The Good Nursery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Store Dirty Cloth Diapers – A Complete Guide

How to Store Dirty Cloth Diapers - A Complete Guide

I have to admit.

Even in our modern-day lives, cloth diapering is still a great idea. I’ve used cloth diapers for my toddler since he was 3 months old.

That saved me HUNDREDS of dollars from not having to buy disposable diapers!

However, with cloth diapering, properly storing dirty cloth diapers is a chore you might not enjoy.

You must be extra keen on preventing foul odors or bacteria from developing.

In this article, I’ll share with you my complete guide on how to store dirty cloth diapers, including storage options, tips, best practices, and more!

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

How to Store Dirty Diapers in Between Washes – Step-By-Step Guide

When I decided to opt for cloth diapers, committing to a wash routine I am comfortable with was the first step.

Although some cloth diaper manufacturers will recommend a specific washing routine, the basics of cleaning diapers are the same.

Check out these easy steps:

Step 1: Remove the Waste

Step 1: Remove the Waste

It’s no myth that when a baby is exclusively breastfed, their poop is water-soluble, meaning you can toss it straight into the washer.

This is nature’s gift to every breastfeeding cloth-diapering mom! Even a little formula or food can turn your baby’s waste more solid and no longer water-soluble.

Removing all waste right after changing your baby’s diaper is a MUST. A quick rinse or some wet wipes are a big help!

For busy parents out there, you might get tempted to putting soiled diapers in travel wet bags and throw them out at the end of the day.

Although it’s not wrong to do so, disposing of the waste immediately is still the best way.

Step 2: Separate the Inserts

Step 2: Separate the Inserts

Some diapers need extra care to ensure all the parts are cleaned during the wash.

That’s why aside from removing all waste, don’t forget to remove any inserts inside the pocket diapers.

Step 3: Unsnap the Wings and Secure any Closures

Step 3: Unsnap the Wings and Secure any Closures

It isn’t washing day yet, and you must place dirty diapers in a bin. Make sure the wings on the diaper are not snapped together.

Any hook and loop or velcro closure should be secured too. This ensures each diaper gets a proper wash and doesn’t stick to each other.

Step 4: Keep in Your Storage Container Until Laundry Day

Step 4: Keep in Your Storage Container Until Laundry Day

The last thing to do is to stash those diapers in a diaper bag or in whatever dirty cloth diaper storage you have.

There are also different methods of storing dirty cloth diapers. Check these out:

Dry Pail Method

Soiled diapers are stored dry in a reusable waterproof bag without pre-soaking. These diaper bags can also be used as pail liners.

But you can also use a garbage can or other containers if you don’t have a diaper pail. Often, these bags are hung dry on a hook to eliminate the need for a pail.

Wet Pail Method

In the wet pail method, diapers are soaked in a mixture of water and additives like vinegar, Borax, baking soda, essential oils, or Bac-Out stain removers.

They are stored in a sealed pail before laundry day, which helps PRE-TREAT diapers, preventing stains and odors.

However, keeping wet diapers for a long time is not advisable, as it can also encourage bacterial growth.

Also, make sure your wet pails are sealed and lidded. Otherwise, it can be a drowning hazard for a baby or pet.

Where You Can Store Your Dirty Cloth Diapers

Where You Can Store Your Dirty Cloth Diapers

Almost any container can be repurposed as a dirty cloth diaper storage.

I’ve turned my regular garbage can into a diaper pail, which works just as well as a laundry basket or hampers made specifically for soiled diapers.

Let’s take a look at the popular dirty cloth diaper storage options and their best practices:

Washing Machine

You know you’ll be washing these diapers in your washing machine anyway.

If you don’t have any non-diaper laundry scheduled for washing, this is an EXPENSE-FREE storage option for your baby’s diapers.

Keep the lid open and store them for 3-4 days to prevent odors and mildew.

Wet Bags

Large wet bags are PERFECT for dirty diaper storage, especially when changing diapers on the go.

These hanging wet bags are usually waterproof with moderate airflow and have zippers to keep odors at bay.

I love a large wet bag because of its ease of use! Place your dirty cloth diapers, close your hanging wet bag, and keep them until wash day.

