Sanitary towels (also known as napkins, pads, or liners) have come along in leaps and bounds since they were first mentioned in history around a thousand years ago. Women then, and for a long time after, used rags for menstruation.
Then, around the 1920s, women started using disposable pads that were made from wood pulp. After that, cotton wool was used, and in 1956, an adjustable sanitary belt was patented.
Now, there are many more options, and often at affordable prices. What’s more, many modern products take the environment into account, as well as women’s comfort and needs. And that’s what everyone needs for some peace of mind.
A quick and convenient route for environmentally friendly pads or liners are products that are the same thickness and size, but more absorbent.
This means fewer pads are used and thrown away, leading to less landfill.
Gift Wellness Sanitary Pads are hypoallergenic, and at least six times more absorbent than ordinary brands.
Containing herbal extracts and a tourmaline mineral layer, they can help to reduce odours and have some anti-bacterial properties.
The other main thing with natural sanitary pads is to make sure the materials they are made from do not contain bleach and are biodegradable or compostable – i.e. you’ll want to avoid plastic. That includes their packaging.
It is also important to protect women’s health. Many traditional sanitary pads are made using chlorine compounds that contain dioxins. These are environmental pollutants and can be harmful to one’s health. They can cause problems with reproduction and the immune system and they can have an impact on hormones so always try to use sanitary pads that don’t contain harmful compounds.
Bamboo liners are another alternative. The liners and their wrapping are plant-based. Made from organic Oeko-Tex bamboo and non-GMO corn fibres, they are soft, absorbent, and thin.
Alternatively, you can try reusable pads or liners. They actually aren’t as worrisome as you might, at first, think, and they can save you money in the long term.
Reusable pads are made from cloth and they usually have wings that snap into place, rather than depending on the adhesives that disposable pads typically contain.
They also come in some fun colours and designs, and are typically more breathable.
Cloth pads are quite comfortable and you don’t have to worry about those sticky wings shrivelling up or getting caught in the wrong place.
The pads then stop any staining of underwear just by the thickness of the material, or, with a waterproof lining. They main thing is to change them out before they become totally full – that is, when they start to feel wet against your skin.
It is recommended that you have about 10 of these cloth pads on standby so that you can rotate easily through them. If you do, they’ll likely last around five years, or more. Pick your pads based on your flow - thin ones for a lighter flow, or thicker ones for a heavier flow.
When it is time to wash the reusable pads, a quick soak and scrub in the bathroom sink will do the trick, or you can use a washing machine as you would for anything else with a decent stain.
Avoid hot water. A handy trick is to have a small basin of cold water ready and soak your pads in there, say, five at a time, until you want to hand or machine wash them all. The soaking gives you a massive head start, and hand washing is very easy afterwards.
And if you’re not at home, or not near a bathroom where you feel comfortable using the sink, you can store the pad in a ziplock bag, then deal with it when you get home.
Natracare provides a line of pads which are plastic free.
They are made from natural and breathable materials such as certified organic cotton, and are chlorine free.
All of the products are also unscented, in order to help prevent any irritation. Even the packing is made from recycled cardboard and printed on with vegetable-based ink.