How to Compost in Your Apartment Without the Smell: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Compost in Your Apartment Without the Smell: A Step-by-Step Guide

Composting might seem like a challenge in a small apartment, but fear not! With the right approach, you can turn your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost without any unpleasant odors.

In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the process of apartment composting while keeping things simple and odor-free.

Step 1: Choose the Right Composting System

Before you start, decide on a composting system that suits your apartment space and lifestyle. Two popular options are worm composting (vermicomposting) and bokashi composting. Both methods are efficient and great for indoor use.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

For worm composting, you’ll need a bin with a lid, bedding material (shredded newspaper or cardboard), redworms (Eisenia fetida), and kitchen scraps. For bokashi composting, you’ll need a bokashi bucket, bokashi bran, and kitchen scraps.

Step 3: Prepare the Setup

For worm composting, line the bottom of the bin with damp bedding material and add the worms. Place the bin in a cool, dark area. For bokashi composting, sprinkle a layer of bokashi bran at the bottom of the bucket.

Step 4: Start Composting

Begin adding kitchen scraps to your chosen system. For worm composting, bury the scraps under the bedding material. For bokashi composting, layer scraps with bokashi bran. Remember, both systems can handle a variety of food scraps, including fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells.

Step 5: Maintain the Compost

Regularly check the moisture level of your compost. Keep it damp but not soggy. For worm composting, add more bedding material as needed. Empty your bokashi bucket’s liquid (bokashi tea) and replace the lid tightly after each addition.

Step 6: Manage Odors

To prevent odors, follow these tips:

For worm composting, avoid adding dairy, oily foods, and strong-smelling items like onions and garlic.
For bokashi composting, sprinkle bokashi bran generously between layers and ensure a tight-fitting lid.

Step 7: Harvest Your Compost

Worm composting: When the bedding is transformed into dark, crumbly compost, separate the worms and harvest the compost.
Bokashi composting: Once the bokashi bucket is full, bury the fermented scraps in an outdoor compost bin or dig a trench in your garden.

Step 8: Use Your Compost

Congratulations! You now have nutrient-rich compost to enrich your indoor plants or outdoor garden.


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How do I stop my indoor compost from smelling?

To prevent unpleasant odors from your indoor compost, follow these steps:

Balance your compost by adding equal parts of “green” (fruit and vegetable scraps) and “brown” (shredded paper, cardboard) materials. Avoid adding dairy, meat, or oily foods, as they can contribute to smells.

Keep your compost pile or bin well-aerated by turning it regularly. Ensure proper moisture levels by adding water as needed, but avoid making it too wet. Cover your compost with a tight-fitting lid to contain any potential odors.

How do you compost at home for beginners in an apartment?

Composting at home in an apartment is easy for beginners with these steps:

Choose a composting method that fits your space, like worm composting or bokashi composting.

Gather necessary supplies such as a compost bin, bedding material, worms (for worm composting), or bokashi bran (for bokashi composting).

Set up your chosen composting system and start adding kitchen scraps, avoiding meat, dairy, and oily foods.

Maintain the compost by turning or layering it as needed, and managing moisture levels. Follow odor-reducing tips like proper balancing, frequent turning, and covering the compost.

Does composting in your house smell?

Composting in your house can sometimes produce mild odors, especially if not managed properly.

However, with good composting practices like balancing materials, maintaining moisture levels, and avoiding strong-smelling items, you can greatly minimize any unwanted smells.

Choosing the right composting system and following odor-control tips can make indoor composting virtually odorless.

Does the smell of compost go away?

Yes, the smell of compost usually diminishes over time. As organic materials break down and mature into compost, the initial odors tend to fade.

Properly managed compost piles or bins will have a more earthy and pleasant scent. Regularly turning the compost, maintaining a proper balance of materials, and providing adequate aeration will help speed up the decomposition process and reduce odors, leading to a more pleasant composting experience.


Composting in your apartment doesn’t have to result in unpleasant odors. By choosing the right composting system, maintaining it properly, and following a few odor-reducing strategies, you can transform your kitchen scraps into valuable compost while keeping your living space fresh and inviting.


  1. You Should Be Composting in Your Apartment. Here’s How. Source
  3. How to Compost in an Apartment, source