I know: of all the things I could write about, I’m writing an instructional post about cloth diaper pails?!? But I am psyched, and you know why? My daughter’s room no longer smells like urine, and I only had to spend $21.97. Plus it looks nice, is much more convenient than what I was using before, and I’ll be able to use it as a regular trash can once Sarah’s potty trained. Win-win-win-win-win!
As I’ve mentioned before, the whole reason I got interested in zero waste* is because I was adamantly against the idea of cloth diapers, and I wanted to cut down on our garbage so I could fill it with disposables. But I had one particular friend who loved her son’s cloth diapers, and she was convincing enough that I ordered a starter kit from GroVia.
* Note: This, unfortunately, is not a zero waste project. I know I could have made some cloth laundry bags, or found some plastic free, but: the stink. I needed to act fast.
I. Love. Them. The GroVia hybrid cloth diapers work really well–way fewer leaks/explosions than disposables (although I do still put her in an overnight disposable diaper at night, since she’s started sleeping up to 12 hours at a stretch), way less garbage, way less money. Plus the covers are cute.
However. The GroVia “Perfect Pail” was not so perfect. Basically, it’s a hanging PUL (polyurethane laminate) bag with a zippered bottom. It’s easy to use and washes up nicely, but. It stinks. Literally. Plus, because it hangs, I had to hang it in Sarah’s closet. Not only was this fairly far from my changing table, but the close quarters meant every time I opened the closet, a huge cloud of odor attacked me.
Plus, her “nice” clothes hang in that closet! I finally had enough and started looking for cloth diaper pails. However, the ones I found on Amazon and Babies R Us were almost $50–just for the pail, without a liner. Since I had already spent money on the GroVia pail, this made me cranky. So I decided to try to put one together myself, and I am quite happy with the results!
Inexpensive Cloth Diaper Pail
- One plastic touch-top garbage can (I chose a 7.5-gallon one, since I noticed the waterproof liners I saw on Amazon were for 7-gallon pails)
- Two heavy-duty drawstring cotton laundry bags (mine are 24″ x 36″)
- Cloth wipe or washcloth
- A few drops of essential oil (I used lavender)
I found a white, touch-top trash can at my local Fred Meyer for $9.99. I chose the touch-top version not only because it was cheaper than the step-on option, but because I can put something in front of it if needed and still access it.
I then found two cotton laundry bags in the same aisle for $5.99 each. This way, I can wash the bag with the diapers and have a fresh one ready to go. I decided to go with plain cotton rather than getting any special (expensive) PUL pail liners. I’ll let you know if they get too gross and I change my mind.
Putting it together was simple. I set the can where I needed it, and removed the lid. Then I shook some lavender essential oil onto one of my cloth wipes and draped it over the edge–most of it is in the can, but a little is outside (stink blocker).
Then I placed the bag inside, snapped the lid on, and voila! Done. It’s super easy to use, and smell free. A little stink escapes each time I open it, of course, but I’ve learned to be fast–and the bit of oil-infused cloth wipe that’s outside the can helps cover it up.
Hope this isn’t TMI, but this is exactly the kind of post I went looking for when I began this important life journey.
Got any other tips? Post them below!