Best Alternatives for Diaper Pails including Diaper Genie and thrifty options

Are you sold on the idea of a standard diaper pail in the nursery? Even couples in the same household may have opposing views because let’s face it: the idea of those filthy diapers is off-putting and finding a diaper pail option that works for everyone isn’t easy.

What if you’re stuck on this issue simply because you’re not aware of all your options yet? Innovative people come up with unique baby care solutions all the time. Perhaps one of those is the diaper pail alternative you’ve been praying for.

The winning option would be to find a way to deal with the objects, the odors, and all that goes with soiled diapers in an easy effortless manner. Does that magic method even exist?

You no longer have to dispose of diapers in the normal bin and hold your nose closed from the stink in the kitchen (like I used to do!). There are also alternatives to the popular Diaper Genie.

I checked out different types of diaper pails so you can find a product that matches your unique preferences. I answer some pressing questions that will empower you to make smart decisions regarding diapers, whether you’re at home, visiting a friend or traveling. Plus, I’ve included some thrifty alternatives to diaper pails.

My Top Picks

Best Overall – Diaper Genie

This model is the ultimate way to dispose of diapers. It controls odors and the hands-free opening keeps the whole process much more hygienic. It’s clear why the Genie often tops the charts for diaper disposal.

Who It’s For

Ideally suited to new parents who need all the help they can get to make diaper changing as easy as possible!

Why You Should Buy It

This model sports Double Air-Tite Clamps that work with the pail refill bags to add an additional layer of odor protection.

Product Information

  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 9.38 x 12.06 x 27”
  • Weight: 8.36 lbs.
  • Material: Plastic


  • Built in odor control
  • Bags can hold up to 270 diapers
  • Easy to change out refill bags


  • Seal doesn’t work every time
  • Refill bags are costly

Best Value – The Diaper One N Done

This nifty model comes with a frame that can easily hang from a changing table, so it’s close-by! And you can set it up anywhere you’re changing the baby since it’s so compact.

Who It’s For

This is the ideal product for parents who don’t want to empty containers with multiple dirty diapers. Place the dirty diaper in an individual bag, tie a knot and dispose directly.

Why You Should Buy It

Avoid hoarding dirty diapers in a traditional container in your nursery. Dispose of the dirty diaper immediately. Each unit comes with 100 bags.

Product Information

  • Color: Assorted prints on white background
  • Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 11”
  • Weight: 1.5lbs
  • Material: Plastic


  • Issued with 100 bags
  • Frame easily hooks onto changing table
  • No odor build up


  • Costly
  • Bag tends to fall off the back easily

Best Hands-Free System – Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail

This model is a powder-scented, hands-free pail, so it’s as simple as stepping on the foot pedal and dropping the diaper inside. Continuous bin liners mean you can throw individual diapers away without wasting an entire bag on one small diaper.

Who It’s For

Ideal for parents who prefer the total hands-free system. The foot pedal allows you to dispose of the diaper without too much contact.

Why You Should Buy It

This model is equipped with triple odor-reducing plastic, which means it won’t absorb those nasty diaper smells.

Product Information

  • Color: White
  • Dimensions:22.25 x 13.5 x 9.75”
  • Weight: 7lbs
  • Material: Plastic


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


  • Limited odor containment
  • Refill bags can be costly

Best Compact Design – KARYHOME Small Trash Can with Lid

This nifty model is compact enough to fit just about anywhere! Attach it to the baby’s crib, changing table or even cabinet door. The lid seals automatically.

Who It’s For

Ideal for parents looking for a multi-purpose pail. Its sleek and narrow design allows it to fit into or onto just about any small space.

Why You Should Buy It

Unlike most other diaper pails, this model works well with reusable grocery bags, making it a very cost-effective alternative. There’s no need for expensive refill bags.

Product Information

  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 7”
  • Weight: 0.47kg
  • Material: Plastic


  • Compact
  • Save money by using reusable grocery bags
  • Multi-purpose


  • Requires regular emptying due to size
  • No antibacterial properties as in other models

Do You Need a Diaper Pail?

The truth is, a diaper pail is not a crucial necessity. You can make use of a regular trash can or you could just dispose of diapers with every change. However, for all you first-time parents out there, let me share a tip. Invest in a diaper pail or an alternative for three reasons.

Firstly, diaper pails are designed to seal in a way that keeps odors from wafting through the nursery. Secondly, diaper changes don’t happen according to schedule, so it might not always be possible to dispose of each individual diaper as it happens. Thirdly, a quality diaper pail can be used in the nursery and then converted into a regular trash can for your toddler’s room.

