Friday, May 4, 2012

Wet vs. Dry: The Great Pail Debate

When I first started doing research for my cloth diapers, I remember reading about "wet pails" and "dry pails." I honestly had no idea what they were referring to! After a little research a whole new realm of cloth diapers was opened to me. Here is what I learned.

Dry Diaper Pail - a diaper pail or any plastic pail with a washable pail liner put inside it
  • Baking soda for stink sprinkled in the bottom of the pail
  • A drop of tea tree oil can also be put on the small piece of suede fabric attached to the seam on the outside of some pail liners 
  • Recommended  to he diapers ever 2-3 days
  • Don't require a seal tight pail
  • May want to shake solids into the toilet before placing diapers into a dry pail
    • PROS
      • Lighter weight than carrying a bucket of water with diapers in it
      • Less risk for small children with the water
      • Easier in general on laundry day 
    • CONS
      • The diapers can be more prone to stains without this "pre-soak"
      • Need to have a couple of diaper pail liners on hand for laundry days
      • Some people claim dry pails  have a stink to them
Wet Diaper Pail - in this method, a diaper pail or bucket is filled with water and is used to store the dirty diapers until you do laundry. In other words, your diapers are soaking.
  • Waterproof container that can seal/lockable top
  • Fill 1/4-1/2 the pail with water
  • No liner needed
  • Some people add baking soda, tea tree oil, or vinegar to the water to help with the "stink"
  • Pic Credit
    • PROS
      • Reduces stains better than the dry pail method 
      • Soak acts like a pre-wash or rinse
    • CONS
      • Is more work in terms of filling up the bucket and transferring diapers to the washing machine (at least in my opinion)
      • Can be a potential safety issue for small children in terms of drowning 
      • Bacteria can build up in the moist environment if diapers are not washing in a timely manner
      • Can be messy dunking the diapers
      • Some people claim wet pails also can have a certain stink to them
      • May damage your PUL or elastic part of your diapers over time
Wet & Dry Method - in this method, after a diaper is soiled, it is rinsed in the toilet or with a diaper sprayer, then placed in a dry pail. In a sense this has a wet component and a dry component. Some people also use both a wet pail and a dry pail. One for rinsed out poopy diapers, and one for pee diapers. But if you really think about it, all of the diapers are wet whether they have pee on them or were rinsed with a sprayer or dunked in the toilet.
  • PROS
    • Reduces stains and stink by rinsing
    • No drowning risks for small children
  • CONS
    • If the diaper are not washed often, the wet diapers can become a breeding ground for bacteria--> stink
    • Can create more work if using (2) separate pails
Diaper Junction

Hanging Diaper Wet Bag - as it sounds, a hanging wet bag or washable liner bag. 
  • Some people use the hanging wet bag as a replacement for a dry pail and liner
    • PROS
      • Save space
      • No need to buy a diaper pail
      • Great for travel
      • Same PRO's as with the dry pail
    • CONS
      • You will need multiple wet bags while the other is being laundered
      • Same problems may arise as with a dry pail
So What Do I Use??

There are so many different ways to store dirty diapers. Different methods work for different people and different spaces. For me personally, I use a dry pail, however, I also rinse all my poopy diapers out with a diaper sprayer and then squeeze out the excess water and throw them in the dry pail. This works great! I rarely have stink issues.

I also put some baking soda in the bottom of the pail, before I put the liner in. I find that this helps keep any stink at bay. In a perfect world I would have a dry pail for pee diapers and a hanging wet bag in the bathroom for my newly sprayed poopy diapers. (Not sure what the hubby would think about hanging poopy diapers inside the bathroom though). Maybe eventually the hanging wet bag above will find it's way into My Stash

But currently I use (2) Kissaluvs Antibacterial Pail Liners and a Safety First Diaper Pail. I love the pail liners, they work great! However, if I had to pick again, I would get a diaper pail with a bigger opening that you don't need to "touch" to put soiled diapers in. Maybe a pail with a swinging flap...if you know what I mean.

What method do you like the best? 
What works for your family?
What types of pails, liners, or wet bags do you use?


  1. I rinse all my diapers, in a bucket with my sink sprayer. Works the same as a diaper sprayed, but I didn't have to buy it lol plus I clean constantly so it doesn't bother me. Then I squeeze them and put them in a dry pail. I just used a trash can with a lid that flips I'm circles. I wash everyday... I have 5 kiddos, and have to keep up or its awful, so I just added a diaper wash into my routine. My liner is a pul liner I bought off etsy. Love that site. Half my diapers are from etsy shops also. I so a cold rinse then hot wash with am extra rinse and I hang dry all my diapers and inserts. I have a place in the laundry room to hang when I can't outside :)

    1. I like the kitchen sprayer idea! If my kitchen was on the same level as the diapers/changing area, I would do that too! Wow, 5 kids, that is a lot of washing! How many are in diapers??

      I haven't bought any etsy diapers, but have my eyes on a few once we get the funds:-) I hear so many good things about them!

  2. love this post julie!! i use a dry pail.. i hear a wet pail is not good for pul diapers so i avoided that :) i have a rumparooz kanga print liner and i love it!! works awesome!

    1. Thanks Polly! I actually just added that in about the PUL and soaking in water! Thanks for the reminder:-)

  3. Wonderful post! I'm just starting down the road to cloth diapering and have so much to learn, but this really clarified a lot of questions about what to do with diapers prior to laundering! Thank you!

  4. I started with a Planetwise pail liner in a regular step trash can and it works great. I recently added a Planetwise hanging wet bag for the bathroom for the rinsed out poopy diapers. The bag is so pretty and it definitely keeps the smells in.

  5. Ohhh boy.. this is the only thing I dread when thinking about cloth diapers is the cleaning & storing of dirty diapers lol. I really hope I can hang in there because I'm expecting my little girl to arrive into this world any day now & my fiancé & I are adamant on using cloth diapers. Let's hope all goes well lol :)

  6. Neat! Thanks for sharing! I am hoping to get to try a Planetwise wet/dry bag soon!

  7. I use a dry pail with a pail liner. Works really good, I do spray the poop diapers and rinse out the night diapers before they go in there though.

  8. I use a dry pail with a pail liner but I do rinse the poopy diapers in the toilet and I wash every other day.

  9. I use dry pail with pail liner. I spray the poopy diapers with a diaper sprayer before I put them in the pail though. I also wash every other day.

  10. I'm using a dry pail now since my little one is EBF but I haven't decided what we'll do once we start solids and have to deal with real poops.

  11. i use wet bags- i spray the poopy diapers and even the pee diapers to avoid ammonia buikd up.

  12. Thanks for sharing! We use the dry pail method but instead of wet bags, we've been using trash bags. I know, I know... But we've been on a budget and wet bags aren't in it. Though I'm thinking I should invest in some, I've been keeping an eye out and certain retailers sell them for pretty cheap!