How to Keep Compost in the Kitchen With No Smell

You can easily compost table scraps rather than throwing them away with other garbage.

You'll find the kitchen, of course, the most convenient place to locate a kitchen scrap compost bin. You will have to deal with the issue of odor control. Bad odor, as well as being unpleasant, may attract vermin. However, you can control odor when composting. You simply need to use the right type of container and clean the compost bin frequently.

Find a large (at least 1 gallon-sized) ceramic or metal container with a lid. Aluminum or stainless steel weighs less than ceramic, but ceramic cleans up more easily, as it requires less scrubbing. Lids should be tight-fitting to keep out bugs and keep in odor.

Place a plastic bag in the container as a liner. If you are opposed to using plastic bags, you do not have to use one. Or you can find biodegradable bags. But these do make clean-up easier--and you won't have to take the whole container out to your garden compost--you'll just have to carry the plastic out and dump the contents on your outdoor compost pile.

Place the container in an out-of-the way area. Beneath the kitchen sink is usually a good place.

Place a variety of kitchen scraps in the container. These can include coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps and eggshells. Avoid putting meat scraps in the kitchen bin--these become malodorous quickly, as do other animal proteins, such as milk, eggs, cheese and butter. Avoid bones as well--they won't break down.

Sprinkle or spray a compost deodorizer on the compost. Find these in many places that sell kitchen compost bins. Use deodorizer at least once every week unless you are dumping the compost frequently. When using your own ceramic or metal compost bin, dump compost in the outside bin once every four to 10 days.

Clean the inside of the container and lid by scrubbing it with a wet soapy sponge. Rinse the container and dry it before re-using. Do this each time you dump out the old compost. Even when you use a plastic bag, the inside of the container will hold on to old odor if you don't wash it frequently.

Things You Will Need

  • Large ceramic or metal jar, with lid
  • Plastic bags
  • Compost deodorizer
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Sponge


  • If you don't mind spending extra money, you can buy commercial composting containers created specifically for kitchen composting. Find these online or at home improvement stores. Low-odor bin types include Bokashi bins--in which helpful bacteria is added to speed the composting process--and other compost bins. Other low-odor bins rely on deodorizers,such as carbon filters, to keep odor low.
  • You can compost with little odor, indoors or out, via worm composting (also called vermicomposting). These bins resemble other compost bins except for ventilation holes and other features to make the bins hospitable for worms. The worms eat the food scraps and break them down through digestion.
  • For extra odor control, place a sachet of activated charcoal or a box of baking soda beneath the sink next to your compost bin.
  • You can use a plastic container, but you'll need to clean it well with bleach and water each time or it will develop a bad odor, as food odors cling to plastics.