How to Use a Tumbling Composter


Tumbling composters seek to solve two problems at once. Traditional compost heaps and bins take a long time to produce compost. Constantly lifting a pitchfork or shovel to turn compost manually is a backbreaking and exhausting chore that you may not have time for when life gets busy. Tumbling composters are built to make the chore of turning compost easier so that you do it more often. Turning compost more often creates usable, fully decomposed compost in as little as four to six weeks. Choose from two main types: hand-crank or crankless.

Step 1

Load your tumbling composter with roughly equal amounts of green and brown materials. Do not worry about alternating them as you would in a traditional compost heap, since you will be mixing them right away.

Step 2

Turn the handle repeatedly on your hand-crank type tumbling composter. Continue cranking for about a minute or two to ensure that your compost is thoroughly mixed.

Step 3

Stand on one side of your crankless tumbling composter, not directly in front of it. Push the top end over, then catch the bottom end as it comes up. Continue pushing the ends to tumble them over and over for a couple of minutes.

Step 4

Add new materials to your compost bin whenever you have them. Tumble the compost daily, and tumble it again whenever you add something new.

Step 5

Test the moisture level of your compost frequently, as it needs moisture to break down. Grab a handful of compost and squeeze it into a ball; it should hold its shape without being muddy or crumbly. Add water if the compost is too dry, but do not make it muddy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost meat, fish, dairy products or pet waste. These items decompose very slowly and create foul odors that attract pests.

Things You'll Need

  • Green (nitrogen-rich) materials
  • Brown (carbon-rich) materials


  • Consumer Search: Compost Tumblers
  • The Garden of Oz: Composting 101
Keywords: tumbling compost directions, tumbling composter instructions, tumbling compost bins

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.