A common misconception before embarking on the cloth diapering journey is that laundry has to be done daily.
While there’s no denying that babies do generate substantial (or mountains) of laundry, the use of cloth diapers does not in itself necessitate daily laundry chores.
And, no, nasty odors are not a built-in feature of cloth diapering, either! Nowadays, we’re lucky to have easy-to-use solutions to make cloth diapering even more straightforward and pretty low on the ‘yucky’ front that accompanies diapering in general.
This is why an appropriate diaper pail for soiled cloth diapers is a must in any home.
This article will look into what cloth diaper pails are, their uses, as well as a shopping guide to help you make the best decision based on your family’s personal needs.
But first, let’s go over some of the basics.
Best Diaper Pails for Cloth Diapers – a Quick Look at Our Top 8 Recommendations
Note: When clicking on any of the below links, you’ll go to the product listing pages on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews.
- Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail
- UBBI Steel Diaper Pail
- Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail
- Hibaby Hanging Wet/dry Cloth Diaper Pail Bag
- Bambino Mio Bucket Diaper Pail
- Planet Wise Reusable Diaper Pail Liner
- Dekor Plus Diaper Pail Refills
- purifyou Diaper Pail Deodorizer
Best Diaper Pails for Cloth Diapers – a More Detailed Look at Our Top 8 Recommendations
If you’re new to the world of cloth diapering, it’s only a matter of time before you realize just how important it is to have cloth diaper pails at your disposal.
Otherwise, if you don’t have a proper storage system in place to put your baby’s dirty cloth diapers inside until it’s laundry day, that’s a surefire way to have a house that smells like skunk!
Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail
The Dekor Plus diaper pail is the biggest pail that Dékor have to offer, sized 27 squared inches. It’s hands free, which means that both of your hands can stay on your baby while you make use of it.
All you need to do is step on the foot pedal, throw the soiled cloth diapers inside, and go on with the changing process. Job done!
There’s a self-closing whisper lid that closes on its own when you remove your foot from the pedal.
It’s available in six different color choices: gray, soft blue, soft pink, white, soft mint, and white with a grey trim. With all these options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find a cloth diapering pail that suits your nursery decor perfectly fine.
It’s also one of the most affordable diaper pails for cloth diapers you’ll come across today, just in case you’re cloth diapering on a budget.
As far as smells go, it’s very effective at controlling odors, thanks to the triple odor control system set in place.
Not only can you rely on this pail to last you throughout all your baby’s diapering years, but when all of that’s said and done and they’ve graduated from potty training, you can convert and use this as a trash can perfectly fine.
It can even make for a perfect disposal system for whatever wastes your pets have, too!
That way, you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
It’s perfectly compatible with the Dékor reusable and washable cloth diaper liners, in case you’re a huge fan of (and already use) those.
Or, if you’re like one of many other cloth diapering parents who use the Planet Wise pail liner, this diaper disposal system is perfectly compatible with that as well.
Last but not least, it can hold around 12 to 15 dirty cloth diapers before it’s full and needs to be emptied, which should give you at least a full day.
If you’re looking for something to hold at least 2 day’s worth of cloth diapering, though, then you’ll unfortunately need a diaper pail that’s even larger than this one.
UBBI Steel Diaper Pail
With this diaper pail, you won’t need to buy any special bags, refills or inserts to make it work. Down the line, this ends up saving you on both money and time.
Any regular trash bags, such as tall kitchen garbage bags you have at home, will do just fine. So will any cloth liner.
Compare that to other pails that require you to use special refills that said company might manufacture exclusively, that’s good money saved over the long haul!
Also, and unlike other plastic pails on the market that do a terrible job at containing nasty odors, this one is made from steel, which excels in keeping nasty smells locked inside.
There’s also rubber seals around the rim and around the sliding lid that aid in preventing that horrible stench from filling your house.
For the sake of safety, it has a childproof lock that prevents little munchkins from making their way inside.
