Does your compost odor dangerous? Listed here are 5 anti-odor ideas!


The fear of smelling unpleasant odors is often one of the reasons that prevent some people from getting started, despite the benefits of this practice, which makes it possible to recycle waste by forming a homemade green manure. However, successful compost does not leak any strong odors from its compost bin. Also, if your composter releases a particularly nauseous smell that is a source of nuisance (flies, etc.), this is often a sign that the compost is poorly balanced or aerated. To avoid bad odors in your compost, it is therefore advisable to avoid certain errors and to follow the instructions below in order to rebalance the mixture if necessary. With these little tips, your smelly compost problem will soon be over.

1) If the compost smells like a rotten egg, it should be stirred

Many mistakes can cause unpleasant odors in the compost. However, one of the most common is related to a bad decomposition. To avoid this, you must take care to combat two pitfalls: poor mixing and too slow decomposition of your various additions. Start by stirring the compost for a longer time, hunting for clumps of matter. Then, speed up the decomposition with nettle manure (recipe here). You can also optionally add crushed eggshells or a little baking soda to absorb the smell and rebalance the pH of the compost.

compost compost bin food
Credits: iStock

2) Stop throwing away foods that should not be composted

You have to resist the temptation to see your compost bin as a second trash can in which you can throw anything and everything. Indeed, some foods can not only take a long time to decompose (which promotes odors), but also giving off foul odors as it rots (also risking the passage of attracting small animals in the compost). To avoid these inconveniences, avoid throwing meat, fish, dairy products, eggs or pastries inside. As for oil and fats in general, they smother the compost and limit its good decomposition. Finally, in the case of crustacean shells or walnut shells, be sure to grind them well before adding them.

Too late, the damage is already done? If you cannot remove these foods from the pile, be sure to turn the smelly materials well. Then add a good layer of brown stuff to cover it up and help it break down.

3) If the compost smells bad with an odor reminiscent of sulfur or ammonia, beware of humidity

Compost that is too dry is obviously not conducive to the decomposition of bio-waste. The micro-organisms within the tank indeed need humidity to develop and transform the organic matter into fertilizer. However, the opposite extreme is also not desirable. If you add too much water to it or your waste makes juice on decomposition, you will smell sulfur or ammonia. This often happens when there isexcess green waste (especially lawn mowing), which unbalances the matter and makes it too nitrogenous. In this case, it is necessary air the pile turning it over and stir in dry matter (cardboard, dead leaves, straw, shredded dry branches, wood ashes, newspaper, wood chips, etc.).

Credits: Flickr/Timothy Krause

4) Pay attention to the pH of compost that smells bad

In a good odorless compost, it’s all about balance ! However, in a compost to which too many acidic bio-waste such as citrus peels are added, this risks profoundly modifying the pH of your fertilizer and making it smell bad. So prefer to limit these additions or to rebalance the humus afterwards.

5) Last scenario: the smell of fermentation

Compost that smells of fermentation, but only when the composter is opened, is compost that is ripe for use in the garden. It will finally be possible to use the result of these months of waiting and work to create your homemade fertilizer!

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