baby lying in a bed

11 Alternatives to Diaper Pail incl. Genie – Thrifty?

The one aspect of having a baby that no one looks forward to is the diapers. The thought of dirty, smelly diapers and what to do with them can be very disconcerting. It’s around this time that you’ll be giving diapers pails and alternatives to them some serious thought.

As a dad, I’ve experienced these exact thoughts when I was on duty to change diapers (minimum every Saturday). That’s why I’ve decided to write this article so I can share my experience and lessons learned with you. 

Alternatives to Diaper Pails – thrifty options

1. Disposable (plastic) grocery bags

Most people have a drawer or cupboard full of plastic grocery bags. For me that’s the case in the kitchen cabinet. These can easily be used for throwing dirty diapers into. Whether you use the bag as a pail liner or just toss a few diapers in the bag before throwing it in the trash, your nursery and trash can could benefit from natural air fresheners

2. Regular trash can

If a diaper pail doesn’t feature in your budget, then a regular trash can is an alternative to consider. As mentioned above, you can line the trash can with plastic grocery bags. Step-on garbage cans work best as you can just open the can with your foot and drop the diaper in. Bear in mind though, regular trash cans don’t seal as well. 

Inserted image of diaper in a plastic bag

3. Puppy poop pick-up bags

The bags used for picking up puppy poop are designed to collect poop and mask the odor. That makes these bags an alternative worth considering. 

Ley's Dog Poop Bags, Extra Thick Strong Pet Waste Bag 135 Counts 9 Rolls, Large 9x13 Inches, Leak Proof Doggy Bag Refill with Dispenser

4. Disposable diaper bags

A popular choice for getting rid of diapers is disposable diaper bags, e.g. from Ubbi. These bags are handy to use when traveling as well!

Ubbi Disposable Diaper Sacks, Lavender Scented, Easy-To-Tie Tabs, Made with Recycled Material, Diaper Disposal or Pet Waste Bags, 400 count

5. Wet bags

The waterproof bags used to store wet swimsuits and gym gear is an alternative that works well for diapers. 

Cloth diaper pail alternatives

If you’re using cloth diapers, wet bags are the best option to use as an alternative. Hanging bags are also great for storing dirty cloth diapers.

6. Best diaper pail for cloth diapers – Dekor Plus

If you’re going to be using cloth diapers, you might want to consider the Dekor Plus as your pail of choice. It has odor-reducing plastic and continuous bin liners which means there’ll be no wasting an entire bag for one tiny diaper. 

Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail, White

Alternatives to Diaper Genie – NOT so thrifty options

If you’ve already budgeted for a diaper pail, there are some popular brands that you can consider. 

7. Most popular (and best odor-minimizing) diaper pail – Diaper Genie

The Diaper Genie is by far the most popular of all diaper pails. Each diaper is individually sealed in its own liner. The Double-Air-Tite-Clamps add an additional layer of odor retention. A point to consider here is the liner bags are proprietary so your kitchen bags won’t work here. Remember to include them in your budget. 

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Pail with Built-In Odor Controlling Antimicrobial, Includes Pail & 1 Refill, White

8. Diaper pail better than a Diaper Genie – Ubbi Steel Odor Locking

If you don’t want a plastic pail that absorbs odors, Ubbi Steel is a good alternative. The stainless steel isn’t porous so the odor isn’t trapped in the pail. Bear in mind though that it doesn’t have a foot pedal so you’ll have to open it manually.  Here’s my comparison Ubbi vs Diaper Genie pails.

Ubbi Steel Odor Locking, No Special Bag Required Money Saving, Awards-Winning, Modern Design, Registry Must-Have Diaper Pail, White

9. Best diaper pail for twins and multiples – Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions

If you’re planning for twins or multiples, then this is the ideal solution. With its bigger capacity, it’s perfect for the extra amount of diapers you’ll be dealing with!

Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions Customizable Diaper Pail with Starter Refill

10. Best Budget Diaper pail – Safety 1st Easy Saver

Squeezing your diaper pail into an already thinned out budget? The Safety 1st Easy Saver is ideal because it can be used with one hand. No more juggling a baby and a dirty diaper. It comes with deodorizer disks which can just be replaced as you need them. There’s also no budgeting for extra bags, as any bags, even your grocery bags will work in this pail!

Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

11. Smallest (most compact) diaper pail – Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

The Dekor Hands-Free diaper pail is a scented, hands-free option. Simply step on the foot pedal and drop the diaper in. Since it uses continuous bin liners, it’s easy to throw individual diapers away without wasting an entire bag on one small diaper!

Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail | White | Easiest to Use | Just Step – Drop – Done | Doesn’t Absorb Odors | 20 Second Bag Change | Most Economical Refill System

Things to consider when looking for a VERY reliable (odor-minimized) alternative to diaper genie

Liner type

When you’re choosing the right pail, consider the type of liners that the pail will require. Are you going to be using pail liners or cheaper bag alternatives such as household plastic bags? If you’ll be using pail liners, remember to factor it into the cost of the pail.

