Tutorial: How To Empty Diaper Genie Pails & Refill Them

If you’re new parents swimming in newborn diapers and you’re tired of tying each poopy diaper into a plastic grocery bag to keep the smell from overwhelming your house, Diaper Genies are a great solution! While Diaper Genies look like simple garbage cans for diapers, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye and they can be a little tricky to figure out. However, putting in a little bit of time and research to figure out how to use a Diaper Genie is absolutely worth it to keep your house from smelling like stinky diapers!

We have three children ages five and under and have used disposable diapers for all of them so as you can imagine Diaper Genies have become a staple in our house over the last several years. We started with one before our first baby was born and ended up getting a second one before our second daughter was born so that we could keep one on each floor of the house – we loved it that much! Using them did come with a bit of a learning curve, but I’m so thankful that we’ve had both to keep the diaper smell from taking over our house. (It somehow finds a way to spread everywhere!)

In this post I’m going to discuss a few of the popular diaper pails and what their features are as well as walk you step by step through how to refill (or fill) and empty your Diaper Genie. I’ve also included a video tutorial.

It really isn’t as hard as it looks!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

Types Of Diaper Pails:

There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to buying baby products. Don’t let finding the best diaper pail be a hold up for you if your house is being taken over by bad odors. There are several of them on the market and while some boast some pretty fancy bells and whistles, they all achieve the primary goal of containing the smell of soiled diapers!

A few popular diaper pails include the Ubbi diaper pail, a Munchkin pail, and of course the Diaper Genie Expressions, Elite, and Complete pails. Some of them allow you to use regular trash bags like Glad Forceflex bags in them rather than proprietary refills and some feature double air-tite clamps or UV technology to help dispel the smell of used diapers. The best diaper pail for your household all depends on what the right fit is for your budget and needs. Using regular kitchen trash bags is super handy in the long-term, but those models often cost more upfront. 

You can read a review from VeryWell Family here and one from Babylist here on which diaper pails they think do the best job and fit different budgets best if you’re still trying to figure out which one to go with.

Our top pick for our budget and needs is Diaper Genie. We have both a Playtex Diaper Genie Complete and a Diaper Genie Elite II that have served us well through three children – and I believe we even bought both of them used! So we can attest to the fact that they hold up well even with repeated heavy use. 

If you decide to use a Diaper Genie model, read the steps below or watch my how to video to learn how to fill and empty your diaper pail. With a little bit of how to and a few rounds of practice you probably won’t even have to think twice about how to use your Diaper Genie in the future! (And let’s face it, with a little baby you have enough on your hands without worrying about diaper pails.)


How To Empty Baby’s Dirty Diapers From Your Diaper Genie Pail:

After you’ve used a lot of diapers and you have a full bag on your Diaper Genie, it’s time to make room for more! Follow the steps below for the best way to empty your Diaper Genie and start a fresh new bag for your baby’s dirty diapers.

Step 1: Open the bottom of the pail

full bag of diapers inside a diaper genie

Your pail may open a little bit different depending on which model you have. The bottom of our Diaper Genie Complete opens from the top and is pulled down, while our Diaper Genie Elite’s bottom half opens in the middle and the top is pushed backwards. Just look for a lever somewhere on the bottom half of your diaper pail to open the bottom half of it. You may have to also push a button to release it to open (like on the Elite model).

Step 2: Pull down the plastic bag inside

bag inside of a diaper genie being pulled down

Once you’ve opened the bottom half of your Diaper Genie, pull down the plastic bag inside so that you have at least 6 inches of extra length on the top end of the bag. (You will need this length to tie off your bag.)

Step 3: Tear off the top of the plastic bag

tearing off a diaper genie refill bag

Locate the small blade inside your Diaper Genie to help you tear off the top of your bag. On the complete model this blade is inside a slit at the very top of the open portion when you change your bags. On the Elite it is in a slit on the inside back of the pail about right at the hinge that pushes the top backwards. It’s a little bit trickier to locate.

Once you’ve located the slit with the small blade, pull the top of your bag into it to slice it off. This should detach your bag from the rest of the bag “tubing.”

Step 4: Tie the top of the plastic bag

sealed bag of dirty diapers

Once you’ve detached your bag, tie it off firmly to hold in odors and add it to your dumpster or trash pile!

Step 5: Pull down the remaining plastic bag inside

pulling the bag down inside of a diaper genie

To make the Diaper Genie ready to fill again, pull the remaining bag “tube” from the end that you recently severed all the way to the bottom of the pail and leave several inches of extra to tie.

Step 6: Tie the bottom of the plastic bag

knot at the bottom of a bag inside a diaper genie

Tie the end of the bag tubing that you pulled down to the bottom of the pail to prevent any stinky diapers from escaping.

Step 7: Close the bottom of the pail

closed diaper genie pail

Close the bottom of the pail and you’re ready for more diapers!

How To Fill Your Diaper Genie Pail:

If you’re just starting to use your Diaper Genie pail or your last set of bags in it ran out, it’s time to fill it with a new set of bags! Follow the below set of directions to add a new refill of bags to your Diaper Genie disposal system.

