When I started using cloth diapers, I used them because they were given to me by a friend – three, beautiful bumGenius One size pocket diapers, to be exact.
I had been on the fence about cloth diapering and without much of a plan of how to store them once they were soiled, it didn’t even occur to me to have dirty diaper storage.
I excitedly put my one-week old daughter in one of the diapers for the first time, and then when she had peed, I took it off…and…Whoops!
I stood there, holding the dirty diaper in the air and looking around the room wondering what to do with it.
I called for my husband. “Ummm…where should we put this?”
He finished the diaper change while I rummaged around, finally grabbing one of the pink, plastic tubs the hospital had sent home with us.
I tossed it in there and went to the computer where I began to price out dirty diaper storage options.
My first dirty diaper storage purchase was a smallish travel wet bag. It was meant for travel and not really for storing dirty diapers at home.
I purchased it instead of the correct sized wet bag because…well…I only had a handful of diapers at the time, very little money to buy more, and I wanted more diapers, not a wet bag.
Besides, I’m pretty sure I misread the description and thought it was supposed to be larger. It had a drawstring and I hung it on the one end of my changing table.
Though it was full at about three or four diapers, I could get maybe eight or nine stuffed in there if I really shoved and stretched.
Not too much time passed before I realized that using a travel wet bag wasn’t sustainable so I sacrificed a bit of my cloth diaper budget to purchase some larger wet bags.
They had drawstrings too and I continued to keep them hanging from the one corner of our changing table.
I didn’t think much of this until one day I noticed that the drawstrings alone weren’t able to contain the nasty diaper smell.
We looked at a couple of cloth diaper pails at our favorite online retailers, but after looking at the size of the large, drawstring wet bags we already had, we decided to go with a simple, top-closing garbage pail we purchased at Walmart.
We were able to cinch the opening of the bag around the top of the pail, and then close the lid, keeping the stench from permeating into the nursery.
It’s been nearly seven years and, though we’ve had to purchase new wet bags a couple of times, we still use the same large wetbag/garbage pail system to store our dirty diapers.
This is the option that works for us, but not the only option.
There are a couple of choices depending on your particular needs. Which you and your family should choose depends entirely upon your needs and preferences.
What Is A Wet Bag?
It is most often used for storing dirty diapers but can also be used for storing other wet or dirty items as well.
Wet bags come in a variety of styles and sizes.
There are those that close with drawstring, and those that zip shut.
There are even small wet bags that are made for storing your kids lunch in the place of plastic baggies! These often close with velcro.
Wet bags are a great alternative to disposable bags and are a wonderful and quite necessary addition to any cloth diapering household.
Hanging Wet Bag
A hanging wet bag is a good idea if you don’t have a lot of floor space.
They can hang on the things one almost always has in a bedroom: dresser drawer knobs, closet hooks, or on a clothing hanger.
A couple of different brands of diapers have hanging wet bags and all of them are specifically designed to be able to contain both mess and stink when used alone.
They are also designed so that you can get in and out of them with relative ease.
Smart Bottoms and Grovia both have a particularly unique design for their hanging wet bag and Planet Wise is a name synonymous with amazing wet storage but those are just a couple out of a myriad of great hanging wet bag options.
Big names such as bumGenius, Apple Cheeks, and Rumparooz all make them, but you can also fine wonderful WAHM wet bags on places like Etsy.
Many wet bags aren’t necessarily designed to hang, but as they have a handle and a zipper, can be hung anyway.
Bummis has a couple of high quality wet bags that can do this.
Diaper Pails And Pail Liners
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have gone with a diaper (garbage) pail and liner for our dirty diaper storage.
We’ve used both pail liners and large wet bags with draw strings.
At first we used the large, Grovia drawstring bags alone, and then we put them in our pail liners.
Those have long since delaminated but we still keep them around for dirty laundry storage when we go on trips.
Our current favorite pail liner is from Planet Wise, but we’ve also tried the Diaper Rite brand with success.
A pail liner is much like a garbage bag but it’s made of waterproof cloth. It generally has an elastic sewn to the top so that it can hug the top of your diaper pail.
Some people opt for wet diaper storage.
This requires a sealed off container that already has water inside.
The diapers are thrown into here and the waste is gently softened out of the diaper as it soaks in the water.
The positive side to wet storage is that diapers stored this way may be easier to clean.
The negative sides are that:
- It may pose a drowning hazard to curious little kids;
- It creates a fabulous place for viruses and bacteria to grow and multiply; and
- You have to dispose of the water each time you go to clean your diapers.
I have never used wet storage for these reasons.
How Many Days Can Dirty Diapers Be Stored?
Diapers shouldn’t be stored for more than three days before they get washed.
Doing so can encourage the growth of mold and germs and stains to set in.
I generally wash my diapers every two days and I like to have two wet bags/pail liners in rotation so that when I wash the diapers, the wet bags get washed as well.
Some people don’t wash their liners and wet bags as often as they wash their diapers.
It’s all a matter of personal preference.
Keeping Away The Stink
With any dirty diaper storage – disposable or cloth – stink can be an issue.
The good thing about cloth diapers is that they don’t stink as badly as disposables because they don’t have the chemicals that sposies have that actually contribute to the stink.
Cloth diapers themselves may not have a scent, but the waste they contain certainly does!
With cloth diaper storage, the best way to keep away the stink is to have a completely air proof storage option.
Diaper pails that have a lid and wet bags that zip closed and have reinforced seams are generally pretty good at keeping any stink contained.
If you still struggle with smell, you should invest in a new wet bat or pail.
If the one you’re using is getting old, it may be starting to wear out.
When using disposable diapers, one tends to think of dirty diaper storage at home, but it usually isn’t an issue out of the house because there is always a garbage can, right?
Well, though you may not always need dirty diaper storage in your diaper bag for your paper diapers, you definitely need it when you use cloth.
That little wet bag I first bought turned out to be a perfect addition to our diaper bag whenever we left the house.
I still use it!
When traveling, consider the length of the trip before purchasing a wet bag.
Short trips to the store, the mall, church, or the library won’t require very much storage.
A small wet bag will do – preferably with a zipper!
When taking longer or more extended trips away from the house – a road trip, a day at the zoo, a beach day – you’re probably going to want to take a medium sized wet bag with you, one that can hold seven to ten diapers at a time.
Much like their larger counterparts, travel wet bags come with drawstrings or zippers, and most have a little handle of some sort, which comes in handy when you’re changing diapers in the fold out changing table in a public restroom!
Planet Wise even has a wet bag with wet and dry storage which I would love to try one day!
Dirty diaper storage can pose a hazard to children if not cared for properly.
If you use a wet pail, it should be securely closed or sealed and placed in an area that young children do not have access to.
Drawstrings should be tucked inside diaper pails or kept out of reach or they can cause strangulation.
As wet bags are waterproof, they pose the same suffocation hazard to children as a plastic bag and should be treated with the same care.
Hopefully, you feel like you will be able to find the kind of dirty diaper storage that works for you.
With so many great choices out there, I’m sure you will find something that you love!