It’s awesome how they can be hung or hooked and out of reach. You sure don’t want pets messing around with those soiled cloth diapers!

Diaper Pails

A diaper pail is another option for storing a soiled cloth diaper. They are capable of containing odors and keeping diapers fresh until they are washed.

I recommend a hanging diaper pail to hang dry your baby’s soiled diapers. Doing so helps prevent any unwanted mess.

Plastic Bins

Plastic bins can be a garbage pail or a laundry hamper with a pail liner. These are AFFORDABLE and easy to clean up.

Choose bins that have tight-fitting lids to ensure odors are kept inside. I prefer using pail liners for added protection too.

How to Eliminate Stinky Cloth Diaper Pail Smells

How to Eliminate Stinky Cloth Diaper Pail Smells

Before cloth diapers get washed and kept in a wet bag or pail, they may develop unpleasant smells.

Urine breaks down into uric acid. Aside from the smell, it can also stain and damage the fibers in your diapers and their elastics.

Here are ways to eliminate the stench in your cloth diaper pails:

  1. Wash the diapers in your pail every 2-3 days. Nothing beyond that!
  2. Disinfect your diaper pail after every use. When using a pail liner, make sure to have at least two so you can re-line your pail right away when the other needs cleaning.
  3. Include a deodorizer in your diaper pail. Baking sodas, odor removers, vinegar, bamboo charcoal, and essential oils like tea tree oil will do the trick!
  4. Toss the solids in the toilet and rinse your diapers and inserts separately before storing them. I got myself a diaper sprayer that looks like a mini shower, and it kept it easy to remove the urine smell while waiting for laundry day.
  5. Ensure enough airflow is in your storage, minimizing bacterial growth, especially using the dry cloth diaper pail method.

EXTRA TIP: Check out my buying guide on the best hybrid cloth diapers for the most sustainable and eco-friendly picks!

Things To Know Before Storing Your Dirty Cloth Diapers

Things To Know Before Storing Your Dirty Cloth Diapers

Factors like the temperature and humidity in your storage area, your type of detergent, and wash frequency greatly determine how well your dirty cloth diapers store.

Whether you opt for a wet bag, diaper pail, or whatever container you have at home, keep your needs and comfort in mind.

Here are other important things to know before storing your baby’s dirty cloth diapers:

  • Cross-contamination: Soiled cloth diapers are breeding grounds for bacteria. It is crucial to store them in a special container separate and away from other household items to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Mildew and odors: Clean and disinfect your container regularly to prevent odors. Use deodorizers. Trust me, a fresh and hygienic storage area is what your family deserves!
  • Air circulation and moderate temperature: Ensure your bag or storage container has good air circulation and is stored at a comfortable temperature. This also prevents bacteria from developing.

EXTRA TIP: For more insight into how many cloth diapers you will need, you can check out this handy guide!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I’ve got you covered with answers to questions mommies and daddies ask about storing smelly diapers!

How Long Can Cloth Diapers Sit Before Washing?

Generally, I recommend storing organic cloth diapers in a bag for only up to 2-3 days. You could risk odors, stains, mildew, and bacteria if you leave it any longer.

Do You Have to Wash Cloth Diapers After Every Use?

Washing diapers constantly is not good for the environment, nor is it cost-effective to wash a small load.

Just keep cloth diapers securely in a bag until it’s wash day.

What Do You Do With Dirty Diapers When Traveling?

A travel wet bag is a GODSEND when storing reusable diapers on the go.

These wet bags are designed to be waterproof and well-sealed. They also come with pockets to store clean diapers separately.


Cloth diapering is a great way to save money. Don’t get intimidated by the thought of storing dirty cloth diapers in a bag or pail.

It’s easy! Just remember to wash them after 2-3 days.

But like any hands-on parent, you’ve probably got a million things on your mind. So you better get that laundry day on your to-do list now!

EXTRA TIP: If you need cloth diapers but are on a budget, don’t worry! This guide on the best cheap cloth diapers will come in handy!

About the author

Angelica Graham

A few years ago, Angelica found out about all the plastic and toxic ingredients that got into most children’s products. And this worried her to no end. Because of this, she began to research what the best ingredients and materials were for children and made it her mission to share this information with other mothers.