Here at The Eco Hub, we are committed to finding the very best sustainable brands. We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more here.
Imagine this: You're on a thrilling adventure towards a greener, zero-waste life, and your period's along for the ride! Say ta-ta to the throwaways and welcome the reusable rebellion with open arms!
Prepare to bid adieu to one-and-done pads and greet a vibrant, eco-friendly period scape. Let's explore the realm of top-notch best reusable pads and find the perfect companion to make your monthly moon dance a delightful whirl!
Pad-ventures: The Reusable Revolution
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best reusable Menstrual pads on the market that provide ultimate comfort and protection and contribute to a greener, cleaner planet.
We'll focus on the materials used, their absorbency, comfort, and the brand's commitment to sustainability and ethical production. At the bottom of this post, we are tackling some big questions regarding zero-waste menstrual pads, Including:
- My Experience using organic reusable pads
- The difference between Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)
- The major issues with conventional pads
- Are reusable pads safe?
- How many do you need?
- How do you care for them?
- How do we choose these brands?
Marley's Monsters, known for its eco-friendly and sustainable products, offers 100% cotton and polyester fleece reusable Moon Pads. Designed for comfort, high absorbency, and easy cleaning, these cloth pads are an excellent alternative to disposable pads.
The natural cotton ensures breathability and softness, while the polyester fleece adds extra absorbency and durability.
These reusable Moon Pads are perfect for use on lighter days or in combination with a menstrual cup, featuring convenient snap wings to keep them securely in place.
They are 8" long and 4" wide at the widest point, and their absorbency increases after the first few washes. The edges are sewn for durability and to prevent fraying, and they are compliant and registered with the FDA.
In addition to reusable pads, Marley's Monsters offers a wide range of sustainable products such as cloth wipes, unpaper towels, reusable facial rounds, and zero-waste scrubbers, making it a zero-waste online store, a one-stop shop for individuals looking to embrace a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
Marley's Monsters was founded by Sarah Dooley, who was inspired by the birth of her first child, Marley, to create practical and environmentally conscious solutions for common household items.
Smartliners' washable period pads are made from 100% organic cotton (GOTS-Certifed) and feature ultra-absorbent technology. Each pad comes in a recyclable cardboard canister and includes a travel/wash pouch.
The brand is committed to sustainability: its packaging is recyclable and made from recycled content. Its products are manufactured in a socially certified factory in Bangladesh, meeting the OCS 100 certification standards.
Smartsorb is a super absorbent material developed by Yasmeen, the founder of Smartliners. This innovative material forms the core component of their reusable pads and daily liners.
Made from 100% organic cotton, Smartsorb ensures you won't encounter any harmful chemicals often in conventional disposable period products. The technology behind Smartsorb allows for effective absorption while maintaining a comfortable and eco-friendly product experience.
Hannahpads are a line of certified organic, reusable, and washable sanitary pads available in various sizes and patterns to suit individual preferences and needs.
The pads include pantyliners, small, medium, overnight, ultra overnight, and super ultra overnight options. With their beautiful patterns, these sanitary pads add style to personal care.
Hannahpads have a 100% organic cotton top layer, internal cotton layers, and an external waterproof coating (the patterned part) with high-quality TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethanes). The pads are designed with wings that snap underneath your underwear, ensuring a secure fit and preventing leakage.
Organic cotton is certified by Control Union (CU 834958), ensuring no contact with residue from harmful chemicals or pesticides.
The brand uses high-quality plastic snaps that minimize the chances of allergic reactions and are 100% recyclable. Hannahpads come in 12 beautiful patterns, continuously updated to provide more options over time.
The pads are leak-proof, breathable, and have double stitching for enhanced durability. They are made with 40-count interlock cotton weave fabric, similar to cotton underwear or t-shirts, ensuring comfort during use.
Hannahpads are biodegradable, taking only 12 months to decompose, while the TPU coating degrades within 3-5 years.
Hannahpad also offers storage boxes for convenient organization and gift-giving, which are included with multiple or set purchases.
