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How to store your dirty diapers
June 27, 2011 9:02 am | by

Once you decide you are ready to start cloth diapering, another major decision is how to store your dirty diapers once they are dirty until laundry day. There are two main types of dirty cloth diaper storage a wet bag or a pail.

Types of dirty diaper storage

Diaper pails designed for cloth diapering are a little different than those designed for disposable diapers. Most disposable diaper pails are designed to keep air (and smells) out. When thinking about storing dirty cloth diapers, one of the key things is to make sure you have air flow. This air flow helps to prevent mold from growing on your damp dirty diapers. Many pails designed for cloth diapers have a filter to prevent any smells from filling the room. The second thing to consider when choosing your diaper pail is size. We recommend washing every other day, so your diaper pail will need to hold those diapers for you until laundry time. If you have more than one little one in cloth diapers, you may need a larger diaper pail. You may also choose to line your diaper pail with a washable fabric liner, to make clean up a little easier.
 Wet bags are another option for storing dirty diapers. These bags are also made to allow air flow; they are available in a variety of fabric types, colors and prints and usually have either a drawstring or zipper closure. Wet bags come in a variety of sizes also. Large wet bags can be kept at home instead of a diaper pail; smaller wet bags are designed to fit in your diaper bag to hold just a few dirty cloth diapers for a short outing.

How you choose to store your diapers is a personal decision for your family.

Things to consider when choosing how to store your dirty diapers:

  • Where you will change your little one’s diapers
  • How much space you have in your home
  • How many children are currently wearing cloth diapers in your home
  • How far you have to carry the dirty diapers from the changing area to the laundry room
The key to dirty diaper storage is to make sure your dirty diapers are not completely sealed up; so air can flow around your diapers to help prevent mold. How do you store your dirty diapers until it’s time to wash them? Do you prefer a diaper pail or wet bag? What is your favorite brand of pail or wet bag?

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Katelynn said...
    May 20, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I use a small trash can with pop-up lid. I also use a plastic garbage bag which I wipe down. I don’t normally close the lid on this that way it will constantly have air flow to prevent mold. I also DO rinse my diapers and liners in hot water and wring out well before throwing them in the pail. I cannot imagine letting diapers/liners with urine/poop sit in a pail or bag for 2 days. To me that is disgusting and quite unsanitary.

  • Elizabeth said...
    February 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    We use a PlanetWise wetbag when we are out and about, visiting family, or the nursery at church. At home we use a pail with a liner, with some diaper sprinkles added every few diapers to absorb odor until washing day.

  • Anonymous said...
    January 10, 2012 at 12:11 am

    We use wet bags when we’re out, and we provide them to our daycare to store dirty diapers in so we can bring our diapers home each night. But at home we use a metal bin with a lid to store the dirties until laundry time.

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife said...
    November 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    We use a flip top trash can with a large wet bag liner.

  • Anonymous said...
    October 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I buy carbon fish tank filters in bulk and trim them to fit the diaper pail in the picture.

    Is there a recommended way to clean the pail when not using a liner? I wipe it out at each wash and bleach when needed.

  • Anonymous said...
    July 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I use the diaper pail pictured above with a home made wet bag liner. I have a sheet of carbon filter, cut into the appropriate size circle, and change it out every few months. I find this to be much cheaper than buying the carbon filter replacements specially designed for this diaper pail. No odor or mold problems. Just the right size to cloth diaper 2 and keep me washing them every other day (it gets full). I use the diaper pail liner on vacation. It is plenty big to fit all my dirty diapers, but does not hold in the odors well. And I have a couple small home made wet bags for on the go.

    I frequently set the empty diaper pail outside in the sun to air out.

    I rinse dirty diapers or ones I’ve used in a chlorinated pool before storing, but not those just peed in.

  • Anonymous said...
    July 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Do you rinse each diaper before storing? I usually rinse dirty diapers, and sometimes the ones that are wet too, but not sure if I should be or not.

  • Megan Lubbers said...
    June 29, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I got an old plastic bucket out of the garage and put a pillow case in it. That’s my diaper pail:) Then diapers and pillow case all go in the wash!

  • Liz said...
    June 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    We have always used Kangacare/Rumparooz wet bags and love them. They hold about a load’s worth of diapers so they’re perfect. I’ve tried a lot of other wet bags but they seemed to wear out quickly.

  • Cassie said...
    June 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I have an inexpensive plastic trashcan with pop-up lid that I use a Planet Wise diaper pail liner in (easy elastic top fits perfectly over trashcan) and I simply pull out the liner and turn inside out and wash with diapers (dry with inserts) about every other day. My little one is still exclusively breastfed, so not sure how it will be once he’s eating solids, but so far smell hasn’t been an issue at all. I use medium sized wetbags for diaper bag and for traveling (2 of these wetbags hold a laundry load worth of diapers – about 2 days), works perfect for visiting grandparents or for daycare!

  • Megan said...
    June 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    We use a simple human trash can and use old pillow cases as the liners. I wash them with the diapers. We have smell problem at times, but usually only if I don’t wash every other day. We have a wetbag for the diaper bag.

  • K&S said...
    June 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Diaper pail with washable liners at home and wet bags for on-the go! Both are so easy to use…just dump in washer and turn bag inside out to wash.

  • omahonyfamily said...
    June 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I had just about tried it all, and then I found the perfect system! I got a metal trash can from Walmart – the kind with an inner plastic bin and a lid and a foot petal. I line it with a homemade PUL bag (I made two). I wash daily because her morning diapers can NOT sit there for long. I put the new, clean, liner in right away. No smell, easy clean, easy peasy!

    I use a wet/dry bag for my diaper bag. And use sposies on vacation.

  • subaruthie said...
    June 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    We use the maximum capacity diaper pail (shown in the photo above) and love it! We have a set of Bummis wet bags, but use them for the diaper bag (the big one is great for bringing home wet towels from the pool). When we travel to see the grandparents, we bring all our clean diapers, inserts, detergent, and wipes packed in the diaper pail so it’s all ready to go.

  • steph b said...
    June 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    i use a pail with a liner. on wash day, i just remove the whole liner and dump it inside out into the washer. easy! on the top of my pail, i use both a carbon filter and the scented disc. they keep the room odor free.

  • Melissa_Loves_Broccoli said...
    June 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    we go with a wet bag on the go and we have had alright luck with a standard pail in the home. I found it to be a bit small (the standard pail) when both were in cloth, but it kept me washing regularly. We never had amold problem, that sounds yucky! Now with just one in cloth it seems alright. Didn’t know there was a special pail. Good to know everyone asks us for cloth advise.

  • Green Acres in the City said...
    June 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I have always used a wet bag. I was afraid to try a pail, now I am intrigued. If you don’t use a liner do you just wash in between?