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Cloth Diaper Pail Options – Which Works Best?

If you use cloth diapers, you know you need a cloth diaper pail. Disposable diaper pails just don’t work in most cases. Let’s talk cloth diaper pails and cloth diaper pail liner options and determine which will work best for you!

cloth diapers in cloth diaper pail with text

One of the biggest myths about using cloth diapers is how gross and dirty it will be… and that is in fact a myth.

There are so many great products available to make cloth diapering easy and clean. Today we’re talking about one of the most important products you’ll need when you cloth diaper… a cloth diaper pail.

Where do you store dirty cloth diapers between washings?

This is essentially all a cloth diaper pail is for – a storage facility to keep the stink and dirty cloth diapers out of the way until it’s time to wash them. And truthfully, a good place to store dirty diapers can really make or break your cloth diapering experience.

A cloth diaper pail is your best option, but don’t stop scrolling because I’ll be sharing a few cloth diaper pail alternatives too.

Wet Pail vs Dry Pail

When I first started using cloth diapers in 2010, there were still some people who recommended a wet pail option. I am so thankful that you don’t see that much anymore – because that option to me, was definitely a dirty and gross one.

Most cloth diapering parents now use a dry diaper pail option. A dry pail is what I’ve always used and it’s SO simple – all you need is a diaper pail with a lid and liner. But even then, a cloth diaper liner is optional.

Cloth Diaper Pail Options

After cloth diapering for over 5 years, I discovered that my favorite cloth diaper pail was actually a trash can. Yep, a trash can.

It was actually just like this one, although mine was white. It was the perfect size to hold a couple of days’ worth of diapers and the lid created a tight enough seal to keep any odors inside. My favorite combination is this type of trash can with a PUL pail liner.

light green cloth diaper pail liner in white trash can

You could always look at disposable diaper pail options. Some of them tout that they work great with cloth diapers, like this one, and the probably do. But for the price tag, I find that a trash can with a tight enough lid works great.

Nothing is going to be totally smell proof, but if you’re washing cloth diapers every 2-3 days, the trash cans with lids work great. And the fact that it’s a plastic trash can means if it gets dirty or smelly, you can take it outside and soak it down and even let it sit out in the sun like I do my cloth diapers.

Expert Tip: Rather than invest in an expensive cloth diaper pail, purchase a diaper sprayer [or even make your own diaper sprayer]. This will help cut down on stains and smells coming from your diaper pail more than anything.

Another tip for helping curb stink and all-around grossness is to always use a pail liner. In fact, it’s one item that made my must-have cloth diaper accessory list.

Pail liners are simply a bag that sits inside your cloth diaper pail. They come in a couple of options – elastic around the top, which makes them stay on the diaper pail so much easier and a drawstring type. The drawstring is nice if you ever want to travel with it away from home.

cloth diapers and cloth diaper pail liner in front loading washing machine

You can also use a diaper pail with a plastic bag, such as a trash bag, but if you are cloth diapering, a reusable cloth diaper pail liner makes so much more sense. They’re so easy to use too – when you dump your cloth diapers into your washer, just throw the pail liner in the washing machine with them.

Expert Tip: I’d always recommend having 2 cloth diaper pail liners on hand so you can immediately put one back in your pail while you are doing cloth diaper laundry.

trash can as diaper pail with pillowcase as pail liner

While I don’t recommend it for long term, if you’re on a strict budget, you can get away with using a pillowcase as a cloth diaper pail liner. The cotton will soak up liquids and smells, but it works in a pinch. See more of my cloth diapering on a budget tips here.

Why Do You Need a Cloth Diaper Pail Liner?

Let me let you in on a little secret… you need a pail liner to make doing cloth diaper laundry easier. If you don’t have a pail liner, you’ll get stains, smells, and definitely germs inside your cloth diaper pail. By using a cloth diaper pail liner, you eliminate the need to clean the pail itself weekly.

cloth diaper pail with cloth diaper pail liner and dirty cloth diapers

Plus, they’re just so easy to use. You never have to touch a dirty cloth diaper once it’s in the pail.

My favorite cloth diaper pail liners are made of PUL, making them waterproof and keeping your cloth diaper pail clean and dry, so I do line dry them to preserve the PUL fabric.

One alternative to a cloth diaper pail is to use a Hanging Wet Bag to store your dirty cloth diapers until wash day.

Hanging Wet Bag serves as a cloth diaper pail

If space is an issue, you can always use a hanging wet bag as a cloth diaper pail. It also makes traveling with cloth diapers easier.

As with all things when it comes to cloth diapering, you have choices of different cloth diaper pail options. It really comes down to size, space, and aesthetics as to what you choose.

This post was originally published in February 2011.


Monday 14th of February 2011

I accidently hit enter and it sent my form before I was done so I went ahead and re-did it. Sorry about that.

Boise Wiebers

Friday 11th of February 2011

Man. I wish they had those cute prints when I first got my wet bag. I'd love to win a new one for my new baby's diapers.