WFMW Conveniently Green: Diaper Pail and Carpet Deodorizer

Stinky diapers are a part of life when you have a diaper-wearer in your family [insert bad poop+stink pun here]. It’s never fun to walk into the room and be hit with the Wall O’ Stink in the morning or after a naptime. But it’s even worse when the Wall O’ Stink continues after you have removed the diaper from the bottom.

There are all kinds of fancy diaper pails you can buy that claim to contain the stink, although personally I have walked into peoples’ houses and smelled that stench only to see that they already have one of those expensive diaper pails with the expensive refills that aren’t in the least bit Conveniently Green or even Inconveniently Green.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get on your case about disposable diapers. We use them too sometimes. But if you want to make the switch to cloth part-time or even full-time, start here and here.

Anyway, we use a stainless steel regular trash can with a plastic inner. Every once in a while the plastic part of the can will absorb some of the smell. I usually wipe it out with a Clorox wipe and set it out in the sun, or swish it with a bleach solution, but that’s not really Conveniently Green and also not what I’m writing about today. I’ll work on that for another post.

The cast of characters

What I’m talking about is how to cut down the stench while the diapers are still in the pail. Now nothing can really eliminate it, but you can help. And the good news is that it’s cheap, easy, and Conveniently Green! You can buy various pail powders online, but let me fill you in on a secret: it’s baking soda and essential oil. The baking soda naturally absorbs odors and the essential oil can both add a nice, pleasant scent, and also work to fight the stink. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Bowl
  • Fork
  • Some kind of shaker
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice
  • Dirty diapers (not pictured)

Items in the picture you do not need for this deodorizer: two BPA-free reusable water bottles (pink), peanut butter, sippy cup, snack catcher (times two), fruit leather, garlic holder, bag of pasta, mysterious piece of paper. See? I just cut your shopping list WAY down.

To make the pail deodorizer, simply pour the baking soda into the bowl, add 10-20 drops of essential oil (use your nose to judge the amount), mix it all up with the fork so that the oil is evenly distributed, give it a few minutes to dry, and put it in your shaker container. You can use an old parmesan cheese container (reuse! recycle!), or I bought this little shaker at Ikea for some ridiculously small amount of money. I actually like it better than my old parmesan cheese shaker because I feel it’s easier to get the right amount of powder out.

Right at home with my cloth diapers

You can use any oil you like, but I love Tea Tree Oil. It has all natural deodorizing properties and is super-easy to find (bascially any natural foods store like Trader Joe’s, or even some drug stores have it). When I run out of powder, I often will just put a drop or two of TTO on a piece of toilet paper and drop that in the pail, and it works quite well. I’ve also used lavender, and that’s a lovely scent as well. If you want to go crazy with other scents, knock yourself out.

The best part is that you can use this powder all kinds of places. Feel free to sprinkle it in with your cloth diapers–it can go right in the wash. Smelly gym clothes? Booyah! You can even sprinkle it on your carpet and vacuum it up later (that second part is important) and leave your room smelling nice and fresh. Provided you have a decent vacuum. And carpet.

Conveniently Green diaper pail deodorizer: works for me!

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Conveniently Green: Conveniently Organic

We all want to buy organic, right? I really think in an ideal world, we’d all buy fresh, locally-grown organic produce from extremely friendly people who set out little bowls of their cut nectarines and peaches in order to prove to you that their nectarines and peaches are better than the nectarines and peaches at the stand 3 feet away, and don’t even bat an eyelash when you go up and down to all the booths feeding your kid little sample pieces of cut nectarines and peaches because you timed it perfectly so that you don’t have to pay for lunch.


Still Life Fruit

Or maybe that’s just MY farmer’s market.

Anyway, in an ideal world we’d all buy organic, but the world is not ideal. And my pocketbook is certainly not ideal. Everyone I know is on a budget and has to make choices when it comes to food shopping. I mean, I know there are people with limitless funds, but I’m pretty sure they send their hired help to make choices for them, and I don’t personally know any of those people anyway (or their hired help).

I like to buy organic when I can. Mouse is a veritable Fruititarian–in fact, I have to save the fruit for last because serving him fruit is like the career-ending injury of food: he won’t eat anything afterward but will insist on more fruit–so I like to give him fresh fruit when I get the chance.

Generally even at the grocery store there is some organic produce, but I often don’t know if it’s worth the cost (especially when the difference is significant) or how to weigh one choice over another. Well good news! While reading through the wealth of information at Practically Green.com, a fabulous website you’ll be hearing a lot more about on Conveniently Green, I followed a link to a suggested action item–reviewing the Dirty Dozentm list of fruits and vegetables. TheĀ  Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of produce based on research of pesticide levels–which types of fruit and veggies are more likely to expose you to fewer pesticides. The “Dirty Dozentm” is a list of the twelve foods that are the most likely to expose you to pesticides.


This is a stock photo, not an actual image of organic fruit

This way when you’re at the grocery store, you can see that celery is on the Dirty Dozentm list, while onions are up on the top of the best list. So if I’m making a choice and want to minimize my exposure to pesticides, but I can only afford a certain amount of organic produce, I am better off choosing organic celery and conventionally-grown onions rather than the other way around. What a great way to help you prioritize!

And the best part for me is that I totally HATE celery, so now I can use this as an excuse not to buy it!

Here’s the Dirty Dozentm:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (imported)

If one of those is on your shopping list, mosey on over to the organic produce section and see if it’s available there. If you can swing it, try to select the organic version.

You can find the full list of 49 fruits and veggies in order of pesticide exposure here.

And–AND! There’s an iPhone app! What could be more Conveniently Green than an iPhone app?

Okay, there’s nothing inherently Conveniently Green about an iPhone app, but if you happen to have an iDevice, you can download the free app with the complete list here. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can either buy one, or jot down the Dirty Dozentm on a piece of recycled paper, or just write it on your hand like you used to do in high school.

Conveniently Green organic produce–just a little bit less!

And don’t miss this video from the Organic Trade Association. What’s there not to love about Obi Wan Cannoli and Ham Solo?