Smelly Diaper Pail Solutions

There are a lot of things to worry about when we’re about to become a new parent.  Are we going to breastfeed or formula feed? If we’re breastfeeding, will there be enough milk? Which pediatrician to choose? Are we going to vaccinate, do an alternative vaccine schedule, or not vaccinate at all?  Those are all big, serious things to worry about.   A lot of those we’ll discuss with friends, family, and doctors to help us make our decisions and alleviate our worries.

Then there worries that seem maybe a little silly.  Like changing diapers.  A lot of us worry about having to do that.  Let’s face it, wiping poopy bottoms isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, and it can be, well, a little icky. But if we bring that concern up with people we know, they might be a little dismissive.  Tell us we just have to suck it up and do it and there are bigger things to worry about.

Then the day comes and our baby arrives, and we have to clean the first diaper.  Meconium has to be the stickiest, hardest to clean substance known to man.  But, as we’re scrubbing and wiping and trying to decide if we can somehow patent the stickiness for good, we realize, it doesn’t really smell.   We’re not gagging from the odor.  We can change a diaper.

Time goes on. Things change.  The meconium turns to poop that’s more manageable in the cleaning department.  If we’re breastfeeding, it still doesn’t really smell.

We become diaper changing pros.  We handle the first time the baby goes while we’re changing a diaper.  We clean it up and change our clothes and carry on.  We handle our first diaper blow out where it oozes out the top of the diaper and manages to somehow get into baby’s neck folds.  We clean it up and change our clothes and carry on.  This diapering thing isn’t so bad.

Then, after much worrying about when it’s the exact right time, we introduce solid food.  Things change.  Those diapers don’t smell so pleasant anymore.  In fact, they downright reek.  Regardless of if we’re cloth diapering or using disposables, we now have a smelly diaper pail.  No one likes a smelly diaper pail.  So how do we control the odor? We would rather not spray a bunch of chemicals around the room, especially if the diaper pail is in the room where baby sleeps.  Here are a few ideas to help with the diaper pail odor.

1. Flush the Poop

This is the simplest way to decrease diaper pail odor. If you’re using cloth diapers, you’re probably already doing that.  It helps decrease the staining on cloth diapers as well.  If you’re using disposables, maybe you’re just throwing it all in the diaper pail.   Flushing helps two ways.  First, no poop in the pail means no poopy diaper pail smell.  Second, if we flush  it goes through the sewage treatment system instead of just going into a landfill.  That’s better for the environment.

2. Use Baking Soda

It naturally absorbs odor.  You can take one of those refrigerator/freezer boxes and stick it right in the bottom of the pail.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar also neutralizes odors.  Keep a spray bottle of white vinegar and spray it into the pail every time you empty it.  Once the vinegar dries, there will be no more vinegar smell, and no more diaper pail smell.  You can even add a few drops of an essential oil to provide a scent if you wanted, although I’m all for unscented.

4. Half A Lemon

This is my personal favorite.  Take a used half lemon, scrape out all the flesh and fill it with sea salt.  Place it in the bottom of the diaper pail.  The salt absorbs the odors.  It needs to be changed when the salt gets all dry and cakey.  Mine last a couple months.  It’s a great way to use the leftovers after juicing a lemon for cooking.

5. Don’t Get a Diaper Pail

Just use the regular trash can and empty it for disposables or get a zippered wet bag to collect cloth diapers.  The diaper pail is extra plastic that really isn’t that necessary when it gets right down to it.  It’s just convenient.  I’m not saying throw out your diaper pail if you already have one, but if you don’t have one yet, think about not getting one.   If you’re like me, and you have a diaper pail, when your children are potty trained, find someone who can use your diaper pail or donate it to a charity that could use it.  It’s one way to help reduce plastic production.


This post was written as part of The Healthy Child bloggers network from Healthy Child Healthy World. It’s an organization I strongly support.  If you would be interested in blogging about topics like this, please sign up here

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11 Responses to “Smelly Diaper Pail Solutions”

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  1. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas

    This is a big issue. I’m glad you’ve tackled it, the people need to know ;)
    We flushed as much as we could. Then got the rest outta town as fast as we could.
    Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli´s last post ..Cabbage Rolls: A How-To.

  2. Sheila says:

    Half a lemon and salt. Got that written down. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips on this rather unpleasant but very important poop business. Oh and I love reading your posts about your wonderful girls.
    Sheila´s last post ..CNA Training

  3. Well we are expecting our 2nd baby this Januray. And im using the “Half a lemon and salt” to eliminate odors. This is a great blog and please keep on sharing :)

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi! We use a tall kitchen garbage can with a kanga care pail liner. Do you put the lemon in the bottom of the can and then put the liner on top of it or do you put the lemon in the pail liner?

    • Jessica Anne says:

      You can do either or both. I personally put the lemon under the liner only to keep the bin fresh since I threw the liner pretty regularly.

  5. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!

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