How to Use The Lifetime Composter

How to Use The Lifetime Composter

How to Use The Lifetime Composter

First of all, you may be wondering what the benefits are to composting. Well consider the following:

  • You'll reduce landfill waste by recyling your organic materials into a nutritious product for your garden.
  • You'll save money that you may otherwise have to spend on expensive commercial fertilizers in order to maintain a healthy soil.
  • You'll improve your garden's ability to retain moisture by incorporating your homemade fertilizer into the soil.
  • You get to enjoy beautiful healthy plants!

There are obvious advantages to owning the enclosed Lifetime Composter rather than simply heaping your table scraps and lawn clippings onto an open pile in the garden. Open piles give off offensive odors, attract bugs and other pests, and just aren't very attractive. Obviously, an enclosed composter will eliminate these annoyances; but let's talk about some of the other features that make the Lifetime Composter such a valuable piece of equipment to enthusiastic gardeners everywhere.

The Lifetime Composter is designed to ensure convenient functionality and efficient composting. An extra large removable lid allows easy access to the 80 gal. tumbler which is made of black high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. This construction accelerates heat retention which is one of the key elements to breaking down organic materials into a rich nutritious fertilizer for your garden. Another vital element in the composting process is aeration, which is done by regular turning of the material in the tumbler to expose the contents to oxygen. The Lifetime Composter is designed to turn on its axis for easy and balanced rotation. It also features a spring-loaded pin that locks the tumbler into position for stability during filling and emptying.

The panels on the Lifetime Tumbler are not air tight which not only allows airflow but permits excess liquids that accumulate during decomposition to drip out while maintaining optimal humidity levels. If you compost alot of wet organic materials, I would suggest that you place a pan beneath your composter to collect this valuable "compost tea". It contains highly concentrated nutrients that are very beneficial for your plants, but should be diluted 19 parts water to 1 part compost tea before using. If you find that the excess liquids in your composter are not dripping out,  try turning the tumbler to a different angle and locking it into that position.

You should be aware that "green" organic materials, such as fresh grass clippings, fruit peelings, and vegetable parings will naturally exude more liquid than brown organic material (or dead material). If you find that your compost is becoming too wet, try adding more dry materials such as dead leaves, shredded newspaper, shredded brown paper bags, and any used paper towels and napkins you have left over from dinner. Thatch, or the dead grass you should rake out of your lawn in the springtime, is another great material that you can add to your compost to absorb wetness and allow more efficient airflow.

After several months, your compost will have broken down into a rich fertilizer that will condition your soil and help it to produce nice healthy plants. No need to spend money on expensive commercial fertilizers. This homemade fertilizer also improves the soil's ability to retain moisture so you don't need to water your garden as often--another cost effective benefit. So if you enjoy gardening, would like to reduce landfill waste, and appreciate saving money, give the Lifetime Composter a try. It may well be the best investment you've ever made for your garden.

Keep watching each month for great deals on new and exciting products from Lifetime!



Charlys-Huerta0005web.jpgName: Charlys

Position at Lifetime Products: I'm a web content writer for our buylifetime website. I create the content for our online catalog and provide you with the detailed specs and product information you need.

Topics I Blog About: are all of the different Lifetime products we have to offer that will make your work easier and your R&R more enjoyable. I will keep you posted about all of the sales, discounts, and clearances we have on Lifetime products.

My favorite Lifetime Products: are the Lifetime tent trailer and the camping table because camping and camp cooking are two of my favorite hobbies.

On a Saturday afternoon you can find me: hiking in the mountains or bird watching at the lake; or I may be experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up my own exotic dishes from ideas I get on the food channel (to the delight or dismay of my family).

My favorite escape: My favorite year-round escape is a good book. My favorite genre is non-fiction, specifically biographies, and particularly foreign cultures. I enjoy browsing the book and movie reviews and tossing in my two cents worth.

Read all posts by Charlys



5/27/2010 9:14:47 PM

Hi, we've just bought this composter.  Can we keep adding green/brown materials every day?  If I do so, when can I get the finished compost?



6/2/2010 3:02:07 PM


Yes. You can keep adding green and brown material each day but this will extend the time it takes to “cook” the compost. We recommend stopping and letting the batch cook, which usually takes two to four weeks depending on conditions (types of materials, heat, frequency of turning the composter).



6/5/2010 3:27:58 PM

Just purchased as a replacement to our metal tumbler and we are finding that the green and brown materials are turning into soggy balls even after using gypsum and compost activator. It just seems like it doesn't get enough air flow. Today we opened it to let fresh air in as it is starting to not smell good like compost should.  I'll try the shredded newspaper and napkins trick but so far we are discouraged.  We have been composting for years and have never had a problem like this.  HELP!! Would appreciate any suggestions as we are thinking of returning the composter if we can't get a better result.  Thanks



6/7/2010 10:45:33 AM


I appreciate your comments and I hope that the following tips will solve the problem. Please give this a try and let me know how it works out for you.

