Menstrual Underwear vs Washable Cloth Pads: Introduction
Do you want to make the switch from disposable to reusable period products? You’re doing a great thing for your health by avoiding toxic chemicals, the environment, as well as your bank account balance. They both create extra laundry, but for most women, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
A few of the most popular RUMPS (reusable menstrual products) include menstrual cups, reusable period pads, sea sponge tampons, and period panties.
But for today, it’s all about Period Panties vs Reusable Cloth Pads. We’ll give the rundown of the pros and cons of period cloth, and menstrual underwear to help you decide what’s right for you, including if you have a heavy flow.
Let’s get into the head to head showdown! And get ready for a more natural menstrual cycle.
Period Panties vs Washable Pads for Periods: The Winner
For our money, we’re going with the cloth period pads. They are far more versatile in terms of absorbency levels, sizing, and organic options.
Washable Menstrual Pads also cheaper, and just seem to work better for most people, if reviews on Amazon are any indication. You can also just use your regular underwear with them, so you won’t be a fashion nightmare during your period.
Let’s get into the finer details of Period Panties vs Reusable Cloth Pads. We’ll take a look at which ones are more expensive, how to clean them, what’s best for a heavy period, and the top pick for active people.
Or, if you’re looking for some specific recommendations for the products to try out, then be sure to check out:
Introduction to Menstrual Underwear
Learn more about our favourite reusable period underwear. There are a range of choices to suit just about any budget.
The Best Period Panties
|Best Overall Menstrual Underwear||Most Affordable||Organic Period Panties||Most Comfortable|
|Modibodi||Yoyi Fashion||Hesta Organic||Anigan Period Panties|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
There are a lot of names for the same thing: Period Panties, menstrual underwear, period underwear, Thinx, etc. Like regular underwear, they can last for a few years, and the good news is that you just have to throw them in with your regular laundry.
They are all underwear that either have a waterproof, leakproof layer in them to prevent leaks. They stay in place with snaps on the wings, unlike disposables that have a sticky backing on them.
Some have an absorbent layer, as well as a leakproof layer and can replace something like a light pad.
Let’s get into the advantages and disadvantages of pad underwear to help you decide if they’re right for you.
Period Panties Pros
- They can offer an additional layer of protection during your period (or for incontinence).
- Menstrual underwear are a nice option for teens who lack confidence during their period (see: Top 5 Period Products for Teens).
- Some of the top brands are extremely comfortable.
- Wide range of sizes from extra small to very large, depending on the brand.
- Can make a nice choice during exercise because they won’t shift around.
Period Panties Cons
- Lower absorbency when compared to tampons or pads.
- Many of the more popular brands are VERY expensive (Thinx!)
- The leakproof layer can often leave you very sweaty.
- Few organic options available
- If you take a look on Amazon, you’ll see that many of the brands, even the very expensive ones don’t seem to work that well.
- You may need multiple pairs per day.
- They should be used in conjunction with something else.
- Stay in place well
- Some brands may only last a year or two (buyer beware!)
- It’s not ideal to change them out when not at home.
Introduction to Cloth Period Pads
You may also want to consider this option. They’re a nice choice for the waste conscious consumer looking to go green during that time of the month. Choose from one of the top picks below:
Best Cloth Menstrual Pads
|Best Overall Reusable Pads||Most Affordable Pads||Best Organic Cloth Pads||Best New Cloth Pads|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Washable cloth menstrual pads are much the same as disposable pads. They fit into your underwear and are designed to collect menstrual fluid.
Instead of having a sticky backing to them, there are snaps on the wings that hold them in place to your underwear. Like disposables, there are a wide range of options available in terms of absorbency and sizing.
Check out these cloth menstrual pad pros and cons for help in deciding if they’re right for you.
What Using Cloth Menstrual Pads are Like
Cloth Menstrual Pad Pros:
- If you’re handy with the sewing machine, you can make your own cloth pads.
- Reusable menstrual pads come in a wide variety of sizes, lengths, and absorbency levels, from panty liners to overnight ones.
- There are some very affordably priced options.
- A number of organic options are available (see: Top 5 Organic Reusable Menstrual Pads).
- Can be used as the sole source of protection, just in your regular underwear.
- Some of the heavier pads work well if you have a heavy flow.
- Can last for 5+ years.
- Possible to save lots of money compared to disposable pads.
Cloth Menstrual Pad Cons:
- They can shift around a little bit during exercise and not stay in place.
- Some brands don’t wick moisture away from the skin that well.
- Some people find them a bit uncomfortable when compared to disposables.
Top Pick for Organic Pads
Head to Head Comparison
Let’s get into the head to head comparison of these two feminine hygiene products for the environmentally conscious woman.
We’ll look at a number of factors, including:
- Menstrual flow
- When not at home
- Care and cleaning
- Only for periods?
- For active people
Period Panties vs Reusable Cloth Pads Pricing
In terms of pricing, and whether or not panties with pad or reusable cloth pads are the better value, let’s take a look.
