How to get rid of the smell of compost

If you make your own compost, it is possible it will give off an odour that is less than attractive. Most people place their compost heap at the bottom of the garden, away from the house for this very reason. However, if the smell becomes unbearable there are a few things you can do to relieve the ‘symptoms’. These are some common issues and ideas to deal with the problem.

You may need to drain your compost

Whilst it is necessary to keep your compost moist, over-wetting can cause problems. A good thing to do is cover up your compost heap, especially if you live in a particularly wet area, or are experiencing long periods of inclement weather, this will help in controlling the moisture that gets into the compost. Something else you can try is alternate between your damp and dry materials that you are putting onto your heap.

If you already have waterlogged compost then it is time to get out your fork and turn your compost heap over. If you do not yet have a compost heap or bin, then plan ahead with regards the situation of it, moisture problems can then be prevented from the start.

You need to have the right balance of materials in your compost

There are essentially two types of materials that go into compost – these are known broadly as ‘green materials’ and ‘brown materials’. Green materials are normally things like grass, hedge cuttings, old plant-life and weeds, these tend to be moist. Brown materials are generally dry and could be things like hay and straw. Green materials are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. If you have a strange odour excreting from your compost heap, it will help if you add some extra brown materials. Essentially the carbon from the brown materials will act as a compost odour eater.

Turn your compost

One of the main causes of smelly compost is when the compost has not been turned regularly enough. There are millions of living micro-organisms present in your compost and they require oxygen to survive. By turning your compost you are giving these micro-organisms the oxygen they require. You are also helping to move moisture away and mix the compost thoroughly all the way through.

Having a smell issue coming from your compost is an easily fixed problem so don’t panic and get turning!