A Diaper Genie Story and an Honest Review

Diaper Genie1

It seems that there is a time period in your life where baby showers happen at least once a month. A few years back our friend was having one so my wife went to the store and picked up something from the registry – a Diaper Genie along with a couple of refills.  Not the most thoughtful gift (“here is a poop box for your unborn child and some plastic bags”), but we assumed it was something required when a baby is born and obviously desired since it was on their list.

Fast forward to the near present and our friend’s baby is walking and talking and the Diaper Genie is no longer in use.  We just had our first baby and our friend, excited about our turn to mess with the dirty diapers, unloaded the Diaper Genie on us and we gladly accepted the gift.  I am pretty sure our friend totally forgot that we gave it to her to begin with but, of course, we did not bring it up.  Circle of life and all that, ha!

We put it in the nursery right next to the hand-me-down dresser upcycled by us into a fancy-looking changing table.  Along with the crib, the rocking chair, the baby mobile, the wall decals and the fun paint color the room now looked the part.  And then the baby arrived…  I will spare you the details of all the sleepless nights and skip right to the Diaper Genie, since that’s the topic.  It seemed to work great.  The little size 1 diapers went nicely into the bin and the room did not smell even after days would pass between plastic bag changes.  Nothing to complain about besides the times when you would find yourself unable to jam that “one more” diaper into the container in the midst of an emergency situation.  Turns out that, kinda like unloading the dishwasher, unloading the Diaper Genie sometimes becomes a game of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  I seemed to mostly lose and had an opportunity to practice frequent bag changes, finding out first hand that the smell was still there, waiting to be unleashed the minute the changing bin was flipped open.

However, the more we used the Diaper Genie, the more annoying it got.  Those unfamiliar with diaper “blowouts” can research this phenomenon on the web or just trust me that it ain’t pretty.  Our version of the Diaper Genie II had this spring lid on top that you pushed down until the diaper disappeared under the lid in the plastic bag and the lid sprung shut again.  Put “blowout” and “sprung shut” together and it’s a recipe for a disaster.  We ended up resorting to good old plastic shopping bags in this situation and taking this whole mess outside to the garbage can immediately. 

Among other minor annoyances… Changing bags is not particularly hard but it is not as as trivial as changing your kitchen plastic bag, for example.  I will admit that I pulled up a “How To” video on YouTube to make sure I am doing it right.  Flip the changing bin, push the diapers down to compact the huge poop/pee diaper sausage looking mess, cut the top of the bag on the cutter built into the bin, tie the knot on this sausage, set it aside while questioning the tensile strength of the plastic standing between THAT and your nice carpet, pull the fresh empty sausage casing out of the refill, tie the knot at the bottom and finally close the changing bin.  Add in the times when you found out that your refill cartridge is empty (often) and the tempers cut short by a lack of sleep (first 6-9 months) and you can see that it could get unnecessarily complicated.

And that IS the point.  Why do we have to make everything so complicated?  Ask your parents if they used the Diaper Genie.  I bet the answer is going to be “no”, simply because the Diaper Genie was not invented until sometime around 1990.  It should come as no surprise that this invention was patented in Britain and then brought over to the United States to sell millions of units and cartridges.  Who else in the world has time to invent solutions to “first world  problems” like this, subsequently creating a market for something you did not know was a “necessity”?

And what a lucrative little market it is.  Let’s see… A Diaper Genie sells for anywhere from $30 to $45.  Then you would need to regularly buy your refills at around $20 for 3 cartridges.  You are out of the cartridges?  Get in your car and drive to the store where they hope you will buy something else to go with your cartridges.  After all, it would be silly to drive your 4,000 lbs SUV just to pick up 3 cartridges; be a good consumer and make it worth the trip. Multiply that by your chosen number of babies over a couple of years each and it quickly adds up.

So what did we end up using to hold the dirty diapers?  A simple small trash can with a self closing lid very similar to this model here.  We use plastic grocery shopping bags as a liner and throw them out every couple of days or when there is a particularly hazardous diaper.  The room and the house do not smell any more (which is to say almost not at all) than when we had the Diaper Genie.  It might sound like more work in terms of bag changing but it feels like a lot less hassle than dealing with the Diaper Genie.  Plastic bags are free from the grocery store and we don’t feel that bad about using them because  we’d be using some other plastic bags for diapers and cat litter anyway.  I guess we are sort of recycling?  This system has been working perfectly fine for a few months now and it is as simple as it gets…  No YouTube “How To” required.   

If you are considering buying a Playtex ® Diaper Genie or another similar device, I hope this quick review was helpful in one way or the other.

On a similar note, we recently replaced our ridiculous Rabbit Wine Opener that broke after light use with this and could not be happier.  Simpler IS better.  



4 thoughts on “A Diaper Genie Story and an Honest Review

  1. I’m very familiar with the Diaper Genie and its shortcomings.

    That system reminds me of computer printers. Sure the machine is cheap, but what about the ink that I need to replace every 7.5 pages?!

    • Good analogy! I just recently purchased one of those all in one printers on sale for $20 and the ink ran out after what really did seem like 7.5 pages. Good thing you can buy cartridges on eBay really cheap or even get a kit so you can refill the cartridges yourself.

  2. We have been using cloth diapers through now a second child they are not as bad as what people imagine and much cheaper to boot. We store the used diapers in a cat little pail with a cloth liner and wash every other day, dry on a clothes line and the ongoing maintenance cost is minimal. the weekly trip to the curb with the garbage is a lot easier on the back too.

    • We were on the fence about using cloth diapers but ultimately went with disposables. This is definitely one area where we could improve and it’s painful to see the amount of waste we generate every week. For us, going with cloth diapers would mean junking our 20 year old washer that I just rebuilt to work as new and getting a high efficiency one and we were not ready to do that. Also both of us work and our son is in daycare, so we would still need to use disposables there, which defeats the whole purpose. We did buy a couple of cloth diapers that we use once in a while and I agree, it’s night and day compared to what our parents used.

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