DIY diaper pail liner

When I had my daughter and decided to use cloth diapers, I knew I also wanted to make a reusable pail liner instead of using trash bags (both to save money and to be more “green”). Most pail liners retail for anywhere from $15-30 online, but I knew I could make one cheaper by purchasing PUL (polyurethane laminate) at Jo-Ann Fabrics – especially if I used a coupon.

I have discussed PUL before, but as a refresher, it is a polyester interlock knit fabric that has been laminated to a thin film of polyurethane. This polyurethane is water-resistant, breathable, and can be machine-washed and dried; making it ideal for cloth diaper covers and pail liners.

After a trip to Jo-Ann’s for supplies, I purchased PUL for $2.50 (1 yard at $4.99/yd, with 50% off coupon) and elastic for $1.50, which brought my pail liner to a total of $4.

Whether you use cloth diapers or disposables, this is a simple way to save money on trash bags. It easily pulls out of the pail and is sturdy enough to carry your diapers to the trash bin or wash machine.

Here’s a simple tutorial on how to make a reusable diaper pail liner:

Materials:

Directions:

1. Cut PUL to 22” wide, 48” long

2. Fold in half bringing together the 22” ends with the laminated sides together (you will now have a 22” x 24” rectangle). Pin sides together, or use hair clips or paper clips to keep in place (holes poked through laminate will not disappear, so if you are worried about pin marks, use hair clips as illustrated here).

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Sew along 24” sides using a quality poly thread and reinforced stitching if you have it. I used a straight stretch stitch that works well for stretch fabrics (#18 on image below). I have made these liners before with regular stitching and cheap thread, and the seams have broken over time and had to be repaired.

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3. Fold your top edge over 1/4” & then another 6/8” & pin/clip in place.

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4. Before you sew along your PUL, you should familiarize yourself with how PUL works in the sewing machine. Because of the laminate, the PUL tends to stick to your foot, which can pucker your seams. To get around this, I use a walking foot, which has a feed dog incorporated into the actual foot and helps move the fabric along. You could also use an Ultraglide or Teflon foot (which has a special coating specifically for PUL and vinyl), or you could or sew on top of wax paper. More info here.

Now, sew a seam close to the edge, removing pins/hair clips as you go. Leave a 1” opening where you will thread your elastic.

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5. Thread your elastic through your opening. I usually put a safety pin through one end of my elastic, which makes it easy to thread. Sew both ends of your elastic together a couple of times for a strong seam.

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6. Sew the opening closed.

7. Place your liner inside your pail (the laminate should be on the inside of your liner; you want the waterproof part touching the diapers) and fold over the edge to secure in place.

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