Works For Me Wednesday- The Diaper Pail Wars

works for me wednesday at we are that family If this post had a soundtrack it would be the theme from Rocky. Hum along while you read. I have tried many a diaper pail in my day. I started doing this parenting thing almost 7 years ago (eek) and I think by now I may have officially trail. Thanks to Mom Central that is. Because this month I am pitting two pails against each other to see who will come out on top.

Just so you know my sordid pail history. For my first 2 kids we used the Diaper Dekor. And all was well. We loved the pail and it loved us back. Well I don’t actually know about that, but we were odor free for a long time. And then one day, the thing just quit working. Suddenly the nursery smell became unbearable just as we were nearing potty training time. So we toughed it out, but after Hannah was out of diapers we pitched the thing. We still recommended it to my brother and sister in law, but I don’t think they have been happy with it so far (sorry!!).

The hubby went cheap when getting the replacement and went with the Diaper Champ. Oh my goodness do not get be started on this diaper pail. Ugh. It did nothing to contain odor, was a pain in the backside to use and was ugly on top of it all. It has Things I Don’t Love Thursday written all over it. That is what we were suffering with when Mom Central asked me to join their Diaper Pail Test Drive program. I jumped at the chance to get that thing out of our house.

I will be comparing the Diaper Genie II Elite and the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. For the first two weeks I tried out the Diaper Genie. Let me just start by saying this is a HUGE improvement over the Diaper Genies of the past. Although I never owned one I have used plenty and just never got all the hype. The way you had to stuff the diaper in the pail just seemed gross to me. So kuddos for the improvements.

I initially was very frustrated with this pail. The hubby and I both had trouble getting it put together. The instructions were minimal and unhelpful and the thing just didn’t snap together like it was supposed to. We finally had to resort to using the toolbox to put the thing together. Honestly it was insanely frustrating. So I really went in wanting to hate the thing.

That being said, I can’t quit you Diaper Genie!! Assembly aside, once we got the thing together we are big fans. It has a new hands free foot pedal that was designed for moms who are holding a squirmy baby in one hand and a diaper in the other. Push the foot pedal down, drop in the diaper and it sinks into a bad and is immediately sealed inside. And the pail is really tall compared to other ones so you don’t have to bend down and the capacity for holding diapers is a lot bigger.

Most importantly it keeps the odors contained. Occasionally when Silas has a really bad blow out diaper (you know the ones) I catch a small whiff when I put the diaper in, but it goes away pretty quickly. When I enter his nursery there is no lingering smell. And changing the bag is quick and easy and most importantly not nasty. Nobody wants to have to take a shower after changing the diaper pail. Thankfully that is my hubby’s job, but he was pleased with the ease as well.

What I dislike about the Diaper Genie (and diaper pails in general) is that you are forced to buy their refill packs and they are fairly costly and you just end up going through them pretty quickly with little babies. Everything I have read indicates that you need to change them about every 3-4 weeks. This is a huge extra cost on top of already expensive diapers. I really wish this wasn’t so, but I understand why companies do it. They need to keep making money on the thing. I have heard people just use regular trash bags and I haven’t tried that, but I worry the odor control wouldn’t be as good.

So (cue Rocky Theme Song again), we are finished with round 1 of the Diaper Pail wars. I will write another post in a few weeks discussing the pros and cons of the Munchkin Pail and crown a winner. May the least stinky pail win.

I am a member of the Mom Central community and I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central, sponsored by Diaper Genie, and received a free Diaper Genie diaper pail and a free Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper pail to facilitate my review


  1. We use cloth diapers. I have a trash can with lid and use a washable liner. The, um, solids, get flushed down the toilet and I never notice a diaper pail odor in my daughters room. However, we also do use disposables on occasion. In fact, every night as my daughter is a super heavy night wetter and no matter how many inserts I used, she was still leaking through her cloth. I just have a $10 diaper pail that I bought at Babies R Us and the thing works like a charm. On occasion a dirty diaper sits in it and I never notice any odors either. I am glad you found something that worked for you, but seriously I could not see spending the money on the refills for the fancy diaper pails.
    Kelly recently posted…A Good Old Fashioned Chickie Update PostMy Profile

    • We have the same setup here. I can’t see forking out money for those expensive diaper pails! There is a neat one at our church nursery, though. I don’t think it uses special bags, but the way it’s designed keeps the odor from getting out.

    • I guess if I flushed to #2s I wouldn’t have a smell, but that involves more work than I am willing to do. I am ridiculously lazy.

  2. Just had to weigh in on this one! I was given the Diaper Genie Elite for a shower gift. I was planning on cloth diapers, so at first it felt like a useless gift. Then I decided to make a cloth bag that fits on the empty refill ring and it’s been great. I get the benefit of the odor control and I don’t have to purchase bag refills. You could do the same for disposables, just emptying the cloth bag into a trash bag, but it would be less convienient. Great post!:
    Coralee recently posted…Summer FunMy Profile

  3. It’s funny that the three comments so far (including mine) are from cloth diaper users! I was under the impression that I didn’t need any kind of diaper pail because of the cloth but I like Coralee’s idea! She (or someone) should come out with a liner to use the pail for cloth! I suppose that would eliminate the need to purchase the liners on a continual basis.
    Christine (iDreamofClean) recently posted…Caring For Your Bathing SuitMy Profile

  4. How funny! We’ve been diapering for 13 years, straight, and I ~love~ the Diaper Champ. For years, we used Diaper Genies. It was annoying having to buy the refills. The last one broke and we needed a replacement, ASAP.

