Can you put moldy food in compost: useful methods for a fertilizer that you can make in the backyard composting bin

Put Moldy Food In Compost: Helpful Tips & Recommendations Composting for Beginners

Often there are situations when the products in the refrigerator disappear and become moldy. At such times, many gardeners have a question, can you put moldy foods in compost? You can read more about adding moldy food to the compost pile below.

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What is mold?

Before jumping into the question, of whether can you put moldy foods in compost, you should study the characteristics of mold. This is a type of fungus, the spread of which is associated with spores of mature strains. Mold is constantly around a person.

When mold spores get into the right conditions, they become stronger and begin to develop. For the development of a dispute, the following conditions must be maintained:

  • the temperature in the range of 131 to 158℉;
  • high indicators of humidity;
  • air;
  • the nutritional components.

Indoors, mold spores develop if heat and moisture are retained. On the street, it can appear if coolness and moisture remain. Therefore, you can notice it in the shade of trees, where there is a lot of vegetation.

Often, mold spores appear on products that are stored in the refrigerator.

Mold has thread-like roots that develop inside foods. With the growth of the roots, the main part begins to grow, which a person sees. As the stems mature, spores begin to spread.

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The effect of mold spores on food

If you notice mold spores on the products, it is not enough to cut them off. After all, a network of roots remains inside, which has already spread throughout the product. That is why all moldy products should be thrown away, or added to the compost.

Eating moldy foods is not safe for humans. Especially if the question concerns cheese, meat, or vegetables.

What kind of mold grows on food?

Most mold develops on meat products. On bread, most often, you can see a black mold called Rhizopus stolonifer. It can also be seen in wild fruits and vegetables.

Is mold harmful?

It must be understood that some types of mold can harm the body by penetrating inside. However, you don’t have to eat moldy foods to get infected. You may even inhale the spores. This causes the development of allergies.

There are types of mold that do not harm humans. If you choose the right conditions, you can make mycotoxins out of them. According to statistics, almost 25% of crops that grow in vegetable gardens are already affected by fungal toxins.

Is all mold harmful?

There is beneficial mold. Often it is found on cheeses and is specially bred for this. On the surface of brie cheese, you can see a beneficial white mold.

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How to add moldy foods to compost?

Scientists believe that it is possible to add moldy foods to compost. They are completely safe. However, you need to know that not all moldy food is suitable for this. There are different varieties of mold that can vary in shade. You can find white, pink, green, blue, black, and red mold.

Hue development depends on the spores. The most common mold found in food is downy white mold. So, you can see moldy fruits or moldy vegetable scraps. The green variety can be seen on stale bread. Pink and color mold appears on dairy and meat products.

Quite often, people wonder, is white mold okay in compost? If possible, please add moldy foods to compost bins. It’s completely safe and can make the compost pile healthier.

List of allowed products

It is allowed to putting moldy food in the compost. The list of eligible products includes:

  • fruit kernels;
  • fruit peel;
  • the skin of vegetables;
  • potato;
  • bread.
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Is it okay to add bread to compost?

Many people wonder, can you throw moldy bread in compost? Moldy bread is on the list of allowed foods. Especially if there are worms in the compost. They feed on mold fungus.

Therefore, if you do not see mold in the compost bins, then the worms have eaten it.

What foods should not be added to compost?

The permitted foods have been listed previously. However, there is a list of food scraps that should not be added to the compost bin. You can read more about composting process with food below.

List of prohibited moldy food

Do not add meat, milk, and fatty foods that have been affected by mold to the compost. It is important to completely exclude products of animal origin. After all, you risk attracting pests and rodents. In addition, spoiled milk and meat emit an unpleasant odor.

Why should you give up dairy products?

The refusal to use dairy products in the compost bin is due to several reasons. They are capable of attracting pests. If the plants on the site are treated with compost, which contained spoiled dairy products, they cannot be consumed.

Otherwise, you run the risk of causing serious health problems. Dairy products quickly break down the structure of the compost bin, so you run the risk of spoiling the fertilizer altogether.

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Proper incorporation of moldy food scraps into compost

Many people wonder, how do you compost spoiled food? It is not enough to simply toss moldy food into the compost bin. It is important to follow certain steps.

Shredding moldy food scraps

This step is not mandatory. However, it brings more benefits. You should prepare one place where you store all moldy food waste. To avoid developing an unpleasant smell in the kitchen, place plastic containers with lids under the sink.

As soon as the container is full, the moldy food scraps need to be crushed. Nobody likes grinding by hand. Therefore, it is advisable to use a blender or food processor. Moldy food scraps should get the consistency of gruel.

