How Often to Turn a Compost Tumbler

  • By: Melissa
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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The biggest charm of a compost tumbler is its design that makes turning your heap easy.

Lots of people tend to shy away from composting altogether after learning that they need to actually turn their heap to allow the ingredients and microbes in it to breathe.

How Often to Turn a Compost Tumbler

Doing this would require manual labor, especially if your pile is large. Some folks also find it a bit gross, even though it’s not and would not even smell bad if you don’t include meats in it.

With a compost tumbler, you get to skip all the things some people find gross. Thanks to its design, this equipment won’t require you to use any other implements in turning your heap.

A hand crank or even just rolling the tumbler will already do the trick. This makes it a lot more convenient and attractive to lots of people.

How Often to Turn a Compost Tumbler

The bigger question when it comes to turning a compost tumbler is how often you should be doing do it.

While some people are sure that a perfectly constructed heap doesn’t require any turning at all, some beginners may find themselves confused with the opposing opinions.

To better understand what you should do with a compost tumbler, let’s get down to the most important points concerning this activity.

Why You Need to Turn Your Compost Tumbler

With some people saying that you don’t have to turn your pile, you might be wondering why others say that you should. There are three very good answers for this:

A Compost Tumbler Is Basically an Enclosed Container

Compost tumblers, as the name suggests, are enclosed containers that tend to trap moisture and heat inside. While the heat is always good for your compost, excessive moisture is not.

Turning your heap is said to help increase the heat inside the tumbler, so it’s said to be very helpful.

As for the moisture, turning alone might not get rid of the excess liquids in the heap. However, when you add browns to adjust the moisture levels, turning can help distribute the additional ingredients.

This will then help absorb the extra moisture and help balance out the heap.

Turning Keeps the Heap Well-aerated

The most important reason for turning your compost heap is to aerate the microbes that are working hard to decompose your waste. By turning your heap, the microbes get exposed to air.

It also creates new passageways for air. As compost tumblers are raised from the ground, it doesn’t give access to earthworms that make air tunnels in a heap. Turning will compensate for this.

Oxygen helps sustain the microbes in your compost, so you should make sure that they get enough. Otherwise, they might just die and slow down the decomposition process altogether.

It Solves Various Composting Issues

Turning your pile is also one of the best solutions for several problems that you might come across during the composting process.

It can help handle foul odors, keep pests away, and increase the temperature of your heap. All of these make it an essential part of composting.

How Often Should You Turn Your Heap?

Compost tumblers are designed to make turning your heap easier, so that’s definitely one of their charms. This makes turning a no-brainer. It’s the amount of turning that you should be quite particular about.

It’s no secret that composting can be a tricky activity as it can require you to be very specific about what you should and shouldn’t do.

To make sure that you’ll get the best results, you might want to avoid the things you shouldn’t do so they won’t affect the speed of your composting process.

For this, lots of people worry about how often they should turn their heap now that it’s very easy to do.

Some people say that there’s no such thing as too much turning. With commercial equipment continuously turning compost, it shouldn’t be a problem if you do the same for your composter at home.

However, there are many accounts of compost clumping after being turned too often. This can affect the speed of maturity of your compost, so you might want to avoid it.

This is one of the many reasons why some folks say that turning your heap a few times a week will already suffice.

But then again, there are also those who recommend turning every day which can further add to a beginner’s confusion.

Many compost tumbler manufacturers note that you need to turn the tumbler at least once daily, so there are certainly lots of contrasting opinions about this activity.

So, What Should You Do?

It might be best to turn by feel on many occasions. Consider the temperatures inside and outside your tumbler to decide how much turning you should do. If it’s cold outside and your compost isn’t heating up nicely, turn more often.

If you live somewhere warm and your compost has a nice balance of green and browns, you might need less turning. It’s also recommended to turn less as your compost matures.


There are so many factors that can affect the speed of your compost maturity, so it’s hard to pin down a hard and fast rule for turning.

It will be best for you to learn how to experiment and assess your heap, so you can make the right adjustments to achieve the best results.

It might seem daunting at first, but with a better understanding of composting, you will surely get the hang of it in no time.