Reusable Menstrual Products

Lots of women are looking at something a little different from the traditional pads and tampons and giving reusable menstrual products a go. What are the options if you want to try reusable sanitary products? Are they really as good as people claim?

Menstrual cups

Menstrual cups are not a new idea, the first ones were patented in the 1930s. The popularity of them though certainly is new. All kinds of women are now trying these reusable cups and making the switch. A menstrual cup is usually made from medical grade silicone and is worn internally, slightly lower than you would wear a tampon. Rather than absorbing blood, the cup collects it, so that it can be emptied over the course of the day. It varies from woman to woman how often it needs to be emptied. It can be left for up to 8 hours or overnight. Like tampons, you can swim, do sports and sleep with a menstrual cup in. A cup does take a little bit of practice to use and get used to. Most women find that once they make the switch, they love using a cup and don’t want to go back to tampons.

Menstrual cup

Washable pads

If you usually use sanitary pads, you might prefer to give washable pads a try. Once upon a time, women would have used rags as sanitary pads, but today, washable pads aren’t that different to disposable ones. Rather than sticking to the underwear, the cloth pads usually have wings with a snap or button on them. These fasten around the bottom of your knickers, holding the pad in place. Some pads can move around a little, as they do not attach directly to the underwear, but wearing a firm fitting pair can help prevent this and give a better fit. When out and about, you can keep the pads in a small, zip-up, wet bag. This means that you can carry home used pads cleanly and easily. The pads are washed in cold water, which stops the blood from staining and then dried before the next use. There is no need to use special washing detergents or stain removers. Many women soak the pads first, in cold water, often with a little salt added to help remove stains. A small lidded container like an ice cream box is ideal for this. Washable pads are also ideal after giving birth. The fabric is often a lot more comfortable when you can be feeling quite tender in that area.

Period Pants

Period pants are still quite new to the market. The idea behind these is that the absorbency is built into the underwear. Fabrics are used that are highly absorbent, but not too bulky. A fresh pair is worn each day, with the previous pair being put to wash. These are an all in one solution, rather than attaching pads to your own underwear.

This article was written by Kelly Sweeney from Nappyneedz. Nappyneedz stock a range of menstrual cups and washable pads and are happy to give advice and information on using them. They also specialise in great quality and affordable cloth nappies. Visit them at



  1. Angelgirl081 27/11/2017 at 7:52 pm

    As much as I like the idea, I’m not sure how I would cope to be honest. I thankfully haven’t got my period back yet since having miss 10 months, but when I do i will have to think about wether some of these options would be suitable 🙂

  2. Jen_Wiig 21/11/2017 at 9:06 pm

    I love the idea of reusable menstrual products but in all honesty the cup freaks me out abit… I think not quite understanding how it works and the worry of leakage puts me off abit, also having a friend die from toxic shock (there’s an actual word for it I can’t remember) from not changing her tampon enough at 12yrs old has put me off anything being put up there… I do like the idea of the washable pads but the cost of initial setup is quite alot and it’s expensive enough to buy decwnt pads already… I’d love it if there was a way to buy just a couple (maybe there is) to try out and then maybe buy a couple more etc until enough to have a good cycle of wash, wear, do again happens

    • Jubes 07/03/2018 at 11:05 pm

      @ Jen_Wigg
      There are places online like Ebay where you can purchase funky patterned washable pads for as little as $2-3 each. Great for like you say, if you want to try them out. They come in different shapes and sizes as well and last a really long time. I love mine and would never go back to disposables that feel like wearing a nappy after washables

  3. Mands1980 18/11/2017 at 12:31 pm

    I actually use a cup and have found it great for heavy periods once you get over the actual thought of it

  4. Bevik1971 17/11/2017 at 11:03 am

    I actually have been looking at menstrual cups for ages – I’m using organic pads and tampons now but really want to give a cup a go. I’m almost 46 but still having regular periods (lucky or not??), and am definitely still need sanitary items every month! I do want to buy a good one though, there are quite a few choices out there, so want to ensure its decent 🙂

  5. kymmage 16/11/2017 at 6:51 pm

    I’m keen to look into washable pads I think. I want to try a cup but I never got the hang of anything but pads before now. So I’m not sure it’s the right product. But I do love the idea of marketing more ecological choices!

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