How often should you clean your bucket?
Let’s be honest. Rinsing out a used bokashi bucket is often the least fun part of bokashi composting. Particularly for those of us with small (or no) backyards. But, did you know, that you don’t have to clean your bucket after every use?
Some people clean their bokashi buckets after every use. Regularly cleaning your bucket is perfectly OK but it isn’t essential for successful bokashi composting.
When it’s OK to not clean your bokashi bucket
If you have just emptied out a successful bokashi bucket and you are planning on adding more food waste in the next day or two, then there is no need to clean your bokashi bucket. The used bokashi bucket will already be teeming with a layer of the beneficial bokashi microbes.
This means that for people who continuously collect food waste and bokashi compost, you can skip washing your bucket.
Remember, if you’d prefer to wash the bucket every time…. please, go ahead. But cleaning your bucket every time is not necessary.
When you should clean your bokashi bucket:
While you may be able to skip washing your bokashi bucket sometimes, you should definitely clean your bokashi bucket in all of the following situations.
- If your bokashi bucket has failed. If your bokashi pre-compost has a foul odor or has blue/green mold then you should clean your bucket before refilling with food waste.
- You should clean your bokashi bucket if you are not going to add any food waste to the bin for a few days. An empty, unclean bokashi bucket contains too much air and will typically grow bad blue/green mold within a few days. The blue/green mold needs to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the next bucket from going bad.
- If the bokashi composter has an unwanted odor. From time to time, unpleasant odors can develop in bokashi buckets. A thorough clean is usually the best solution to get rid of the odor.
How to clean a bokashi bucket
The easiest way to clean your bokashi bucket is with a garden hose. Remove the drain plate and give the bucket, the lid and the drain plate a thorough rinse. If you don’t have a hose or outside space, then simply rinse the bucket in the kitchen sink.
From time to time, the spigot may become blocked. If you have noticed that your spigot is draining slowly, or not at all, then now is a great time to dismantle it and give it a clean with the hose. The spigot is a simple screw and washer attachment and can be easily removed.
Any waste water from rinsing the bucket can be poured onto your plants and garden as it will be teeming with those beneficial bokashi microbes.
If possible, leave the bucket to dry in the sun. The UV light will help to naturally remove any discoloration and odors.
Don’t use bleach or any harsh cleaning products in your bokashi bucket.
Removing stubborn odors from your bokashi bucket
Our bokashi buckets are made from a high quality, food grade resin that is resistant to staining and odors. However, lingering odors can sometimes develop. Here are a few tried and tested methods to remove stubborn odors from your bokashi bucket:
- Dismantle the spigot and thoroughly rinse all parts of the bokashi bucket using a garden hose or in the kitchen sink. Leave in direct sunlight for a few hours; longer if possible.
- Clean with a solution of EM. The bokashi microbes are great for controlling odors.
- Add a generous couple of handfuls of bokashi bran to a cleaned, empty bokashi bucket. Seal the lid and leave to sit for a couple of weeks, without adding food waste. The beneficial bokashi microbes will help to neutralize the odor and replace with the familiar sweet, pickly bokashi odor.
- Wipe the inside of the cleaned bokashi bucket with oil. Any kitchen oil will work to help remove the smell.
- If your bucket smells from the outside too put the sealed bokashi bucket it in a large plastic bag. Add a couple of handfuls of bokashi bran in the plastic bag. Seal the bag and leave to stand for a couple of weeks. Again, the beneficial bokashi micobes will help to neutralize any stubborn odors.
Other posts you might like to read:
How many bokashi buckets do I need?
What does a successful bokashi bin look like?
Hello, I have two garden beds but also plant vegetables in grow bags that I keep on my deck. One is quite large and I have grown sweet potatoes in there for the past 2 years. Is it possible to put cured bokashi (a full bokashi bucket that has been left to cure for 1-2 weeks), directly into a large 10-12 gallon grow bag with soil in it?
Thanks for the question. Yes, this should work, as long as you are able to mix and chop the bokashi pre-compost thoroughly inside the grow bag. If this is awkward, you could empty the soil from the grow bag into a large container and mix the pre-compost with the soil. You could then return the soil and bokashi pre-compost mix to the grow bag. Either way, you will need to leave the soil/pre-compost for at least 2 weeks to break down before planting.
Happy composting 🙂
Hello, bokashi living! I have read your advice above on removing stubborn odours when cleaning the bokashi bucket, and I have a question: can I add baking soda mixed with water into the bucket to get rid of the smell as well? I am thinking of adding baking soda + water, seal the lid, swill the bucket, and then rinse off with water. Will baking soda kill off any beneficial microbes? Thank you very much!
Yes, you can try adding some baking soda to clean an empty bokashi bucket. It will remove some of the beneficial bacteria, but it won’t leave a harsh environment like some chemical cleaners can. The beneficial bokashi microbes will start to thrive again once the food waste and bokashi bran are added.
Happy composting 🙂
how does my bokashi bin become crawling with black soldier fly larvae when I havent seen any soldier flys at all and my food scraps are kept in a container in the fridge before being emptied into the bokashi bin. bin lid is always kept tightly closed.
Thanks for the question. The most common way for maggots and larvae to get in to the bokashi bucket is when eggs are laid on the food waste before being put in to the bin. However, if you say that the food waste is kept in the fridge, then this is unlikely. The only other points of entry are the lid (which you say remains tightly closed) and the spigot. If you push down on the sealed lid of your bokashi bucket, does air leak out from anywhere? The bucket should be completely airtight.
Maggots and larvae should not be able to survive in the acidic and anaerobic environment inside a bokashi bucket. So, even thought they may be a bit gross, they should disappear within a few days. In addition, black soldier fly larvae are actually great composters. The larvae are veracious eaters and the adults do not have any mouthparts so they are not attracted to food or human activity.