Picture of 11 Unusual Uses for Diapers
Disposable diapers are a hotly-debated product among infants and toddlers alike. Some object to them on ecological grounds; throwing away all of those poop burritos wrapped in ultra-absorbent tortillas can't be good for The Earth. Others laud them for their easy, no-mess design. Most just appreciate anything that doesn't leave a trail of feces down their legs.

Diapers (unused) are incredibly useful in non-baby applications. We're talking uses like:
  • fire and flood prevention
  • body odor mitigation
  • increasing crop yields
  • early fall skiing
  • ...and so much more.
Really, most of the uses are applications of the absorbent material in the diapers. But sodium polyacrylate isn't something you can just pick up down at the Piggly Wiggly. So we're talking about diapers. Disposable ones.

Read on for a hot, steaming load of knowledge.
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Step 1: Mess-free flowers

Picture of Mess-free flowers
Do you need to carry fresh flowers? Do they need to stay watered? Are you concerned about spillage during transport?

Pretty much every day.*

Sprinkle some sodium polyacrylate into the water holding your flowers to make a gel. Your flowers will still receive all that sweet, succulent moisture. Just without the mess. Or you could carry a bouquet in a diaper, but that kind of undermines whatever point you were trying to make by giving a special somebody those flowers.

*Or just at prom, weddings, funerals, and the occasional day after a forgotten anniversary.
KonaGirl2 days ago

This really isn't a good idea. The polymers from the diapers are now getting into lakes and the ocean from people flushing them down toilets, throwing them away down sink drains and in drain ditches. Fish are gobbling them up and the stuff, asides from being plastic are full of a poison called dioxine. Thousands of fish are cut open with stomachs full of polymers. Another manmade disaster. Many cosmetic defoliators are full of small, shiny, gelatinous crystals which are causing the same problem. It is the same stuff in baby diapers.

grannyjones16 days ago

Least weasel! How adorable!

grannyjones16 days ago

Drop a couple in your first aid kit. You could save a life while waiting for first responders. Just use to stop excess bleeding.

myrrhmaid5 months ago

You can freeze dry books that have fallen in the bath too. :)

GillyJames5 months ago

NOW I am finding the weird, wonderful and wacky stuff! And Instructables is getting interesting! This is good stuff. Love the approach!!!

LadyTwoSoothe7 months ago

Think about what you'll be eating if you use this product on edible plants. What are you putting into your soil? What are you leaving behind for your children and their children? Check out the Material Safety Data Sheet on products before following directions most likely put out by Monsanto.

wilgubeast (author)  LadyTwoSoothe7 months ago
That MSDS suggests that the main danger is from inhalation. Using baby diapers seemed like a safe bet for avoiding hazardous materials. And I imagine it'd be someone like Dow Chemical or BASF who would profit from chemical misinformation over Monsanto or someone else.

That's sensible advice nonetheless. If you're eating from the ground, you ought to know what was in the soil nearby. And if using polyacrylate concerns you, do not use it.
RenSingsToo11 months ago

Newborn diapers and new, thin type, feminine pads can both be wet and then frozen for ice packs. My nurses in the hospital introduced the idea to me after childbirth! Hope that isn't TMI, but it was the BEST non-medicinal relief!

bo88y11 months ago

I'm trying to figure out how one can "discreetly" wipe one's armpits with a diaper on public transportation.

I suppose if you were to accidentally drop your cell phone into liquid and wrapped it in a Diaper; it would dry it out!

wilgubeast (author)  andygreyrider1 year ago
If you're out and about without access to a sack of rice, I suppose a diaper might be a good emergency device-dryer. (But the rice method is preferred if you've got some on hand.)
mnmama1 year ago
All very creative ideas. However, I just read an article saying how biologists are finding the microscopic beads in the guts of dead fish and other wildlife, with awful repercussions for the food chains of the world. Tiny animals eat the beads, but they aren't digestible. The beads either create fatal blockages, or starve the animal to death. I would encourage us all to be mindful before putting these products into the soil or water systems. When they catch messes and end up in landfills (as bad as that is), they cause fewer problems than floating loose in the world.
Not criticizing, just trying to educate. I didn't know until recently and was using the beads in my flower pots until this year. Thanks for all your good instructables!
wilgubeast (author)  mnmama1 year ago
That's definitely food for thought. Mindfulness is wise when it comes to disposable anything. Diaper disposal is a serious enough problem that a Japanese firm has created a system for converting diapers into biomass fuel pellets.

Your flower pots are probably fine, but it might be worthwhile to use cheesecloth or something to contain the beads in your soil. Or skip the chemicals and water more often. :D
Great ideas, I especially like the ice pack idea.
Okay, I wold have figured that the one with the diaper and the horse hoof was so obscure that I'd have to add it to the list! lol
I have had to use that old trick a couple of times, twice when my one mare would suddenly go lame for a day after a shoeing, and a third when our farrier took too much soul off of my dad's geldings hoof (that took about a month for it to grow back to where he wasn't limping anymore).
wilgubeast (author)  ginger200371 year ago
I'm still soliciting photos of horsies in nappies, so please take a couple of pictures and send them my way next time you see one.
MarisaM1 year ago
They actually recommend this in hospitals for post-partum (after having a baby) recovery. I found them to be pretty uncomfortable though LOL
slickrock1 year ago
We often must make soaks, or pads for our horses feet if they get abcesses. Diapers are the perfect way to both pad, and keep ointments or medicines on the hooves.
jlyvers7431 year ago
Fantastic instructable. I will be able to use a couple of these ideas. Thank you.
jenmar772 years ago
Ideas with spice, enjoyed the journey on diaper uses, who wood have thought :) my favorite was the plant one, can't wait to try it.
SusanML2 years ago
Love your sense of humor. :)
kretzlord2 years ago
nice, pride and prejudice and zombies! almost finished with it myself
blodefood2 years ago
A note on disposal, in some cities, (mine, at least) they go into the organic waste regardless of whether soiled or not.
seamster2 years ago
I cannot believe you dunked "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" in the bath tub!
sparten112 years ago
and dont forget it can be used as a lap bandage for major injuries. we use them in our medic kits as backup.
Biodynamic2 years ago
I wish I had known about the salt a few weeks ago when my 2 year old dropped a diaper into his laundry basket. My wife and I found ourselves shaking out plenty of "fake snow". Super job on the instructable.
jmray2 years ago
48hrs to save the book - that's info I could have used a bit earlier..., anyway to save one that's mildewed? Guess I could check out your reference info re: library - I loved this instructable, thanks.
wilgubeast (author)  jmray2 years ago
Dry it, sun it, soft-brush it, vacuum up the residue.
Thanks for posting! Lots of great ideas
rimar20002 years ago
WOW! This is really awesome, so much uses for a so domestic and ignored thing.

Cold Fusion? Perhaps?
veloboy2 years ago
Thanks for sharing - some of these I'll definitely use :)
I have used them extensively in the past to provide a bit of drought protection for most of the trees I've planted on my property. It's a bit icky, but I used peed in nappies from our least weasel and mixed the gel into the soil as I was planting. the added nitrogen in the pee definitely helps them get a head start.