Why Does My Compost Pile Stink?

Why Does My Compost Pile Stink? | Alabama Sawyer

December 30, 2019

There are a number of reasons why your compost pile might smell bad. Thankfully, there are some easy fixes when it comes to maintenance and upkeep that should help fix that odor problem. If your compost pile smells like anything other than dirt, then you should consider these solutions.

  1. Layering/ Mixing: A compost pile should have well mixed green and brown material. You don’t want the green and brown material to sit in layers where they can’t mix at all. If your pile has the right ratio of green and brown material, consider mixing the materials up a little more. 
  1. An Excess of Green Material: Compost piles need to have the right ratio of green to brown materials. Perhaps yours has too much green material, which could result in sewer or ammonia smell. Add some leaves and newspaper to even out the excess in green material.
  1. Overly Compacted Compost: Material in compost piles should never be very compact, the material needs exposure to oxygen in order to properly compost. Turn the pile to give it the proper aeration it needs.
  1. Too Much Water: Sometimes there is just too much moisture in your compost pile. You’ll need to turn the compost and maybe even add in some dry brown material to combat the excess moisture.

Of course, there’s also indoor compost piles to consider. We at Alabama Sawyer make several types of indoor compost bins that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

Noaway Countertop Compost Bin

Petite Noaway Countertop Compost Bin

Sources & Further Reading

“Composting Problems (Troubleshooting).” Planet Natural, www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/making/problems/. 

Rhoades, Heather. “Compost Smells Bad: How To Fix Bad Smelling Compost.” Gardening Know How, 8 May 2018, www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/compost-smells-bad.htm.