Ethical & plastic free Period: Period underwear V.S. Cotton pads

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The main form of protection I use for periods is a menstrual cup. However, in the last year I also started using reusable cotton pads and period underwear.

They serve as a second line of defense (backup in case the cup leaks as it can sometimes do if I put it in wrong) or when I just can’t be bothered to put the cup in. (It doesn’t even take long or hurt, or anything bad…I just lose interest and fancy a change. Got to keep things fresh down there you know?…) Yes, I am probably a weirdo but these are my main reasons for using these different products throughout my period and on my weaker days, normally near the end, they are so easy to whip on and are so darn comfortable.

We have discussed menstural cups previously on the blog and youtube so today I am going to talk you through the rest of my ethical period products so that you have a better idea of what products might be suitable for you. This tackles reusable cotton pads from HannahPad and underpants from ModiBodi.

Image from ModiBodi

Why is it important to talk about period products on a blog about ethical lifestyle? Well, according to Bustle, each menstruating woman experiences around 450 periods and goes through 11,000 tampons and pads in their lifetime. Each of these tampons and pads comes with a plastic wrapper and with more than 12 million females in Australia alone these things add up fast. Sanitary Pads themselves have a big footprint as the ‘majority of sanitary pads contain 90% plastic and the backing strips, applicators and wrappers are not biodegradable. One pack of normal sanitary pads is made from the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags!’ – Tearfund

Let’s also think about how many of these products get wrongfully flushed down our loos and go straight in our beautiful oceans and if not there; they end up in landfill. Out of sight, out of mind. But I want to bring this to the front of your mind, just for a few moments. Enough moments to really think about it and be part of the solution, and my friend the solution is so simple you’re going to regret not doing anything sooner.

Image from Glamour magazine

It’s time to switch to reusables.

If you want to find out about menstrual cups, simply read my post about them here or watch the video below. To find about about pads and underwear simply keep on scrolling.

About Hannahpad
Hannahpad are reusable organic cloth alternatives to disposable pads and come in various sizes to suit your needs. Wear them on top of your regular underwear and wash after each use. They also have beautiful patterns on the exterior to bring a bit of beauty back to your T.O.M. Each pad is made from certified organic cotton that is unbleached and non-dyed so they are an incredibly safe and less processed product to have so close to your skin.

About Modibodi
Modibodi is another alternative to disposable pads that replace your daily underwear. This can be a plus for some women as you don’t have to worry about something moving around but be sure to select the correct size or you will have to pack a replacement pair to change into. Modibodi also have various styles to suit different absorbencies and activities. This includes an active range complete with leggings that has light to moderate absorbency within, a simple swimwear range in a one-piece or bikini and I am really impressed with the maternity wear that features briefs and a breastfeeding singlet which is a leakproof alternative to disposable nursing pads.

Let’s start with some of the main questions I get and compare the two…

Do they smell?
They absolutely do not smell. I have tried regular throwaway period pads and I know that they can begin to smell. It is a sensitive, sweaty area of your body and these things happen – But I think those single use pads make matters worse! I have never once noticed myself or the undies/pad smelling while in use BUT perhaps with more use that could change… Still, I have had them for a few months and been so happy so far.

Do they stain?
I believe they do… It is harder to tell with the undies because the crotch area is black (even in the nude pairs) so any stains don’t show up. The pads however definitely stain and I am sure I would have less stains if I washed them straight away and used the correct soap but often I am late to the cleaning game and will end up with some marks. I don’t mind this much but others might.

Are they noticeable through clothing?
I don’t believe so… The pads perhaps could if you wore the large/overnight pads but the daily ones are unnoticeable for me. The underwear I have are all seamless so no chance of noticing those babies!

What are the prices like?
Hannahpad are in most cases cheaper than the Modibodi underpants. All have variations of style and amount of liquid they can hold so look around for your perfect size. For reference: 1 organic medium pad is $19.95, Modibodi styles start at $18 and the pair I bought was around $30.

Modibodi – Boyshort

How do you store them?
The period underwear I simply keep in a drawer or with my regular underwear and put them on when I know Aunty Flow is due to visit. I keep my liners here also but these are easy to fold up and put in your bag in case they are needed. This makes the pad ideal for someone who is expecting to begin their period and wants to be protected fast. Because of this, I normally use a pad at the beginning and the end of my period, with the underwear in the middle or for nights as I know there is never a risk of the underwear moving during sleep (as the pads sometimes can if my underwear is an odd size).

Since I use both, it is hard for me to say that one is better than the other. While I am tempted to say the ModiBodi period underwear is my preference, I would still want the security of having a reusable pad in my bag. Whatever your preference, if this is your primary form of protection make sure you have enough to see you through the week (or however long your period is) so you are not caught off-guard. Both companies have packs to save you money and set you up for the whole period. ModiBodi has heaps of styles available including swimwear, activewear and boyshorts designed for comfort with an empowering cut (this is not something I had ever thought of before but this is an option for anyone transitioning who still experiences periods). Plus they have vegan pairs on Flora and Fauna. Also HannahPad comes with so many patterns and sizes to choose from, you can be covered no matter what.

Have you tried any zero waste period alternatives? Let me know what your experiences have been and what you want to hear about next.