In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

simplehuman 38 Liter Rectangular Step Can Review

One of our favorite cloth diaper options that is a great kitchen trash can
simplehuman 38 Liter Rectangular Step Can
Credit: Abriah Wofford
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, not good for disposable diapers
Manufacturer:   simplehuman
By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief  ⋅  Aug 27, 2018
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The Skinny

The simplehuman 38 Liter Rectangular Step Can is our Top Pick diaper pail for cloth diapers (despite its identification as a high-end trash can). While expensive, we believe it is worth the higher price thanks to its impressive cloth diaper performance and sturdy construction. This can is high-quality, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, and it contains cloth diaper odors very well. The slim design saves space, is steady and safe on floors, and easy to use with an inside hinge and quiet slow-closing lid. Although simplehuman makes custom-fit plastic bag liners, we recommend investing in some cloth diaper liners to use instead as they are machine washable and will save money in the long run.

Our Analysis and Test Results

simplehuman designs their brand around the idea of simplifying everyday activities like throwing away trash and washing your hands. Their innovative line of products includes items such as a sensor mirror and sensor pumps for soap.

Performance Comparison

The simplehuman can is a Top Pick for cloth diapers.
The simplehuman can is a Top Pick for cloth diapers.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


This 38 Liter rectangular step can by superhuman is easy-to-clean, fingerprint-resistant, stainless steel and has an inside hinge and space-saving shape that allows placement directly against a wall. The steel foot pedal (designed to withstand 150,000 steps) and patented lid "Shox" (quiet slow-close) make opening and closing this pail easy and pleasant. It also does a good job containing odors making it a top contender for cloth diaper disposal.

The simplehuman has an easy to use tab that slides in place allowing...
The simplehuman has an easy to use tab that slides in place allowing the lid to stay open for no-nonsense bag changes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The lid on this pail can be locked open indefinitely to make bag changing a breeze. It has a non-skid base with pads that keep the pail steady on the floor without causing damage. The replaceable inner bucket holds the bag making changes straightforward and clean up simple.

For cloth diaper use, you'll want to get a cloth liner, instead of using a kitchen bag or simplehuman liner. Of the liners we tried, we found the following work very well:

The simplehuman liners are a perfect fit and perfect when you use...
The Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner is a good fit for the simplehuman...

This pail makes a great looking trash can once your out of the diaper years. Simplehuman makes custom trash bags that fit perfectly and are designed to stay hidden and in place inside the can. The super thick plastic and double-seam on their trash bags prevent rips and tears, or you can use regular trash bags.

The foot pedal on the simplehuman comes in handy when you have your...
The foot pedal on the simplehuman comes in handy when you have your hands full.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


The simplehuman can is more expensive than much of the competition, so you'll have more upfront cost. However, when you consider the high-quality materials and durable structure of the can, it's clear it will last well beyond your diapering days as a nice looking trash can. Some users remark that the plastic lid on the cheaper version can fail, so we suggest buying the can with the stainless steel lid if your budget allows. However, if the lid breaks, simplehuman has a 5-year warranty.

When removing a liner from the simplehuman can, put the lid in its...
When removing a liner from the simplehuman can, put the lid in its "hold open" position, lift the liner up about 1/5th of the way out and it will stand upright but elevated within the can for taking out dirty bag and replacing with a clean one.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


We are impressed with the performance of the simplehuman step can when used with the cloth diapers and a cloth diaper liner. This trash can has excellent smell containment, a modern look, and is easy to use making it a winner in our book. While you will need to fork over a decent amount of cash in the beginning, the lack of proprietary bags will help balance out the lifetime cost, making it less expensive than disposable diaper pails that use proprietary liners.

Manufacturer Video

Juliet Spurrier, MD