How do I stop my kitchen compost from smelling?

Making your own compost is an amazing and fulfilling thing to do. You get to take your food waste scraps and rather than throw them out only to end up in a landfill, you turn them into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to feed your plants and help them grow healthy and strong. That said, no good deed goes unpunished – because a compost bin can be incredibly smelly!

The good news? There are steps that you can take to keep your kitchen compost from smelling so bad. Here’s everything you need to know:

Why does compost smell so bad?

Before we get to the solution, first let’s identify why exactly compost bins smell so bad!

In an ideal world, your compost bin should have a pleasant, earthy smell. This is because a well-balanced green waste pile should not smell at all. The bad smell comes from the improper decomposition of your good waste.

In essence, without the proper conditioned, anaerobic conditions will take over, thus creating methane which as you know, has a terribly undesirable aroma.

Additionally, it is worth remembering that the microbes in your compost pile need air in order to compost your waste properly. As such, compost can begin to smell because there is too much water and not enough air.

Another contributing factor could be that you have larger pieces of waste that are struggling to decompose, making the pile all the smellier!

So, while composting is great for the environment, what can be done about it stinking out yours? 

How to stop your compost from smelling?

Here are some hacks for keeping your compost from making your kitchen unbearably smelly:

1 – Use a compost bin with a charcoal filter

If you have a green compost bin indoors, you can replace it with one that has a high-quality charcoal filter. This filter will successfully trap any unwanted smells and keep your kitchen nice and fresh. Due to the handy odourless design, you can happily keep your compost bin stored on the countertop without concern.

2 – Replace your filters regularly

As compost bin filters will deteriorate over time, it is important that you regularly clean them. Additionally, it is always worth replacing your filter every 4 to 6-months just to be on the safe side.

3 – Use compostable bags to make it easier to empty the bin

You don’t necessarily need to use a fancy compost bin for keeping your green waste indoors, a simple small container will work. In which case, you should use compostable bags so that the bin doesn’t get too dirty and smelly.

If you do this, you won’t be required to clean the bin out every single time that you use it. You simply need to tie the bag off when it is full, clear the waste out, and then start again.

4 – Regularly empty your compost bin (every 3 to 4-days)

Another handy tactic for keeping your bin from smelling too bad is to regularly empty it. As waste will usually decompose after 2 or 3-days, it will start to smell quite bad. In order to prevent this, you need to empty your indoor waste bins as often as possible.

5 – Add more brown waste to your compost bin

You should aim to keep a proper mix of brown and green waste in your composter. With an inadequate ratio, your green waste will begin to stink. The fact is, brown wastes are full of carbon (e.g., old newspaper shredding), whereas greens (veggie waste), does not. By adding both, you can counteract some of the foul smells.

6 – Wash your compost bin often

Another important thing to do is ensure that you clean the composter bin as often as possible using bleach and/or hot soapy water. This will immediately eliminate any unpleasant smells that linger in the kitchen.

6.5 – And dry the compost bin thoroughly afterward

Just as you should clean your compost bin, you also want to make sure that you allow it plenty of time to dry out properly before use. This will ensure that mould doesn’t grow – which can also contribute to the foul-smelling odours.

7 – Add a small amount of soil to the mix

Bear in mind that food waste needs plenty of food bacteria to decompose. Typically speaking, bacteria can easily find their way into your compost bin, however, by adding some soil, it adds extra bacteria that can speed up the process, while also keeping your composter from stinking out your kitchen!

8 – The ultimate hack of all: INVEST IN AN ELECTRIC COMPOSTER 

The ultimate hack of them all is to simply invest in an electric composter. Not only do these innovative machines have a rubber seal that can trap the bad smells inside, but they also have effective filters that can prevent any foul odours from exiting the composter and making your kitchen smell bad. A Hass Food Composter can effectively make compost in as little as a day, while also being perfectly suited to being stored on your kitchen countertops.


Simply put, the smells that emanate from your kitchen are a result of improper food waste disposal. It will certainly take some trial and error to prevent your bin from smelling, but if you practice the above tips, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue.

Again, investing in an electric food composter will practically eliminate any need to faff around with the other 7-hacks, so it may be best to just skip right to number 8 and be done with it!

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