As of this writing, it’s available in a wide variety of different colors for you to choose from, more than 15 color choices to be precise. So, whatever your nursery looks like, there’s a match made in heaven for it!
It’s also compatible with some of the most popular diaper pail liners out there (besides the Ubbi liner), such as the the Planetwise bag liner and the GroVia pail liner.
Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail
The Safety 1st Easy Saver diaper pail is made from 100% plastic, and only needs one of your two hands to use it, while the other can stay on your baby.
If you’re looking to stay away from steel cloth diaper pails for whatever reason, then this is (in our opinion) the best plastic cloth diaper pail to consider.
It’s compatible with standard plastic bags, and it comes with a deodorizer disk to help keep odors locked inside.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that since it’s not the largest or most spacious, you’ll likely need 2 (not just 1) of this, especially if you also use cloth wipes as well.
I personally also think that the opening could have been made a bit wider, just for the sake of making it easier on parents to drop their baby’s cloth diapers inside without having the diapers touch with the sides of the pail.
Once it’s time for you to do laundry, all you need to do is lift the pop lid on top, dump all the laundry you’ve got into the washer, and take it from there.
Hibaby Hanging Wet/dry Cloth Diaper Pail Bag
This hanging wet/dry cloth diaper pail bag is specifically designed for you to store soiled reusable diapers inside.
It has two seperate zippered compartments you can use: one specifically designed to hold your wet items, and the other specifically designed to hold your dry items at the front side.
Overall, it does an excellent job at locking moisture in, thanks to the Polyurethane coated material it’s made from.
It comes pretty large in size, too, being 17.7 inches wide by 25.2 inches tall.
As a matter of fact, because of how large it is, it can comfortably hold in 20 to 25 soiled cloth diapers at a time. Even with all these diapers inside, you’ll still have some room for other stuff as well.
So, if you’re looking for something extra spacious that can give you about 2 days in between having to empty it and store the soiled cloth diapers elsewhere until laundry day, this is an excellent option to consider.
If you know what you’re doing, it can even hold enough cloth diapers and inserts to see you go 3 days in between having to do laundry when cloth diapering.
Other than that, the fact that it comes with two handles, and not just one, makes it super easy for you to carry around with you when outside the house on cloth diapering duty. Or, this just makes it super easy for you to hang it on the doorknob at home.
You don’t necessarily have to hang it if you choose not to, though. You can use it perfectly fine by having it sit on the floor, too.
It’s also machine washable, which means that when it’s time to give your cloth diapers a wash, you can also pop this diaper pail bag into the washing machine to give it a clean alongside your baby’s diapers as well.
For the sake of always having one cloth diaper pail bag available while the other is possibly getting washed, consider buying two of these. They’re very affordable, anyways!
Bambino Mio Bucket Diaper Pail
This is something you don’t see everyday: a diaper pail bucket where you can store used cloth diapers until it’s time to do laundry.
It’s quite different in looks than all the other standard diaper pails we’ve all grown used to over the years, but it essentially does the same job as all the others.
As far as looks are concerned, you’ll definitely think that it’s on the smaller side of things at first, but you’d be surprised that it can actually hold enough soiled cloth diapers inside to make for a full load of laundry.
So, don’t write it off just because of how small it looks (and actually is) when compared to all the others out there on the market, it’s still got impressive storage space to offer for your cloth diapering needs!
Be sure to read the dimensions first before you buy it, though, just to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.
It also comes with a lockable lid to prevent your little curious troublemaker from finding their way inside.
For the sake of compatibility, you can also choose to buy a bundle that comes with both the diaper pail bucket and laundry bags of the same brand (Bambino Mio).
What I personally love about this tiny little bucket is that because of how small it is, it’s super easy to keep it concealed and out of sight.
As a matter of fact, you can even place one in your bathroom if you wanted to, and it won’t take up too much space.