So we’ve got two questions to answer: What should you do right now? And what should you do in the future to prevent this condition from reoccurring?

Right now

For right now, since the problem already exists, it may be worth while to re-mix the mix. Dump the current mix onto a tarp and rake it all out to get rid of the clumps, maybe let it dry out a bit.  When shoveling it back into the composter, you'll want to add some dry materials to the mix to help it keep from getting too wet. Read more about that below.

In the future

Add more dry materials, and don’t add a whole bunch of the same type of organic materials in all together.

Sawdust, dry grass, coffee grounds (and filters), shredded newsprint, even hair trimmings can help “dry up” a wet compost mix.

Clumping happens when you put a whole bunch of one type of organic in all at once. Sometimes this can stay together and not mix in with the rest of the stuff. To prevent this, put in some materials (fresh cut grass, for example), spread it around so it covers the top surface of the existing mix, but don’t put it in so thick that it could clump together. Before you get to that point, close and latch the composter, give it a few turns, then add another layer. All this is doing is mixing the new ingredients through the existing mix.

Finally, throw a couple handfuls of garden soil in on top of the newly added ingredients (not a lot). Good garden soil (or previously made compost) has all the beneficial microbes in it that can help in the composting process. Some people sell a “powder” to add to the mix to “accelerate” the composting process… in my experience, tossing in a few handfuls of garden soil does the same thing…

Good Luck, and I'll be waiting to hear your report!

Charlys Huerta

Lifetime Products




6/22/2010 1:10:50 PM


"Bogging" can also happen when you aren't turning your composter often enough. Letting compost sit without turning it (to help provide oxygen to the inside of the mass) hinder aerobic decomposition, which leads to wet, stinky compost.

You may also have a build up of moisture inside the composter (it may not be draining through the seams) as quickly as it needs to for the ingredients that you've put in. When you start to notice it getting a bit "wet" either add some dry material or leave the lid open and let some moisture escape (this won't work if it's raining, of course).

Give those a shot and let us know what works!

- Joe


Brian Landreville

5/15/2011 12:07:20 PM

After I filled my tumbler I noticed as I turn it there seems to be a lot of water inside. I can hear is sloshing around as it spins. I cracked it open and turned it so the water could drain thinking I could get some compost tea and nothing seems to come out. It does not seem overly moist inside either. Can water get trapped between the walls of the tumbler?



5/16/2011 10:33:18 AM

Our composter engineer has the following suggestion: "Water can get inside the panel if the holes made by the blow needles are not properly plugged. This water won’t affect the function of the composter, but can best be drained by drilling a 1/8” diameter hole through the outer wall only down in the lower corner of the panel, if desired."  This alteration will not void the warranty on your composter.


Jim S

4/26/2016 6:31:08 PM

I have the same "water in the walls" problem, can you elaborate on the corrective action with more detail. I am afraid the water will freeze next winter and crack the walls. Thanks and Best Regards

Pauline Chaussee

6/18/2011 8:26:52 PM

my lifetime composter is just to heavy to turn we are thinking about returning it to costco, is there a trick to setting it up or rotating?



6/20/2011 9:01:20 AM

If your composter is too heavy too turn manually, you may want to go with our smaller 65 gallon composter. It may also be that you need to reduce the contents of the tumbler.  This will not only make it easier to rotate, but will allow more oxygen and airflow into the tumbler which will speed up the decomposition process. 



8/31/2011 9:37:46 AM

Questions ............In the literature: Do not add oak leaves or pine needles, too slow to break down. How about if they are shredded or mulched first? Do not put compost on established vegetable garden until it has been cured on the ground for 2 months. Why is that? And would covering it with black plastic help or hinder?



1/19/2012 2:04:58 PM

I cannot turn my Costco purchased composter. Even with almost nothing in it. Is there anything available to assist with the turning?



1/19/2012 2:33:18 PM

It sounds like something hasn't been assembled correctly. The first thing you should check is the locking pin. This is a little pin on the side of the composter that needs to be pulled out and disengaged in order to spin the composting tub, and inserted into the tub to lock it into place while it's being loaded. You will find the instructions on how to use the locking pin in your Owner's Manual. If you're still having problems after checking to make sure that the locking pin is not engaged when you want to spin it, please call our customer service department at 1 800 225 3865 and they will be able to help you with further troubleshooting.


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