As with everything else to do with real nappies, there are no rules on what sort of nappy bucket to use, or how to use it. Essentially, however, a nappy bucket is simply a bucket with a fitted lid. We sell a range of nappy buckets on our site that have been tried and tested over the years. Our most popular has a tight fitting lid but not clips, however if you'd prefer a clipped bucket to secure against unwanted exploration we also sell these. If you have two children in nappies at the same time you will benefit from our larger nappy bucket.
If you do not have much space at home, you can use a large waterproof nappy bag in which to dry pail your nappies - this can simply be stored in the laundry basket or hung off a hook on the back of a door. Just don’t forget to wash the nappies!
Whatever method you use, before putting dirty nappies in the bucket/bag, rinse off any poo which has escaped the liner. Fresh poo is a lot less offensive to deal with than stale poo! If you can’t be bothered to rinse through before putting your nappies into the bucket, I suggest you do a prewash as well.
By keeping your nappies wet, stains do not set and so no prewashes are needed.
Many nappy manufactures actively discourage soaking now and is you soak using any sodium bicarb, vinegar, bleach or harsh stain removers your warranty will become invalid. With soaking it smells when you take the lid off, however, this is a good thing. What is happening is the liquid is drawing out the wee from the nappies, which means they are that bit cleaner when they go into the washing machine. On the other hand, the dirty water will need to be tipped down the loo or emptied into the sink or bath- whatever suits your plumbing arrangements. You might not consider the sink/bath very hygienic if you also use the sink for cooking or personal washing purposes.
The other disadvantage is the risk of the bucket being tipped over or - conceivably - a child sticking their head into it when full. You can avoid this by placing the bucket out of reach. The best position is inside the bath, where it is not a big problem if it does get tipped over. And a child who is old enough to climb into the bath is a child who is old enough not to stick their head in a nappy bucket! It does make sense to teach children from a very young age not to play with the nappy bucket. It is also important to remember never to soak your wraps as this will cause them to lose their waterproofing so you will need to keep soiled wraps somewhere else prior to washing them.
If you decide to wash alternate days rather than every day, change the water in the nappy bucket on the night in between. This prevents it from smelling too strongly.
Nappisan is not necessary, and is damaging to the fabric of a number of modern shaped nappies, as is Bicarbonate of Soda, vinegar, bleach and harsh stain removers. You should never use any of these products to soak your nappies as they are highly likely to reduce their lifespan ,will certainly damage your waterproof wraps over time and will invalidate your product warranty. If these powders are used any product warranty will be invalid, The Nappy Lady strongly recommends you DO NOT use them.
Wraps should not be soaked or need sanitising agents, as the sanitising agent may affect any waterproofing layer. Rinse them clean as soon as you can, if necessary, to avoid staining and then keep them to one side ready for washing. You will have more problems with cover pants staining if you use pad folded rather than pinned or shaped nappies.
To make the nappy bucket smell nicer, add a couple of drops of lavender or tea tree oil to the top of the lid.
Your nappies will not smell so strongly when you come to empty the bucket, and there is no need to tip away dirty water into a sink or bath. This also makes it easy to transfer the nappies into a front loading washing machine without the risk of drips. As mentioned previously, dry pailing is excellent where space is limited, because you can use a waterproof nappy bag rather than a bucket. Another advantage is that you can keep soiled wraps in the bucket with your nappies until you are ready to wash them.
Because the nappies have not been stored in liquid, they will dry to some extent, and any poo stains will set quite easily. This means that you should wash at 60 degrees, and a prewash of some sort at least occasionally is recommended. I often find that nappies which have been dry pailed for longer than two days may still smell not quite clean after washing at 60 if no prewash is used. Obviously, there is an environmental cost to regular prewashes (and washes take about a zillion years longer!), so if dry pailing you might prefer to wash at 60 every alternate day at most, and to do a prewash say once a fortnight.
In warm weather in particular, you will find that there is a bit of a “hamster smell” to the nappy bucket if dry pailing - you can mask this effectively by running half an inch of water in the sink to which a couple of drops of lavender oil have been added, then soaking a folded muslin into this mixture. Wring the muslin out loosely and then leave it over the top of your nappies in the bucket - as you add additional nappies, place them underneath this cover. You’ll have the nicest smelling nappy bucket in the area!