Diaper Pail Liner Comparison Information

Which diaper storage setup is right for you? 

Pail Liner Height x Width x
Gusset (if flat
bottomed) in
Pail size Special Info
Smart Bottoms Hanging Wet Bag 23.5 x 20 at the widest part Strong handle snaps This is a hanging bag, 
Thirsties Hanging Wet Bag 26" tall x 18" wide Strong handle snaps can be snapped in several snap configurations This is a hanging bag, 
horizontal zipper
Gro Via Pail liner (discontinued) 24 ½ x 27 x 8 Fits tall kitchen trash size
hampers (13 gal.)
Smoother sliding
drawstring. Our largest
pail liner with largest
Thirsties Simple Pail Liner 29 ½ x 29
no gusset
Fits tall kitchen trash size
hampers (13 gal.)
Elastic top; no drawstring
Thirsties Simple Mini Pail Liner 14 ½" x 14"
no gusset
Fits a wastbasket Elastic top; no drawstring;
GroVia Perfect Pail (discontinued) 26 x 18
pleated body for
maximum volume
Not a liner. This
is the pail. No
liner needed.
A hanging wet bag,
pop up design, self closing
top, zipper at bottom for


Please note: The measurements provided on this chart were taken by GMD staff for the purpose of helping our customers compare pail liners. The measurements here may differ from those on the manufacturer packaging due to differing measurement techniques. Height measurements reflect the side seam. All measurements are approximate.

medium pail liner comparison "wastebasket size" has been replaced with "Mini Pail Liner" size. Medium Pail Liner has been discontinued.

Thirsties Pail Liner, and Gro Via Pail Liners all fit standard 13 gallon kitchen garbage cans 19 to 24 inches tall, or 44 quart cans.

Consider a small hamper for plenty of air circulation. Many laundry hampers are too big to fit a pail liner, so find the smallest one you can find.


thisties in laundry hamper  Thirsties Pail Liner in Curver laundry hamper. This color has been discontinued.


max size laundry hamper This is the brown hamper shown in the two pictures above. It is Curver brand I found at Target. It measures 23 15/16 x 17 1/2 x 13 3/16". This is the maximum size that the regular size liners will fit, and it only "just makes it". GroVia liner is the biggest one, but the Thirsties will also fit in this size hamper. The big hampers with wheels are too large to fit any of the liners. Hampers usually better than trash can because they have better air circulation since there are holes throughout the body.

grovia liner in hamper Gro Via Pail Liner (discontinued) in a Sterilite hamper.   Sterline Sorting Hampers or other perforated laundry hampers are a good option. 

thristies mud pail liner in laundry hamper Thirsties Pail Liner  (discontinued color)  in the same Sterilite hamper model 1256 shown above. It's a tight fit but it makes it.

Wish your diaper storage had a lid sometimes? Place a Birdseye or Muslin Flat Diaper or a receiving blanket over it. The fabric will keep the odors down while still allowing the needed air circulation and some moisture to escape. We do not recommend any tightly sealed pail. Do not use any fully sealed pails made for disposable diapers for extended time. If you have no air circulation, that is a breeding ground for stinks and even mold.

Will it stink if I don't use a lid? Not if you spray off the messy diapers at the toilet first. If you dunk or spray them off because then there really isn't much left to get that stinky. It is true that more air circulation means less stink. Sealed pails stink much more than open pails! If it starts stinking, it's time to wash them anyhow.  Frequent washing is a good thing. 

No soaking:  None of the pail liners are intended for soaking. The function of the pail liner is for transportation to the washing machine and so you don't have to scrub out the inside of your pail.   Do no use a pail liner for soaking.  We recommend wringing out sopping wet diapers after dunking or spraying them off before putting them in any diaper pail liner.   If the diapers are dripping wet, just toss a dry prefold in the bottom of the pail to absorb excess moisture.  Every now and then put your empty pail in the sun to keep the plastic fresh. The sun's UV rays are great for freshening up the inside of a plastic pail. Pail liners are made for dry pail storage of dirty diapers only, which means wet diapers are ok but don't add water to the pail.

Liner or no liner?   If you can do it without a liner, that's fine.  Liners can be hard to wash in some washers. The large piece of waterproof fabric can hold water or detergent water in the spin cycle, get a bubble of air inside in the wash or cause some washers to get out of balance. They can make the load harder to rinse.  Everything has tradeoffs.  Consider your situation and do what works for you.  The possible washing issues might be minor compared to the benefit of the ease of carrying the diaper laundry down the flight(s) of stairs so the liner might be great.  But perhaps carrying the storage pail to the washer and wiping it down or putting it in the sun while the laundry runs to freshen it up could be the better option.  Consider your situation.  Pail liners are optional. 

Thirsties hanging wet bag nightlife on a changing table   Thirsties Hanging Wet Bag

Smart Bottoms hanging wet bag on changing table Smart Bottoms Hanging Wet Bag has a vertical zipper which can be easier to operate with one hand.  But leaving either zipper style bag unzipped or only partially zipped is a good way to have it set up for quick access and good air circulation.  Zip it up only as needed.


liner in 19 inch pail     20 diapers is a typical load amount washed in one average sized machine. Super-sized machines might fit more diapers but 20-24 size medium diapers per wash is typical for a regular size washer. Some washing machines are bigger than others and some new washers are quite large. You can fit more size newborn diapers in one load than size large diapers, because bigger diapers are bigger, of course.

