Last updated January 7th, 2021
Nothing else says, “Welcome to Parenthood” like the poo smell that hits your nose when you enter your house. Come on, let’s face it, diaper pail stinks! Sure, a diaper pail is a blessing for parents who don’t want to run to the trash and dispose a diaper in the middle of the night. A diaper pail will hold in the smell of dirty diapers for days (or I thought so), but after a while, before you know, your whole house smells like poo.
There are many reasons why a diaper pail stinks like the mold from all that moisture build-up from the wet, dirty diapers, or if the diaper isn’t emptied or cleaned regularly. To remove the pungent smell from the diaper pail, you can use hacks like doubling the bag in the pail, using baking soda in the bottom of the can or sprinkling some with every trash bag, spraying essential oil, or spraying white vinegar mixed at the bottom after emptying the bag, or dumping old coffee grounds wrapped in a bag at the bottom of the pail. You can also use cloves, lemon, cotton balls dipped in essential oil or eucalyptus, scented dryer sheet, to name a few. To clean a cotton diaper pail, you can wash it regularly and sun-dry it once a week.
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What causes diaper pail to stink
Even the best of the diaper pail stinks after some time. I used to be amazed at the power of a diaper pail to be able to hold in the stink from the poop and pee in diapers, but slowly I used to get a whiff of that pungent smell whenever the pail was opened but after that nothing. Then after a while, the smell started to linger in the nursery and got worse, and the aroma spread throughout the whole house.
There are many reasons why this happens to many of us, like..
The pail isn’t emptied regularly
Any diaper pail will start to smell if you leave in dirty diapers inside for too long. Make sure to empty the pail every 2 or 3 days to avoid the smell building up.
The pail isn’t clean
The diaper pail doesn’t come with a self-cleaning option, so it’s necessary to clean it regularly. If left unclean, the most expensive diaper pail can start smelling bad. Like anything else in our house, the pail too needs to be cleaned regularly.
The pail isn’t locked properly
The diaper pail that doesn’t have a foot pedal has a possibility for the pail to be not locked properly if we are in a rush. If this happens constantly, the room is soon bound to smell of poop.
Molds in the diaper pail
The combination of moisture released from the diapers and the lack of airflow can develop molds in the diaper pail. Molds have been known to cause respiratory issues, fatigue, allergies and headaches. So it is best if you leave your diaper pail open for at least 30 minutes once in a week outside your house.
How to remove diaper pail smell
Empty and clean it
The first step towards getting rid of the smell from anything is emptying and then cleaning it. Similarly, with diaper pails, take out the trash regularly (psst…ask your husband to do it), and clean it properly.
I recently found out about this hack, double bagging the diaper pail helps the smell from lingering around the house. Go for a trash bag that has a pretty smell to it, so it helps a little bit in masking the funky smell.
Use baking soda
There are multiple ways you can use this home remedy. Get yourself a big bag of baking soda and try out any of the methods.
- Put baking soda at the bottom the diaper pail and replace it once a week
- Sprinkle some baking soda inside the trash bag every time you place a new bag
- Mix little baking soda and your favorite essential oil and place it in a breathable cloth or a bag and place it in the bottom of the diaper pail
- Make baking soda discs by mixing baking soda, essential oil and little water. Place it in a silicone mold and let it dry. You can place this in the diaper pail and replace it once every 2 weeks. Store the leftover discs in an airtight jar.
Use dog poop bags
You can throw in the dirty diaper wrapped in a dog poop diaper inside the diaper pail. This can contain in the smell of the diaper. Though this can seem like a hassle, but with practice, this will become second nature.
You can take your favorite smelling essential oil (peppermint is my favorite) and dilute it with water and store it in a spray bottle. Spray the essential oil solution in the air after you change a diaper (preferably more around the diaper pail).
Use Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are considered very effective in getting rid of any odor. You can use old or new coffee grounds and throw it in the bottom of the diaper pail. Leave it for a few hours or overnight, and then rinse it out. You can also use old coffee grounds and tie or wrap it up in breathable cloth or bag and place it under the trash bag.
Keep the diaper count low
Don’t let the diaper pail hold more than 10-12 dirty diapers at once. The longer the dirty diaper stay in the pail, the more they are bound to smell.
Mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Keep it near the diaper pail and spray in the diaper pail every time after you empty the diaper pail.
Lysol is the best home remedy and is easily available in anybody’s house. Spray a little amount of Lysol in the diaper pail once daily.
Place a scented dryer sheet between the pail and the bag, and you can place another one inside the bag.
You can even toss in few cloves at the bottom of the diaper pail, which helps in mask any smell.
You can either cut the lemon in half, place it in a bowl with the cut side up, in the nursery, or you can scrape the flesh and fill it with a little salt in it and place it in a bag in the diaper pail.
This is approved by many parents I know. The trick is to sock the kitty litter and then toss it in the bottom of the diaper pail.
Sun-dry the pail
Many mothers let the diaper pail sit in the sun once a week. This way the sun rays will dry up any moisture buildup in the pail.
Throw the dirty diapers in the same pail
If you have more than one diaper pail in your house, try to throw all the dirty diapers in the same pail to avoid getting surprised by the smell coming in from a new room. If you insist on using multiple diaper pails, then make sure to empty all the diaper pails together, and this way you won’t forget to take out the trash from another room.
Use of charcoal is known to be an effective deodorizer for your diaper pail. Charcoals are known to absorb the smell instead of masking it.
You can dip the cotton balls either in essential oil or eucalyptus or vanilla extract, and place it in the diaper pail.
Flush the poop in the toilet
You can limit the number of soiled diapers in the diaper pail by flushing the poop in the toilet. When your kid starts eating solids, their poop starts to resemble somewhat like adults. So, you can just plop the poop in the toilet. It’s okay if it doesn’t come out, don’t try to scrape it out.
What I did was the take the diaper pail and placed it near an open window instead of a small, closed corner in the nursery.
If nothing else works and your diaper pail still stinks, then wash the pail with bleach. Make sure to do this outside and let it dry in the sun.
Buy a new diaper pail
It gets frustrating sometimes to have to wash and clean the diaper pail often. So many mums buy a new, different diaper pail for each baby.
How to get rid of the smell from a cloth diaper pail
If you’re using a cloth diaper, then you can use some of the hacks like spraying essential oils, vinegar solution, baking soda or toss in cloves, lemon, dryer sheet. Make sure to wash the cloth diaper pail regularly and dry out in the sun once a week.
There’s nothing that smells better than a baby, but nothing smells worse than their poopy smell that hits our face. Instill a clean, quick method in your schedule, so that you don’t have to do anything by going out of your way. These hacks will help get rid of the stinky diaper pail smell and slowly you would’ve to clean your diaper pail only once a month.
We already have so much on our plate from keeping the house clean to keeping an eye on our very energetic kids (am I right?), so a piece of advice from one mum to another, work smarter, not harder. It will make our lives super manageable. So, if you want that funky smell out of the nursery and your house, experiment with different hacks and see what works best for you and that expensive diaper pail you bought.
Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not running after her kid, Kelin is busy reading, travelling, and penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best’.