Does a Compost Bin Need Drainage?

One of the common questions asked by those who would like to start composting is if a compost bin needs drainage. There is a wide array of compost bin sizes that you can choose from and you can even make one at home using different materials. You might notice some compost bins have holes for drainage while others do not. So does a compost bin need drainage? We will discuss the answer below.

Does a compost bin need drainage? If your compost is located outdoors and does not have a lid, water can seep into it so it must have drainage. Moreover, you need to add water into the bin during the summer season so that the compost will not dry. To avoid overwatering, it should have the right drainage. Take note that compost needs to be moist but not dripping wet to provide the best benefits for the plants.

When making a compost bin, make sure that it has proper drainage. Place the compost in well-draining sand, gravel, or soil. Do I need to put holes in my compost bin? Should compost bins have a base? How do you add drainage to a compost bin? These are some of the questions that we will discuss in this article. Check out the rest of the article below for more tips and information.

Does a compost bin need drainage
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Does My Compost Bin Need To Be Airtight?

The compost bin does not have to be airtight. If it is airtight, there will be anaerobic conditions inside the bin which is not ideal for composting. Proper ventilation is important in composting and without it; organic matter will not decompose well. Aerobes are bacteria that are important in composting. For this type of bacteria to survive, the air is important.

Do You Need to Add Holes to Your Compost Bin?

You need to add holes to your compost bin for proper drainage and ventilation. Too much humidity is bad for the compost bin because it can lessen its efficiency. To prevent moisture from building up inside the compost bin, you need to add drain holes.

Why is there a Bad Smell Coming from My Compost Bin?

If there is a bad smell coming from your compost bin, it means that the compost pile is too wet. This can be the result of various factors like too much water and not enough ventilation. Ventilation is very important in a compost bin because without it, it can become rancid and stagnant. To solve this issue, you need to add some fast-decomposing material such as chimney ash.

Why is There Too Much Water in My Compost Bin?

Too much water in the compost bin means that it does not have proper. Make sure not to overwater your compost. It should be moist but not dripping wet. Too much water is a common problem for compost bins that are open and located outdoors. During the rainy season, make sure to cover the bin and there should be proper drainage so that water will not get stuck inside.

Why Are There Holes in a Compost Bin?

There are holes in a compost bin because it plays an important role when it comes to oxygen, drainage, and ventilation. Holes are added at the bottom to control the water level. If you are planning to make your compost bin, make sure that there are enough holes for oxygen and drainage.

What is the Proper Amount of Ventilation for a Compost Bin?

The proper amount of ventilation for the compost bin will have to depend on the moisture level inside it. Take note that while compost bins have holes to adjust and maintain the environment inside them, it still requires the proper amount of ventilation to thrive. To make sure that the compost bin has proper ventilation, you need to check it regularly.

During the summer season, the moisture inside the bin can evaporate through the holes. If this is the case, you need to add more water to it. On the other hand, during the winter or rainy season, the compost bin will need more drainage and ventilation to avoid moisture. We have also shared this article titled, do compost bins need holes in the bottom? You can check out the article for more tips and information.

How Much Water Should You Add to the Compost Bin?

The amount of water that you need to add to the compost bin will have to depend on how moist or dry it is. Bear in mind that a compost pile should have about 40 to 60 percent water. You can test the moisture inside the pile by scooping a handful and squeezing it. If a lot of water comes out, it means that it is too wet and you should avoid watering it. However, if the pile is too dry, you need to add more water to it.

How Do I Add Proper Drainage to a Compost Bin?

To make sure that the compost bin has proper drainage, you need to add holes in the sides, bottom, and even the top of the lid. The holes at the sides and lid of the compost bin will allow proper ventilation while the holes at the bottom will serve as the drainage.

Step 1 – Adding Holes

You can add holes to the compost bin. For the compost to be full of nutrients, it needs to have proper air circulation. Punch holes at the sides, bottom, and top of the bin. Make sure that you add small homes at the bottom so that the contents of the bin will not fall out. You can use a driller to add the holes. Space out the holes to be about 1 ½ inch to 2 inches apart.

Step 2 – Lining It

If you have added large holes at the bottom of the bin, you can line it with a wire mesh to prevent its contents from falling out.

Step 3 – Use a Drip Tray

If you are placing the compost bin indoors, you will need a drip tray to catch the water that comes out from the holes in the compost bin. You can purchase one at your local hardware store or you can create one.

✅ Video – Trash Can to a Compost Bin DIY Tutorial

CodyJo shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to make a compost bin from a trash can. If you are thinking about using an old trash can for a compost bin, watch the video below to learn how to add holes into it.

Is it Okay if My Compost is Too Wet?

Having compost that is too wet is not okay because organisms that play an important role in breaking down the organic material will not function well in an environment that is too wet. These organisms need both air and water to thrive. Make sure that there is a balanced environment inside the compost bin. If the compost is too wet, it will not be able to support aerobic bacteria and other organisms. You can also read this article that discusses if you should add water to your worm farm. We have shared helpful information that you can refer to.

My Compost is Too Dry, What Will I Do?

If your compost is too dry, you need to turn it. Compost that is too dry can become hot which is not ideal. You can speed up the decomposition by turning it so that the compost will mix evenly and the dry parts will get moisture. Aside from that, you can also add water to the compost bin.

How to Find Out if My Compost is Too Wet?

One of the common signs that the compost is too wet is when there is a bad smell that comes from it. Moreover, check the bottom of the compost if there is a slimy appearance or water puddles. If your compost takes too long to decompose, it is also another sign that it is too wet. You can use a moisture level to check how wet the pile is or you can also use your hands. Scoop a handful of compost and squeeze it. If a lot of water comes out, it means that your compost is waterlogged.

When Should You Water Your Compost?

You need to water your compost if it becomes too dry. You can use different methods to check the moisture in the compost pile which include looking for signs of dryness, using a moisture meter, and doing the squeeze test. Before watering, make sure that you check the moisture level of the pile to avoid overwatering it. In the summer when everything dries out fast, you may need to water your compost pile frequently especially if it is placed outdoors.

Should You Place the Compost Bin Indoors or Outdoors?

You can place the compost bin indoors or outdoors depending on where it is most convenient for you. It also has to depend on the size of your compost bin. Smaller compost bins can be placed indoors while larger ones are usually for outdoor use. A lot of people choose to place the compost bin in the kitchen since it is more convenient to throw food scraps in there. You can also check out this article that discusses how deep your worm bed should be. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.


In this article, we have discussed if a compost bin needs drainage. We have found out that drainage is very important in a compost bin to avoid too much moisture and to create the ideal environment for composting. You can purchase compost bins that already have holes in them. On the other hand, if you are using an ordinary plastic container, drill holes using a driller. Thank you for reading!

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