Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers Until Wash Day

I’ve talked about where I keep my clean cloth diapers, but what about the dirty ones? You can’t throw them in the trash or the diaper genie, but it’s not like it was for your Mom or Grandmother. She may have scrubbed cloth diapers in the toilet, then put them in a bucket of water and bleach (you definitely don’t want to soak your cloth diaper in bleach, and we now know that a wet pail can be hazardous to children.)

You have a lot of options and I promise your visitors won’t smell your dirty diapers! In fact, I think my house smells better with dirty cloth diapers around than it did with disposables (probably since most of the poop is flushed instead of sitting in a trash can!)

The Original Diaper Pail

Speaking of trash cans, many moms find that a kitchen size trash can works fantastically as a cloth diaper pail. In my experience, leaving it cracked to allow air circulation actually results in less smell than sealing it up tight, but you can get a lidded or “step-on” trash can if you prefer, or you can get an actual cloth diaper pail.

Planetwise, Kissaluvs, Grovia, Blueberry, bumGenius and many other companies make reusable pail liners. A pail liner is much like a big laundry bag, that is lined with waterproof PUL and either has an elastic or drawstring top. You simply put the liner in your pail or trash can, then fold it over the top. This keeps diapers (and bacteria) out of the actual pail, and the liner can be laundered with the diapers!

Knickernappies Doorknob Diaper Pail

Another option is a wet bag. I found the name confusing as a newbie, since I knew a wet pail had water in it & wasn’t good, so what was a wet bag? It’s simply a zip-close bag lined with waterproof fabric, designed to hold wet items. They come in several sizes, usually have a nice print or colored fabric on the outside, and do double duty as wet swimsuit holders and more. Very large wet bags can hold 2-3 days worth of cloth diapers (depending on how many you use per day) and can replace a diaper pail entirely. Planet Wise has a large wet bag with a snap open handle, so you can hang it on a doorknob, drawer etc. Knickernappies’ doorknob diaper pail does double duty as a 13 gallon trash can/pail liner, or it can fit right over a doorknob. Fuzzibunz’s hanging diaper pail also has a loop to hang on a doorknob or similar, but it also has a zip open bottom to make it even easier to empty into your washer. Rumparooz even has a “wet bag” that can stand up on it’s own (once there are dirty diapers in it) and serve as a pail!

The price of any of the pail liners or wet bags may seem a little steep, but two of them will give you one to use, and one for wash day for the lifetime of your cloth diapering. Compare that to buying refills for disposable diaper pails over and over and $20 is a bargain!

So where should you keep your pail or wet bag? It makes sense to keep it where you change the most diapers, but I’ve heard several people say they just keep their pail in the bathroom so they can toss them right in after shaking off solids and/or using the diaper sprayer. This, of course isn’t necessary for breastfed babies (their dirty diapers can go right in the wash) and when your child is older, you may only have one or two dirties a day, so you might just want to keep a smaller wet bag in the bathroom.

I started my cloth diaper stash with just 3 diapers, then 3 more, and I pretty much lived in the laundry room until I had enough diapers to last a full day or more. This got me in the habit of taking dirty diapers directly into the laundry room, and the habit stuck. My laundry room is beside the kitchen, which is beside the family room, which is where I change most of my boys’ cloth diapers! Each time I change a diaper, I just walk in and toss it into the wet bag that’s hanging on the cabinet door. The first of the morning and last before bed diapers just get carried downstairs and tossed in, rather than having a second bag upstairs to maintain and empty. I also like to go ahead and pull the insert out of the diaper with the wipe before putting it in the bag, That way I can just dump the whole bag on wash day. (Some people have success with inserts agitating out of pocket diapers, but it doesn’t work for me aside from a few that are marketed to agitate out/have two openings!)

The bottom line is that it’s easy, and you will touch (and smell) dirty diapers less than with disposables! No more emptying pails, then smelling them again a week later on trash day (pee-yew!) Like everything, I suggest that you be flexible, and see what works for you and your family, then adjust your routine as needed!

If you already use cloth diapers, how do you store your dirty diapers?

About Maria Moser

Maria is a 30-something married mom of 3 kids, including a cloth diapered 3-year old. She began more than 5 years ago when she switched her middle child to cloth diapers, and had no idea she'd fall so in love with fluff!
Tags: by maria,, diaper pail, diaper pail liner, cloth diaper ambassador, storage, wet bag

11 Responses to Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers Until Wash Day

  1. Kristi says:

    Thank you for this! I’m having my second next week and taking the plunge into the cloth diaper world. I was unsure about my choice of dirty diaper storage, being a newbie, but this made me feel better about it. I have a kitchen trash can fitted with a Planet Wise liner and an extra liner to swap out. Hopefully it will work well for me :). I like the idea of a smaller wet bag in the bathroom.

  2. Diana says:

    Our downstairs half-bath is also our laundry room, so I hung a wet bag that my mom made in there. Almost all of the diapers are changed downstairs, so our routine is a lot like yours! When we need to spray the diapers, we’ll put the sprayer on that toilet (if it will fit, I haven’t looked to see if it will work or not!) and it’ll all be in one room!

  3. Lindsey says:

    Thanks for this post, as a newbie mom to cloth diapering (starting in June with baby #3), the “dirties” were my biggest question! This post helped put some of those fears in perspective!

  4. Brittney H says:

    I actually store my dipes in a diaper champ! I used it with my first sons sposies and now I use it for my second sons cloth.

  5. Johana says:

    I just bought a pillow cover since Im starting I dont want to spend way more than my budget I still need the diapers tho

  6. Colleen St. Mary says:

    Thanks for this post. When I was pregnant I did a lot of research on cloth diapering, how best to wash and prep them, and I met and spoke with lots of other cloth diapering moms about what they did, how they did it and what they liked the best. What I found was the best method for us and that produces the cleanest, whitest, unstained diapers that doesn’t shorten their life or damage them at all and is completely natural is using a wet pail with a little bit of Borox added to the water. My pail is fairly small (it stores about 15 diapers plus inserts, doublers, cloth wipes and covers) and has a lid. I could add a lid lock to it if I was worried about safety but since my little guy doesn’t have access to it since it’s in the laundry room there’s really no concern plus it’s very narrow and fairly small. I’m glad we use the wet pail and not the dry pail or wet bag system, that’s what works great for us.

  7. Robin Jones says:

    I just started cloth diapering – today actually! I got the FuzziBunz wet bag and so far so good! I’m really enjoying this blog, too. It’s very helpful! 🙂

  8. Amanda Smith says:

    Great article! I keep my pail wide open to the air with a pail liner and no bad smells for the most part. I like the idea of air circulating. I only have one pail liner so really need a second for laundry days!

  9. Melissa Witt says:

    Thanks for this blog. I have been cloth diapering for 3 months now and love it. I like the tip you mention about using the wipe to pull the insert out before throwing in the pail. I was pulling all the inserts out at laundry time but I like you idea with the wipe, so will be trying it. 🙂

  10. Michelle E says:

    I have a large wetbag near the washer and two smaller ones in her bedroom and in the bathroom.

  11. We LOVE our hanging pail (FuzziBunz)! In fact, I believe we have 3 now…. I actually like taking that with me on trips and using it for dirty laundry too. I was contemplating buying another to just hang in the rooms as a hamper!

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