Not everyone wants pails in their nursery standing out like a sore thumb, so this is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a cloth diaper disposal system that doesn’t draw much attention to it.
Planet Wise Reusable Diaper Pail Liner
This diaper liner can fit most cloth diaper pails out there that are up to 28 inches tall and have a circumference that’s up to 54 inches, and does an excellent job at keeping your cloth diaper storage system in good condition.
It’s designed to be leak-free, it locks in odor inside very well, and it resists stains.
As a matter of fact, you can even use this pail liner without the pail. It’s so effective, that it can be used on its own as an over-sized wet bag that’s perfectly capable of holding your baby’s soiled cloth diapers.
It also comes in a wide assortment of different prints and colors, so you can be sure there’s something you can fall in love with every time it meets your eyes.
This cloth diaper pail liner is anti microbial, free from PVC and lead, and can be put in the machine washer for cleaning.
Once it’s all full, you can easily pull the bag out and empty it into the washer. The pail liner itself can also be machine washed, but it’s best if you put it in a separate wash from the diapers.
No stains, no smells, no spills, and it can manage to fit almost 30 cloth diapers at a time – what’s not to love about it?
If you like these, it’s best that you buy two (or a few) so you can rotate between using them. That way, each one ends up lasting longer, and you can hang each to dry after getting it washed with your baby’s dirty cloth diapers.
Dekor Plus Diaper Pail Refills
These refills are made with 20% recycled materials, and come with a fresh powder scent that helps keep nasty odors at bay.
They’re available in two options: a pack of 2 and a pack of 4, and one box of 2 refills can last you around 4 months when cloth diapering and not using disposables.
If you choose to go with the Dekor Plus hands-free diaper pail that we talked about above in this list, then these refills are the perfect companions you could get. They’re obviously a perfect fit, since they’re manufactured by the same company.
The new and improved version now comes with an end of liner marking to remind you that you’ll soon run out and need to re-stock on refills.
With this refill system, you choose when you want to empty your cloth diaper pail on your own terms. You can either empty it after one extra messy and stinky diaper change, or you can choose to wait until the pail is full before you empty it.
All in all, it offers one of the most, if not the most, economical refill to diaper ratio on the market.
Oh, and they’re also ridiculously easy to use and install.
purifyou Diaper Pail Deodorizer
These are 100% natural, non toxic, odorless and hypoallergenic diaper pail deodorizers that work by utilizing activated carbon technology.
They’re made from a biodegradable and highly renewable resource (moso bamboo), and they come in a set of 12 filters in each pack.
They excel at odor elimination, and not just masking odors (which is what you get with many other diaper pail deodorizers on the market these days).
When not actively being used, they can be easily stored away and kept out of your baby’s reach so they don’t pose any safety risk whatsoever, thanks to the complimentary linen bag these filters come in.
Is There Such a Thing as a Cloth Diaper Pail?
You may be asking, won’t any garbage pail do? While it definitely can, there are some considerable pros to opting for a diaper pail when cloth diapering.
A diaper pail traps odors and keeps them safely contained, and a number of diaper pail options can be used with reusable liners. This is a great benefit if you’re one to feel guilty throwing away a quarter full plastic bin liner.
There are plenty of diaper pails available on the market these days, but keep in mind that not all of them are cloth diaper friendly. As a matter of fact, most pails designed for disposable diapers do not offer sufficient space for bulkier cloth diapers.
Cloth diaper pails are larger than those aimed at disposables. Diaper pails with turning lids are very often not appropriate for cloth diapers, as the latter require more space.
You can also buy complementary reusable diaper pail liners to really minimize your family’s environmental impact.
What Can I Use as a Cloth Diaper Pail?
Deciding on what kind of diaper disposal system to use for all your cloth diapering needs depends on the method you’ll be using to store dirty diapers.
Mainly, there are three different kinds of cloth diaper systems which you have to take into consideration and decide on, depending on your preferences:
With the dry pail method, you will store soiled cloth diapers in a pail, similar to what you would do had you been using disposables.
