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20 June 2019

Reusable Sanitary Pads | Review & My Experience

Collectively, we are becoming more and more aware of the damage we are making to our environment and the consequences this may have for our future generations. I read some pretty shocking statistics recently that really put the harm of disposable sanitary products into perspective. Greenhouse PR reported that a pack of sanitary pads equates to 4 plastic bags and after used and disposed of, can take up to 500 years to break down. Consider how many pads you use on an average cycle, between 5-10? Multiply that by 12 months in the year and then again by how many years you have had your period for. I'm 23 and my total sanitary use amounts to approximately 600 pads so far - how shocking is that? With approximately another 25 years of periods still to go, the thought of another 1500 sanitary pads in the waste is not something I would want to be responsible for.

Throughout our lives, we are always looking for ways to make our everyday tasks more convenient - plastic bags were created to allow us to carry more products home from the supermarket without the bag breaking from severe weather or weight. Unfortunately, our desire for convenience has led to disastrous consequences to our environment and, as a starting point, it is worth considering how our previous generations got by before new methods were introduced. For example, our grandparents and older generations used DIY cloth sanitary towels and this is exactly what we should consider reverting back to these days.

I've used sanitary towels since I first started my period. I tried a tampon once on holiday when I was young but 13 year old me was so self-conscious it was going to fall out or that I was going to get toxic shock syndrome, I never used them again. In all honesty, I feel most comfortable wearing sanitary towels and don't mind sacrificing a few days a month wearing thicker clothing and longer tops to cover my underwear area. 

This month I really thought about how I could change my waste habits while still using an external product during my period. To be honest, I was a little bit overwhelmed when I first googled what reusable sanitary products were available and where I could buy them. I considered period pants but I was concerned they would not be very thick and absorbent. After some research, I opted for a pack of 7 Rovtop reusable sanitary towels from Amazon which were only £15.

Another reason I was really keen on buying reusable sanitary pads was because I am aware of the various chemicals and synthetic fibres used in disposable pads. Yes, a bit of perfume built into your sanitary pad would seem like a good idea to help neutralise odours but it is a recipe for disaster for someone with sensitive skin. The reusable pads I purchased are completely hypoallergenic and as someone who has extremely sensitive skin, this was a plus for me as I have experienced some irritation from disposable sanitary products in the past.

The inner layer is made up of micro fibres and bamboo charcoal to provide maximum absorption. The outer patterned layer is made from waterproof lamination fabric to prevent leakage. The pads are 25.4cm long which are exactly the same length as Always Ultra Long or Bodyform Ultra Long and they come with wings which work exactly the same as disposables by clasping the buttons together around your underwear. 

After using the pads for my recent cycle, I am completely converted! I must admit, at first they seemed slightly bulkier than my usual disposables but I am not one to wear tight clothing on my bottom half during my period, or if I wear leggings I make sure to wear longer tops to cover the mid area. I'm really surprised by how absorbent they are as liquid absorbs straight away instead of lying on the top layer and slowly absorbing like with disposables. 

I found the wings to be very secure compared to the sticky wings on disposables which I found sometimes bunched up or came unattached completely which was very frustrating. The only thing I would say is that because these pads are not sticky underneath, I did have to pull the top and bottom a bit to smooth out the pad after putting my underwear on but once it was in place it did not budge throughout the day or night.

I trialled the pads in many different scenarios; sitting for a long period of time, walking, sleeping and going to the gym. The pad is very, very comfy and it's just like wearing a blanket in your underwear. My only downfall though is that the pad was not very comfortable in the gym when I started to get hot and sweaty. Thankfully, I live in the UK where the temperature is always cool but if I lived in a hot country, I would definitely consider using a moon cup instead.

The pads are very easy to fold up and put in your bag like shown above - you only have to fold the pad inwards and use the buttons to secure it in place. The set also comes with a wet bag so if you are out and about and need to change your pad, you can easily throw the used one in the wet bag until you are somewhere where it can be washed.

Washing the pads was definitely a curiosity of mine when I first considered them but they are a lot easier to wash than expected. Machine washing at a low temperature with washing detergent without fabric conditioner is recommended to ensure they last as long as possible. I felt a little bit uncomfortable putting them in with my weekly wash and didn't want to waste the energy washing them alone so I soaked them in cold water before to get rid of the majority of staining and then threw them in with other clothes and they came out looking brand new!

I'm very pleased with my experience using reusable sanitary pads so far and would highly encourage checking out the set I bought HERE. For £15, I managed to get a really high quality set of pads which I hope will last me for years. It also makes me feel so much better about my period knowing I will be saving money and drastically reducing my waste in the long run.

I'd love to know what you use on your period and your thoughts on reusable sanitary products in the comments below!

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