How to Compost Indoors


Composting is a tried-and-true method of getting nutrient-enriched soil for use in your garden or potted plants. If you're an apartment dweller who doesn't have a backyard, try composting indoors--right under your kitchen sink or in any out-of-the-way, warm area of your home. It doesn't take a lot of space to make a few gallons of super-nutritious organic matter for your indoor plants. Vermicomposting, which uses worms to do the work, can be used indoors using a sealed container. If you don't want worms in your home, try a material called bokashi to to start the composting process.

Preparing a Homemade Bin

Step 1

Drill several 1/4-in. holes in the lid of a large plastic storage bin. The bin should be a solid color---not translucent--to keep as much light out as possible.

Step 2

Fill the bin halfway with shredded newspaper, coffee filters or other plain paper. Do not use newspaper that has been coated, such as full-color sections or magazines.

Step 3

Shred or break apart kitchen scraps such as vegetable or fruit scraps, egg shells, discarded coffee grinds or tea bags with the staples removed.

Step 4

Add water to your mixture to lightly dampen all of the paper.

Step 5

Add worms or bokashi, depending on the method you have chosen. Bokashi is sold in a mixture of bran and molasses and introduces a helpful bacteria (anaerobes) to help break down the composting elements and begin to turn them to soil. Worms, which you can buy online, will break down the contents naturally and will thrive on the contents contents of your composting box as long as the environment is kept moist, dark and at temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees F.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use meat, meat by-products or dairy foods such as milk, cheese or yogurt in your compost. The rule of composting is: If it once grew in the ground, it can be used in compost. Eggshells are an exception. You can add these to your compost mix to add calcium.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic storage box with lid
  • Drill
  • 1/4 in. drill bit
  • Shredded paper
  • Plant matter (vegetable or fruit scraps)
  • Coffee grinds
  • Water
  • Worms (if vermicomposting)
  • Bokashi (if not using worms)


  • Indoor Compost Pail and Using Bokashi: Clean Air Gardening
  • The NYC Compost Project - worm bin
  • Vermicomposting

Who Can Help

  • Bamboo Compost Pail: The Container Store
  • Review of Three Different Types of Indoor Composting
Keywords: composting indoors, making compost indoors, indoor compost ideas

About this Author

Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.