Cloth Diaper Pails :: 3 Ways to Keep It Fresh

We’ve been talking a lot lately about diaper pails, and one of the most common questions we hear from cloth diapering parents – or those considering it – is how to keep a diaper pail fresh. Let’s face it- we’re dealing with what comes out of your baby here.

“How is it possible that my house won’t smell like an outhouse?” many parents wonder. Well, wonder no more, as keeping your pail fresh is quick and simple. (And considering this is such a common question, check out our previous posts on the subject, too….)

1. Deodorize.
•    Pail Pals – These discs get taped right to the underside of your lid and have a pleasant, deodorizing scent. They last 3-4 weeks and are über-cheap.
•    BumGenius Odour Remover – This spray is naturally anti-microbial, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Just spray it on each diaper before it goes in the pail (or on fresh pet stains or the kitchen garbage can, for that matter!)
•    Bamboo charcoal – For a scent-free, environmentally-friendly, reusable option that absorbs odours rather than just masks them, bamboo charcoal is THE option. It can be “refreshed” every week or two by setting the charcoal in the sun and it will last up to six months. After that, it is completely compostable. We LOVE the bamboo charcoal option!
•    Tea Tree Oil or other essential oils (e.g. lavender) –  tea tree oil is available widely at drug stores, natural health stores, and supermarkets. Other essential oils can be found at natural markets and aromatherapy shops. Whichever oil you choose, just shake a few drops onto a strip of cloth (perhaps a cloth wipe?) and place it in your diaper pail.
•   Baking soda – Put ½ a cup or so at the bottom of your pail or liner to absorb odours. It will also act as a fabric softener when you dump everything into the washing machine!

Also, keep in mind that because you’re not wrapping your diapers in plastic or sealing them away in an airtight container, you’re allowing air to get to the diapers and that actually HELPS keep the smell down. This might be counter-intuitive, but even just the bit of air that gets through under the lid keeps the proliferation of bacteria to a minimum and thus minimizes the smell as well.

2. Of course, the most important part of keeping your pail fresh is actually doing the laundry! While we recommend doing laundry every 2-3 days, we definitely recommend not leaving your diapers sitting for more than four. At that point, the uric acid and other lovely substances in the waste begin to break down and start a tango of un-luscious smells that will exponentially increase and become harder and harder to harness…

3. Lastly, once you’ve tossed everything in the laundry, don’t forget to give your pail a quick wipe down. This will ensure that the whole process starts off as fresh as possible once again.  Have you read our 30 Second Solution?

So, what’s your favourite way of keeping your diaper pail (and house!) fresh and clean?

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