Even the cleanest New Yorker is most likely hiding a disgusting secret and experts say it's a real problem.

Keeping a tidy home is a source of pride for many people. But all of that dusting, scrubbing and vacuuming is most likely still not enough. It turns out that most New Yorkers don't ever clean one of the grossest items they own. What's worse is that experts say it should be scrubbed at least once a month.

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New York Homeowners' Most Overlooked Dirty Item

I was recently taking a walk around my neighborhood when I realized just how gross most people are. It was garbage day and also unusually windy. Because garbage had just been picked up, empty trash receptacles were sitting on the curb in front of everyone's home. The wind had blown the tops open, revealing the nasty and gross secret that everyone was hiding.

As I walked down the street I noticed many of the garbage cans were caked with grease, filled with liquid goo or just completely crusted with what looked like years of nasty food waste. It turns out that my neighbors are not alone. Most New Yorkers never clean out their garbage cans, but it's something that experts say should be done regularly.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Outdoor Garbage Can?

Martha Stewart, the authority on housekeeping, suggests giving your outdoor garbage cans a "deep clean" once a month. Other cleaning experts agree, noting that liquids, food waste and other bacteria-filled items can quickly spiral out of control, turning your garbage can into a toxic hazard.

Stewart says the length of time between cleanings can be extended if homeowners refrain from putting liquids into the garbage and place food debris in a separate bag that's then placed inside the usual garbage bag. This is most important during hot summer months when maggots and bugs can quickly multiply inside a hot trash receptacle.

How to Properly Clean an Outdoor Garbage Can

If you own a pressure washer, that's probably the best tool for the job. A garden hose and liquid soap such as Mr. Clean soap can also easily make your trash receptacle sparkling clean. Simply tip the garbage can on its side and blow away all of the debris.

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Those who are repulsed by the thought of cleaning their garbage cans can actually hire a company to come and do the job for them. There are several small businesses that will drive a truck to your house equipped with a special apparatus that will automatically clean your trash can. Just leave it at the curb and they'll drive up and do the job for a small maintenance fee either weekly, monthly or four times a year.

We want to know if you regularly clean your garbage cans. If so, how often do you do it? You can text us on our free mobile app or comment on our Facebook page.

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