What is a Diaper Pail?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2019
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Diaper pails can be the most dreaded thing in the nursery, or a considerable friend in keeping down the odors of dirty diapers. There are many varieties of the diaper pail to suit plenty of different diapering needs. Larger pails are often delivered to parents who use diaper services, and they typically have some type of air freshening device, usually in the lid, that helps keep down odor. They may also have plastic liners to keep dirty diapers from touching the pail.

If you’re considering buying a diaper pail, get one with plastic liners. Pails become stinky and dirty quickly, and unless you want to wash the pail out on a frequent basis, don’t expect a small deodorizer to completely get rid of the smell. This advice counts whether you are using cloth or disposable diapers.

Another feature to look for if you’re using cloth diapers is a pail that can handle wet, drippy diapers. Since you may frequently rinse diapers before you actually wash them, they may need to sit wet in a pail for a day or more. You probably shouldn’t substitute pails that are made for disposable diapers for those that are suited to cloth diapers.


As for disposable diapers, many people love the pails that help to compress the diapers, since size of disposables can increase when they’re wet. They also like the ease of having a small lid in the center of a larger lid where they can get rid of diapers without opening the whole pail and filling the room with diaper smell. There are several companies that make a diaper pail, or more than one, that will meet these requirements.

One of the most popular diaper pails for disposables is the Diaper Genie® made by the Playtex Company. The early models had a special feature, where you’d insert the diaper into a small basket and then twist it. This would compress the diaper and drop it down into the lined pail. Some parents found the twist mechanism a little difficult to use, but others liked the way the diaper minimized odors. Other brands now compete with the Diaper Genie and include the Diaper Champ®. Most of these models do a good job minimizing odors and the Diaper Champ doesn’t require purchasing special bags to line the pail but instead allows you to use any type of plastic bags you have.

In price, the most simple diaper pail may cost about $10-15 US Dollars (USD). Fancier pails do cost more, with many priced between $30-40 USD. You seldom have to pay more than that for diaper pail, and many parents believe that the more expensive pails are definitely worth the price to avoid the inevitable smells that come from baby diapers.


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Post 1

I received a genie diaper pail at my baby shower and I was so thrilled to get it. It was probably my favorite gift. However, after trying to use it for a while, it didn't work out. We have an inside dog and I suppose he was attracted to the "smell" and would knock the pail over and figure out how to remove the contents! It was just a huge mess.

We went back to the old-fashioned way of taking the dirty diaper, putting it inside a Wal-Mart bag and then inside another bag and tossing it in our outside garbage can.

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