Compost Odor? Potential Solutions!

Are you dealing with compost odor, or afraid to begin composting because you’re worried about bad smells?

If your compost has a bad odor, then there is something wrong. When the composting process is working correctly, then there are not any bad smells or strong odors.

Compost has a strong ammonia smell

A strong ammonia smell is typically related to too many nitrogen rich materials, and too much moisture.


Add sawdust, shredded leaves, shredded newspaper or shredded cardboard to add more carbon rich materials, dry out the pile, and bring it back into balance. If it’s a bin, leave the lid off in sunny weather so that the moisture can burn off.

Compost smells rotten

A rotten smell is usually related to adding materials to your pile that should not have been composted in the first place. Are you added meat, dairy, grease or bones to your compost pile or bin? If so, stop!


You can try adding more carbon rich materials like leaves and sawdust to bury the smelly materials.

You could dig a hole and bury the entire contents of the bin or pile and start over, avoiding meat, dairy, grease and bones in your next batch. Trench composting takes place underground, but there aren’t any smells because the materials are fully buried.

There are organic products that rapidly end any odors, and they work! I like this BioWish Odor Control product.

Do you have a different kind of stink with your compost?

Leave a comment here and tell us about it, or go to our Composting Questions page for help.