Simply chuck the dirty diaper into the pail lined with a waterproof reusable liner, close off the lid, and it’s ready for the next wash.
If there’s a hearty serving of solid poop, make sure you flush this down the toilet before throwing in the diaper for washing.
Dry pail storage is the most common method used by cloth diapering parents. For this method, a common flip-top garbage bin that allows air circulation will do.
That said, if your little one is a curious little creature, you may wish to opt for a lockable pail to prevent any unwanted rummaging through soiled diapers.
The wet pail method involves some added effort.
You must first soak the dirty diaper and then place it into the pail containing a small amount of water and, optionally with some baking soda, vinegar or stain remover added in the water.
This will help minimize stains and odors, but it’s very important that the water is changed daily.
Before you commit to this method, be sure to read the fine print on your cloth diapers. A number of cloth diaper manufacturers do not recommend the wet pail method.
If you do opt for this method, you have to use a lockable bin and ensure that it’s sealed after each use. The wet pail method poses a drowning hazard for kids and pets.
A Dry and Wet Combination
Parents sometimes opt to use a combination of the two methods discussed above by rinsing the inserts and then placing them in a wet pail, and placing the covers in a dry pail.
This will extend the covers’ lifespan, as soaking in water is tough on their fabric.
The downside of using a combination method is mildew. To prevent this, make sure to wash diapers every couple of days.
If you’re planning on rinsing your diapers, it’s best to use a liner in your pail. Make sure that the liner is strong enough to hold the wet diapers.
Once you’ve decided which method to follow, it’s time to look into cloth diaper pail options!
What Should I Look for When Shopping for a Cloth Diaper Pail?
There are a number of features that a good cloth diaper pail should have, regardless of the method you will be using.
Quality & Durability
High quality plastic (ABS) or metal should be your go-to material for a cloth diaper pail.
Cheap and flimsy plastic absorbs odors, and a stinky room is the last thing you need!
Since leaks are very much possible, a removable bucket insert in the bin is much easier to clean.
Ease of Use
Changing a diaper requires serious dexterity and a high level of alertness, especially when your tiny newborn grows into a wriggly little human.
A step pedal comes in super handy when you want to chuck in the diaper while still holding your little one firm on the changing table.
It’s also more hygienic, as you won’t be touching anything nasty to open the bin.
This is especially important if you’re using the wet pail method, since you wouldn’t want your little one to access the bin and its exciting contents (a.k.a wet cloth diapers).
A good lid will keep out pesky flies from feasting on your lovely cloth diapers.
The size you go for will depend on the frequency at which you’ll be washing your cloth diapers, as well as whether or not you have multiple children in cloth diapers.
When it comes to cloth diapers, the bigger the pail, the better.
Special Bags or Any Bag?
Some diaper pail models require specific bags or liners to be used on them, which can be a headache if you do run out of these.
Most parents note that a diaper pail that can be used with universal bags or liners is far more convenient.
If you wish to use reusable pail liners, make sure that you can find appropriately sized ones for the pail you go for.
Ideally, the liner should fit perfectly well to prevent it from crumpling up inside the bin.
You will be surprised at the astounding price of some diaper pails!
If your decision to cloth diaper was purely for financial reasons, splurging out on a pail is not the best of ideas. You can find great options at just about any budget range you could think of, so overspending does not necessarily mean you’re getting a better product.
Determine how much you want to spend for what is ultimately a bin, and go from there.
How many cloth diaper pails you’ll need to get depends on where you intend to change your baby’s diaper, how okay you are with walking with a dirty diaper around the house, and how aesthetically pleasing you think a pail looks.
Sarcasm aside, one pail should get the job done just fine! However, if your home’s layout is spread over different floors, it helps to have a diaper pail easily accessible on each floor.
