Review: Eco and Sustainable Sanitary Pads

It’s taken me a long time to get my head around trying washable sanitary pads. On the one hand, the ultimate eco and sustainable choice as nothing goes to landfill but on the other hand something that’s just outside the comfort zone – how gross can it be?

But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and talking to friends and followers about it, it seems others are also interested to try but maybe feeling a bit unsure too. So what was it actually like?

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t that bad at all! Read on to find out why these are worth it…

I tried Mama Designs Reusable Washable Sanitary Pads after founder Kiera kindly got in touch and invited me to try. It was an instant yes as eco sanitary options have been on my radar for a while.

A few years ago I reviewed the menstrual cup for an article but honestly, didn’t get on with it. I found it too fiddly, messy and I would end up wearing a pantyliner anyway to catch any leaks so felt a bit counterproductive in the end, plus all a bit too stressful especially when out and about.

So I generally stick to organic and natural tampons (without applicators) and avoid pads because of the plastic materials they’re made of, the waste they contribute to and I generally don’t like the feeling of wearing them. I know tampons aren’t 100% eco either, as they also contain some artificial ingredients and plastic wrapping, but I think one step better than conventional sanitary pads.

Unfortunately tampons (even eco ones) aren’t for everyone, which is why these washable pads are a game changer. There are a lot of important conversations going on at the moment about period poverty too (check out Free Periods and The Homeless Period as examples), and pads would really help anyone struggling to keep up with the cost of sanitary products.

How do reusable pads work?

Washable sanitary pads are completely plastic free, reusable and obviously washable, so nothing going to landfill. Sounds like a dream product, right?

So how does they work? Might sound like a stupid question but honestly it’s not because I wasn’t so sure myself and had to ask…

The Mama Design reusable pads attach to your pants with a fasten popper at the back. You simply place the pad, soft side up in your pants and fold the wings underneath and close the popper. Once you’ve had a flow you simply unclip the pad and rinse it under the tap.

Here’s the reassuring part for anyone who is nervous about being close to blood: once the water runs through the pad, the blood rinses away very light and diluted so you won’t get the shock that you might be anticipating of having to deal with so much period blood. That was the biggest surprise for me – it wasn’t that bad after all. After rinsing you can pop them in the wash for a deeper clean.

I asked Kiera about her experience with them and she said: ‘making the switch was a lot easier than expected and felt SO good.’

After hearing some of the statistics on disposable period products and what they contain I wanted to make the switch and try to make eco products more mainstream.’

What’s so good about Mama Designs Reusable Sanitary Pads

Firstly, they’re black.

So, however squeamish you might be about seeing or dealing with period blood, you’ll have nothing to worry about because you simply won’t see it. In fact, you’re far more shielding with these than conventional plastic pads, which are white.

There’s also the opinion that we don’t need to view period blood as something gross and once we get used to being in contact with our own body fluids, the more normal it becomes.

Secondly, they’re super soft.

The top of the pad is made from 100% cotton flannel so once clipped in, they feel really comfy and soft, which is nothing like wearing a plastic pad that can feel horribly squeaky and uncomfortable against skin.

Third, it’s a great price.

I know Kiera was keen to keep the price down and she’s done a great job at that. The regular size set is £14 for three pads. That’s seriously good. That’s only a few packs of conventional plastic pads before you’ve made your money and then imagine how much you save from then on.

Any downsides?

I do a lot of fitness so I tested them out with a few training sessions. Wearing them during my weightlifting training was fine and I almost didn’t notice them.

I wore them on a 5K run and I was more aware of them but that’s the same as wearing any pads while running. The two for me just don’t really go, but ultimately it’s a personal experience as I’m sure some people are fine with it.

My verdict

I’m genuinely surprised at how much I got on with these. In a nutshell, I’m a total convert and have been telling all my friends about them, especially the ones who I know wear pads.

I know sustainability is an issue that a lot of people care about but a product has to be comfortable and easy to use to ensure people make the switch. That’s sadly why my menstrual cup sits redundant and these are a winner.

Mama Designs gifted me the regular and the maxi size but I loved the product so much I bought the light set, equivalent to a panty liner. When I spend my money on a brand or product after I’ve reviewed it, I see it as an honest testament to how good I think it is. They’re also now award-winning and I can see why.

If you give these a try please let me know what you think! @yanarfitness

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