How and Why to Use A Diaper Genie

how and why to use diaper genieIf you don’t currently own a diaper genie, the concept of one could seem a bit puzzling to you. What is this strange device that swallows diapers and outputs long chains of shrink-wrapped bundles like sausage links? It might seem like one of those frivolous baby products, a needless or pointless expense. But it’s not. Your diaper genie will become one of the most important things in the nursery.

At the newborn stage, babies are on, essentially, a liquid diet. Their poops are almost cute. There are much darker days ahead. Between the introduction of solid food and potty training, you will encounter things in diapers that are unspeakable. Unless you want your home to smell like a public outhouse, you’ll want a diaper genie right next to the diaper changer. Aside from taking every single diaper out to the outside garbage cans after every change, there is no substitute. And let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen when you’re changing 8-10 diapers per day.

how diaper genie worksHow a Diaper Genie Works

The Diaper Genie is essentially a self-closing, odor-neutralizing, sophisticated trash can. You open the lid and push the rolled-up diaper down into the plastic. This separates the clamp, allowing the diaper to drop into the plastic bag in the body of the diaper genie. Then the clamp pushes the plastic closed again, essentially sealing the soiled cargo off from the world, which is a very good thing.

The Diaper Genie II (also called the Diaper Genie Elite) functions in a similar manner, except that you don’t have to lift the lid. Instead, you push down on the foot pedal, which simultaneously lifts the lid and opens the clamps. Then you drop the diaper in, lift your foot, and it closes back up again.

Emptying the Diaper Genie

When the Diaper Genie is full, you’ll know it because you won’t be able to shove any more diapers down in it (or you can, but then it won’t close). At this point you have to open it by pushing the button on the front-middle. You use the built-in cutter to cut the plastic a few inches above the top of the diaper roll. Make sure you leave enough for you to tie it off.

replace diaper genie bag

Emptying the diaper genie

Then you lift out the diaper sausage, and (importantly), tie the bottom of the open plastic before closing the genie. If you don’t do this, the diapers fall right through and you probably won’t realize it until the next time you change it. Bingo! Your Diaper Genie is now ready to accept another load of stinkers. The one you removed should be tied at both ends (we usually call this a “diaper sausage”) and should be taken as far away as soon as possible.

Why the Diaper Genie Works

There are essentially two reasons that Diaper Genies are so popular and so essential (in my opinion) for day-to-day baby care. We even take ours along for weekend trips; that’s how important it is.

  1. Odor control. The clamp mechanism is a big part of that, because it seals off the diapers and doesn’t let much air escape (I still recommend holding your breath when you add a diaper to a near-full genie). The plastic refills are a big part of this too; usually they have additives that help neutralize odors.
  2. Dirty diaper stash. It’s good to have a single, central location to put your dirty diapers. That way, you never forget one in an odd place only to find it days or weeks later. Yech. And it also puts the diapers out of sight, too, which everyone in the house appreciates.

Diaper Genie Tips

diaper genie refill

Diaper Genie Refill Pack

Our kids have collectively been through around 15,000 diapers. That’s not a ballpark, that’s a real calculation based on diapers per day and age of potty training. Since we’ve had a couple of Diaper Genies and obviously used them quite a bit, I can pass a few tips along.

  • Wrap diapers first. After removing a diaper, I wrap it around itself into a tight ball and use the velcro straps to hold it. This takes up much less volume, which translates to more diapers in the genie.
  • Beware the loose bag. If you forget to tie the bottom, or the knot comes undone, the diapers will disappear but the odor won’t. If you smell strong odors from your genie, double-check the bag by popping it open.
  • Empty early and often. It’s always tempting to stuff a few more in, but when the genie is full (or reeks) you gotta empty it. Luckily it takes only a minute during which you’ll probably want to hold your breath.
  • Stock up on refills. There really is no way to estimate how much plastic you have left on your refill ring. All you can do is be prepared and make sure you have another one to put in after that.

Choosing A Diaper Genie

It might surprise you to learn that there are a couple different kinds of diaper genies. There’s your classic diaper genie with the lid that you lift. The middle option is an “Elite” pail with foot pedal that comes with a bonus mini pail. Then there’s the Diaper Genie II which has a foot pedal and a higher diaper capacity.

Diaper Genie Essentials Pail

Diaper Genie Essential

Diaper Genie Elite Pail

Diaper Genie Elite Pail

Diaper II Elite Pail

Diaper Genie II Elite Pail

21.7 x 11.8 x 10.5 inches 22.3 x 11.0 x 11.1 inches 27.1 x 11.8 x 10.5 inches
The original Diaper Genie with flip-up lid. This is the one we use on a day-to-day basis; it doesn’t have the big capacity but it works well for odor control. And it’s durable: ours has lasted 4 years. The Elite pail features the foot pedal that lifts the lid for hands-free operation. This one comes with a bonus mini pail that you can take on trips or leave with grandma & grandpa. The Diaper Genie II is the current top of the line. It’s got the foot pedal, the 5-layer odor control with double-lock seal, and perhaps most importantly, it’s about 5″ taller so it has more capacity.
Buy Diaper Genie Essential Buy Diaper Genie Elite Buy Diaper Genie II

Breathe easy and good luck! May your diaper sausages always be well-tied.

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