How to Buy a Diaper Pail

Wondering if you really need a special place to stash those dirty diapers? We’ve got the pros and cons on purchasing a diaper pail.
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Updated March 2, 2017
Pregnant woman at home organizing newborn baby clothes in nursery closet.
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The great debates of parenthood: Breast vs. bottle, cloth vs. disposable, epidural vs. meds free…and diaper pail vs. good old garbage bag. The main function of diaper pails, no matter what the brand, is to control the odor of soiled diapers in a container that stays right in the nursery. This means no running back and forth to the outdoor garbage with every poopy diaper or letting smells linger in the house. Some parents swear by them, while others find them unnecessary or even a pain. Here’s what both sides have to say.

Go for it

A diaper pail saves you from having to wrap each soiled diaper individually—you can just shove it in the container and forget about it. There’s no need to walk out to the trash, and there’s no odor in the nursery until the pail gets full. In a suburban setting, where garbage may be taken out as infrequently as once a week, the stench can start pretty quickly—even if it’s out in the garage. While buying special liners for the pails is an expense, many people wind up buying special diaper baggies anyways. There are also now diaper pails on the market that work with regular garbage bags.

Skip it (at least at first)

There’s not much need for a diaper pail until baby is on solid food, since even poopy diapers aren’t too offensive until then. You can use those months to evaluate your garbage-duty motivation–are you up to the task of taking out garbage daily? If it’s not a problem and you live in an area where the garbage is frequently collected, there’s no need to bother with a diaper pail. Simply wrap poopy diapers in scented baggies once they do start to smell, and take the garbage out immediately. You also aren’t wasting plastic bags on pee diapers, since those don’t really need to be wrapped up. And you don’t need to worry about having a specific liner on hand — plastic bags are easy to pick up on a normal run to the supermarket.

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