Composting in Winter – The Answers

Here we answer some common questions about composting in winter months.
Holding fresh compost

Composting in Winter – Can I Do It?

Composting in winter is possible depending on where you live. Active composting requires a consistent outside temperature of 40 degrees or more. So, if you live in an area with temperate winters (southern most states of the US), keep composting. The process may slow down a bit, but there is no reason for you to stop. In other parts of the country where winters are colder, composting is best put on pause until warmer temperatures return.

composting in winter

Can I Compost Indoors Instead?

If you have a heated shed or garage, you can move your ComposTumbler indoors. You’ll want to be sure to put it in an area where its okay to get a little messy from loading/unloading and liquid drainage (compost tea).

What About Material That is Still Inside My Composter Drum?

Put it to work! Your gardens and beds will thank you for a nice, layer of compost. During the winter months, the soil will draw nutrients from the compost to replenish what was used during the past growing season. So empty the drum and spread it around. Even if it is not completely finished, compost will provide valuable benefits to your soil.

winter composting

Do I Need to Perform Any End of Season Maintenance?

Just give your ComposTumbler a quick cleaning. Use a hose to rinse out the inside of the drum and let it air dry by turning it so the door face down. Doing this at the end of every composting season will help ensure a long life and inhibit any corrosion. Covers are also available for some Mantis composter models.

Do I Have to Throw Away Compostable Material During the Winter?

Don’t throw it out, save it! Leaves, kitchen scraps, and paper products can all be saved easily, giving you plenty of material to work with once the weather warms up.

Any remaining leaves that weren’t composted during the fall can be stored in bags. The same is true for paper products. Place your old newspapers, unwanted mail, printer paper (don’t forget cardboard, paper towels, napkins, etc) in bags as well. They can all be stored out of the way in the yard, shed or garage.

As for kitchen scraps, we recommend an inexpensive plastic container or trash can with a lid. Make sure its large enough for a winters worth of material. Leave it outside and add material to it as needed. The cold will help preserve it and prevent decomposition.



  1. Composting sounds exciting and I hope we can get started soon. Is the starter chemical necessary and where would we buy it after we use the starter you include with a purchase. I didn’t see a link to supplies on your website?

    Thank you

    • Hi Kathleen!

      Activator assists in keeping your compost hot. Ideal composting temperature is between 90 to 150 degrees, ideal temperature can be reached by the mixing of carbon, nitrogen, air, and water. Sometimes, the compost material will not reach the desired temperature, at that point some sort of nitrogen needs to be added. You can choose to add more nitrogen material or activator. You can buy supplies here:

      Hope this helps!

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