My mom has often described the diaper pail she used with our cloth diapers when we were babies - a huge bucket filled with vinegar water that was so heavy that my dad had to haul it to the washing machine (and my mom is no weakling!). It was ugly, awkward, smelly and dangerous to have in a house with two accident prone toddlers.
Due to advances in cloth diaper materials and laundry technology, it is no longer necessary to soak dirty diapers before laundry day, making the options for cloth diaper pails nearly endless. Here are some of my suggestions:
A Pail With a Liner
This pail can be anything - a lidded garbage can, a decorative basket, even a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket. My sister has a farm themed nursery, so her diaper pail is a rustic looking galvanized metal bucket, and fits gorgeously with the decor. Mine is slightly more utilitarian - it is a cheapie garbage can from Walmart with a lid that latches on to keep my curious pets and kids out. Others use a step garbage can so they can open it with their foot, keeping hands free for wrestling that wriggly baby. I advise using something that you can wash if necessary.
The container doesn't necessarily require a lid - many people use an open pail system. Air circulation keeps odours to a minimum while preventing nice moist conditions perfect for mold growth (ew) and since you are washing every 2-3 days, the diapers don't get a chance to get super stinky. In a generation that is used to wrapping dirty diapers tightly in plastic to prevent smells, an open pail may sound revolting and a guaranteed way to make your house smell like bum, but it actually works!
A pail liner makes life with a diaper pail much easier. It is a bag made of PUL (the same water resistant material that makes up diaper covers) that fits inside whatever container you are using for your pail. Come laundry day, you carry that bag to the washing machine, empty its contents into the machine and throw it in as well. It washes just like the diapers, and you are saved the heartache of having to wash out your pail each time. I recommend having two so that you can put a clean one in the pail while you are washing diapers, but you can survive with one.
We carry a few different options for pail liners at Bumbini:
Funky Fluff Pail Liner - the PUL is sandwiched between layers of polyester interlock, making it super heavy duty and durable. It has elastic at the top that helps keep it in place. It's also available in cute colours and patterns to coordinate with your nursery.
AppleCheeks Size 2 Storage Sacs - these have a drawstring closure, so can be used even without a pail, and are large enough to fit a ton of dirty diapers in!
Bummis Fabulous Wet Bag (Large) - the Bummis large wetbag has a zipper and a drawstring, and can be hung up to be used without a pail.
A Hanging Diaper Pail
If you have a small space, relentlessly curious pets or just don't love the idea of having a traditional diaper pail, a hanging pail may fit you perfectly. It is the same idea as a pail liner, but it is designed to hang from a doorknob, hook, towel rail or side of the change table. As mentioned above, the Bummis Large Wetbag can be used as a hanging pail, or there is the Funky Fluff Hanging Pail. It has straps that can be configured to make it easily hang off of anything, and is roomy enough to fit 2-3 days worth of diapers.
Specialty Cloth Diaper Pails
There are specialized cloth diaper pails on the market. Many of these have cool features like spaces for charcoal filters, etc. I don't believe they are truly necessary as the options above are super easy and more economical, but if it is in your budget, then take a look! (And let me know if you find anything super cool!)
The flexibility of cloth diaper pails means that there is a perfect option for every decor and budget!