The pads are made under strict quality control, adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices and approved by the Korea Food & Drug Administration. Monthly quality checks are conducted to maintain high-quality standards.
GladRags is a brand that offers sustainable, reusable menstrual products designed to make your transition to eco-friendly period care as simple and affordable as possible.
Their Value Kits are an excellent choice for beginners. They combine the brand's most popular zero-waste period products at discounted prices, saving you and wasting less every month. This kit includes 3 Day Pads, 3 Pantyliner, 1 Night Pad, and 1 GladRags Carry Bag.
GladRags offers a fantastic range of reusable menstrual products designed to manage a heavy flow. Their washable cloth pads come with a holder featuring wings and two absorbent inserts, allowing you to customize your Day Pad or Night Pad according to your flow.
These are the best reusable pads for heavy flow. You can add an extra insert to ensure maximum comfort and security during your period.
The washable cloth pad kits are tailored to suit your flow or pad style preference, and they also offer menstrual cup kits featuring the GladRags XO Flo menstrual cup.
You can choose between conventional and organic cotton options, with an array of prints and colors to suit your personal style.
GladRags cloth pads are made with 100% cotton fabrics: soft flannel on the outside and absorbent terrycloth on the inside.
The non-organic pads are made of conventional cotton (with standard clothing dyes), commonly used for bedding, children's clothing, towels, etc.
The organic pads are made of organic, GOTS-certified organic materials (the outer flannel and inner terrycloth). The organic undyed pads are also unbleached and undyed.
GladRags is an independently woman-owned brand that takes pride in being a certified B Corporation. This means they are committed to giving back to the community through various initiatives, such as donation campaigns and sponsored period supplies.
DiDyZeroWaste offers a variety of pad sizes to suit the unique needs of each individual. Understanding that different flows and situations call for different levels of protection, they have created a range of sizes and fun patterns to provide optimal comfort and security:
- Size S (6" / 15cm): This thin pad is perfect for light menstrual leaking, providing a discreet and comfortable option.
- Size M (8" / 20cm): The normal pad is designed for average leaking, offering reliable protection during regular days of your cycle.
- Size L (10" / 25cm): The ultra pad caters to those experiencing heavy leaking, ensuring you stay dry and confident throughout the day.
- Size XL (12" / 30cm): The maxi pad is designed for overnight use, providing extra length for added security and peace of mind during sleep.
To care for their reusable products, DiDyZeroWaste recommends hand washing in COLD water to prevent staining before machine washing at 30 degrees. It's essential not to use fabric conditioner and avoid tumble drying.
Customers appreciate DiDyZeroWaste's products, rating the brand 4.5 out of 5 stars. The organic cloth pad starter pack and green organic absorbent sanitary pads are among the popular items receiving 5-star reviews.
The brand ships from Latvia, and Etsy offsets carbon emissions from delivery and packaging on all purchases.
Apart from their reusable hygiene products, DiDyZeroWaste also provides eco-friendly household items like reusable towels, napkins, and bowl covers.
Femallay's Comfy Cloth Charcoal Bamboo Reusable Washable Menstrual Pads feature a soft, antibacterial charcoal bamboo inner layer that gently hugs your delicate skin, providing comfort and safety. The outer layer is made of microfiber fabric, while a waterproof lining is included inside for maximum absorbency and leakage protection.
To find the right size and fit for your needs, it is recommended to start your collection with 2-3 pads in different sizes. Femallay offers a variety of kits that allow you to test multiple sizes and find the perfect fit for your period. The available sizes are:
- Small Femallay Pads: 8 inches long by 7.75 inches wide
- Medium Femallay Pads: 9 inches long by 9 inches wide
- Large Femallay Pads: 11 inches long by 9 inches wide
All pads have a convenient two-snap design for easy and secure fastening around your underwear.
Let me tell you about Illum's cloth pads! There are two key differences: fabric material and the number of wings. Illum's Organic Cotton Cloth Pads are crafted from 100% organic cotton to minimize exposure to harmful chemical residues and feature a basic design with a single set of wings.
