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The 5 Best Diaper Pails for Cloth Diapers

Making the decision to use cloth diapers for your baby comes with a wide range of other decisions, including choosing the best diaper pail for cloth diapers. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right cloth diaper for your needs. You need to decide what kind of cloth diapers you will use, how many you’ll have, and how often you will wash them before deciding what type of pail to get.

The diaper pail is a big decision after selecting the kind of cloth diaper that you want. The reason for that is that you need to keep both hygiene and safety in mind when you are choosing the best diaper pail for cloth diapers in your home.

With cloth diapering, a diaper pail is not just a diaper pail. You must keep all the above decisions in mind when making your choice. With the right diaper pail, diaper changes, laundry day, and every moment in between can be easier and healthier.

We’ll break down the different types of diaper pails before sharing our top picks with you guys.

trying to decide which diaper pail to use

Won’t Any Pail Do?

Some families don’t get a pail specific for cloth diapers but get a pail system that fits their schedule and needs.

A cloth diaper pail is simply a pail designed to store soiled diapers until they are washed. Many have features that allow you to keep baby’s room or the bathroom smelling fresh, so you don’t have to worry about any stinky smells.

But you can’t use just any diaper pail for cloth diapers. You must find options specifically designed for cloth diapers. This means, most of the diaper pails you find in the aisles of Target or Walmart won’t do the trick. One reason is because the opening isn’t wide enough for most cloth diapers to fit through.

Another reason you can’t use just any diaper pail is the way they are designed. Most pails designed for disposables are meant to seal the diapers in the bag for later disposal. The problem with sealing them up in this way is that it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, mildew, and mold, all things you don’t want to grow in your diaper pail or on your cloth diapers.

You need to be sure whatever pail or pail system you use is designed for cloth diapering.

Kinds of Cloth Diaper Pails

When it comes to choosing the best way to store your used diapers until laundry day, you have a few options available. There really is no right answer for everyone. It all comes down to what works best for your needs.

There are two diaper pail options to choose from when deciding on a system for storing your diapers. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, which we will outline below.

Dry Pail Method

Dry pails are exactly what they sound like. You store your soiled diapers in a pail that is dry. Most people go this route and use a reusable waterproof liner or wet bag in the pail.

Before you put soiled diapers in here, you always want to be sure you rinse off the soiled diapers and remove all waste before pitting them in your pail. This will keep your laundry machines from getting infected with solid wastes.

Some people choose to skip the pail entirely and simply use a hanging wet bag they keep near the changing table or hanging on a doorknob in their bathroom till laundry day.

The dry pail is also a better method to use if you have a front loading machine, since you don’t have to deal with trying to dump your wet pail into that style of a machine. Imagine THAT mess! Yikes!

It’s also much lighter than having to haul a pail full of water and diapers to your laundry room.

With this method, having two wet bags/liners is best, that way you can toss it in the wash with your diapers each time you do a load and have a fresh liner for your next set of dirty diapers.

But just like everything there are some drawbacks to using a dry pail, like a greater possibility of staining.

Pros

  1. Lighter pail
  2. Best Method for Front Loading Machines
  3. No drowning hazard

Cons

  1. Higher risk of staining
  2. Needs a wet bag or liner, but I feel wet bags are one of those required things when cloth diapering, no mater what pail system you use.
  3. Some say odor control is harder when a wet bag is used without a pail, but this isn’t always the case

Wet Bag System

A wet pail system involves a hard pail with water in it. You don’t need to fill it to the top, just enough to cover the diapers you will use before wash day. Many cloth diaper newbies opt to start with a dry pail until they find their cloth diaper bearings, then decide later to try a wet pail once they have their wash routine in place.

With this method you store the soiled diapers in the pail, allowing them to soak till laundry day. Like with a dry bag, you would dispose of all human waste before placing the diaper in the pail. Some parents opt to add a pinch of baking soda, a couple drops of essential oils, or a splash of vinegar as an added pre-treater. But you never want to use detergent or bleach in your wet pail. If left to soak in these additives for an extended period of time, you run the risk of damaging your diapers.

The plus side to this method is it reduces the chances of staining that can occur because you are presoaking your diapers prior to washing them.

There are also drawbacks to this method, you will need to consider. One being the added weight of hauling a pail of water AND diapers to your laundry room (unless you choose to store your wet pail there). You also want to avoid this method with a front loading machine since it requires you to pour the entire contents of the pail into the machine on wash day.

This method also requires more caution on your part. You want to ensure the wet pail stays in a place safe from small children or pets. Otherwise, it presents a drowning risk if left where curious bodies can find it.

Pros

  1. Reduces staining
  2. Some say there is less odor with a wet pail
  3. Almost completely eliminates the need for pre-washing since the diapers have been soaking

Cons

  1. Certain brands recommend not using a wet pail, so check with the company first
  2. Can present a potential drowning risk
  3. Difficult to implement with a front loading machine.
  4. The pail is heavier to carry to the laundry room, which can be problematic if you have a two story home.
wet pail

The Best Diaper Pails for Cloth Diapers

Now that you have decided what type of pail you want, lets talk about the best diaper pail options available. There aren’t many commercial brands out there, but there are definitely some great pail options.

1. Dekor Plus Diaper Pail

When it comes to commercially made diaper pails, this one takes the taco. Dekor is one of the few pails in production that works for both cloth and disposable diapers.

