An introduction to worm bin bedding

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



Getting your worm container ready

You will want to get your bedding ready a few days to a week prior to your worms arriving. This will a little time for beneficial bacteria to start making a home in your container. We’ve put together a list of common items below you can easily find to help start your bin.

You can think of a bedding pyramid for worms for proportion. You can use household paper items as the bulk of your worm bedding. Next, add in a good amount of natural items.

It is important to note that red worms are not earthworms and do not live in the soil. While you can add a few scoops of garden dirt to help with grit, do not expect your worms to live in bedding only made of soil.

After all of the dry bedding has been added to your bin, you will want to add moisture. If possible, use spring water (its pH balance is naturally 7, the ideal for worms) to hydrate your bin. Your goal is not to soak the bedding but dampen it. Think of it as the same level of moisture as laundry before you put in the dryer. Depending on your bin’s size and the amount of bedding, you can use a spray bottle to wet the material.

Great items for worm bedding

You will want to get your bedding ready a few days to a week before your worm’s arrival. Setting up your bin a few days early will allow beneficial bacteria to start making a home in your container. Be sure that you use gloves when handling your worms and their bedding from this point on. Overall, there are no dangers in worm composting. It’s just a good practice to protect yourself from bacteria in the bin and the worm bin from your bacteria. 

cardboard for vermicompost starter kit bedding

Household items that can be used as bedding

Many people want to get composting worms to reduce food and paper waste. There are a lot of household items your worms would love to use as their home.

  • Corrugated cardboard (undyed, natural)
  • Cardstock egg containers
  • Toilet paper & paper towel internal rolls 
  • Newspaper (avoid pages with color ink or glossy pages)
  • Office paper & mailers
  • Coffee filters 
  • Used coffee grounds (acidic, use in moderation) 

Natural items that can be used as bedding

Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase the following bedding items. Compost worms are notorious for living in outdoor composted manure. I bring this up as a matter of fact, but it may not be practical for indoor bins.

  • Coconut coir 
  • Leaves (in moderation)
  • Composted manure (not ideal for indoor bins)
  • Peat moss


Add-ins to help your worms

Worms do not have teeth. Instead, they have a gizzard. Their gizzards store coarse materials to help them break down food. You can include these items when creating their bedding and in future feedings.

  • ground or pulverized, clean, eggshells 
  • diatomaceous earth (also acts as pest control)
  • sand
  • dirt (not potting soil)

Making a bin a home

Summary Protein Poisoning in Compost worms

Protein Poisoning is a common issue. It can sadly kill a whole apartment composting bin. The good news is that it is easy to fix once you know what to do and why. Be sure to feed only when necessary, and add grit for your worms every other feeding. Add dry bedding to keep the moisture levels correct.

Keep those things in mind, and you will have a successful vermicomposting journey.