Picking out a diaper pail might sound like one of the least enjoyable shopping tasks when you're getting your nursery wish list together. But it's an item you'll use daily -- even hourly, in the first month or so. Choosing the right one can make diaper changing less of a chore, even if it may never make the process an actual pleasure. The type of diaper pail you buy should depend on what kind of diapers you use and whether the wet or dry system appeals to you.
Diaper Pail for Disposables
Diaper pails made specifically for disposables often compress the diapers down into a compact disposable bag. Consider a pail that you can open with a foot pedal, so you can have your hands free to hold the baby and don't have to touch the pail. Units that open with a foot pedal also prevent your baby from getting into the pail; the plastic liners can pose a suffocation hazard. Most diapers pails for disposables also control odors, either with air filters or special liners.
Wet Cloth Diaper Method
Cloth diapers have started making a comeback. But they do require a better containment system, since it's not practical to toss them into the washer one at a time. You can choose to store them dry or wet. The wet system includes water with cleaning and odor-containment ingredients, such as baking soda or vinegar, in the bottom of the pail, to soak the diapers until you wash them. Rinse the solid waste off before putting the cloth diaper into the diaper pail. Wet systems can be heavy and cumbersome, as well as a drowning hazard. Ensure that you have a tight-fitting, childproof lid on the pail.
Dry Cloth Diaper Pails
A dry cloth diaper system is easier to use and poses fewer risks than a wet system. Wash off any solid waste and throw the diaper into any commercial diaper pail or container with a tight-fitting lid. The tighter the lid, the less likely you are to have to deal with odors. Liners make it easier to remove the diapers on wash day -- plus you don't have to wash the inside of the diaper pail as often. Some waterproof liners are washable; just throw them into the laundry with the diapers. Sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of the pail helps keep odors at bay.
Nontraditional Diaper Containment
You don't have to buy a traditional diaper pail to deal with dirty diapers. If you're using disposable diapers, you don't necessarily need a diaper pail at all; you can toss them right into your regular trash can -- if you take your garbage out regularly. You can also use a regular trash can with a lid or a plastic storage container with handles to make it easier to pick up. Some cloth diapering parents also use homemade wet bags, bags made out of polyurethane laminated fabric (better known as PUL), a waterproof fabric used to line the outside of cloth diapers, suggests ClothDiaperGuru.com.