How Do I Keep My Diaper Pails From Smelling So Bad?

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Question: How Do I Keep My Diaper Pails From Smelling So Bad?

I can't stand it any longer. I have two diaper pails, a Diaper Genie, and a Diaper Champ, and they both reek badly. How can I get the smell out of my diaper pail?


Yep, after a while, diaper pails are just plain nasty. There has been many a parent who choked and gagged her way to setting out the weekly garbage. What's worse - after a while, the stench seems to infest the pail itself and the thing stinks even when it is empty.

While there is no fool-proof way of keeping your diaper pails smelling like something other than a diaper pail, there are some things that you can do to help keep stinky odors at bay.

Be Proactive - Prevent Smelly Diaper Pails

The first thing that you should do to keep that aroma from knocking you off your feet is prevented it from becoming a huge problem. There are several things you can do in this regard:

  1. Use diaper pails with a plastic liner.
  2. Throw poopy diapers directly out in your outside trash can or plop the poop right into the toilet before tossing in the diaper pail.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the pail and pinch in a little at every diaper change.
  4. Take the diapers out to the outdoor trash and treat your diaper pail to a dousing of an antibacterial spray, like Lysol, at the end of the day.
  5. If baking soda isn't helping to cut back the odor, try tossing other strong-smelling items in the bottom to help mask the odor. A pre-measured coffee filter, a few whole cloves, a drier sheet. You might be surprised that one of those helps.

    Getting the Smell Out of Diaper Pails

    Once the odor has leached into the porous plastic of the pail, it can be very difficult to evacuate that unwanted smell. While it can be done, the problem is that some of the chemicals used might erode the plastic of the pail. Obviously, they can be harsh to use on both the pail and the person nominated to do the cleaning.

    Always test out an area of the plastic first and use wise safety and handling precautions with cleaners.

    You can try and sanitize your pail with good, old-fashioned chlorine bleach. Take the pail outside with a bottle of bleach and a large resealable bag (like the Ziploc bags used for storage of large items). Pour the bleach over the pail, coating it inside and out. Seal up the bag and let the pail steep in the cleaner for a day or two.

    Be sure to open the bag up outdoors, being mindful that the bleach doesn't get on to your grass or plants. Give it a good scrub and hose down. Hopefully, that will have been what you needed to combat the smell.

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