The same reasoning applies if you have more than one changing station – having an accessible diaper disposal system close to the changing table makes the whole diaper changing process much easier.
That said, the more pails you have at home, the bigger the risk of: (i) nasty odors (ii) partly full pails and (iii) added maintenance that no one feels they have the time for.
Now that we’ve determined the cloth diaper pail features you need to look for, let’s get into the nitty gritty of keeping everything hygienic and lovely smelling.
What Are Reusable Diaper Pail Liners?
Diaper pail liners are a must when cloth diapering. They’re basically waterproof bags used to hold dirty diapers until it’s time to throw everything in the wash.
They’re great for containing any messes, saving you from having to vigorously scrub the diaper pail clean.
On laundry day, simply turn the bag inside out, and empty the contents into the washing machine. Your hands will thank you for it!
Handling dirty diapers is only optional. You can throw in the liner itself in the same wash, ready for the next use.
Since you’ll be washing the liner frequently, ask just about any cloth diapering parent, and they’ll likely suggest that you invest in two liners to cover laundry days.
Pail liners are usually used with the dry method. They’re not suggested for use with a wet pail or combination method.
Regardless of what the manufacturer suggests, it is not recommended to hang pail liners from a door knob or hook when using one of these methods, since the weight of the wet diapers can lead the liner fabric to stretch and tear. Leaks are never fun to deal with!
Let’s move to another nifty tool that is a must when cloth diapering: diaper pail deodorizers.
Diaper Pail Deodorizers: What Are They and Why Should I Buy Them?
Beating around the bush is useless on this one: dirty diapers smell! Thankfully, deodorizers for diaper pails are widely available.
Deodorizers help contain the smell of soiled diapers to the pail.
Deodorizers come in especially super handy when cloth diapering. It makes much more sense to wash cloth diapers when you have enough for a load, which means that dirty diapers are left sitting in the diaper pail for a couple of days. In such cases, using a deodorizer ensures that no nasty smells waft through the house.
Concerned about the added chemicals? Don’t worry about that at all! You can opt for natural and organic deodorizers, too.
If you’re being extra careful to have nothing nasty in contact with your little one’s clothes or diapers, natural or organic is definitely the way to go.
When shopping for deodorizers for your cloth diaper pail, keep in mind the following:
Deodorizers made from artificial ingredients should not be used close to your little one.
Odorless deodorizers, such as those made from bamboo charcoal, are the best option. Not only is bamboo charcoal organic, it’s also hypoallergenic.
Does Not Stain
The deodorizer will be in close contact with your diapers, so make sure it won’t stain.
Deodorizers should do what they’re meant to, which is to absorb the smell!
This is different from (and not to be confused with) masking smell. Deodorizers that mask odors emit other scents which may be harmful to your little one.
If you’re okay with changing deodorizers often, then this criterion won’t be a priority for you.
For the rest of us, going for a long-lasting deodorizer at least keeps one item off the to-do-list for enough time.
Most deodorizers last for three months, so you’ll only have to change it four times in a year. That’s pretty doable!
Multipacks are lifesavers! You should always have an extra deodorizer handy and ready for use.
Shopping trips will become a feat with a little one in tow; so having items in storage at home saves you from stressful trips at ungodly hours.
So, What’s the Takeaway?
The best cloth diaper pail you could possibly get will largely depend on the method you will be using to store soiled diapers.
Finding the right system for your and your baby’s needs may require a degree of trial and error, especially if you’re new to cloth diapering and don’t really know the ins and outs of it just yet.
That said, being equipped with the right tools helps you achieve success quickly and without any unnecessary messes – and that’s exactly why we’ve written this guide about the best cloth diaper pails out there today.
To recap, here’s what you’ll need to efficiently (and sweetly) store dirty cloth diapers away until laundry day:
- One or more cloth diaper pails, depending on need.
- Two reusable diaper pail liners for each diaper pail.
- Four deodorizers, which should last you a year altogether.