How to Dispose of Diapers (The Right Way!)

Making the best of a stinky situation.

If you’re like most parents, you probably use disposable diapers.

Not many people like cleaning reusable diapers, so disposable diapers are a convenient alternative.

On the downside, you have to properly dispose of them; you can’t simply throw them in the trash. Not only will that result in a stink in a hurry, but it’s also bad for the environment.

Even if you’re not at home, it’s possible to properly dispose of your baby diapers. If you’re not sure how to do so, this guide might be just the thing you need.

Diaper Pails: The Perfect Solution For Home

diaper pail for disposing of diapersBy far the best way to get rid of your disposable diapers is with a diaper pail. These are basically specialized trash pails that are designed to completely eliminate the smell.

Diaper pails are pretty straight-forward to use. The method differs from pail-to-pail, so you’ll have to read the directions for the specific model you purchase, but they all generally work the same way. They consist of the pail itself, as well as a disposable bag that sits inside as well as some sort of mechanism that keeps the bag sealed, therefore keeping the odours inside, too.

Diaper pails are pretty inexpensive, and they’re a great way to deal with diapers in your house. Highly recommended!

I personally recommend the Diaper Genie Elite (click here to check the price). It’s a pretty great deal for a great diaper pail, and should completely eliminate the smells. It also works with standard trash bags! Find it on Amazon with free returns if you don’t like it.

Disposing of Diapers Without a Diaper Pail

If you’re not going to use a diaper pail, that’s fine, too. No matter whether you’re at home or on the road, you’ll be throwing the diaper in the trash, but it’s important that you follow the proper steps, first.

  • First of all, if it’s at all possible, be sure to dump any feces from the diaper into a toilet. This is pretty obvious: it helps reduce odour and bacteria growth, and just makes it easier to dispose of it without making a mess.
  • Try to wrap the used diaper up as tightly as possible to reduce risk of spillage. You can use the sticky tape sections to help keep it wrapped up.
  • Put the diaper in a sealed trash can if possible.

Disposing of Diapers on a Plane or On the Road

If you’re on a plane, or travelling by car, disposing of a diaper can be a bit more of a challenge. However, it’s still pretty easy if you know how to do it.

If you don’t have access to a trash can, the best thing to do is put the diaper in a sealable plastic bag. If you’re on an airplane, you can use the sick bag to store the diaper. However, please be aware that the FDA prohibits airline staff to handle soiled diapers when they’re serving food, so you may have to wait, or dispose of it yourself.

If you’re out for a walk, please don’t dispose of your diapers by throwing them away in the woods or any other area. This is terrible for the environment! The best option is to place them in a sealed plastic bag until you find a trash bin.

Doggie Waste Bags: A Surprising Solution

Biodegradable dog waste bags also work well for those that travel often. They’re cheap, generally come on a roll that you can easily store in your diaper bag, and often are easy to buy at any pet store. They make a great and convenient way to hold used diapers when you’re not in proximity to a trash bin.

Remember to Wash your Hands!

After handling a used diaper, be sure to wash your hands. Proper sanitary habits are very important when you have a baby, especially when it comes to handling dirty diapers! Your baby’s immune system is much less developed than yours, so you have to take extra care in making sure that your hands are always properly sanitized after handling things like used diapers.

  1. Thanks for the tips! Knowing how to properly dispose of a diaper while on the road will really help me out this week. My family is going on an extended road trip to visit family. We have a couple of little ones who are still in diapers, so we’re not entirely sure how to get rid of dirty diapers without littering and making a lot of stops to gas stations to throw them away. Sealing dirty diapers in a plastic bag until we can get to a trash can seems like a good tip. It seems like I’ll need to include a box of sealable plastic bags along with the other things that we’ll need for our trip.

    1. Of course, it doesn’t really hold in the stink, but it’s a lot better than throwing them out the window!

  2. How is using a diaper pail much better? Ultimately the pail trash goes out to the outdoor trash can. Am I missing something??

    I recently heard you should dispose of feces in the toilet so how does this work practically? Keep a small can by the changing station and empty the contents out after you change baby’s diaper and set baby down somewhere safe?

    I have the diaper genie and it’s annoying. Half the time it forces me to push the diapers down and I don’t like putting my hand in the thing.

    1. Mo, maybe you should read my full post on diaper pails.

      Basically, if you throw diapers in with your regular trash, your home is going to be a stinky disaster really quickly. Those typical trash cans aren’t meant to seal in the stench, but a good diaper pail does it well.

      As for the poop-scraping, it’s not a huge deal if you can’t do it.

  3. I’m a new mom who is very environmentally conscious. However, I have been wondering whether or not it is right for me to throw away diapers in the trash. I really like your tip about dumping the diaper’s feces in the toilet so that it doesn’t cause bacteria to grow when it is just sitting in the trash can. I don’t know anyone who does that with their diapers, but I am willing to try.

  4. You should never put a daiper in a plastic bag. This will lead to it becoming a plastic ball of pee lasting forever. Most landfill operators agree it’s fine to simply leave an open daiper in your your general waste – it will biodegrade much faster & the sodium polyacralyte will actually absorb other waste in your bin and landfill.
    As someone previously mentioned – scoop out the poo into your toilet and simply rush a dirty daiper to the bin.

  5. let me speak from waste management s point of view and ask this simple question: what is the manufacture s statement on environment about the invention and finally the product itself? i am saying this because is like now is the sole responsibility of the consumer to find means of dealing with this product and at the same time not being given any guide from the manufacturer. let think outside the box

  6. Flight attendant and soon-to-be new mom here. Thank you SO much for mentioning that airline crew aren’t supposed to handle diapers. Diapers should always be disposed of in the lavatory bathroom (where there are changing tables!). Most parents probably don’t think much of it, and hand them to us (which means you changed your baby in the seat or on the tray – yuck!), but unfortunately, we can’t take them – serving food or not. You’re going to have to get out of your seat anyways, so you might as well change baby in the designated spot.

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