Reader Intelligence Report: How To Get Rid of Diaper Smells at Home

published Mar 25, 2014
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(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Last year we ran an article on how to avoid the dreaded dirty diaper smell, one of the most odorous odors a new Mom or Dad must face. And you couldn’t resist! The rest of you joined in, with your incredible tips on how you’ve defeated the dastardly diaper. Read on for all you need to know about how to conquer the stink!

1. First up, flush it away!

Dumping solid waste out of any kind of diaper—cloth or disposable—will help a great deal with the smell.

Dump the contents of disposable diaper in the toilet, so at least most of the waste is going in the sewer.

2. Consider zip-loc bags.

Use sandwich ziplocs for dirty diapers — way better at controlling stink. Of course, you still better be clearing them out by the end of the day.

3. Take out the trash as quickly as possible.

We just always put the dirty diaper in the outside trash can right after we changed it. I know that might not be an option for everyone, but we keep our trash can that goes out to the curb right by the back door so it worked well for us.

4. Use a small trash can to motivate yourself.

Use a small trash can for the diapers… i.e. small enough that you have to change the pail once every day or two. (Almost everyone leaves the house every day or two and can toss the bag on the way out).

5. Pop something in the bottom of the pail.

I put a paper towel with a 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus oil in the bottom of the pail (between the pail and the bag). Works pretty well to cover lingering odors. I “refresh” it when we change the bag.

I have a diaper pail and it works great for me. We empty it daily and we also sprinkle baking soda in the base. I know it’s going to sound crazy, but I use the cat litter baking soda from Arm and Hammer. It has a very clean scent and really keeps the odor down.

6. Baking soda is your friend.

We have 5 month old twins – maybe if I had just ONE baby I could run the dirty diaper outside to the garbage or dump it in the toilet every time, but with a second baby in line to be changed that is not an option! We have the Arm & Hammer diaper pails and they work perfect and have baking power inserts to keep it fresh. One upstairs and one down and as long as we keep them closed smell has never been an issue – even with twice the mess!

7. For cloth diaper users – consider a spray system, a zippered wet bag and/or flushable liners.

The cloth diapers and wipes are a lot more eco-friendly. I used my set of 20 for two plus years and plan to use them for any future children. I did one extra load of laundry every other day and always line dried them when possible. I put as much solid waste in the toilet as possible via the nifty sprayer hose I installed. I never saw an increase in any of my utility bills. Modern cloth diapers are not the same as the cotton diapers that our grandparents (and some of our parents) used. I kept the soiled cloth diapers in a giant zippered wet bag that was washed along with the diapers.

I was able to cloth diaper using shared laundry machines, it wasn’t really a big deal. Flush able or disposable liners help a lot. They keep the cloth relatively poop free so you’re really only washing pee out. Which you are going to wash out of clothes anyway. Nobody throws away a onesie that a baby barfed or pooped on, you wash it! Anyway with zippable wet bags, you aren’t going to get diaper stink. I think the chemicals in disposables are meant to react to urine and feces so that you get a notice stink and know when to change the diaper. I only needed to add vinegar to my wash in the rare case that I got an ammonia smell in my cloth diapers.

Have a tip you don’t see here? Share it below!