One of the best features to this diaper pail is the foot lever, like what you see on a lot of trash cans, designed to give you hands-free use. You’ll love that feature when you’re in the throws of diaper changing.

With its large size, the Dekor Plus is perfect for use with cloth diapers and can hold up to 20 of them, depending on the size and style.

The Dekor pail allows you to use your own wet bag, so you don’t have to worry about buying specific bags like you do with some pails. And as a bonus, it comes with a few safety features, designed to keep curious toddlers out, while keeping the diapers (and their smells) securely inside. And once your diaper days are over, you can keep this pail and convert it into a trashcan if you want, meaning you will definitely get your money’s worth out of it.

mother snuggling with her baby
Portrait of woman relaxing at home with her little girl.

2. Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Another consumer option for your cloth diaper pail is Ubbi. This diaper pail is made of stainless steel, giving you more odor control and less worries of your pail retaining a smell over time.

Unlike its counterpart, Ubbi is not hands-free. This is, in part, due to the locking mechanism on the pail which is designed as both a safety feature and for odor control. It is also a bit smaller, but still boasts the ability to hold up to 20 cloth diapers.

But if color is your thing, you’ll be happy to know Ubbi pails are available in 12 different colors, so you will be sure to find one that matches your nursery or bathroom décor.

Like the Dekor, Ubbi works for both cloth and disposable diapers, and you are free to use any liner you want, or none at all if you don’t mind washing your pail out on laundry days.

3. Safety First Easy Saver Diaper Pail

There aren’t many moms that don’t like the name Safety First, because it works. This diaper pail has curious babies in mind. Even though it was designed with disposable diapers in mind, this diaper pail works great for cloth diapers too.

Unlike many disposable pails, this Safety First option has an opening wide enough to accommodate the bulkier sizes of cloth diapers. To put your diapers in, you need to push a button on the top and simply pop the diaper into the pail.

One benefit to this one is, if you can’t decide between a wet or dry pail, this diaper pail will accommodate both of those needs.

This plastic diaper pail is affordable, coming in as one of the cheaper options on this list. The bin comes with a built-in deodorizer system that uses replaceable discs to control odor leaks, though some have complained it doesn’t always work to contain odors effectively.

The pail itself is smaller than others mentioned on this list, so as your baby gets bigger and requires more inserts or doublers for dryness, you may find it fills up quicker, requiring you to do diaper laundry more often. But in the early stages, it will do the trick.

It features a round design that can fit into any size of nursery or change room. Overall, this is a plastic cloth diaper pail that is sturdy and lightweight.

4. Busch Systems Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail

There are few diapers pails on the market specifically designed for cloth diapers. This system is one of them.  

For the eco-conscious mom, this pail is manufactured with recycled plastic and it is also recyclable itself when you are finished with your diaper days. It also features a carbon filter designed to trap odors inside the pail, and a large opening for any size of diaper. The carbon inserts are also designed to prevent mold buildup.

It boasts a strong clamp closure, which means you will be able to keep it closed without fear of curious hands getting inside.

Because of its design, it can function as both a wet and dry pail, depending on what you prefer.

There are a few drawbacks to this pail, however:

  1. It is one of the pricier options on the list, making it less economical than other choices.
  2. It is small in comparison to others on this list.
  3. The lid design means you have to unlatch and open the entire lid in order to place your diapers in the pail. This is no big deal if you are using it as a wet pail. If you are using it as a dry pail, this can be a bit inconvenient and deter from the benefits of the odorless system, having to constantly remove the entire lid to use it
  4. The square design may make finding a wet bag (if you choose to use one) that fits more difficult.

Despite these drawbacks, it is still an excellent diaper pail option for cloth diapering.

5. The Non-Pail Option

You can also opt for another route by choosing to use a trash can or hamper as your diaper pail. I personally went with this option when cloth diapering because I couldn’t find a pail at the time that worked with my diapers. Of course, this was a few years ago when cloth diapering was just starting to reemerge, so there wasn’t a market for them at that time.

But you can still opt for this option in lieu of a traditional diaper pail and there are benefits to doing so, the top one being these options are more economical.

For some, using a basic trashcan with lid and waterproof liner works perfectly, especially if you wash more often. Using a trash can also works for a wet pail system, though you need to be mindful of where you store your pail.

Some opt for an open-air hamper with waterproof liner. The open-air hamper allows for your diapers to breath, and actually works to reduce odor build up in both your diapers and your pail.

Of course there are also drawbacks to these systems too. The main drawback being the lack of added safety features you find when going this route. Of course, you can avoid the need for the added features by storing your diaper pail in strategic places, like the bathroom closet, or in the laundry room itself. But, if you intend to keep your diaper pail in the nursery, you will want to plan ahead for how to keep curious little people away from it.

trash cans being used as diaper pails

Conclusion

When you are making so many choices for cloth diapers, the diaper pail choice is as important as any other decision you make.

From choosing a wet or dry pail to deciding what brand you want to get, there are many options available for cloth diapering now that weren’t available even just a few years ago. Don’t limit yourself to one kind of diaper pail, particularly if you intend on changing diapers on different floors of your home.

Believe it or not, your pail decision will play a vital role in how you choose to launder your diapers, and how often you will need to. Take every part of your family’s life and needs into consideration when you are deciding on what diaper pail works best for you and your needs.