Sunday, February 24, 2013

Be Gone Diaper Pail Stink

I'm a bit of an organized freak.  I love charts and labels.  When I was expecting my first child I put together a questionnaire about baby products and sent it to everyone I knew who had a child in the last 5 years.  I then organized all the information I received into a template.

People made fun of me.... a lot.  But when it was time to start buying baby products, it was a breeze.  I knew exactly what products were must haves and what where not necessary. I knew what brands to look for and what to avoid.  Everything that I bought I have not regretted.

Plus, all those people who made fun of me absolutely loved to fill out the questionnaire.  Give a women a chance to tell you about newborns and the things needed for them and she will promptly neglect her children and tell you all she knows. 

Anyways..... when I was getting all the information about the diaper pails one of the things that several people said was "it doesn't matter what brand you get, eventually every diaper pail will have a permanent smell."

We have had our diaper pail for about 2 1/2 years and this summer it started to smell. Oh boy did it smell!  It smelled awful and was starting to consume the entire upstairs.   

One day I went upstairs and was blasted in the face by the odor.  I went to the diaper pail expecting to see it open. To my surprise it was closed but what I did see horrified me.  It was surrounded by little flies.

It was like I had just walked into some cliche cartoon. All it needed was the green stink lines coming up from it.

Each of those black dots I circled, is a fly.   

Of course I promptly jumped into my research mode to try and find the best way to get rid of the smells in a diaper pail.

Here is what I found; As time goes on the stench slowly seeps into the plastic that the pails are made of.  Trying to use any sort of cleaning product can make it worse. The chemicals react with the smell and will either not work at all or make the smell stronger.

Your only option is to mask the smell with some sort of odor fighting product and according to several people, kitty litter is the best option.

So I decided to try three different odor masking  products. I placed each one in the bottom of the diaper pail and marked the days until I could smell the diapers again. 

Baking Soda (of course)
Kitty Litter Deodorizer
Pet Air Freshener

 I started with the Baking Soda because to me that is the obvious solution.  I grabbed one of those fridge and freezer fresh boxes and tore off the sides.  I placed it in the bottom and started the countdown.

 The Verdict: A few hours later I went back upstairs and my nose did a little happy dance because the smell was gone.  It was completely gone!!!!  Oh Baking Soda, is there anything you can't do? 1 week later I went to get my daughter up from her nap and my nose crinkled. I quickly took her to the changing table and stripped her down.  Her diaper was clean.  The diaper pail stink was already back.  1 week. The smell was gone only 1 week!  Baking Soda, you have let me down, you are fired and I am now taking resumes for a replacement.

Several websites I read talked about using kitty litter to mask the smell of diaper pails.  They say you should look for a kitty litter that has carbon in it.  I went to a local pet store and when I hit the kitty litter aisle I realized that it would take me forever to read all the labels. I found an employee and told her what I was looking for and why.  She quickly handed me a bottle and told me several people buy this for the same thing. It only cost about $3

I poured the whole thing into an old nylon and placed it in the bottom of my diaper pail.  I then started another countdown.
The Verdict: This one had a very strong perfume odor that was almost worse then the poop smell.  It was pretty strong and eye watering.  When the diaper pail was opened the perfume smell would mingle with the diaper pail smell and it was enough to make me run for the hills.  Literally, I would toss the diaper in the pail then grab my daughter and run.  Fortunately, as time went on the perfume smell eased up and it continued to mask the diaper pail smell.  About once a week the diaper pail smell would creep back, but I would just give the nylon a shake and the kitty litter would continue to mask the smell.  This lasted 32 days before the diaper smell took over again.  However, each time I shook the nylon, some kitty litter dust would come out and make a lovely mess. That's exactly what I wanted to spend my time cleaning, smelly sand.

This brings us to my final attempt.  I wanted something to mask the smell for a long time but not leave a gross mess like the kitty litter did.

I saw this in the pet aisle and decided to give it a shot.  

The Verdict: This also had a perfume smell to it, but it was pretty mild. I had to be near the diaper pail to smell it.  It didn't mask the smell completely like the baking soda did, but it masked it enough that it was worth the $4.  This little disk made it 16 days before it gave up, but it put up a good fight.

The Overall Verdict: Clearly that Citrus Magic is the best choice of the three.  It didn't last as long as I hoped it would but it was easy to use and didn't have a cheap dollar store perfume smell.  So, if your diaper pail smell is taking over and you aren't planning on having it much longer, then this is a great way to help mask the smell.  But if you plan on having that diaper pail for a few more years, then it will probably be cheaper to just buy a new one.  And your nose will thank you for it.


  1. I drop a couple drops of purify eo in our diaper genie. i'd love to let you have a few drops to test out if you want to revisit this! I'd like to see what it does comparatively since your diaper pail would be the constant in th equation.

  2. How much does a new pail cost?

    What about a ceramic one?

    1. Depends on the diaper pail. They are all different prices. I haven't ever seen a ceramic diaper pail, not sure if they make them.