Can You Compost Hair?: Here Is What You Need To Know

can you compost hair

Can you compost hair? Yes, you can compost hair. Several scientific studies have shown that hair can help supplement plants and soil with nitrogen and other essential nutrients. According to this study, non-composted hair scraps were found to improve reproductive parameters in some selected plants following treatment with the non-composted hair.

However, in this same study, it was revealed that hair does take time to decompose before it releases all its nutrients for plant absorption.

Going by this study, we can conclude that hair is a slow-degradation compostable materials. Therefore, in order to compost hair and extract all its nutrients, you need to employ good composting strategies that will help breakdown the nutrients in the hair and make them quickly available for plants’ use.

Read on for a detailed step by step guide on how to effectively compost hair in the right way and fast.

Can you Compost Hair? Here is what you need to Know

Garden plants and other agricultural plants depend solely on the composted waste that is gotten from organic materials or inorganic fertilizers, which are gotten from industrial companies. These materials serve as the primary source of nutrients for the plants.

The composted compostable materials include animal manure, kitchen and garden waste such as grass clippings, dried leaves, shredded newspapers, shredded tree branches, fruit peels, and vegetables, and of course hair.

Studies on hair have revealed that human hair, which can easily be found as a waste generated from hair saloons and barbershops can be combined with additional compostable materials and can provide a good source of essential plant nutrients.

Hair is parked with abundant nitrogen, which is when added to the soil, hair can help replenish the soil by increasing the soil water retention capacity. Hair also improves the activities of soil microorganisms and this helps increase soil aeration.

A study made at Mississippi State University to compare the field of selected important plants namely lettuce, wormwood, yellow Poppy, and feverfew showed that plants that received treatment with non-composted hair outperformed plants in the control experiment despite the nutrients in the hair was in a low degradation mode. Meaning not all the nutrients in the hair became available to the treated plants during the experiment due to the low decomposition of hair.

This study clearly showed that when hair is properly broken down can serve as a good source of nutrients.

Is Hair green or brown compost?

In composting, compostable materials are basically classified into two main classes: green matters and brown matters.

The green matters contain nitrogen and they are mostly moist. Common examples of greens include grass clippings, banana peels, and avocado peels. On the other hand, browns matters contain a high amount of carbon compound and they are mostly dry in nature. Common examples of brown matters include straw, hay, tree branches, newspapers, paper towels, sawdust, cardboard, and newsprints.

Hair is an organic matter that is rich in protein and nitrogen is the main component of protein, which is indicating that hair is a green compostable material, not a brown compostable material.

Tip: Learn more about compostable materials

How to Compost Hair Effectively

Hair is a very hard material and can take time to decompose if you do not follow the right composting preparation.

Here is a step by step guide on how to compost hair:

Collect hair that is free from toxic chemicals: make rue the hair is from shampoo and other synthetic chemicals. These synthetic chemicals may be toxic and can affect the normal physiological activities of the decomposers and plants that later be fertilized with the compost.

Shred the hair if possible: if you have a modern automated composting machine, you can put the hair and shred it. This can help breakdown the hair so quickly when added to compost.

Mix the hair with other greens: hair is not moist but other greens such as kitchen waste are usually moist. So, mix the hair with these types of greens such as grass clippings, coffee grounds, banana peels, weeds, and trimmings. Mix them thoroughly with hair.

Place brown compostable materials on the first layer: start adding materials into the compost first with brown compostable materials. Add about 5 inches of brown matter to the bottom of the compost bin or pile.

Sprinkle some water on the brown layer: gently sprinkle some water on top of the browns layer before you add the greens layer that contains the hair.

Add your greens containing the hair: now, layer the greens containing the hair on top of the browns. Add about 5 inches of greens.

Alternate between greens and browns: add the greens and hair mixture together with the browns in an alternate layer. This means if you add greens, you need to add browns. And if you add brown matters, then you have to add greens.

This alternating layer can best be described as follow:

Browns> greens> browns > greens> and so on

Continue to add the hair mixture in this form until when the compost is full. Cover the compost when it is filled up.

Turn the compost timely: in order to quicken how to hair can be cooked and broken down, you need to be turning the compost from time to time at least 2-3 times a week. This can help speed up the breakdown of hair and makes the hair release all its nutrients to the compost.

Tip: Learn more on how to compost kitchen waste

How long does it take Hair to Decompose?

This depends on how you layer your compostable materials in the compost bin. If you follow the above step by step guide, you can harvest your hair compost in about 3 to 6 months.

However, if you do not follow the right hair composting preparation and maintenance, your hair compost can take a year or 2 years before it can become fully broken down or decomposed.

Read also: Adding Worms To Compost: The Detailed Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you compost dyed hair?

Dyed hair may contain synthetic chemicals, which may be cause injury to plants. However, if the dyed hair is made from purely organic materials such as vegetables’ leaves, you can add the dyed hair to your compost.

Read also: Composting Limes (Fruits) And Lime ( CaCO3): The Detailed Guide

How to use hair as fertilizer?

Hair can be used as a fertilizer to feed plants and improve soi fertility either as a composted manure or as a mulch. You can bury the hair in the soil several inches away from the crowns of plants’ roots. The hair will breakdown over time and release nutrients to the soil and plants.

Is human hair good for plants?

Yes, human hair can be used in compost to feed plants. However, avoid fertilizing your garden plants with hair that is loaded with many hair synthetic oils and shampoos.

Read also: Can Meat Be Composted?: Here Is What You Need To Know

Can you use dog hair as fertilizer?

Dog hair can also be composted and used as fertilizer. In general, all forms of hair can be composted so far they come from animals and they do not contain toxic and synthetic chemicals.

Can you put hair in potted plants?

Hair can be used to fertilize potted plants. However, hair usually takes a while to release the nutrients to the potted plants. Hair does release nutrients such as magnesium and nitrogen slowly to the plants.

Does hair decompose in soil?

Hair can be broken down in the soil. This breaking down of hair in the soil is aided by the soil decomposers such as fungi, bacteria, and some earthworms.

Read also: Can You Compost Cheese?: Here Is What You Need To Know

What should not be composted?

Not all things or waste that you can see around the garden and kitchen are compostables. Some can go while others should not be added. The most common garden and kitchen waste that is usually avoided are meat scraps, fish scraps, treated sawdust, diseased plants, citrus fruits peels, carnivores feces, and charcoal among others.

What browns can I add to a compost?

Brown compostable materials that are commonly added to the compost include chopped cardboard, chopped straw, chopped hay, sawdust, shredded newspapers, shredded tree branches, newsprint, wood ash, paper towels, paper rolls, and so on.


Composting waste is one of the easiest ways to find cheap and rich organic fertilizer for feeding plants. Hair is one of those many compostable materials that are parked with many essential plant nutrients, which when composted properly can serve as a primary source of nitrogen and fertilizer to plants.

In this article, I looked at how to effectively compost hair in a step by step guide. I hope this article will be useful to you. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply