Wet bags are amazing. They have so many uses.
When you’re cloth diapering, wet bags are great for storing dirty diapers in the home, or when out and about. When you’re potty training, they’re great for keeping clean outfits clean, and dirty training pants contained. They’re perfect for mama-cloth (cloth menstrual pads) too.
Aside from all their usual cloth diaper and pad uses, they are also great for packing clothes in, toting dirty laundry around, and of course for the beach to cart around wet bathing suits.
It is always a good idea to have something to put wet items in to keep them separate from your dry items.
Best of all is that they are super affordable, especially when you consider that you’ll be using them for so many things, and for so long after your baby is potty trained.
Wet bags come in all shapes and sizes, you can even get small ones for sandwiches and snacks. In this post, however, I’m going to be talking exclusively about the wet bags that you’ll want for cloth diapering: hanging wet bags and travel wet bags. So let’s take a closer look at when you would want to use each of those:
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How to Use Hanging Wet Bags
Hanging wet bags are a cost-effective alternative to having a diaper pail and pail liner to store your dirty diapers in at home.
They are essentially very large wet bags that have zipper closures and loops, ties, or some other means to attach them to things. You can tie them to change tables, door handles, or any other such piece of furniture you have in the small space you need to store dirty diapers in. This keeps them off the floor and away from little hands.
Using a hanging wet bag is pretty simple, you just put the dirty diapers in, and then come laundry day, you empty it into the washing machine, and throw the bag in to be washed as well.
How to use Travel Wet Bags
Travel wet bags are smaller than hanging wet bags. They sometimes have two pockets, one for wet things and one for dry, and often have one small loop, so that you can attach them to strollers, your diaper bag, etc.
Travel wet bags are made for just that, when you’re out in public, traveling around with your diapers.
Just like hanging wet bags, you use travel wet bags by just popping your dirty diapers inside (making sure if it’s a two-pocket bag the pocket you put them in is the waterproof one), and empty the diapers into the washer on laundry day, throwing the bag in too.
Here is a quick look at the wet bags I recommend if you’re in a hurry, but if not I recommend reading my tips on what to look for in a wet bag below before you buy.
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What to Look For in a Wet Bag
It is probably obvious, but the PUL of any wet bag is the most important thing as it’s what keeps the moisture and odor contained in the bag.
It’s important to remember that any PUL fabric is only going to be water
While the fact that PUL is only water-resistant is a good thing in that it allows air to flow in and out of the bag, limiting bacteria and mold growth, it does mean that the cheaper the PUL is, the quicker that you’ll find moisture seeping to the outside of the bag.
Hanging wet bags will be hanging up for a few days, and travel wet bags will be scrunched into diaper bags full of other things; both of these situations invite the PUL to wick, so investing in a bag made with high-quality PUL is key.
What Do I Look for in a Hanging Wet Bag?
Aside from quality PUL, when shopping for a hanging wet bag also on my must-have list is a zippered bottom.
Aside: I also love zippers on my diaper pail liners, like this one, but that’s a topic of another post.
Zippered bottoms make washing your diapers SO much easier because you don’t have to try and flip all the diapers out of the wet bag, and the wet bag is not full of water when you take it out of the wash. You just unzip the bag over the top of the washer and throw it all in there in one shot, and whatever is still in the bag when it goes in will agitate out.
Zipper-bottom hanging wet bags are rare and hard to come by, however. Some makers, like Smartbottoms, who make my first choice for hanging wet bags as you’ll see below, have done things like make the zipper split the majority of the bag to do the same thing as a zippered bottom. What’s nice about that type of zipper is that not only do you not have to flip everything out, and water doesn’t collect in it in the wash, but while it’s hanging up, there’s no zipper a the very bottom to create a potential leak spot over time.
What Do I Look for in a Travel Wet Bag?
For traveling, I without a doubt recommend a wet/dry bag or a double-pocket wet bag. Both of these are essentially the same thing: a wet bag that has two pockets, one for wet, dirty diapers, and another for dry, clean diapers.
A wet bag with two pockets that is called a wet/dry bag usually has the outer, smaller pocket designated for dry items. For these bags, instead of both pockets being made out of PUL, the smaller, dry pocket in the front is often mesh.
Here are some pictures of the Thirsties Wet/Dry bag (which you’ll see below is one of my choices for good travel wet bags) with a mesh outer pocket to show what that looks like:
It’s a bit easier to see how the two pockets are constructed with the mesh pocket, but travel wet bags made from all PUL are constructed similarly, just with all the fabric being PUL and not mesh.
How Many Wet Bags Do You Need?
I admit that I am not a reliable person to ask how many wet bags is right, because I firmly believe that you can never have too many, ever.
So to help me out with this question, I turned to the Cloth Diapers for
Most agreed that having at least two of each is nice so that you have one available while the other is being washed.
Best Hanging Wet Bag for Cloth Diapers (updated for 2023)
As I mentioned above, the things that really make a hanging wet bag perfect are a good quality PUL and a zippered bottom, or at least a zipper so large that turning it inside-out isn’t necessary.
Though most quality wet bags cost about the same (and you really want quality here, especially if you’re waiting several days between washes), there are a few that come out ahead because of their zipper placement.
Best At-Home Wet Bag: Smart Bottoms Hanging Wet Bag
GroVia Perfect Diaper Pail
- Good quality TPU material
- Zipper on the bottom for easy washing
- The opening is a slit instead of a zipper, which is perfect for one-handed changes!
- Nice and big to hold several days of diapers
- Only available in beige or gray
- Strap to hang it could be a little more customizable, works with a hanger
- Lots of straps, seams and boning that can get damagde with heavy use. Would be better if it was one solid piece and boning-free like other wet bags.
Best Travel Wet Bags for Cloth Diapers
As I spoke about earlier, double pocket wet bags are the way to go for traveling as they let you keep your dry diapers, or wipes in one pocket, and dirty diapers in the other.
Double-pocket wet bags are widely available, but ones made from high-quality PUL are a little harder to come by. Because of this, I’ve listed my favorite quality wet bag, as well as my favorite lower-quality, inexpensive travel wet bags below.
With the cost of the high-quality, Thirsties wet bag being more than double of two of the lower-quality wet bags at the time of publication, for many, the decision between budget, and the need for quality protection in your diaper bag will have to be weighed carefully.
Best Budget Travel Wet Bag: Mama Koala
- Cheap and plentiful; comes in packages of two
- Good Quality PUL
- Two pockets: one wet, one dry
- TONS of cute prints
- Amazing Price
- Can be hard to carry with only one small loop to attach it
Alternative: Thirsties Wet Dry Bag
- Good quality PUL material
- Two pockets: one wet, one dry mesh
- North American brand with good customer service
- Tons of cute prints
- Expensive compared to most other travel wet bags
- Smaller than some other travel wet bags.
Most Stylish Travel Wet Bag: Esembly Day Bag
- Doesn't look like a boring old wet bag but is actually cute
- Easy to carry with an adjustable shoulder strap
- Two fully waterproof compartments to separate clean from dirty
- Perfect size for a day out with baby (Holds approx 10-15 diapers)
- Pricey compared to basic wet bags
- Openings are drawstring, not zippered
More About Storing Dirty Diapers
Now that you know how to choose a great wet bag, you might want to learn more about how to store those dirty diapers until wash day. Click here for my full article on dirty diaper storage.