Essential oil keeps the diaper pail smelling…better than that deodorant disc from the diaper service

Marta has solved the diaper pail odor problem:

Our diaper service gives out these deodorant discs that snap right into the bin – problem is, the disc gives off this horrid chemical odor that almost smells worse than the diapers. Finally, I figured out that a cotton ball soaked with a few drops of essential oil, taped with masking tape inside the bin’s lid, works great! Now our diaper-changing area actually smells kind of yummy. I’ve tried peppermint and clove – probably any scent would be better than the alternative.

I’m impressed. I’m a confirmed hater of diaper pails because I could never get rid of the foul smell after a while.

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  1. Amie says

    I read a great tip from Jessica of the One Stop Diaper Shop (

    “Try shaking a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender oil on a cloth wipe and dropping it in the bottom of the pail when you empty it on wash day.”

    I tried both and like the lavender oil a lot. The whole room smells fresh and clean. The only time we smell diapers are when the lid is open, if it’s been too long between wash days.

    Also, side hack. We don’t use a diaper pail. We use a container from Target meant to hold those extra-large bags of dog food. The lid snaps in place airtight and is very easy for adults to open, yet impossible for 2-year-olds. Cost: $10.00.

  2. marcy says

    I, too, use the cloth wipe with essential oil hack (and tea tree oil and lavender are my faves, too.) We have a step on trash can with removal plastic liner that we use. I fling a cloth with a few drops of oil daily (we wash every two days.) The diaper receptacle lives in the living room. Even the most skeptical of “OMG, you use CLOTH DIAPERS?!” critics admits there is no stench.

    Tea tree oil is waaaay cheap at Walmart (if you shop there. It’s one of the few things I buy there when I go for things I can’t find elsewhere in WV.) Plus, it’s antibacterial (I put it in my diaper laundry, as well.)

  3. cary says

    Another tea tree oil user here. I dab some on an old cloth wipe (for my cloth diaper pail) or a cotton ball (for my sposie can) and it helps take care of the lingering smell.

    Incidentally, I’ve found that cloth diapers stink WAYYYY LESS than disposables, even when they accumulate for the same amount of time.

  4. says

    Oil is good. I also have a lot of good luck spritzing Bac-out in the pail. It’s an enzyme cleaner, stain remover also, and smells good. Also, I keep a small open container of baking soda nearby.

  5. says

    Good to know about getting the Tea Tree oil at Wal-Mart – I didn’t even know they carried EOs!

    I also use the garbage can with the pedal and plastic liner, and we keep it in the bedroom. I’m extremely sensitive to smells, and this works wonders at containing the smell. And since I use baking soda for much of my household (and personal) cleaning, there’s always some nearby if I need to tone it down a bit ‘cuz I can’t wash when I need to. :)

  6. marcy says

    They don’t carry a lot of EOs, but if you look in the vitamin section, there is always a bottle of Tea Tree Oil for under $5. Sometimes, it’s also in the first aid aisle near the betadine and alcohol.

  7. Piove says

    We use essential oils too, but we fill an old 20 liter paint pail half filled with water, with a splash of eucalyptus oil. Smells good, and acts as a disinfectant too.
    Obviously only good if you use cloth nappies. Sorry, Diapers. :)

  8. Shreek says

    Piove – nappies not diapers, but a “20 liter paint pail” and not a “20 litre can of paint”?

  9. Gray Strickland says

    My hat’s off to anyone willing to use cloth diapers. You’re greener than I am, at least where it comes to diapers.

    As for disposables, the best solution is not essential oils, but a steady supply of plastic grocery sacks. Change a poopy diaper, put it in the bag, express the extra air, tie a knot and take it outside to the trash immediately.

    My $0.02.

  10. Amie Norris says

    We just barely switched to cloth about 2 months ago and so I have lots disposable experience. I have to second Gray’s suggestion. Plastic grocery bags are great for that. (Plus you are recycling them!) I found that for the first six months or so, for an exclusively breastfed baby, they could even go in the regular bathroom trash that got emptied once or twice a week. No stench. No oils either. After that though it was straight outside. :)

    Those bags also fold up so very small if you squish the air out. I carry 3-5 in my diaper bag to deal with all kinds of things: very messy diapers (I didn’t like to just throw dirty diapers in public trashcans), soiled clothing, checking out more than planned at the library, impromptu cleaning of the car, etc.