Cloth Pads: $30 Total Cost
Most people need 5-6 cloth pads to make it through their monthly flow in style. Of course, this depends on a few factors:
- How often you do laundry
- How heavy your period is
- Whether or not you use a menstrual cup or tampons with it.
If the average non-organic cloth pad costs around $6 on Amazon, that’s about $30 total. If you take care of them well (see Cloth Pad Care Guide), then they should last for at least a few years.
Period Panties: $60 Total Cost
If you look for menstrual panties online, you’ll notice that there are some VERY expensive ones that cost around $30. You can get cheaper ones for around $10, but for this example, we’ll assume that the average cost is $15.
Most people use them along with another form of protection such as a menstrual cup, tampon or sanitary pad. If this is the case, you might need 4-5 pairs of menstrual underwear. At minimum, this would be $60.
If you want to use the absorbent period panties as your sole source of protection, then you’ll need to change them out at least once or twice during the day. You’ll need far more pairs and this will increase your cost to well over $100.
Check Prices on Reusable Cloth Pads
When you look at total cost for these two products, it’s a serious win for reusable cloth pads. They’re cheaper, you can make your own if you’re extremely frugal and they are also more versatile.
There’s actually a double-whammy against period panties. Apart from this initial cost, most people use another form of period protection with them, which pumps up the cost too. Don’t forget this factor!
What About for a Heavy Flow?
If you have a heavy period, you’ll probably want to know which is the best option for you. We’d generally recommend sticking with the washable pads. The main reason is because they come in a wide range of absorbency levels, including the heavy, overnight ones.
The other advantage is that they can be changed out easily, even when not at home. You can just bring a wet bag along with you, and a spare pad.
Menstrual underwear also comes in a wide range of absorbency levels, from just a leak proof layer to some serious padding. However, where the problem comes in is that you have to change your underwear too frequently if you use this as your sole source of protection. Most women use these things as a backup to a tampon, or on lighter flow days.
If each pair of panties costs $20, you’ll need 6-8 pairs of them if you use them solely, especially if you have a heavier flow. That’s too expensive for most women!
Which Ones are Easier to Clean?
If you’re wondering which ones are easier to wash, keep on reading! However, they’re essentially the same.
If you don’t care about staining, just throw them in with your regular laundry.
If you do care about staining, then be sure to soak them in cold water after use. You can also use some commercial stain remover, but it’s best to do this when they’re still wet because the stains haven’t had a chance to set yet.
Another alternative is to get pads or panties that are darker in colour so that any stains won’t show.
Learn more here: Reusable Pads Care Guide.
What about When Not at Home?
If you’re not at home, which are the easiest to deal with? Let’s find out. But, first of all. Be aware that disposables are much easier in this regard because you just throw your used one into the trash. It’s a minor hassle to deal with the reusables, but worth it for most people.
If you need to change your reusable pad when not at home, it’s not so difficult. You just have to bring a spare one in your purse or backpack. Then, you can bring along a wet bag to store your soiled one in. When you get home, throw it in the laundry.
Reusable menstrual underwear is not so simple. You’ll have to take off your shoes and pants to replace your panties. And then store the (much bigger) pair of panties somewhere in your purse or backpack until you get home.
Clearly, reusable menstrual pads are a serious win in this category!
You can shop now for Dutchess wet bags over on Amazon:
Only for Periods?
There are a number of reasons why you might consider these eco-friendly feminine hygiene items apart from your monthly flow. They often make a better option for spotting, light incontinence, vaginal discharge and postpartum bleeding than disposable products because they’re less irritating, especially if worn all the time.
They’re a more natural way (minus all the toxic chemicals) to add a bit of support when you need it most. But, which option is better?
For serious postpartum bleeding, or anything apart from light incontinence, you’ll probably want to consider the heaviest reusable night pads that have some serious absorbency to them.
However, for light spotting, vaginal discharge or incontinence, either menstrual underwear or something like a reusable panty liner with a waterproof layer could work well for you.
For Active People
If you’re an active person who likes to exercise, which reusable product will work best for you? Read more to find out!
Period panties stay in place just like normal panties would. Reusable menstrual pads can shift around a little bit because they stay in place with snaps on the wings, and not a sticky backing like disposable sanitary napkins.
So, if you’re an active person who wants to use one of these things while exercising, you’ll probably want to stick with the menstrual underwear. However, be sure to take them off when you’re done working out in order to prevent things like yeast infections, or bacterial vaginosis.
Period Panties vs Reusable Cloth Pads: Let’s Sum This Up!
There are a number of reasons why you might want to consider reusable menstrual pads instead of period underwear. The main ones are that they’re cheaper, easier to deal with when not at home and just seem to work a whole lot better!
We’ll take that to the bank any day of the week. Of course, it’s a matter of personal preference and finding the option that might work best for you.
Of course, both of these products are better than disposables when you consider how much money you can save, the amount of waste you not create, and the health benefits you can enjoy by switching today.
Have your Say!
What do you think about Cloth Menstrual Pads vs. Period Panties? Any questions (we’d love to answer them)? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us. And don’t forget to share this article on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.