Cloth Diapers

Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers Until Wash Day

This post was originally published on the Kelly Wels blog. If you click & buy I may receive a small commission, thank you. 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!)

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, 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!

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. Fuzzibunz’s/a> 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?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Amber Ludwig
    May 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Hanging wet bag is totally the way to go!! Especially if they are rinsed 😉 Nothing could compare to the awful stench of a diaper genie 😛 Ew!

  • Staci Morton
    May 10, 2017 at 12:51 am

    When I started out I used a dollar store laundry basket for my dirty diapers, but as my stash grew I had to upgrade and now use a hanging wetbag. It has been working great for me for a while now!

  • marie
    May 9, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    We use a diaper pail for the dirty diapers. I put the over night diaper in a wet bag so the entire bathroom won’t stink until wash day 😉

  • Jennie
    May 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    This is such a great post! I’ve been cloth diapering for years. I use a large wet bag in an open trash can in the powder room. It works for us, but it’s not 100%. I think I’ll try some of these options and see if one works better for us! Thank you!!!

  • Jaime Overmeyer
    May 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Great article! We use a diaper dekor with their cloth bags. I do prefer an open strafe system but we have a tiny bathroom and guests always commented about the dirty diaper box.

  • Amanda joosten
    May 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I have a trash can and i use a grovia wet bag to line it and the trash can stays in my shower 😉 no stink

  • Krissie L.
    May 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I have a pail liner I just keep all the dirties in. I would love a trash can of some sort but for now I just sit it on the floor lol. Works for us though!

  • Lisa Weeks
    May 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I used a hanging wetbag with my first but really wanna try a pail and liner this time.

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