Karen's observation: I think that most pail liners are really bigger than they need to be. Smaller diaper storage encourages you to wash often. Washing often is a good thing. If you have a small washer, get an appropriately sized item for your situation. You may not even need a liner at all if you wash often. If it is small enough, it might be ok for you lift it and carry the entire pail it to the washer without even needing a liner to transport the diapers to the washer.   Dogs?  Keep them out of the pail.   Sometimes taller pails are better to keep the opening farther out of reach.  Choose a setup that works for your situation.


GroVia Pail Liner:

grovia pail liner  gro via pail liner GroVia is the largest with the largest top opening of the full size choices. 


Thirsties pail liners have sewn-on elastic at the edge so you cannot use it as a hanging pail. 

Thirsties pail liner:

white diaper pail liner Thirsties Simple Pail Liner is full size and made in USA. Keep the lid open all or some of the time if you use it as pictured. If sealed like this, you may need to wash daily depending on the humidity and temperature conditions to prevent mold or condensation issues. If your pail has a lid like this white one, put a prefold diaper or a wipe over the edge to prevent the lid from closing all the way at least some of the time. This will allow some needed air circulation, especially in humid locations.   If you live in a dry or desert location, diapers may dry out quickly and the air circulation is not nearly as important as it is in a humid location.   Air conditioning also makes a difference. How long you can go between wash days and how much air circulation is needed will vary based on conditions at your location.  

poppy liner with strap Thirsties Pail Liner has a snap closing strap to close up the top when needed. The closing strap is sewn on so you won't loose it. This means no struggling to slide a closure that doesn't really slide well. It closes more fully than slide closure styles can. It is also seam-sealed for no leaking through the seams.  A smart design and a top pick. Also comes in mini size for small pails which are great for covers. 


hamper sale price

Looking for a diaper pail? We don't sell them. You can find things to use in major stores such as this Sterilite hamper model 1256. Try the laundry aisle instead of the baby section for better prices.

Moving the diapers to the washing machine is easier with a liner. Liners can be washed with the diapers. Hang to dry or take them out of the dryer when dry.  It's extra nice to have two, so you can put a fresh one in the pail right away on wash day. For deep water soaking, do not use a pail liner. We don't recommend deep water soaking because that is a drowning risk. If you want to soak, that's fine but do it in your washing machine safely away from baby and children.

Drawstring opening or elastic top opening? Either is fine. Elastic can't be be hung on a doorknob if using no pail at all and using it as a hanging diaper pail. Or it's quick to put in the pail fitting the elastic over the edge of the pail so the liner won't "fall in". If using a drawstring style, tuck the end of the drawstring under and into the pail so it isn't hanging on the outside where baby might grab it. The drawstring has an advantage of being able to opened up more for washing, but the elastic is slightly gathered so it can puddle sometimes in some washers. I think the drawstring cord style is a little easier for washing since they open wider, but the cord must be adjusted each time and tucked into the pail, so it's not as quick to do, and they don't hang easily. Both work fine. Just get the one that fits your pail and maybe just get the color you like. Opening style isn't a big deal but I wanted to point out that they do have different openings in case that matters to you. The larger the liner the more it costs because the more fabric is needed to make it - the cost is in the fabric needed.

If you are using a smaller diaper pail, such as the ones made for disposable diapers, then remove the lid or somehow prop it open such as putting a wipe over the edge of the pail so it doesn't close all the way. A fully sealed diaper pail is a breeding ground for bacteria and that type is not recommended. Diaper pails need some air circulation. The wastebasket size and small liners are nice for storing soiled covers separately. You may need two pails and two liners, though. The two-pail system (or more) is nice if you have two changing areas, such as in a two story home.  Again, all are intended for dry pail use, not for soaking.

 Hanging diaper storage is another option. I have one for non-diapering use in the closest near my kitchen to put our kitchen cloths and un-paper towels into until wash day. Keeping it easy to grab a fresh cotton cloths in the kitchen (and thus not re-using a dirty one too many times) by having an easy place to put the used ones into has cut down our paper towel use by a lot!  I'm sure this saved us a lot of money over the many years we've had this setup with a large hanging diaper wet bag for our kitchen cloth re-usables.  The kitchen cloths don't get moldy in it because it has enough air circulation. Yes, you've heard this before about the need for air circulation for diapers and it is the same need for stored wet cotton of any kind.

Washing: They are made of a knit polyester with a waterproof layer inside, often called "PUL" but it really is 100% polyester with TPU laminate. This is the same (or extremely similar) material as the outside of most diaper covers, pocket diapers or all-in-one diapers. It is the exact same material as the outside of the covers or all-in-one diapers. It's very durable. They can "catch" water in some washers so if your washer does that, you may choose to take it out of the cycle before the final rinse to make sure the diapers are fully rinsed. Some people choose to wash their pail liners only occasionally. Choices vary. You can wash it with the diapers, but take it out of the dry early or hang it to dry since it dries so much faster than the rest of your diapers, just like diaper covers.

Non-diapering uses: These are wonderful for camping and boating (keeps towels and clothes dry if it rains, have an extra to put the wet stuff in). Great for car trips. Handy at the barn. Use these instead of suitcases for easy packing into cartop storage units such as Thules. Great laundry bags for college, camping, boating and more.  Smart Bottoms and Thirsties liners are made in the USA.