h&b breaks the taboo on period pants

The truth about period pants

26 Apr 2023 • 8 min read


Thinking of switching from pads and tampons to period pants, but have some questions about it first? You’re in the right place. It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about period pants before giving them a go, so you know what to expect and how to choose the right ones for you.

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A bit about periods

If your biology classes were a while ago or you just need a refresher, don’t worry. We thought we’d start by explaining a bit about periods. Essentially, a period is the part of a menstrual cycle where blood comes out of the vagina.

This usually happens roughly every 28 days, but for a lot of people this can take place anywhere between every 23-35 days.

What are period pants?

Period underwear has gained popularity in recent years, with more and more options becoming available in shops and online. Just imagine a regular pair of knickers, usually in a darker colour, that you can wear instead of using a tampon, a pad or a cup!.

How do period pants work?

Period pants work by absorbing the blood in the same way as pads, but you don’t have to throw them away after each use.2 You wear them exactly like you would your everyday underwear, but without the need for tampons or pads! Having said this, if you have a heavy flow, you may feel more comfortable using a different period product with them; it’s entirely up to you.

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How long can you wear period pants for?

It may take a little while to figure out the ideal timing for you, but most people change the pants every 4-6 hours – depending on how light or heavy their period is.2 So if you only want to wear period underwear (and no other kind of product), it may be worth getting a few different options that you can wear on rotation.

Do period pants leak?

Nope! Once the blood has been trapped by the absorbent fabric, the waterproof layer holds it in. However, if you wear them for longer than the recommended time, you may experience some leaks – so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re out and about all day.

Also, washing your pants at a hot temperature, using the tumble dryer and ironing them may affect the elasticity, which may lead to leaks over time. But more on how to wash and take care of your period pants below

How to wash period pants

It’s important to follow the care instructions that come with your underwear, but generally speaking, when washing period pants all you have to do is:3

  1. Wash after each use on a delicate cycle – they’ll be fine with your other clothes!
  2. Hang them up in a non-humid environment to let them dry out completely – and try to avoid tumble dryers and ironing to avoid leaks and preserve their elasticity.
  3. Or you can handwash your period pants in lukewarm water and dry them in the same way as above.

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Can you get different types of period pants?

Yes! You can get lots of different types of period pants these days. For example, you could get them in a classic brief, opt for a pair of period shorts or even go for a thong on days where you don’t want a VPL! You can also choose the colour and size of your period pants too – so there are a whole range of options to pick from.

But that’s not all. We also mentioned that you can get them in different levels of absorbencies, so you can find the perfect fit to suit your needs.

Do period pants smell?

They shouldn’t do! Since they work in the same way as pads, your period pants shouldn’t smell if you use them for the recommended time.

However, if you do notice a smell, this may be due not washing them correctly or enough. So as long as you follow the washing instructions and guidelines, you should be all good on the odour front.

The difference between period pants, tampons, pads and cups

Still not sure whether to stick with tampons and pads or make the switch to period underwear? To help you make your decision, we’ve created this table to highlight the key differences between each product:

  Period pants Tampons Pads Menstrual cups
Reusable? Yes No No Yes
Internal or external use? External Internal External Internal
Different asborbencies? Yes Yes Yes Yes
When to change? 4-6 hours 4-6 hours 4-6 hours 4-6 hours
Upfront cost* £££ £ £ £££

*Reusable products cost more upfront, but they may save you money in the long run.4

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Tips for using period pants

And to round things off, some of our top tips for using period underwear are:

  • Popping them in a mesh bag with your other laundry might help you find them easier when it comes to drying your clothes.
  • If you notice a wet feeling down below, it’s time to change them.
  • If you’re not doing your laundry on the day you wear them, pop them in a waterproof bag so they don’t stain the other clothes in your laundry basket.
  • If you feel you need a little more reassurance, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a tampon or pad with your period pants.
  • Similarly, you could try just wearing them at home on your first time until you get used to them.

The final say

Now you’re a pro on how to use period underwear, you should be feeling a little more confident and reassured about giving them a go. Just make sure to follow the guidelines on the packaging and choose the right size and absorbency for you! Discover more women’s health articles on the Health Hub.


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