Seal type

Consider how the pail seals. Some diaper pails like the Diaper Genie seal each diaper individually when you chuck it in. This reduces the odor escaping from the pail.

Loading it with diapers and removing them

Check how many diapers all of your shortlisted choices can hold. This will give you an idea of how often it needs to be emptied. You’ll also want one that’s easy to empty.

Size, shape

It’s important to consider the space you have available for the pail. Ideally, it should stand under or near the changing table. You’ll want a pail that fits in the space without getting in the way. 

Why is the Diaper Genie so Popular?

Diaper Genie is hands down one of the most popular diaper pails on the market. Judging by its popularity, as you can also see it in the Google trends comparison with Ubbi, another popular option, many parents prefer the Diaper Genie! Its unique system seals dirty diapers individually in a deodorized film to safeguard against foul smells, germs and growing bacteria.

inserted image of comparison data chart

When you open the canister’s lid, simply put a dirty diaper into the mouth section of the container. Close the lid and twist three full rotations. This then seals the diaper inside. Doing this masks the odor even more than the mechanisms on regular diaper pails. 


  • Built-in odor control
  • Easy to change refill bags
  • Individual sealing system


  • Seal doesn’t always work
  • Bags may be costly

How to make the diaper pail alternatives work

Keeping the diaper pail alternatives clean and smelling fresh is the best way to make your choice work for you. Some of the most natural diaper smell hacks to keep them hygienic and fresh include the following:


One of the most effective ways to rid your pail of odors is by using vinegar. Simply add ¼ cup of vinegar to ⅓ cup of water. You can add 40 drops of tea tree oil and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture into your pail or trash can. 

Carbon filter

Carbon filters are made using natural and safe activated carbon that absorbs and traps strong diaper odors. Carbon filters can be placed in the trash can or diaper pail. 

Baking soda

Baking soda is a very effective household cleaner and odor-reducing agent. Follow these three simple steps:

  • Place half a cup of baking soda at the bottom of the pail or trash can
  • Sprinkle baking soda inside the liner bag you’re using
  • Replace with a new batch of baking soda at least once a week

Baking soda can also work for pails used for cloth diapers. Add water to the baking soda to make a paste, add this to the cloth diaper pail.

Activated charcoal bags

Activated charcoal in bag form is an effective way to remove odors. It’s a natural product that absorbs excess moisture. These bags also prevent the formation of mold and can be placed in the bottom of your pail or trash can. 

Detailed review of not so thrifty Diaper Genie alternatives

8. Diaper pail better than a Diaper Genie – Ubbi Steel Odor Locking

Ubbi Steel Odor Locking, No Special Bag Required Money Saving, Awards-Winning, Modern Design, Registry Must-Have Diaper Pail, White

Product Information

The Ubbi is made from steel so it won’t absorb the smell as a plastic pail would. This nifty diaper pail won NINE awards for being the best diaper pail on the market. There’s no complex mechanism to operate, simply lift the lid and toss the diaper in!


  • Childproof lock
  • Locks in odor
  • No special bags needed


  • Can be costly
  • Doesn’t have a foot pedal

9. Best diaper pail for twins and multiples – Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions

Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions Customizable Diaper Pail with Starter Refill

Product Information

This model is impressive because of its extra size. It may be shorter than most diaper pails, but it holds up to 50 diapers. The easy one-handed design makes it easy to dispose of diapers while tending to the baby with the other hand. 


  • Holds a third more diapers
  • Controls odors
  • Durable


  • Only works with proprietary liners
  • Liners can be costly

10. Best Budget Diaper pail – Safety 1st Easy Saver

Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

Product Information

Working on a strict budget, then the Safety 1st Easy Saver is the option for you. With its easy one-handed use, it’s easy to discard the diaper while you’re holding your baby in the other arm. While it doesn’t have a foot pedal, the lid opens by simply pressing a button!


  • Uses standard plastic bags
  • Easy to use
  • Deodorizer disks included


  • Spring-open lid not very strong
  • No foot pedal

11. Smallest (most compact) diaper pail – Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail, White

Product Information

This model has been recommended by parents as the best option for cloth diapers. Its triple odor-reducing plastic provides extra absorption against stinky diapers. The foot pedal makes it a total hands-free process, as you dump the diaper into the bin immediately after taking it off.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Easy to empty
  • Foot pedal opens the lid


  • Limited odor containment
  • Refill bags can be costly

Final Thoughts

Do you need a diaper pail? You’ve probably decided by now that smelly diapers don’t need to give you a headache.

With the variety of differently priced diaper pails and alternatives, you can easily find the right one for your nursery and your budget. Invest in a diaper pail or one of the thriftier alternatives on my list and your diaper nightmare will be a thing of the past!

Last update on 2022-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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