Now that we’ve eliminated the squeamish among you and it’s just us, we need to talk about your period.
According to climate positive period brand Dame, over 100 billion single-use period products are disposed of every year globally - enough to circle the planet 250 times. There are 10.6 million pad and 10.2 million liner users in the UK, which makes them the most popular period product. These can contain up to 90 per cent plastic and can be filled with harmful chemicals, dioxins and gels.
We want to introduce you to the products that have changed our monthly visit from Aunt Flo for the better.
Here to clean up the period industry, these reusable sanitary towels are turning everything you’ve ever known about pads on its head. Forget the nappy-like products of times gone by, these are so discreet that you’ll forget you’re wearing them. Instead of that red face-inducing rustling, you will feel comfortable and cool with soft, thin and invisible pads that have an equal or in most places, greater level of absorbance than their disposable predecessors. What’s more, they’ll save you money in the long run. It’s a total win-win.
What are reusable period pads made of?
Reusable sanitary pads are either crafted from bamboo or cloth.
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable plants out there as it can grow to full size in just three or four months (standard trees take over 30 years). It also has antibacterial qualities that can reduce the risk of infection and is very durable.
Cotton is a natural fabric that is more breathable. The fabric tends to be even thinner than bamboo and more absorbing and so should be the preferred option for those with a heavy flow.
Can you put them in the washing machine?
Cheeky Wipes explains, “An average period is just 30ml to 72ml of blood over the course of five days (5-12 teaspoons worth) so there is only a small amount on the pad anyway”. Rinse your pads in the wet bags often provided and then throw them in with the rest of your laundry load with no fear about contaminating the other items.
Do they work?
Quite simply, yes. Since we were introduced to our first set, we haven’t gone back. There’s a common misconception that these are “gross” or “unhygienic”, but the opposite is true. These pads have better absorbency, quick-drying properties and odour-eliminating constructions. If you need to change it throughout the day (we found that we didn’t need to), the majority come with wet bags that you can store them in. No problem.
See our favourites below
Dame Reusable Pads Set
By switching your timeold disposable pads for this reusable set from Dame, you will save more than 40x carbon emissions and up to 60 per cent in cost according to the brand. A true victory for your bank account and the planet. The period specialist behind the first reusable tampon applicator has created these pads taking into consideration the most common concerns among women - bulkiness, wellness, scratchiness, rusling and odour.
With an attractive green and black design, these time of the month essentials will keep you dry and comfortable through with a breathable, fast-wicking construction. Unlike the nappy-like variants in the disposable market, these are super soft - made from organic cotton that is soft against skin. They are also absorbent and use an innovative technology that allows them to hold 10 times their weight and keeps the liquid locked in. While taking this into consideration, you will be delighted to hear that they are still very thin and discrete.
This set of three of all different sizes (one liner, one day, and one night) also comes with a dry bag that is odour, air and watertight for storing your used pads on-the-go and for housing them before you have a chance to pop them in the machine.
Cheeky Pants Cloth Period Pads Multi-Pack
Single-use, begone! Cheeky Wipes is here. The brand is already our go-to for our reusable cleansing cloths so we were keen to see how they fared for another crucial element of our health and wellbeing. The sustainable label has one of the most extensive offerings of reusable sanitary pads we’ve seen with bamboo or cloth variations. They are divided up by your flow (regular to heavy with super absorbent variations, or light to regular), time of day (day - more discreet, night - larger in size) and there’s a huge variety of playful colours and designs to bring a touch of cheeriness to your time of the month.
The bamboo minky pads are made from bamboo viscose or charcoal microfleece, which is slightly thicker and more absorbent than the cloth iterations. Bamboo also has natural antibacterial qualities to reduce the risk of yeast infections and the likes, while also being one of the best alternative, sustainable fabrics due to its fast-growing nature. Both materials are super comfortable and have far greater absorbency properties than the disposable alternatives so keep you greater fresher for longer.
Soak in cold water after use and then pop in your machine. Do not tumble dry.
Thinx Hiphugger lace and stretch-organic cotton period briefs
While not a sanitary pad per se, these period briefs follow the same principle to make visits from Aunt Flo as foolproof and seamless as possible (without ruining your favourite pair of undies).
There is built-in technology in the briefs - a patented four-layer design - that absorbs and gives you all-day cover and comfort. They are finished off with a moisture-wicking organic cotton.
Alongside this seamless and discreet brief, there’s also thongs, boyshorts, sleep shorts for overnight protection and a new range of activewear that includes a leotard, training shorts, leggings and more - all of which feature Thinx’s trademark absorbent fabric.
The pants can withstand the equivalent of up to five regular tampons.
Rovtop 12 Pack Reusable Sanitary Pads
Whether you prefer bamboo or cotton, Rovtop has got you covered with some of the most fun designs on the market with so many to choose from and with a space-saving folding envelope style. There’s also varying quantities of pads in the set ranging from 7 to 12.
The bamboo pads are crafted from a four-layer antibacterial fabric in which the outer layer is waterproof and the inner two are highly absorbent. The set includes a wet bag for ease of storing your used iterations but we found that one lasted for the entire day. While adapting to this different style may take a minute, once you have, you will find they are far more comfortable (no irritation and a good skin-feel) than their disposable counterparts and more breathable.
Throw into your machine to wash.
Eco Lily 6 Pack Reusable Cloth Sanitary Towels
These sleek reusable pads will make a great introduction into the world of sustainable period products. They are lighter than some of the other constructions to act as a panty liner rather than using during your heaviest flow. The top layer is made from a fleece layered with bamboo charcoal - an antibacterial that reduces odours. The two inner layers act as the absorbent, while the waterproof outer layer prevents leakages. There’s also a wet bag included.
Little Lamb Cloth Sanitary Pads Everything you’ll ever need kit
As the name suggests, this set is the ultimate bumper pack for everything you need to say goodbye to disposable sanitary pads once and for all. It includes four pantyliners, eight day pads, four for night, a small wet bag for on the go and a large one for at-home when you’re in between washes. There’s also the pleasant addition of tea tree oil that you can use to transform the aroma of your pads with just a few drops.
The pads deserve a round of applause. They are absorbent, comfortable and could not be easier to use. Choose the colour and designs that suit you from the extensive options.
Bamboo Cloth 6 Pack Reusable Sanitary Pads with Wet Bag
We admit it, it was the eye-popping star design that drew us in, but the construction will also not disappoint. They are crafted from natural bamboo fibre with antibacterial qualities. The products are reusable, absorbent and leaf-proof. In this set, you will find six of the pads and a reusable wet bag. There is a combination of three medium designed for those with a heavy flow, and a small size that has got you covered towards the end of your period.
Save our bees! Cloth reusable pads
Do your bit to save the planet by switching disposable pads that tend to include plastic and unwelcomed harsh chemicals that pollute our landfills with these pads. Designed with a bee pattern, they will put a smile on your face as the crimson tide flows in. The pads are crafted with vegan materials, cotton fabrics and bamboo fleece. There are a range of sizes - light, moderate and heavy.
While the brightly coloured patterns of the pads above will brighten your day, it’s the green and black reusable pads from Dame that have earned the title of our top pick. The technologically advanced construction offers all day comfort and a pad that absorbs 10 times its weight without feeling like you’re wearing a nappy. In fact, the thin, and soft design will have you forgetting that you’re even wearing it. They come as a set of three at all different sizes and can be thrown into your regular laundry load.