On the other hand, Illum's Premium Bamboo Cloth Pads are made from a bamboo and cotton blend, offering the best of both worlds: all-natural, ultra-absorbent, and super soft. The unique design has a double set of wings for better coverage and protection.
Illum's Organic Cotton Cloth Pads use organic cotton, directly touching your skin and the absorbing layers inside. Say goodbye to harmful chemicals or pesticides!
Illum's Premium Bamboo Cloth Pads blend 62% bamboo and 38% cotton for all layers touching your skin and the absorption layers. This exclusive fabric composition makes the pads extra soft and absorbent simultaneously.
The patterned layer for all cloth pads is made from 100% cotton material with a thin TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) coating. As for the snaps, Illum's Cloth Pads feature high-quality plastic snaps, reducing the chances of allergic reactions compared to some metal snaps on the market.
There are seven sizes: Thong Liner, Pantyliner, Long Liner, Regular Pad, Large Pad, Overnight, and Overnight Plus. Absorption levels vary depending on your size, but they're similar to equivalent disposable pads on the market.
Illum Cloth Pads are proudly made in South Korea under strict manufacturing control. They're produced by the best seamstresses, ensuring fair wages and working conditions.
My experience using cloth pads
As someone who has been using reusable pads for quite some time, I've collected a list of pros and cons based on my own experiences and comments from other users.
Of course, some of these points may be more significant to some people than others, but I want to present a fair and balanced overview of my experience using reusable menstrual pads.
On the positive side, I found that cloth pads are cheaper in the long run and generate much less waste during manufacturing and when it's time to dispose of them.
In addition, they're always on hand, and I never have to worry about running out and making a last-minute trip to the store. The softness of cloth pads is another major plus, as they tend to feel less sweaty and irritating than their disposable counterparts.
Using reusable pads has allowed me to support small businesses and get more in touch with my body. I appreciate that they come in various styles and shapes, often with bright and colorful fabrics. Some options are even available in natural and organic materials.
However, there are some downsides to using reusable pads. Washing and drying them can be time-consuming, especially if you hand wash them. The initial cost is also higher than disposable pads, and they're generally bulkier than the ultrathin disposable options.
While they may be less readily available in stores, you can buy cloth pads online from numerous retailers. Some women may find the concept of reusable pads unpleasant or uncomfortable with the extra contact with blood, but others find it empowering and more in tune with their bodies.
Using cloth pads does require extra care, especially if you have a blood disease or an infection like thrush. In addition, they might not be as discreet as disposable pads, and there's always the possibility of staining.
Are reusable pads worth it?
My experience with reusable pads has been positive. Despite some drawbacks, I appreciate the environmental benefits and the comfort they provide. Of course, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and priorities, but sharing my experience can help others make a more informed decision.
Understanding PUL and TPU: Material Choices for Reusable Period Pads
When researching reusable period pads, it's essential to understand the materials used in their design. Two commonly used fabrics for waterproofing are Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU).
Both PUL and TPU serve the same purpose of making reusable pads waterproof, but there are significant differences between them.
The most significant difference between PUL and TPU is their production process. PUL is a type of plastic that uses chemicals during production, while TPU is bonded using heat rather than chemicals. This makes TPU a simpler, cleaner, and more efficient material.
Reusable menstrual pads with synthetic layers and plastics such as PUL tend to be bulkier and restrict airflow. Lack of airflow increases temperature, which in turn increases moisture and sweat. TPU, on the other hand, is a more breathable material, providing a comfortable fit and feel.
TPU is often used in medical settings for wound dressings and other applications due to its safety and inert nature. This makes it a safer choice for reusable period pads, as it ensures no active compounds within the material could cause allergies or reactions.
PUL has a distinct feel and may produce a "crunchy" sound when worn due to the chemical process used to laminate the polyurethane to the fabric. TPU, which uses heat without solvents or extra chemicals, maintains a softer feel and doesn't produce the same uncomfortable sensation.
While PUL and TPU fabrics make reusable period pads waterproof, TPU has several advantages over PUL, such as being toxin-free, breathable, medically safe, and more comfortable.
What's the problem with Conventional menstrual pads?
