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1 Cloth Diapering 101
1.1 What is a dry pail?
Well for me who first did cloth diapering 20 odd years ago with my first, I thought the only method was a wet pail, where you soak the diapers in a solution before washing them in a washing machine.
A dry pail means that you store the soiled diapers until washing in a pail that has no water. It is much easier to me than the wet pail method I used with my first all those years ago. A wet pail system is still a good choice for those who have seriously hard water or a HE washer that will not rinse the diapers properly. If you do have a wet pail be sure to store it safely as it can be a drowning risk. Back when I did it, I kept the pail up in the laundry sink. I also had a lid on it that would be extremely difficult for a toddler to remove. I drained the pail in the sink and then transferred the diapers to the washer that was right next to my laundry sink.
When I set up my dry pail system, I did quite a bit of research on line to figure out how it all worked. So I have put together for you my system and what I looked for in a diaper pail. This FAQ does not cover washing diapers. Refer to our Washing Diapers page for more information on that. Note that these photos are my actual diaper pail that is in use, so it does have diapers in it.
I use two pail liners in my system. That allows for one to be in used in the pail while one is in the wash. I bought a 13 gallon/54 quart trash can from a local hardware store for less than $20. I shopped around quite a bit looking for the perfect trash can for the job. I wanted to be able to easily close it, and open it, and I wanted the pail liner to be able to be easily placed in it. Some of the more expensive cans that I looked at, had the lids connected in such a way that I would not have been able to place the pail liner over the lip. Ironically, the pail I found that was perfect for the job was the cheapest! Ideally when you shop for your pail, take your pail liner with you so you can check the fit. The pail liner you see in the pictures is the second one I bought. While the first one fit, I didn’t like the lid on the first, and its now being used in another part of the house.
If you want a nicer looking diaper pail, then the Ubbi is a great option. It is made of steel so it wont absorb odour, has it’s own pail liners. And it comes in fun colours. It also has a locking lid to keep out toddlers and pets.
As you can see from this picture of my diaper pail without the lid, I can easily place the pail liner into the pail. The fit is quite tight, but not so tight that my oldest son can’t do it. The lid comes totally off the pail so that it is easy to take the liner out when its full of diapers, and place a fresh one in. A lot of the time I don’t even bother to put the lid on unless we get a smelly poopy diaper in there, then the lid goes on.
The lid easily opens with one hand. Extremely important when your other hand is carrying a baby. This one I just push on the button and the lid flips up. My first pail the lid was a swing top, and I found I would get poop on it when I was trying to put the dirty diaper in it. So that is why it was retired to normal trash duty. I did find a trash can that had a lid that opened when you stepped on the opening mechanism at the base of the trash can, but it was far more expensive, and it had a piece at the back of the can at the top that didn’t allow the pail liner to sit properly in the can.
Is there much clean up with the dry pail system? No. Not for me. Occasionally I will spray the pail when the pail liner is out with Bac Out and let that dry before putting a fresh liner in. But the pail itself never really holds odour, unlike the diaper dekor I used with my previous child. The disposables stank the place out. This system has little to no odour. Because the liner goes into the wash with the diapers, anything that has contact with the dirty diapers gets washed. And then if you do have odour issues, some pail liners have a little white patch on the inside where you can put a couple of drops of essential oil. If they do not, then a couple of drops of essential oil on a wash cloth placed in the pail works as well. There is also some great pail dusts to make the pail smell good as well. When I do that, my master bathroom, where the change station is in our house, smells very pleasant! It’s quite something when your diaper pail is making your bathroom smell good!
1.2 How do I wash my cloth diapers?
In a washing machine