Cloth Diapering: What’s the Scoop on the…

We picked the diaper we prefer, adjusted the absorbency with inserts, and fit the diaper on the baby- the diaper has been used and did its job.  So . . . now what?

If the diaper is wet, you simply throw the diaper in your diaper pail.  If it’s an All-in-One your job is already done, just throw it and forget it until it’s time to wash.  A diaper cover just requires you shake the insert(s) out into the pail, wipe the cover, replace with a fresh insert, and put that cover back on the baby.  With a pocket, simply pull the insert out of the diaper and put both the pocket and insert(s) in the pail until laundry day.

To briefly derail from the diapers specifically, let’s go over the diaper pail quickly.  With Marshall in disposables we used the diaper genie elite.  It locked in the smell of the soiled disposables pretty dang well.  I always made sure to push the diapers in so the lid mechanism could be fully shut.  With cloth it is the exact opposite: you want to let them breathe.  We started with a large hanging wet bag, unzipped.  Once we built up our stash to the point where we didn’t have to wash them every other day we had to increase storage size for used diapers.  A slotted laundry basket or open garbage can are ideal- without a lid- with a reusable wet pail liner.

Our hanging wet bag. Perfect for small stashes (24-35) washing every other day

Wet pail (wet liner in an open garbage can or hamper) good for stashes that are large enough to go 2-4 days between washes

I know that it seems counterintuitive, an open diaper pail for the purpose of less smell.  But it does have its reasons.  Letting the diapers breath cuts down on bacteria growth and mustiness.  Also, with disposables most people don’t empty the diaper of its contents.  With cloth, the poop is sprayed out so there isn’t any solid waste in the pail to smell.  I swear it works and the smell is pretty much non-existent.  As a side note to the side note: unlike older generations, wet pails and liners are actually dry.  Do not put water, vinegar, soap, or bleach in your setting pail.  That makes for a breeding ground of bacteria and will increase the ammonia smell to a nauseating level.  Just the bag or liner with the diapers, easy-peasy.

Now, if your baby has a bowel movement in the diaper there’s an extra step or two but really no big deal. Some people do the “swish” method.  Exactly like it sounds, they swish the soiled diaper in the toilet bowl before they put it in the pail.  It’s obviously inexpensive, so that is a perk, but it can be messy and not the most effective method. The other option is purchasing a sprayer that attaches to your toilet bowl and spraying out the waste.  You can purchase them online, make a DIY one, or purchase one from your local hardware store (sold as bidets).


Spraying is incredibly effective, quick, and easy.  There is also a little lever at the base of the sprayer that you can turn to shut off the water in between uses.  Perfect to prevent little hands from creating big messes.

Another accessory that is nice to have on hand is the SprayPal.  Clip the diaper in the SprayPal, put over the toilet, and spray down.  Any stray spray will be caught in the SprayPal, contained for a quick wipe down before flushing away.


Wet and soiled diapers all end up in the pail at the end and are ready for laundry day.  The little bit of effort saves smells, stains, and headaches.

It also helps the Earth.  Did you know that in the majority of counties/ states/ countries that it’s illegal to throw away bodily fluids in the garbage?  Bodily fluids including poop?  Neither did I!  I fully admit to not emptying Marshall’s disposable diapers and I am pretty confident that I was in the vast majority of people.  It makes sense though.  Disposable diapers slowly degrade in landfills and as they dissolve or pop open the human waste seeps into the Earth.  Bacteria, viruses, diseases- all the loveliness that can be found on occasion is now polluting the soil that plants grow in or can find their way into water ways and ground water.  No bueno my friends, no good indeed.  So the extra few seconds it takes to separate the poop from the diaper is definitely worth it.

In our next installment of Cloth 101 we will cover diapering outside the home and on the go.  Stay tuned!


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3 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering: What’s the Scoop on the…

  1. Do you rinse pee diapers? If not, do you get the ammonia smell on day two with the open bag? I zip the wet bags but never spray the pee diapers, and I smell ammonia through the wet bag on day two.

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    • No, I’ve never sprayed the pee diapers. If it’s a pocket, I take out the insert before throwing both cover & insert in the wet pail (for all-in-ones I just toss it into the pail).

      I’m guessing that zipping the bag is what is causing the ammonia smell because it’s trapping the moisture and making for a breeding ground for bacteria as well. When I use a hanging wet bag, I always just leave it open to let it breath. I know that seems counterintuitive when it comes to smell, but I promise that it doesn’t stink at all (and I have full on pregnancy nose at this point so there’s no hiding it). I usually go 3-4 days for washing and it’s totally fine with the open pail/bag.

      Liked by 1 person

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