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If you often have pet laundry you can’t wash right this minute, a diaper pail for a handicapped pet may be your answer. A diaper pail is a big help if you have an incontinent pet and use towels, washcloths, or cloth diapers. Diaper pails were common in homes with babies before disposable diapers became popular. Today you may not be able to find one in a store, but you can make your own.
Get a large sturdy pail with a lid
A 5-gallon painter’s bucket with a carry handle works well. They are sold in the paint department at the building supply store. You can use the basic snap-on lid or pay a little extra for a heavy duty lid.
Fill it 2/3 full of water
This leaves room for the laundry and makes it easy to lift. Water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon, so if you fill a 5-gallon bucket 2/3 full it will weigh about 26 lbs.
Pour in 1/2 cup of borax
Borax is sold in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. (Do not confuse it with boric acid, which is used for pest control and is harmful to pets.) Borax has been used for diaper pails and laundry for generations. If you want to add chlorine bleach to the pail, use as little as possible because it is hard on your fabrics and you risk ruining your clothing if you splash yourself.
Put it in a convenient place
Often the most convenient place for a diaper pail is in the bathroom.
How to use a diaper pail
Use your diaper pail to hold soiled pet laundry until you are ready to wash it. This way the laundry will not smell, or grow germs, or set stains, or tempt your other pets to get into it. For example, you may put a towel in your pet’s crate and change it every day. If the used towel is clean enough, it can go into the regular laundry pile. But if it has food on it (or urine or solid waste or medication or blood spotting) it will go into the diaper pail.
Scrape off any excess solids first. If your pet has diarrhea, do what our grandmothers did. Carry the soiled item into the bathroom, hold it by the corner, dip it in the clean toilet water and swish it around until the worst of it is gone. Flush and repeat as needed, then put it into the diaper pail. Rinse blood spots thoroughly in the sink before putting them in the diaper pail.
When you have enough in your pail to justify running a load of laundry, put on your rubber gloves, tip the pail into the toilet without dumping the laundry (the borax water will still be fresh even after several days), squeeze as much water out of your laundry items as you can, and go put them in the washing machine.
Rinse out your pail, fill it with more water and borax, and it is ready to use again.
Advantages of a diaper pail
A diaper pail saves time
If you use a diaper pail, you do not have to do laundry as often. You can do it when it is convenient. Also, you do not have to spend as much time treating stains because the diaper pail presoaks your wash.
A diaper pail saves money
A basic painter’s bucket and lid is under $5.00 (USD). If you buy a better quality lid, it is a little more. Twenty Mule Team Borax is $3.00 a box at the grocery store in the laundry aisle. You use only 1/2 cup each time you refill the diaper pail so it lasts a long time. You can save money on disposable products such as baby wipes, paper towels, incontinent pads, and disposable diapers by washing and reusing cloth instead.
A diaper pail is good for the environment
Having a diaper pail allows you to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill because you can use reusable supplies instead of disposable ones. It also allows you to avoid the chemicals found in baby wipes if you prefer. Borax is a natural product that does not contain phosphates which harm the environment.
Clorox and borax
I have old white wash cloths used as urine cloths from expressing my pup. I soak them in a small pail with a few tablespoons of borax, a splash of bleach, and some water. The cloths go into the regular wash with other whites. The borax is amazing stuff, as there is absolutely NO ODOR on the cloths after washing with other whites.
Vinegar or baking soda
I have a diaper pail too, although now with Kat AND Bombon I am having to do an “animal” wash every day anyway! You never see Borax on sale here in Spain, but I found out that you can use vinegar or baking soda too.
Borax in the water works well. I also used Washing Soda, but preferred Borax. If you pour it outside at home, the borax is picked up as a toxin in plants, so keep it away from garden ground and pastures. Probably better to send it down the drain. Water treatment plant should handle this, and we had no problem with a septic tank and drain field system.
I used regular cotton baby diapers, folded to look like a kotex pad and kept them on with a male wrap. Worked like a charm. Had to have a diaper pail and do the laundry often but it was much cheaper than disposable pads and Simon did not try to eat them. Often dogs will try to devour their disposable pads once they are wet.