In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

simplehuman 38 Liter Rectangular Step Can Review

One of our favorite cloth diaper pails that can be used as a great kitchen trash can in the future
simplehuman 38 litre rectangular step can
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $130 List | $100 at Amazon
Pros:  Beautiful, highly functional, great long-term investment, easy to clean
Cons:  Pricey
Manufacturer:   simplehuman
By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief  ⋅  Apr 24, 2018
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The Skinny

While you might think of this as a high-end kitchen trash can, the simplehuman 38 L/10G step can is one of our favorite cloth diaper pails. While expensive, we think it is definitely worth its higher price. Made of high quality, fingerprint resistant, stainless steel, it contains cloth diaper odors very well, saves space, is steady and safe on floors, and is easy and pleasant to use with its inside hinge and quiet slow-closing mechanism. Although simplehuman makes custom fit plastic bag liners, which are great for use as a trash can, Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner we can recommend as well as Kissa's Antibacterial Pail Liner for cloth diaper users, both of which fit very well.

Our Analysis

This 38 liter/10 gallon rectangular step can by superhuman is made of easy-to-clean, fingerprint resistant, stainless steel and has an inside hinge and space-saving shape that allows you to place it right against the wall. The steel foot pedal (designed to withstand 150,000 steps) and patented lid shox (i.e. quiet slow-close) capability makes opening and closing this pail very easy and pleasant.

The lid can also be locked open remain open indefinitely, which is a big help when changing bags, and there's a non-skid base with rubber pads that keeps the pail steady on the floor without damaging it. The (replaceable) inner bucket makes changing the bags a cinch, while also simplifying clean-up.

For cloth diaper use, you'll want to get a cloth liner, rather than try to use simplehuman plastic trash bags. Of the liners we tried, we found the following worked very well:
  • Kanga Care Pail Liner — works OK, but takes some extra fussing with liner to get it in the can in a way that the lid closes
  • GroVia Pail Liner — works OK, but takes extra effort in installing the liner to get the lid to close

One big advantage of this pail is that you can continue to use it as a great looking kitchen trash can once your baby is out of diapers. Simplehuman makes custom trash bags that fit perfectly and are designed to stay hidden and in place within the can. The super thick plastic and double-seam on their trash bags prevent rips and tears. Alternatively, you can also use regular trash bag liners.

For $50 less, this company also produces the simplehuman 38L Rectangular Step Can with Plastic Lid which functions just the same, although not uniformly stainless.


  • Nice modern style
  • High quality & durable
  • A great kitchen trash can once your baby is out of diapers
  • Contains smell very well
  • Easy to use foot pedal
  • 5-year warranty


  • Cost

Juliet Spurrier, MD