Baby’s first year in cloth diapers has a lot of learning curves. It probably took some time to find the perfect combination of things to make the whole experience work during the day, at night, and for keeping them clean. But then…you smell something. Oh no! It’s diaper pail odor!
If you’d like to learn more about cloth diaper cleaning, start with our Cleaning Cloth Diapers Properly – Super Easy, Super Helpful Guide article.
You probably didn’t notice much in the early stages with baby. But, after that first year of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding real solid food enters the equation. When solid food is a part of the daily routine, let’s just say that things get a little “heavier” in the diaper department. Diaper pail odor can very heavy indeed.
Reducing Diaper Pail Odor
There’s no need to give up on using cloth diapers. There are some very helpful solutions to this problem that you can try to keep your house smelling nice.
- Empty the contents of a poopy diaper into the toilet and rinse before putting the diaper into the pail. Ammonia from urine is bad enough, but feces on top of that is just plain disgusting. You don’t want that hanging around. So empty and rinse!
- Find a suitable location for the diaper pail. Put it in the laundry room, the garage, or out on the patio. The living room, dining room, kitchen or bedroom is not the most ideal setting for a stinky diaper pail. Store it where no one will be bothered by any stray odors.
- Coffee grounds are not just useful in your garden and potted planters. They can also useful for masking odor in the garbage as well as diaper pail odor. Line the bottom of the diaper pail with coffee grounds in between emptying the pail.
- Citrus is also a naturally good way to reduce the odor in your diaper pail. Use lemon, grapefruit, orange or any other citrus fruit to cut right into the offensive odor. Use the peels at the bottom of the diaper pail to mask odors.
- Baking soda should be an obvious choice. We use it to eliminate odor in our refrigerators, cabinets and sock drawers. Why not use it in the diaper pail? Just line the bottom of the pail with baking soda.
- A combination of #4 and #5- citrus AND baking soda. Scoop out the inside of a lemon, orange or citrus fruit of choice and fill the citrus skin with baking soda. Put it in the bottom of the diaper pail and change it when it loses its effectiveness. Trust me, you’ll know when that is.
- A spray bottle filled with water and vinegar can be a good remedy. You can use it to spray the pail itself whenever you empty it out or you can spray the can every time you dump a diaper in it. The vinegar will not affect the fabric on the diapers and it will kill the stench.
- A less natural solution is to use a disinfecting spray like Lysol to spray the diaper pail in between empties or each time you put a diaper in the pail.
- Wash a load of diapers daily. This shouldn’t be difficult. Most of us are blessed with a washer and dryer in our homes and if you get into a regular routine with washing a load every morning or at night before bed, the smell won’t have a chance to build up. Especially if you rinse and spray out the diaper pail as soon as you empty it into the washer. Don’t give it an opportunity to build up!
- Kitty litter is a great way to cut down the odor. Remember, kitty litter is designed to kill ammonia odor. It’s a perfect solution for cutting the stink down in a diaper pail. Line the bottom of the diaper pail with it and it will not only cut the odor but it will absorb any moisture in the diaper pail as well.
- Essential oils are another common suggestion from mommies. Some pail liners, such as those made by Wahmies, have a small piece of material sewn into the seam so that you can place a few drop of essential oil on it. As the oils are absorbed into the material, the scent will be released and cover and stinks in the pail or bag. Scents like lavender, mandarin, and tea tree oil tend to cover odor the best.
- There are dry powders available that you can shake on top of every few layers of soiled diapers. You can keep Rockin’ Green Shake it Up! pail freshener handy and sprinkle as needed. Scents like Marshmallows, Orchids, Raspberries, and others will spare you until wash day.
- Dryer sheets are another option. They are inexpensive and they smell good.
- Change your liner often in the diaper pail. Every time you wash a load of cloth diapers, change the liner. If you leave the old liner in the pail, the odor can actually build up and get stronger.
- Bamboo Charcoal is a deodorizer that actually absorbs and eliminates door from your diaper pail.
- Did you know you can make your own deodorizer cakes? Make a thick paste out of baking soda and water, add your favorite essential oil and dry the mixture in a muffin tin or container that is a suitable size for you. Use them, one at a time, in your diaper pail to deodorize. Change them out when the scent is no longer effective.
- Saturate a cotton ball with eucalyptus, tea tree oil or any other scent that will eliminate diaper pail odor. Throw them into the bottom of the pail and replace them when the scent is gone.
- Cloves are a nice, strong scent that can be used to cut diaper pail odor. Simply throw them into the bottom of the diaper pail and replace it when needed.
Honestly, there really isn’t any reason that a diaper pail should be the first thing someone smells when someone enters your home. There are so many solutions and many of them are household items that you already have and they are natural.
The only additional thing to add to all of this is sanitizing the diaper pail. Once every couple of weeks- maybe even once a month- it would be a good idea to take the pail outside, give it a good wash and disinfect and let it dry in the sun. Air out the room and sanitize the area where you keep the pail when you do this.
If you are diligent about not letting things sit for too long, and controlling the odor with the suggestions above in between washings, you should be able to keep things smelling wonderful at home.