Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers

When I had first decided that I wanted to use cloth with Norton, I had a lot of questions.  One of the things that I wasn’t sure about was storing dirty cloth diapers.  My only real life experience with using cloth diapers was when my sister used flats on my niece.  (My niece is an adult now, so flats were about as good as it gets back then.)  I knew how my sister stored diapers, but that was about it.

It turns out that caring for modern cloth diapers is a bit different than how my sister cared for diapers back in the early 1990’s… or how my mother cared for her cloth diapers back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Best Storage Method for Dirty Cloth Diapers

So what’s the best way to store your dirty cloth diapers?  An open pail.  The reason why an open pail is the best way is because it allows air to circulate and keeps down odor.  However, that’s not a solution that works in my house.  I’d have dogs scattering diapers or Norton kicking them over during a toddler tantrum.  Plus, it’s just not something that would ever fly with my husband.

Ew.  Next best, please?

How I store my dirty cloth diapersSince that’s not an option, how do we store?  Now we use a hanging Planet Wise wet/dry bag.  We have three of the biggest ones that they make, and it holds 18-20 diapers.  That’s just under two days in my house since I’ve got two in diapers.  When I have a poopy diaper, I rinse it off with a diaper sprayer, then I rinse the insert.  After that, I toss them both in the wet bag and zip it up.  Come laundry day, I empty the wet bag into the washing machine and throw the wet bag in with my diapers.  I love my Planet Wise wet bags because they don’t leak and do a great job of containing the smell, but aren’t so airtight that things can’t circulate.

What about a wet pail?

Wet pails are really no good for modern cloth diapers.  I know that my sister used to put vinegar in a diaper pail and keep it closed, but that was using flat cloth diapers.  Wet pails are no good for modern cloth diapers because it can wreck your PUL, wear out your elastics faster, and contribute to mold and mildew growth.  Not to mention wet pails are considered a child safety hazard due to the water being unattended.

How about a dry closed pail?

When I first started using cloth diapers, I actually used a Graco diaper pail.  It was hands free for the opening, and you just dropped the diaper in the little bowl, and it would flip closed, dumping the dirty   diaper in with the rest in the bottom of the pail.  It was great for keeping the smells out of the nursery.  But there were a couple of problems: 1.) The stench was enough to burn my lungs when I dumped the pail in the washer on cloth diaper laundry day.  2.) Condensation built up on the inside of the pail.  It was hot, humid, and the perfect environment for molds to grow.  I was fortunate and didn’t have that problem… largely because that pail only held about a dozen diapers.  If it held enough for me to wash every three days, I probably would have.

How do you store your dirty cloth diapers?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Sarah Hayes says:

    I like how you explained each of these. This was really helpful. I use an open pail and I didnt know if that was best or not. THanks for the info!!

  2. We use the same method you do. I’m interested in trying the Ubbi diaper pail though. It is supposed to be CD compatible.

  3. This is helpful for me as I consider cloth diapering.

  4. Gina Hodges says:

    I just ordered a hanging planet wise wet/dry bag because it holds so many diapers! My son uses too many in one day that will probably hold a days worth for me 🙂 Glad to see that you use one! Can’t wait for it to arrive

  5. Rachel N says:

    I have just a cheap plastic trash can from Walmart that I put a pail liner in and it has no lid. Works great, rarely smells and if it does start to smell that’s my hint that I really need to wash diapers soon. I have yet to find an amazing pail liner yet, they all seem to die at the 1 year mark for me and I do have 2 that I rotate which means they are only getting used 6 months before they are done…

  6. planet wise bag in a black trash can designed for a kitchen with a flap lid. i drop it in, no touching or closing, you dont see them, they still get enough air, no odors bc i use a spayer n wash 3 days worth at a time.

  7. Thank you for this info. I’m lucky because I don’t have any dogs or other kids so I can easily use the open pail option.

  8. Meg Michelle Greenan Liani says:

    Thank you for the helpful dirty cloth diaper storage tips! 🙂 I haven’t used cloth diapers yet, so I’m curious to know where you rinse them/spray them?

  9. Tara Elias says:

    LOVE my big hanging planet wise wetbag. love that it fits all my diapers til laundry day, and can fit it in small spaces.

  10. I use a diaper genie but I do laundry everyday by dumping the diapers into the wash and reusing the liner. I change the plastic liner about every 2 weeks. I’ve been doing this for almost 3 months now and I haven’t noticed any mold or lingering smells. Do you think this is a sustainable process for the future if I continue to wash them every day? I read your article and was a little worried when I came across the possibility of mold.


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