A composting bin

Can I put animal hair in my compost bin?


You can put animal hair into your composting bin!

Key info
Brown material📂
1-2 years

Get the right balance of brown and green composting materials in your bin with our expert guide.

Composting Animal Hair: A Sustainable Way to Enrich Your Garden

Can You Compost Animal Hair?

Yes, you can compost animal hair! Whether it's dog fur, cat hair, or any other pet fur, animal hair is an excellent addition to your compost bin. As a natural, biodegradable material, animal hair breaks down over time, releasing valuable nutrients into the soil. By composting pet hair, you not only reduce waste but also create a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. Using a composting bin can make the process more efficient and convenient.

The Benefits of Composting Animal Fur

Composting animal fur offers several advantages for your garden and the environment:

  1. Nutrient-rich fertilizer: As animal hair decomposes, it releases essential nutrients like nitrogen, which promotes healthy plant growth. Composting pet fur creates a natural, slow-release fertilizer that nourishes your soil and plants over time.
  2. Improved soil structure: Animal hair helps improve soil structure by creating air pockets and preventing compaction. This allows for better aeration and drainage, promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the soil.
  3. Sustainable waste management: Composting animal hair diverts waste from landfills, reducing the environmental impact of pet ownership. By repurposing pet fur into compost, you contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.

How to Compost Animal Hair

To successfully compost animal hair, follow these simple steps:

  1. Collect the hair: Gather pet hair from brushing, grooming, or shedding. Make sure the hair is free from any chemicals or treatments that could harm the composting process.
  2. Mix with other compostable materials: Animal hair is considered a "brown" or carbon-rich material in composting. Balance it with "green" or nitrogen-rich materials like food scraps, grass clippings, or coffee grounds. Aim for a ratio of about 3 parts brown to 1 part green. Mastering the green-brown mix is crucial for successful composting.
  3. Add to your compost bin: Incorporate the animal hair into your compost bin, mixing it well with the other materials. Avoid adding large clumps of hair, as they can slow down the decomposition process.
  4. Maintain proper conditions: Keep your compost pile moist but not soggy, and turn it regularly to ensure proper aeration. Animal hair may take longer to break down compared to other materials, so be patient and allow sufficient time for decomposition. The Environmental Protection Agency provides detailed guidelines for maintaining a healthy compost pile.

Composting Different Types of Animal Hair

Various types of animal hair can be composted, each with its own considerations:

Dog Fur Compost

Dog fur is an excellent addition to your compost bin. It is rich in nitrogen and breaks down relatively quickly. However, be cautious if your dog has been treated with flea or tick medications, as these chemicals can persist in the fur and may harm beneficial organisms in the compost. Using a compost accelerator can help speed up the decomposition process for dog fur.

Cat Hair Compost

Cat hair can also be composted, providing a good source of nitrogen. Keep in mind that cat hair may take longer to decompose compared to dog fur due to its finer texture. Avoid composting cat litter or feces, as they can contain harmful pathogens.

Composting Other Pet Fur

Other pet fur, such as rabbit fur or horse hair, can also be composted. These types of animal hair are rich in nutrients and contribute to a healthy compost pile. Just like with dog and cat hair, ensure that the fur is free from any chemical treatments before adding it to your compost.

Using Animal Hair Compost in Your Garden

Once your animal hair compost is ready, you can use it to enrich your garden soil. Here are some ways to incorporate animal hair compost into your gardening routine:

  • Soil amendment: Mix the finished compost into your garden beds before planting to improve soil fertility and structure.
  • Top dressing: Spread a thin layer of animal hair compost around the base of established plants to provide a nutrient boost.
  • Potting mix: Incorporate animal hair compost into your homemade potting mix for container plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to compost animal hair?

Yes, it is generally safe to compost animal hair as long as it is free from chemicals and medications. Animal hair is a natural, biodegradable material that breaks down over time, releasing nutrients into the soil.

2. How long does it take for animal hair to decompose in compost?

The decomposition time for animal hair in compost varies depending on factors such as the type of hair, the size of the compost pile, and the composting conditions. Generally, animal hair may take several months to fully decompose.

3. Can I compost animal hair with food scraps?

Yes, you can compost animal hair alongside food scraps and other organic materials. Just make sure to maintain a balanced ratio of brown (carbon-rich) and green (nitrogen-rich) materials in your compost pile.

4. Can I compost hair from my pet grooming business?

If you run a pet grooming business, composting the collected animal hair can be a sustainable way to manage waste. However, ensure that the hair is free from any chemicals or treatments that could harm the composting process.


Composting animal hair is a fantastic way to reduce waste, create nutrient-rich fertilizer, and contribute to a healthier environment. By following best practices and incorporating pet fur into your compost bin, you can transform this often-overlooked resource into a valuable asset for your garden. Whether you have dog fur, cat hair, or any other pet fur, composting allows you to close the loop and create a more sustainable and eco-friendly gardening experience.

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