If you thoroughly chop and mix everything, it is much easier for the worms to digest food. Therefore, the time for mold growth is reduced. Therefore, the likelihood of attracting insects and animals is reduced.

You can add crushed eggshells or coffee grounds. The shell, when placed in the worm basket, helps the worms digest food better.

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Adding products to a bunch

Once you’ve shredded moldy foods, add them to your compost bin. You should not do this in the first place that comes across. Try to add moldy food to the center of the compost bin. It is better to pre-add dry brown materials, including hay, grass, and leaves. Moldy fruits and other products with mold are already laid on top.

This can be explained by the fact that the central part of the compost bin heats up faster. This promotes the rapid decomposition of moldy food. Periodically, the compost bin needs to be mixed so that the moldy food fills the entire volume of the compost.

Addition of high-carbon materials

Foods fall into the “green component” category because they contain a high nitrogen content. For the compost pile to be of high quality and nutritious, it is important to nourish organic material correctly and in a balanced way. Therefore, in addition to the organic material, you need to add brown ones, which contain a lot of carbon.

Brown ingredients are cut newspapers, small branches, etc. These ingredients balance the nitrogen found in moldy foods.

Bury organic material and brown components together create a favorable environment for the development of beneficial microorganisms. This helps mask the unpleasant odors that are contained in the compost bin.

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Turning the compost pile and keeping it moist

It is important to turn the compost pile regularly. This provides proper aeration. For the compost pile to thrive, it needs to get enough oxygen, which speeds up its decomposition.

Regular turning of the compost pile helps to break up large pieces of moldy food.

Remember to add water periodically so that the compost pile has the consistency of a wet sponge.

Covering products

If you add moldy food, it is recommended to cover the compost pile. It is better to do this with brown material that has dried well. You can use shredded paper, leaves, and grass.

Add manure or soil from the garden

It is important to add some mature manure to the compost bin with moldy food waste. If this is not possible, you can use ordinary garden soil. This speeds up the decomposition process. This recommendation is relevant if you use compost bins, not worm bins.


A few weeks after covering the pile, it needs to be turned over again. This prevents the formation of an unpleasant odor. If you gradually increase the amount of moldy food, you need to turn it over every time.

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Is it allowed to add moldy food to bio humus?

If you use worm containers, then you need to constantly maintain a favorable acid-base balance. Red worms, which are often added to compost, are environmentally sensitive.

Not all gardeners agree with the opinion that invertebrates need to be fed moldy foods. Some are sure that the addition of moldy fruit is the norm. Others are sure that fungus can harm worms.

If you decide of putting moldy food on humus, where there are worms, give preference to moldy fruits, vegetables, starches, or bread. Animal products are banned. Also, do not add spicy or fatty foods.

Red worms prefer to eat food that is characterized by a high content of mucus. This is exactly what products that have been affected by mold are.

You should also pay attention to the size of the box and the number of red worms that are very active. The microorganisms cannot consume in a short period everything if you decide of putting moldy food too much. Therefore, the spores begin to grow and develop in the worm feeder.

If you notice excessive moisture in the worm container, it is best to increase the number of dry materials and bedding. This prevents the development of fungus, which prefers a moist environment.

Foods that have been covered in mold have already lost most of their nutritional content. Therefore, try to add it to the bio humus in a minimal amount. Opt for fresh produce so that the worms get enough nutrients and improve the structure of the hummus.

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Tips for dealing with moldy products

You already know that moldy foods can be added to compost. However, it is important to note that you need to work with them carefully, adhering to all safety rules. Try not to shake the food. This eliminates the possibility of spreading fungal spores through the air.

It is best to store food in a paper bag or a closed container, and then immediately pour it into the compost heap. As already mentioned, mold surrounds a person everywhere.

Therefore, it is important to completely get rid of moldy fruit and other products with mold and regularly clean the area.

Never inhale food that has already formed mold. After all, you run the risk of inhaling spores that penetrate the body. This can cause respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, allergies, or asthma.

Can compost bins worm eat moldy food?

Worms can be given certain types of moldy food. After all, some products are affected by dangerous types of mold, so it is better to immediately throw them into a landfill. When in doubt, add some contaminated food to the worm pile.

If they do not have any anxiety, use is allowed. If the worms began to behave restlessly, and refuse such a treat, it is better to throw away the products immediately.

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As you can see, adding moldy products to the compost bins is allowed. However, you must only use authorized products and add them correctly. Only in this way do you get high-quality and nutritious compost bins, the composition of which can be used for garden care.

Also read: Moldy compost: is it trouble or benefit?

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