Dirty Diaper Storage: How to Keep Your Cloth Diapers Fresh and Odor-Free

by Bailey Bouwman

Storing dirty cloth diapers is definetly not the most glamorous part of cloth diapering, but it is an essential step in the process. In our ongoing blog series on cloth diapering, we want to help support new parents in learning about and choosing to use cloth diapers, including the best ways to store them until laundry day.

If you're new to the topic of cloth diapering, circle back to our Cloth 101 post.

PS. We don't use wet pails anymore. Why? Because it's one less thing to stress about and for most families doesn't improve the wash experience.

How to Store Cloth Diapers

These are generalizations, and I encourage you to find your own rhythm as a diapering family. Many of these are made based on best practices, but guess what you can say fuck best practices and do what works for you.

First and foremost, it's important to remove solids from the diaper before storing. Some of us will remove the poop once a week, at the end of the day, but if you can remove it before tossing it in the bin that's a big win. 

 We'll dive into the various ways to remove solids in a separate blog post, it's important to note that exclusively breastfed poop does not need to be removed as it is water-soluble and should wash out easily.

Once the diaper is empty, it's time to store it until laundry day. There are two main options for storage: a hanging wet bag or a large garbage bin or laundry bin with or without a pail liner. Both options work well, and the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and lifestyle factors.

Category Hanging Wet Bag Pail with Liner Pail Without Liner
Space Minimal Larger Larger
Number of Diapers Fewer diapers (ideal for daily use) More diapers (ideal for larger households) More diapers (ideal for larger households)
Air Flow Provides airflow, many families are tempted to zip close.  Provides airflow with open lid Provides airflow with open lid
Cleaning Can be machine-washed Liner and pail need to be washed regularly Pail needs to be washed regularly
Cost $20-30 Liners are $10-20, plus a pail Just a pail

Parents use all sorts of pails from fancy Diaper bins, to garbage cans with lids, to just a good ol fashion bucket. It doesn't have to be fancy or match the aesthetic. 

Proper air flow for fresh and odor-free cloth diapers.

Proper air flow is essential for storing dirty cloth diapers to prevent odors and keep them fresh. Whether you choose a hanging wet bag, a pail with a liner, or a pail without a liner, it's important to ensure that there is enough air flow to allow the diapers to breathe. One option is to leave your wet bag open or keep the lid off of a bin to help reduce odors. You can also use a charcoal filter or a small amount of essential oils to further help control any unwanted smells.

On-The-Go Cloth Diapering: Tips for Storing Dirty Diapers While Out and About

A small wet bag is the perfect solution for storing dirty cloth diapers while out and about. These come in many shapes, sizes and styles depending on your needs. I'm impartial to a wet bag with two pockets so that I can have a clean and dirty side; while others prefer the shape that a diaper pod offers.

To use wet bags on the go: Simply zip up the bag to contain any odors until you can dump the contents into your larger storage bag at home. When out and about, disposable liners can be advantageous. Many families will shake out poop if the resource is available, otherwise roll up and zip up into a wet bag. 

It feels gross, but it's just part of the game, and I trust that you got this - most importantly, remember that wet bags are water resistant and not waterproof. 

Whether you're going to the park, visiting friends, or running errands, a compact and portable wet bag can help you manage dirty diapers while on the go.

Keep Your Cloth Diapers Fresh and Odor-Free

Storing dirty cloth diapers is a crucial part of the cloth diapering process, but with the right storage solution and proper air flow, it doesn't have to be a hassle. By using the storage option that works best for you and making sure your diapers have enough air flow, you can keep them fresh and odor-free until laundry day.

We hope these tips help make your cloth diapering journey a little easier, and be sure to stay tuned for more advice

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