DIY Reusable Cloth Diaper Pail Liner

There are many different options for storing cloth diapers until wash day. The most economical and most popular is the use of a reusable cloth diaper pail liner placed inside of a trashcan. You can buy them online for around $20 a piece, but you can make one yourself in just a few minutes and save yourself quite a bit of money.

Here is a video tutorial on how to make the diaper pail liners:

One quick note about PUL fabric: The fabric has 2 sides, one that is cloth like and one that has a shiny kind of rubber like appearance. The fabric side is considered the “right” side of the fabric and the shiny side is considered the “wrong” side of the fabric.

You Will Need:

A trash can (most people prefer an 11 gallon trash can. Mine is 3.5 gallons)

1 2/3 yard PUL fabric (to make 2 liners for an 11 gallon trash bag)

1/4″ elastic

Sewing machine with thread and bobbin

Measuring tape if you did not get an 11 gallon trash can

How To:

1. Determine how much fabric you are going to need. For the 11 gallon trash can you are going to need a piece of fabric that has been folded in half (the way it came off of the bolt) that is 27.5″ long on the folded side and 29″ tall. If you were to unfold the material, you would have a rectangle that is 27.5″ wide and 58″ long. If you chose a smaller trash can, you will need to do some measuring.

  • To find out how long the material needs to be on the folded edge, add the width of the trash can to the depth of the trashcan and add 3 more inches. For my diaper pail, the trash can was 10″ wide and 7″ deep for a total of 20″ long.


  • To find out how tall the material needs to be on the cut edge, measure the height of the trash can and add 4 more inches. My trash can was 16 inches tall for a total length of material 20″ tall.


2, Once you have measured the fabric, you are going to cut it out.


3. The next step is to sew the side seams. We are going to use a french seam here in order to secure the seam. To do this, start with the wrong sides (shiny side) of the fabric together. Sew roughly a quarter inch seam down both of the cut sides of the fabric, back stitching at the start and end of the seam. You are then going to flip the entire diaper pail liner inside out and sew a seam just outside of the first seam.


4. Next we need to figure out how much elastic to use. This will depend on the trash can you select, but is really easy to figure out. Simply wrap the elastic around the top of the trash can, pulling as tightly as you can. Cut the elastic so that there is about a 1″ overlap between the beginning and end of the elastic.


5. Now we need to sew the casing for the elastic. With the liner inside out, create a tube by folding the top of the liner over 1/2″ and then fold it over another 1/2″. Sew along the Inside edge to create the tube, leaving a roughly 1″ gap between where you start sewing and where you stop sewing so you can thread the elastic through the casing.


6. Thread the elastic through the tube. The easiest way to do this is to safety pin one end of the elastic to the end of the casing and then using another safety pin attached to the other side of the elastic, work the safety pin through the tube.

7. When you get to the end of the tube, sew both ends of the elastic together making sure not to sew them to the casing. Pull the elastic into the casing and finish the seam that you used to thread the elastic through.


8. Flip the diaper pail liner right side out and run it through the dryer on the hottest setting you can for 20-30 minutes to “repair” the holes you made in the waterproof liner while sewing.

9. Viola: you have a diaper pail liner you can be proud of.


Cost Comparison:

I am not including the cost of the actual trash can, as it varies from store to store and style to style.

You can buy reusable cloth diaper pail liners on Etsy and Amazon for $20 each. Most people recommend having 2 so that you can wash one and have one in the pail. Retail you would spend $40 for 2.

  • I got 1 2/3 yards of PUL from Joann fabric. It normally costs $12.99/yard ($21.63), but Joann’s frequently has 50%-60% off coupons which will drop the price down to $10.82 for 2 diaper pail liners. I was able to make 3 liners and a small wet bag out of the 1 2/3 yards so each liner cost $3.60.
  • An 8 yard long piece of elastic is regularly $3.49. You can use another 50% off coupon making it $1.75 for 8 yards. You will probably only need 1/2 a yard to a yard or so for each liner. To make 2 liners you would need 1 yard each for a total of $0.44. I only used about 1/2 yard for each liner, for a total of $0.11 per liner.
  • To make 2 liners that fit an 11-13 gallon trash can, you would spend $10.82+$0.44 = $11.26
  • To make 3 liners that fit a 3.5 gallon trash can I spent $3.60+$0.11=$3.71 per liner or $11.13 total (plus I had enough material to sew a travel sized wet bag).

Savings: $28.74 for 2 bags


2 thoughts on “DIY Reusable Cloth Diaper Pail Liner

  1. Pingback: Cloth Diaper Storage | Eventual Momma

  2. Pingback: Cloth Diapering: What Did We Choose? | Eventual Momma

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