How to use a Diaper Pail?

What is a diaper pail? Most Parents wonder what it is for.

Simply put, it is a pail for diapers that is designed for keeping the odors in. It acts as a tightly sealed container. It is a convenient solution for small rooms and kitchens.

There are two types of diaper pails:

  • Dry pails
  • Wet pails

After going over what each type is, we’ll go over how to use a diaper pail

Wet Pail

This is actually a hard plastic pail that is filled with water. The soiled diapers and pee filled diapers will get soaked in the water. You can add stain removers if you want. You may also include odor eliminators to the wet solution.

Pros of Wet Pails

  • Pre-soaking of the diapers results to having only a few stains
  • You won’t need to pre-rinse the diapers

Wet Pail Cons

  • Some manufacturers do not recommend using this method for PUL covers and pocket diapers.
  • Using wet diaper pails poses a drowning risk for your pets and small children.
  • ​These pails are heavier to carry – a bit of a hassle when washing.
  • You need to use a top-loading washing machine.

Wet Pail Method

Using this method, all soiled diapers will be left soaked in a small amount of water. The Pail will remain sealed to keep the smell in. The water also helps reduce the amount of stains and it acts as a pre-treatment. You can also add baking soda, Borax, washing soda, vinegar, stain removers, or essential oils to the solution.

Unfortunately, this method is not recommended for a lot of cloth diapers today. Note that you will have to change the water in the pail to prevent staining and keep the smells in control. This method also works better with a top loading washing machine.

Wet Pail Storage Reminders

Never add bleach or even detergent the pail water. They are usually pretty harsh on the fabric used to make diapers. In some cases, adding those can void the warranty. They even react with the urine, which makes the liquid smell more.

Remember that a wet pail poses a drowning hazard. Keep the pails away from your pets and kids. Make sure to use a lidded container that has a tight lock.

How to use a Diaper Pail

Dry Pail

A dry diaper pail can be either of two designs. The first one makes use of a hard pail that has a liner inside. The other is designed as a hanging pail, which is either just the liner minus the pail or a wet bag.

A dry pail is not really something dry per se. Remember that you’re still going to fill it with wet and soiled diapers. The "dry" part of the name refers to the fact that you’re not adding more water.

Just like in the other method, you can also add stain removers as well as odor eliminators.

Pros of Dry Pails

  • It is definitely lighter and easier to handle
  • Easier to transfer contents to a front-loading washing machine
  • You won’t have to worry about pets or kids drowning

Cons of Dry Pails

  • Since the mess tends to sit in the fabric much longer, using dry pails tend to be more prone to stain.
  • You will need to add a liner.
  • It will be a bit harder to manage the odor if you use a hanging dry pail

Dry Pail Method Reminder

The dry pail method is more commonly used today. Using this method, the diapers are without the need for pre-soaking. The method also uses a waterproof bag made of laminate, PUL, or nylon. This bag is used as a lining the pail.

You can hang the bags on a door knob or alternatively setup a hook on the wall. This of course means you no longer need to use a pail for used diaper storage.

Note that this method will work for both front and top-loading washing machines. The contents of the bag can be easily dumped into any machine.

Important Reminders

Remove any solid poop before putting the diapers in the bag. Note that no pre-rinsing is required. If you will be using a pail liner, get those with elastic at the top. The elastic acts as a type of seal on the top of the pail. This prevents the bag from slipping inside the diaper pail.

Best practice dictates that you use 2 pail liners. The used one (the one on top) will go in the wash along with all the diapers it contains. The other one will remain with the pail, and acts as your new lining.

Never machine dry nylon totes. However, PUL can be washed with your diapers. Never line your diaper pail with any type of woven material. They tend to absorb moisture and eventually they will retain smells.

Here’s how to use a Diaper Pail:

  • Step on the base to open the lid. Most Diaper pails come as thrash bin like style.
  • Throw away the dirty diaper.
  • Disinfect and clean the diaper pail when full.


  • You can actually use any plastic bucket. However, you should get ones that have a lid to help keep the odors away.
  • When doing the wet pail method, get a locking pail or store the pail out of reach of your children.
  • ​Diapers are less likely to stain if you use both types of diaper pails. To keep pails fresher, dump the solids in the toilet before placing the dirty diapers in the pail.
  • ​Adding fabric softener sheets may create residues. Better use essential oils since they act as natural anti-bacterial solutions.
  • ​To prevent mildew from forming, wash the diapers more frequently. Remember not to leave the diapers sitting in the pails for more than a couple of days.
  • ​An enzyme spray is generally safe if you intend to use it as a pre-treatment. Don’t use one if you know your baby is sensitive to enzymes.
  • ​Don’t use baking soda for bamboo rayon. It’s also not advisable for laminate on PUL. It tends to break down the fibers. It is best used for all-cotton diapers since they work as odor absorbers.
  • Adding detergent, washing soda, or even borax to a wet diaper pail could break down PUL or elastic.
How to use a Diaper Pail?