At first glance, conventional menstrual pads may seem to be made of cotton. However, they frequently contain synthetic materials like rayon, polyester, and superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) that are non-biodegradable and contribute to landfill waste.
The production process of these materials can release harmful greenhouse gases, further impacting the environment.
Additionally, conventional pads may contain potentially harmful chemicals such as dioxins, fragrances, and pesticides that can cause skin irritation, allergies, and more severe conditions like endometriosis and hormonal imbalances.
A study by the University of La Plata in Argentina found that 85% of tested tampons and pads contained glyphosate, a pesticide classified as a probable human carcinogen.
Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) are a particular cause for concern. These substances are designed to hold enormous amounts of liquid, making the ultra-thin period products highly absorbent.
However, SAPs are commonly made from sodium polyacrylate, a synthetic, non-biodegradable material manufactured from and likely contaminated with acrylic acid, which has been linked to numerous adverse health effects.
Some super-slim period products may contain plasticizing chemicals like BPA and other bisphenols, which have raised concerns among scientists.
There is often a lack of transparency in the ingredients and materials used in conventional menstrual products, making it difficult for consumers to make informed choices.
For example, menstrual products are classified as medical devices in the United States, so manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients on the packaging.
This lack of information makes it challenging for individuals to understand the potential risks associated with using these products.
As awareness of these issues increases, more and more women opt for eco-friendly, reusable, and healthier alternatives like cloth pads, menstrual cups, and organic disposable pads that are free from harmful chemicals and have a lower environmental impact.
Are reusable menstrual pads are safe?
Yes, reusable menstrual pads are safe and sanitary when maintained properly. To ensure hygiene and safety, change your reusable pads every two to five hours, just as you would with disposable pads.
Reusable pads made of fabric may even help reduce the risk of yeast and other infections, as they don't create the same moisture-rich environment as plastic pads.
How many pads Do I need?
The number of pads you need depends on your period's duration, heaviness, and whether you're using other period products.
As a general guideline, consider having five clean pads daily if you use reusable pads. If you do laundry every day, you might only need two sets. However, having extra pads or backup products on hand is wise.
To clean reusable menstrual pads, follow these steps:
Washing your reusable pads is a breeze, turning laundry day into a fun and eco-friendly dance party for one!
- After each use, rinse the pad with cold water to remove excess blood.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to wash the pad in your regular laundry load. Some pads might take longer to dry due to their multiple layers, so plan accordingly.
- It's normal for pads to get stained over time. Dark-colored pads hide stains better, but white pads can be bleached with all-natural bleach.
- Many reusable pads come with a wet bag for storing used pads until you can wash them.
How do we choose these brands?
1. What kind of fabric is it made from?
Greenwashing is rising, and tracing how your fabric is made and sourced is essential. Look for certifications like OEKO-TEX, GOTS, OCS, or Fair Trade. You can also look for materials like TENCEL™ Lyocell, hemp, organic cotton, wool, or linen.
2. How are the fabrics sourced?
It’s essential to know how your fabric is made, where it comes from, and under what working conditions. There are a lot of brands out there paying much less than livable wages and under harsh working conditions that violate tons of labor and human rights laws.
3. What is the brand’s corporate responsibility?
What extra measures do they use to ensure sustainable practices? Companies passionate about change often give back to their communities and enrich the towns and villages where they employ citizens.
A final word on reusable pads
When choosing the best reusable pads, options like Marley's Monster's Pads and Illum's Cloth Pads stand out for their exceptional quality, comfort, and eco-friendliness. But remember, these are not for everyone; give period panties a go if these don't vibe with you.
These pads are designed with your well-being in mind, using materials like organic cotton and bamboo-cotton blends that minimize exposure to harmful chemicals.
Opting for reusable pads makes a significant difference in waste reduction. On average, a person using disposable pads generates around 150-200 kg of waste throughout their lifetime. Reusable pads, however, can last for years, drastically decreasing the amount of waste in landfills.
By making the switch, you'll join the reusable pad revolution, transforming your monthly cycle experience while contributing to a cleaner and healthier planet.