with a well-built and thoughtfully designed receptacle. With its waterproof vinyl interior and zippered lid, this trash can reminds me a lot of an insulated lunch bag – if lunch bags had an opening at the top of the lid covered with rubber flaps (and you stuffed trash in there) . These easy-to-clean flaps keep trash packed down and out of sight while giving you enough access to dump your trash without having to use the zipper.
The trash can’s adjustable strap makes it easy to install in any type of car. I chose to thread the strap around my center console lid so that the bin would hang directly behind the console in the back seat, but this method involves closing the lid over the strap which might make the console more hard (but not impossible) to close.
You can try circling the entire console if you want to avoid closing the lid on the strap, but editor Joshua Lyon, who also tested the Hotor in his SUV, found that the straps loosened when he tried this method. He was also lucky to zip the center console over the straps and tighten them in place.
The company offers additional placement suggestions, as do some people who reviewed the Hotor on Amazon. Some people prefer to hang the can from the back of the passenger seat headrest, while others attach the strap to the gear lever so that the can rests in the footrest of the front passenger seat.
Where you put the trash can ultimately depends on what works for you and your car. But the most important thing is that you find a safe and easily accessible place while driving. Keeping your eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel is essential. Joshua and I have found hanging the box on the back of the center console makes this easy. When, for example, I walk away from a drive-thru with a crumpled Taco Bell receipt in my hand, all I have to do is reach out and stuff it into the box.
This collapsible rectangular trash can has many extra touches that make it an enjoyable experience, such as an adjustable strap for easy installation, magnetic clips placed near the trash can lid to hold trash bags in place, and three exterior mesh pockets for more storage. The Hotor is available in seven colors, including a perky millennial pink and more than one camo; I chose black to match my car’s interior, but people looking for something bolder have several options.
This trash can is so convenient that I don’t realize I’m even tidying up while doing it. The Hotor is so well designed that I barely notice it, which makes keeping order in my car infinitely easier.
The 2 gallon receptacle can hold a lot of trash, and since I’m usually the only person in my car, I can wait almost two months before changing the bag. It’s especially great for anyone like me who knows they won’t keep up with weekly bag changes. (Don’t worry: I never throw away anything that might get moldy or smell funky.)
The Hotor is also a versatile little thing: not only is it a trash can, but this leak-proof container can also be used as a car cooler during long journeys or as a handy place to keep a first aid kit, snacks or toys to keep. busy children. I can’t see myself using it for anything other than garbage, but it’s nice to know I could if I needed to.
Get the most out of your carbide box
- Unless you want to empty the trash often, don’t use it for perishable food waste. I’m honest with myself: I can want to be the person who empties the bins at the end of each week, but I a m the person who would leave the bag until the food rots and the car inevitably stinks. Plus, part of the reason this trash can works so well is that you don’t necessarily have to clean it as often.
- Don’t throw away anything that takes up too much space. If the bag fills up too quickly, you risk falling behind on maintenance. This can quickly set off a chain reaction – personally my Subaru Crosstrek would turn from car to junkyard.
- Stock up on garbage bags to save money and avoid running out. Bulk ordering bags (like I did when I bought a pack of 100 2-gallon trash bags) to keep in your car is a good way to make sure you never run out of replacements. And I mean literally – this 100 pack is meant to outlast my lease. I’m sure you can substitute a plastic grocery bag in a pinch, but a bag that actually fits the dimensions of the box is easier (and less frustrating) to use.
- Store extra trash bags, cleaning wipes and more in the box’s exterior mesh pockets. Personally, I fill the pockets with extra garbage bags. If I didn’t, it would take me years to get a replacement from all the inside my house after changing the bag, so naturally I would use the bin without a bag, which would just lead to another headache when it came time to clean it. But the mesh pockets can hold anything you want to keep close at hand.
The Hotor car trash can is the most valuable $10 I’ve spent in a very long time. Any car trash can could have helped me control my careless tendencies, but this particular trash can is so easy to use that it actually held me accountable. I really needed it, and my car too.
This article was edited by Ben Frumin.