Are Diaper Pails Smelly?

Everything that comes in contact with your baby’s diapers has the potential to become smelly, if not treated properly. Diaper pails are designed to seal differently than regular trash cans. This type of sealing prevents undesirable odors from escaping the pails and floating through your home.

Although not a permanent solution, quality products can easily block odors for as much as a few days at a time.

How to Deal with Odors in the Nursery

While diapers can be a main source of nursery odors, they aren’t the only culprits. I’d like to share a few tips on keeping your nursery odor-free.

  • Diaper pails: Use a diaper pail or a reasonable alternative to seal in diaper odors. Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the pail to help neutralize smells.
  • Regular ventilation: Whenever possible, give the nursery a good airing out. Open the curtains and windows, and let the sun and fresh air in.
  • Sour sheets: Prevent sour sheets by washing and changing the baby’s bedding regularly. If you can, air the cot mattress out by placing it outside in the sun.
  • Changing station: Ensure the changing station is washed down often. This includes the changing mat.
  • Nursery air freshener: Read my article about the top natural nursery air fresheners you can use to help keep your baby’s room smelling fresh all the time.

An easy way to keep odors out of the nursery, and the diaper pail, is by adding some baking soda to essential oil. See how on this handy clip!

Poop on Diapers – All the Dos and Don’ts

Dealing with poop on diapers has got to be the least fun part of parenting. A few handy tips might help make the job a little easier and also have a look at my article on diaper blowouts if that’s your current concern.

Here are a few DO’s to follow:

  • Have a changing table laid out, with everything ready.
  • Wash your change mat often.
  • Always have spare outfits ready in case a full change is needed.
  • Always have zip lock bags or your diaper pail bags on hand for disposal.

Here are a few DON’Ts to avoid:

  • Don’t wipe in every direction. Wipe front to back, and wipe all cracks.
  • Don’t panic if you get poo on the change mat, just clean it afterward.
  • Never let dirty diapers lie around in the nursery. Place in diaper pail immediately.

Diapers and Travel – Helpful Tips

Traveling during the diaper years can be very challenging. Here are few tips for first-time parents that do love travel:

  • Double your usual diaper quantity: It’s best to have too many on hand, rather than too little. You can’t guarantee you’ll find your diaper type at your destination.
  • Keep your diaper bag close: Whether you’re driving or flying, keep your diaper bag within arm’s reach and fully stocked. If you’re unsure what ‘stocked’ means, my article on packing a diaper caddy will give you a smart guideline to follow.
  • Changing pads: Not every public bathroom has a diaper changing station. Have a few changing mats so you’re able to change your baby on a floor, back seat, or just about any flat surface.
  • Collapsible diaper pails or bags: Invest in some collapsible bags to keep the dirty diapers in until you can properly dispose of them. If you’re not aware, those smart innovators I mentioned earlier have designed disposable diaper bags on which I wrote an article for your reference.
  • Easy clothes: Dress your baby in simple clothes. Avoid complicated snaps and multiple layers that you could potentially struggle with when you’re in a rush to catch a plane.

What to Look for When Buying the Best Diaper Pail Alternatives

If you’re not entirely sold on what diaper pail alternative to pick, these tips will help you shop for the winning option:

  • Choose a container with a lid to keep the smell contained.
  • Use a container that isn’t being used for other garbage.
  • Get a step pedal to make opening and closing easier.
  • A container that can easily be disinfected is a must.

Thrifty Alternatives to Diaper Pails

If you really don’t want to invest in a diaper pail, here are some thrifty alternatives that work well when you have dirty diapers to dispose of:

  • Puppy poop pick-up bags: Your pee-soaked diapers can go into the regular bin. Buy some puppy poop pick up bags from your local supermarket or pet store. These are great for messy diapers and you can deposit them in the outside garbage can.
  • Diaper disposable bags: These are often scented to mask any diaper smells. They’re handy and easy to use. All you have to do is roll up the smelly diapers in the bag and toss them into your normal garbage can. My article “Best Disposable Diaper Bags” will give you some tips on using these alternatives.
  • Plastic grocery bags: This is a really cheap and effective alternative to diaper pails. Simply save your grocery bags and use them to roll up messy diapers to throw out in the regular trash can outside.

Whether you pick a Diaper Genie or an alternative pail or go with the thrifty alternatives to diaper pails, know there’s always a solution to smelly diapers!

Final Thoughts

Dealing with your baby’s diapers doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With some careful consideration into the diaper pail alternatives I’ve reviewed, taking care of dirty diapers just got a whole lot easier!

Last update on 2021-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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