Ok, I’m ready to give you the “dirty” on diapers.
You clearly know why diapers need to be changed, how to do it, and where to put it.
But, you may be going about the “where to put it” part all wrong!
There is actually a safe way to dispose of your baby’s diapers.
And, many parents aren’t aware of that!
Read on to learn what to do with your dirty diapers so you can keep everyone's health in tact, and also show concern for the environment.
Are You Getting Rid of Disposable Diapers All Wrong?
Many moms (me included) still choose to use disposable diapers over cloth diapers.
They're just much easier to use—especially when away from home.
But, not everyone gets rid of them properly!
I know I personally have rolled them up and tossed them in my trash can or into my diaper pail.
I often never gave a thought about the “right” way to get rid of them since I was overwhelmed with becoming a new mom.
But, some startling statistics about disposable diapers have opened my eyes to just how many parents (yours truly included!) go about getting rid of dirty diapers the wrong way!
What Are Some of the Risks?
When not disposing of a soiled diaper correctly, the public can be exposed to bacteria and other viruses that could cause harm and sickness to others if they come in contact with it.
- GI Bugs
- E. Coli
Also, not to mention: the diaper, its chemicals, and contents could get into the water and environment.
In fact, about 84 million pounds of raw fecal matter get out into the environment every year.
Now, that’s a lot of poop!
The Safest Way to Dispose of Diapers
The safest way to dispose of dirty diapers is to actually put the human waste into the toilet.
It literally says this on every package of disposable diapers!
I don’t know about you, but I never stopped to read the fine print. I saw a diaper package, I knew the diapers were disposable, and I knew how to put them on.
Never did I expect to read the directions. But, I wish I would have.
That direction is on there for a reason!
It’s also necessary to pre-rinse the waste in the diaper (even wet diapers).
This way, it’s effectively processed and disposed of; it never comes in contact with anyone else, and bacteria is kept out of contact.
However, most parents simply wrap up the dirty diaper and throw it in the trash, enabling particles to fall out or seep out into the public, where everyone and anyone could be susceptible.
Properly disposing of a diaper isn't hard, but here are some quick steps to follow:
Give It a Shake. Shake out the diaper contents into the toilet and pre-rinse any waste.
Roll Up the Diaper. The diaper should be rolled into a tight ball. Simply keep the tabs open, roll it up, and re-seal the tabs making sure they’re fastened tight.
Seal It Up. The wrapped up diaper should be placed in a sealed container or airtight bag.
Designate a Trash Can. If taking the diaper outside right away, consider designating a trash can with a lid to be used only for soiled, bagged diapers.
That said, some parents don’t have the luxury of running a diaper outside to the trash right away.
Whether their spouses work or there’s other children that can’t be left unattended, things can stop you from getting that stink bomb out outside.
This is where a diaper pail comes into play!
A diaper pail is necessary because it houses all your used diapers!
It's tall and large enough to hold up to a dozen or so diapers until you are able to remove them from your home.
They are designed with a special, long and strong bag that can be stretched out the entire length of the pail.
The lids are also airtight, and many come with an odor concealer built in (that needs to be replaced from time to time), so you can rest assured that no smells will escape.
It’s wise to keep these pails on each level of your home, since diaper changing isn’t always done in your baby’s nursery on their changing table.
Pails ensure safe and proper storage and removal of diapers since they can be pulled out of the pail thanks to a special diaper cutter engineered inside the top of the pail.
You literally don’t get your hands dirty, you can tie the large bag into a secure knot, sling those bad boys over your shoulder, and usher them out to the garbage can!
Not sold on a diaper pail? No worries.
Moms have gotten pretty creative over the years.
Some just can’t stand to have dirty diapers indoors (even concealed in a pail), so they turn to air tight bags.
These bags have such a tight seal that you can trust odor or other yuckies will not escape. These bags are ushered outside right away!
But, these bags can get pretty pricey, so if this is the disposal route you're going to choose, buy in bulk.
Some moms love to get rid of soiled diapers by using the plethora of plastic bags they get from the grocery store. They’re free, and it’s certainly considered recycling.
I know many moms that moved their garbage can close to their back or kitchen doors, so they could toss them without trekking it all the way to the garage.
Regardless of the method you choose, you can trust that your diapers will be safe and disposed of properly.
Here are some other important diaper disposal things to consider:
- Hand Washing. Just because you dispose of a diaper properly, doesn’t mean you’re done with the dirty work. It’s super important to wash your hands immediately after handling the diaper and bag. Fecal matter can hang around, even if you can’t see any on your hands. So, soap up and wash up!
- Consider Where You’re Disposing. Some places are still not appropriate to dispose of diapers because it could put others at harm if the diapers are not sealed properly. These places cold include your kitchen garbage can, a doctor’s office, an open receptacle (like at a park), and small, enclosed places. Keep diapers generally out of these areas if you can help it!
- Traveling and Disposing. Airplanes are small, enclosed spaces with lots of others around. If your baby needs to be changed on a flight, be sure to put it in an air sick bag and seal it up. These bags are specifically used to contain potentially hazardous material and keep it away from others. Ask your flight attendant to take the diaper so it’s definitely put in a place that will be safe—not the garbage can in the airplane’s bathroom.
Yes, disposable diapers are convenient.
But, in the long run, cloth diapers are more affordable, and are safer when it comes to disposal.
Did you know that about 27.4 billion single use, plastic diapers are used by American babies every year?
That’s enough waste to fill Yankee Stadium 15 times at least!
In addition to these startling statistics, disposable diapers are the 3rd largest item to take up landfills and make up 30% of non-biodegradable waste in those landfills.
It can take up to 500 years of sitting around before 200,000 diapers will decompose.
So, even though you may be “disposing” of them properly and not making those around you ill, the disposal itself is contributing to a much larger problem that affects everyone.
That’s why lots of modern parents are making the extra effort to use cloth diapers.
When using a cloth diaper, disposing of “waste” is easy. Simply shake it in the toilet (as suggested above with disposable diapers), and use a special hose kept by the toilet to rinse waste out.
Loose particles can be flushed and processed, and the cloth can be washed—again and again and again!
This method will not contaminate water or spread disease. Of course, you do need to wash your hands well and often, and you shouldn’t wash your cloth diapers with your regular clothing.
But, in regards to safe disposing of waste, you can’t get any safer than with using cloth.
If cloth diapers are still not your “cup of tea” it may be worth investing in a toilet sprayer for your disposables. It will make you more likely to pre-spray since the water source is located right by your toilet for ease and convenience.
Then, you may be more likely to dispose properly of your baby’s waste before bagging it up.
Whoever thought that this much goes into disposing diapers properly?
Not only will you guarantee the safety of those around you, you’ll protect others’ health when out in public.
If everyone stops to take proper precautions, less germs, bacteria, and viruses could be spread.
So, the next time you’re changing your baby, be informed, be aware, and take action!