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Combat Kitchen Odours with a DIY Compost Bin

Cleaning Hacks

Inside: How to deep clean a kitchen compost pail to keep things smelling fresh; plus a quick DIY to make your own counter top pail to keep your food prep area tidy.

I can’t stop – no wait – won’t stop with the cleaning HAHA! I honestly feel like two things are coming together to kick my butt into gear with tackling these deep cleaning posts. First things first – my goal to write 31 posts in the month of January and also the fact that it’s so cold outside right now that I don’t want to be in my studio and do any large DIYs that require opening the doors and windows 🙂

All this inside time is making me see the annoying, gross parts of the kitchen that I want to get squeaky clean. Today – the kitchen compost bin was my target – so here’s how I deep clean the compost bin and I’ve also included a cute little DIY project to make a counter top compost bin too!

deep cleaning a kitchen compost bin

Not going to lie, this post came about after I went to town deep cleaning our stainless steel kitchen sink and then things just got out of hand when I made the lemongrass flavored air freshener. #Obsessedgreen bin

This morning, I went to empty our compost bin into the big one outside and got both simultaneously grossed out and fed up all at once. There really isn’t a way to stop the compostable food from getting nasty in the bin unless you are literally going outside to empty it daily and who’s doing that?

If you’re doing that, you’re my hero and probably don’t live where the weather gets so cold that the air hurts your face. I for one do not empty our bin daily… maybe every five days? I dunno. Not daily. And that is why the inside often looks like this… (Avert your eyes or scroll quickly if you get grossed out easily.)

No bueno as they say. How is one to deal with this being the leftover state of an emptied kitchen compost pail? Here’s how – dissolve those gross bits leftover with some natural and kitchen safe cleaning agents. 

Make a Cleaning Mixture to Disinfect the Compost Bin

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  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water 
  • a couple squirts of liquid dish soap
  • 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil

Swirl the baking soda, water and soap around until you have a gooey paste (as in the second photo there), and then add in the essential oils and stir. 

Pour all of this mixture into the bottom of the compost bin where the sticky and smelly mess is most likely to be the worst. 

Swish it all around and then add in 1 cup of white vinegar. It will start to bubble and fill up. You can top it up with a few more cups of really hot water. Then close the lid and let the compost bin stew in its disinfecting juices for 45 minutes to an hour. 

Then, wearing rubber gloves, you’ll want to put the bin into the sink while running hot water and scrape it all out with a Magic Eraser.

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The vinegar-soda mix should have dissolved most of the bits and with a few good wipes, it’ll come clean. The bonus is the essential oils will leave it actually SMELLING clean and help to keep microbes and bacteria at bay. The final option is to use a charcoal filter– though to be honest, we started using them and then always forget to reorder them. So I stick with just cleaning the bin really well. 

How to Make a Countertop Compost Bin

All of this compost bin cleaning got me thinking that I could and should have something a little cuter to sit on the counter while I’m baking to collect all the compostables! I decided to grab the following supplies: 

This is so simple it doesn’t even need instructions, but here it goes. I drilled holes into the to of the coffee tin, covered it in paper and taped it down.

Then I cut sticky contact paper to cover the top and stuck my scissors through the drilled holes so the holes went all the way through. Probably should have just put the contact paper on before drilling, but I always worry about gumming up my bit. That’s it!!

The final piece is to make sure to pop a coffee filter into the bottom before using it. The idea is to catch all the apple cores and egg shells and stuff like that so I’m not always going back and forth to the bin under the sink. I’ll just dump this one once. I dunno – maybe it won’t work – but it sure is cute, right? 

What am I laughing at? Oh, I dunno – the absurdity of trying to make a compost bin look pretty and interesting? HAHAHA Sometimes blog life is strange. 

Recommended Reading

If you’re interested in making a simple OUTDOOR Compost Bin, I found this video and this guy makes it seem SO SIMPLE and I kinda like the rustic look!

Here are some other posts you’ll probably like if you’re obsessed with deep cleaning things like I am


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