SIDE NOTE: You do not have to use Playtex brand Genie Diaper Refill bags for Diaper Genie pails! The cost of refills can add up, so we have filled our Diaper Genie brand pails with off-brand refills for years. They fit great and we haven’t had any regrets in switching! Our favorite are these Mama Bear ones available on Amazon.

Step 1: Remove the plastic guard on the circle of bags

peeling the outer rim off of a diaper genie refill

Before you can load your bags into your Diaper Genie, you need to remove the plastic rim around the outside of the bag “canister” (or circle). This may differ depending on which brand of refills you’re using, but on ours there is a small tab indicating where to pull to release this band. 

I recommend checking your refill packaging for specific instructions.

Step 2: Pull the plastic bag material upwards 6 inches or so

pulling up a bag layer for a diaper genie refill

Once you’ve released the rim, pull the plastic bag material that you can then access upwards about 6 inches or so. 

IMPORTANT: Be careful to make sure you are only pulling ONE LAYER of the bag material up. It’s very easy to accidentally pull up two layers with a fold which will turn into a big tangled mess when you go to load the bags and use them. If you accidentally pull up two layers first, just try again and pull the one layer up further above the two when you get it so you don’t get confused as to which one you’re working with. 

Step 3: Pull the plastic bag material through the circular frame

pulling the bag through the circle to setup for a diaper genie

(Steps 3 and 4 here can be switched or done in this order. It really doesn’t matter. I sometimes find it easier to switch them because if you knot the bag first then you can kind of just punch the bag through – but either way closes the end and gets your bags in the right position.)

Grab the end of your single layer of plastic bag material that you pulled up and push it down through the plastic circle holding your bags until it’s fully through the other end.

Step 4: Tie the end

knot on new diaper genie refill bags

Pull it a little longer if needed and tie the end.

Step 5: Push the foot pedal to open the top of your Diaper Genie

open top with refill being inserted into a diaper genie

Push the foot pedal to open the top flap on your Diaper Genie where the smelly diapers go in.

Step 6: Place the circular frame into the top of the Diaper Genie with the tied plastic bag hanging downward

open top with refill being inserted into a diaper genie

Simply place the circular bag frame for the plastic refills into the circular spot inside the top flap of your Diaper Genie pail. Make sure that you place it so that the bag end that you tied is hanging down into the base of the pail.

Step 7: Open the bottom of the Diaper Genie

knot at the bottom of a bag inside a diaper genie

Open the bottom of your Diaper Genie pail. The method to do this can vary based on the model of Diaper Genie pail that you have. On our complete there is a lever that is pulled downward to swing open the bottom. On our Diaper Genie Elite there is a button that must be pressed and a lever in the middle of the bottom portion that can then be pulled to swing the top of the pail backwards and access the bottom portion. Look for a lever and/or button somewhere on the bottom half of your pail.

Step 8: Pull the tied bag down to the bottom of the pail

pulling the bag down inside of a diaper genie

Once you have your Diaper Genie open, reach up to find the end of the bag tubing that you tied before you set it in and pull that end down to the inside bottom of the pail. (I like to pull it a little bit longer than needed since when you get a lot of diapers in it the full bag expands sideways and you’re able to fit even more that way.)

Step 9: Close the bottom of the Diaper Genie

closed diaper genie pail

All that’s left to do then is close the bottom of your Diaper Genie and you’re ready to use it!

Just press the pedal with your foot when you have used diapers to put in and push them down slightly into the top opening. When you then release your foot and the top of the pail closes again it pushes the diaper down into the bottom bag and closes off the top to prevent smells from leaking out.

Some Additional Diaper Genie Tips:

  • Some people put carbon filters into the bottom of their diaper pails to help control the odor inside. We don’t actually use them but ours does smell pretty bad in the brief moment that the top is open to put in a new diaper and while refilling the bags (especially after our baby’s have started solid foods!). If these moments of odor are too much for you, you may want to consider adding a carbon filter to your pail. (I’ve also heard that putting some Lavender essential oil on a cotton ball inside works well? I’ve yet to try it but I thought I would mention it just in case that’s more your style!)
  • Smelly diapers happen overnight and during the day. If you’re a new parent and are trying to prep your house, I highly recommend having a Diaper Genie upstairs and downstairs if you can afford it! The last thing you’re going to want to do in the middle of the night is walk all the way downstairs to dispose of a poopy diaper – and you’re not going to want to run upstairs to dispose of every daytime diaper either! We keep one Diaper Genie upstairs in our infant daughter’s room and one beside our changing table downstairs for use during the day.
  • You DO NOT need to use Playtex brand Genie Diaper Refill bags in your Diaper Genie pail! The cost of refills adds up, so consider using an off-brand option to save some money. We use these Mama Bear ones from Amazon and they work great!
  • Try to stay ahead on ordering your refill bags. It stinks (literally!) when you run out for a few days and have piles of baby’s dirty diapers laying around your house (if you’re too lazy to run them all to the garbage cans like we are!)

Whether you’re new parents or a care provider or seasoned parents just venturing into the world of Diaper Genies I hope this post was helpful to you. The pails and strange refills may look a bit intimidating at first, but it’s really pretty simple once you get the hang of it!

image of diaper genie pail with title across it for pinterest

How To Empty A Full Bag  & Refill Them On Diaper Genie Pails