    One reason we chose the Diaper Champ was because we could re-use plastic grocery sacks, giving them a second life but gnarly death. After a few years of use, it has started to smell icky, so we put it in the garage where there’s more ventilation. For a long time, it did a good job containing odors.

    I think over time, the plastic absorbs the odors. Think about how all Tupperware eventually smells like marinara no matter how much you soak/clean. It’s inevitable with any type of diaper disposal system out there. Too bad they never end up smelling like marinara.

    I figure the average diaper disposal apparatus has a lifespan of about 3 years.
    gretchen from lifenut recently posted…A fairy taleMy Profile

  5. We abandoned diaper pails once we got a house. It is only slightly inconvenient to take the diaper to the garage to throw it away (we just throw wet ones in the inside trash). Our garage stinks when we open the outside trash, but that is as much food and stuff smelling too. We had the original Diaper Genie when we lived in an apartment and I was not a huge fan. I don’t even know what the Munchkin one is.

  6. I LOVE my Diaper Genie Elite II! It works so great. And yes the refills are expensive but I only buy them on sale at Babies ‘R’ Us and I stuff the bags so full it last me quite a while.

  7. Alissa Case says:

    I’m so thankful for this review for two reasons. 1.) We will be needing a diaper pail in 4 short months, and 2.) after suffering the smell sensitivities for 5 months now, I don’t need ANOTHER reason to gag when I walk into a room! Can’t wait to hear the final results!

  8. Ok, I have to tell you, I am a fan of the unconventional method of “Take the diaper right outside to the trash”! We tried the Diaper Gene but it always trapped this terrible smell. We just bag our diapers and take them outside.

    Great post, though! The main thing is to find a system that works for your family.
    Jane Anne recently posted…Weird, the Baby Gate’s GoneMy Profile

  9. We have the Diaper Champ and we like it a lot, though it’s an earlier version than the one you tried. We chose it because you don’t need special bags, woohoo! We wanted to get a new one between kids but that didn’t happen, so we’re working with a pail that is almost 5 years old. Eek! The odor control isn’t as good these days, sometimes you can catch a whiff as you walk by (it’s in our kitchen next to our regular trash can).
    Eos Mom recently posted…Five Question Friday–June 4My Profile

  10. I’m with Kelly–we used cloth diapers and stored them in a simple lidded trash can with washable nylon liner, and there was no odor. But the few times my baby ran out of diapers at childcare and was sent home in a disposable, the STENCH was unbelievable! Basically, you’re looking for the solution to a problem you don’t even need to have. But at least you scored some free stuff! :-)
    ‘Becca recently posted…Why We Love Community-Supported AgricultureMy Profile

  11. We had one of the older versions of the Diaper Genie, I liked it at first, but emptying it was difficult & the refills were too pricey. We’ve switched to cloth & now just use a cheap lidded trash can with a washable cloth liner bag inside, it makes it easy to just dump the diapers in the wash & we haven’t had any odor problems.

    We are currently on the potty train, but I’m thinking we will keep the wetbag & lidded pail around at least over the Summer for accidents & all the wet bathing suits.
    Denise recently posted…Where in the World Wednesday…VBS that’s where!My Profile

  12. I’m one of the Diaper Champ fans. We’ve used ours for over 2 1/2 years now and aside from the blue rubber popping out from time to time, it’s been great! It doesn’t absorb all the smells PERFECTLY, but since we have two in diapers, it gets emptied about every 2 days, so that’s not usually an issue. I love being able to reuse my grocery sacks in the thing! We’ll probably be buying a new one pretty soon, since that rubber do-hickey is becoming an annoyance, but it’ll most likely be another Diaper Champ!
    Emily Kay recently posted…Counting down the days!My Profile

  13. No more diaper pails for me. I use a regular trash can and bag each diaper in either old plastic grocery bags or the plastic baggies that come with twist ties. I double-bag poopy diapers. No issues here. The trash in the baby’s room gets changed weekly & I spray the can with Zero Odor or Lysol before putting in the new trash bag. The kitchen trash goes out daily, so that’s not a problem.
    Kim recently posted…The Things You Learn on the Public School BusMy Profile

  14. Tara Sz. says:

    Just found this entry while Googling the question, “How long should a diaper pail last?” We have a Diaper Champ and after only 15 months, the thing reeks. I bleached it, left it outside overnight, wiped it down, and now keep it in the hallway near a plug-in air freshener, and Our second boy is on the way in January and I have to say, I can’t imagine replacing a diaper pail every 15 months! Can’t wait to see how the saga from June ends…

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