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I’m always looking for hacks and ways to make my time of the month a bit more manageable and eco-friendly. When it comes to menstrual products, there are SO MANY to choose from, from tampons, disposable pads, period panties, cups, and reusable pads.
In this article, we compare period underwear and reusable pads! While they are both excellent environmental choices, the main points of difference include the practicality of changing and carrying around – reusable pads are much easier when you are out and about, comfort (period panties are unlikely to shift), levels of absorbency (period panties tend to absorb a lot more fluid and will require less frequent changes).
Personally, I have and use both! They each have pros and cons and are not mutually exclusive.
Why Should We Opt for Reusable Products?
Our usual pads and tampons have done the trick for many years, but now with eco-friendly sanitary products, you can greatly reduce consumption of these disposable products. In some cases, you can completely replace them!
Opting for reusable products such as cloth pads and period underwear cuts down on your plastic waste. Did you know that 7 billion tampons and about 12 billion pads go into landfill every year? That is a heavy figure!
This amount contributes a lot to the carbon footprint.
Yikes! If it doesn’t end up in the landfill, it clogs sewers or contributes to the plastic waste in the oceans.
Apart from this, you don’t have to keep dreading an overfilling bin in your bathroom or running out of products in the middle of your monthlies!
So, let’s look more into period panties and reusable pads.
More About Period Panties
This nifty underwear has multiple layers of microfiber polyester, which keeps moisture and liquids away from your skin as they catch the blood. It looks like your normal panty, but they act as a pad. How cool!
The fabric that is used to make period panties is moisture-wicking, which is made up of multiple tiny filaments. These trap the liquid and keep it from getting on your clothes or on your skin. The outer layer is usually nylon and a liquid-resistance film to further ensure your protection.
More About Reusable Pads
Cloth pads are like our normal disposable pads, but you can rinse them, wash and reuse them again!
You just place them in your underwear and go about your day. Reusable pads are made of cotton, usually flannel on one side for high absorbance and synthetic material on the other side to protect you from leakage.
Reusable pads are skin-friendly and comfortable, so they are less likely to give you rashes or allergic reactions to normal pads that usually have weird chemicals. In this way, you’re avoiding your sensitive area from any itches!
Cloth pads also use breathable and soft materials, so there’s no smell to be conscious of. They are totally customizable for thickness and size.
Plus, they’re comfy!
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Period Underwear?
#1- They stay where you want them to stay! We’ve all felt that icky feeling when the pad or tampon shifts and doesn’t stay where you want it to stay. Especially for pads, then you end up having an accident. Totally natural but not fabulous. Period panties give you complete freedom to move around and not pause your schedule. Go for that swim or play your favorite sport with ease.
#2- Long-lasting. When you use period panties as directed and wash them accordingly, you can save your money on intimate products for about 2 to 3 years. On average! That’s a lot of money.
#3- Obviously, it’s good for the environment! Period panties are reusable. This means good things for the environment and reduces plastic waste. When you do throw them out, the materials are biodegradable.
#4-Leakproof. Period panties are completely leakproof, so you don’t have to worry about staining your favorite jeans or dress. Plus, it locks in bacteria and moisture, so your sensitive areas stay happy and healthy.
#5- Comfortable like normal underwear. Although period panties contain all components like a pad, it does not feel like you’re wearing a pad. It’s basically like invisible under your clothes. Rock that outfit, babe!
#1- If you travel a lot. If you’re out and about and can’t really predict when your period is coming, then you’ll have to carry a spare around and get undressed in unfamiliar places.
#2- It can be costly. A single pair of period panties can cost as much as $46. This is why most women only own one to two pairs. The cost is still a bit hefty even with discounts for buying sets.
#3- It can be uncomfortable if you’ve never free-bled before. Free bleeding can be uncomfortable, so most people prefer this as a backup method to prevent leaks. This means they still buy disposable period products.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloth Pads?
#1- You can do away with single-use products. The environment hates waste, and your wallet hates expensive products, so it’s a win-win!
#2- Affordable. Depending on where you buy from, you’ll be paying about $20 for a pad. They should last you a whole year or even more with proper care.
#3- Much more comfortable compared to disposable pads. Cloth pads are usually made from breathable material compared to disposable. Some brands also have a stay-dry topper, which keeps moisture away from your skin. This reduces skin irritations and infections.
#4- Functionality. You can use a cloth pad on your light or heavy days, overnight, and even postpartum. There are even thong-shaped pantyliners around for thong underwear!
#5- Easy to travel with. If you’re traveling a lot, then a reusable pad in your bag is easy to work with. It beats getting naked in an unfamiliar restroom!
#1- They are not leakproof. If the cloth pad doesn’t fit correctly and doesn’t have the leakproof promise. This may cause accidents!
#2- They still have the possibility to shift. While cloth pads hold their shape better than a normal pad, they can still shift around and cause discomfort.
#3- The dreaded ”diaper” feeling. You know that feeling when you’re wearing a thick pad, and you think everyone can see it through your clothes? Unfortunately, you may feel the same with cloth pads since they’re so good at retaining their shape too.
Period Underwear Vs. Reusable Pads: Which One Should I Use?
Ultimately the choice boils down to your period habits and how you are at that time of the month.
Period panties are extremely comfortable and can make you feel as if you don’t have your period (well, apart from the cramps, bloating, etc.!), however, washing can be a pain. If you don’t wash it with care, it may be damaged sooner than you’d like.
Plus, you’d need multiple pairs of period underwear for your cycle, which can be too costly. So, it’s not that economical compared to cloth pads. Plus, free bleeding isn’t for all women!
Reusable pads are much more affordable and easier to work with. It’s super easy to change in public and small enough to carry inside your handbag or even pocket.
However, cloth pads can be a pain to wash, and you must wait until it’s COMPLETELY dry before use. You also can’t use heavy detergent as you must consider your sensitive areas.
At the end of the day, you have to get comfortable with the cleaning process no matter which one you choose. We need to get used to these things, but in the long run, you are reducing waste going into the landfills and your money on disposable products.
You can also pair period underwear with a reusable pad on very heavy days if you only own one period panty. It’s a small start with a positive impact over time on our environment. With time, you’ll find what works for you and your body!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear my period panty all day?
Yes, some brands promise to keep you protected for 24 hours, depending on which absorbency level you choose. However, changing your period underwear every 10 to 12 hours is recommended if you can.
Are cloth pads good for my health?
They are just as healthy and safe as disposable ones, even more, because they do not contain any chemicals. They’re completely clean too!
Can I sleep in period underwear?
Pads can bunch and shift while you’re sleeping, even with cloth pads too. You can opt for period underwear to protect you (and the sheets) from any unwanted accidents while you get some good rest!
Will reusable pads smell?
Many users have said that there is no smell or a slight one if there is. Cloth pads don’t allow moisture to accumulate, which means fewer smells. If you do notice an odd smell, you should visit a doctor to check for common bacterial imbalances.