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Cotton Sanitary Pads vs Bamboo Charcoal Cloth Sanitary pads


At Cheeky we have been users of cloth sanitary pads (now alongside our period pants for many years!

One question that we get asked a lot is 'Cotton Sanitary Pads vs Bamboo Charcoal Cloth Sanitary pads' Which are best?

Our bamboo & plush menstrual pads were our OG period pads.  But then some of you told us you preferred a thinner pad and some of you requested an organic option.  We listened, as we always do!

We sourced these lovely pads which are 100% cotton, making them cool against your skin and more grippy in your knickers, so less likely to move around if you have a phsyical job.  What do you think of them?

Our gorgeous pads come in two organic cotton options and two cotton options.  Both are very cool against your skin and lovely to wear!  Pink Flower and Erin Flower are both organic cotton and Plaid and Love heart are both 100% cotton (one layer is laminated with PUL, however the layer is so thin, it is less than 1%!)

As you can see from the pictures below, the pads all have a laminated outer printed cotton layer, then one or two layers of absorbent cotton (or organic cotton), plus a cotton top layer.

Size Matters!

The standard liners, day pads and night pads are the same size as our bamboo & minky pads:

  • Cotton Panty Liners - 22cm x 7 cm
  • Cotton Reusable Sanitary Day Pads - 24cm x 7cm
  • Cotton Cloth Sanitary Pads for Night / maternity / heavy flow pads  - 28cm x 7cm

In addition, we've introduced an XL night / maternity pads which is 30cm x 7cm, perfect for overnight or heavy maternity use.

How does that compare to the plush & bamboo / bamboo charcoal reusable sanitary pads?

Our minky & bamboo / bamboo charcoal reusable pads are thicker, with a microfibre core which means they are more absorbent.  This means you probably won't need to change them as often.  I find that I can change my pad twice during the 1st day of my period, plus one for overnight - with the newer cotton pads, I might change three times, just for the heaviest day of my period, then down to twice a day.  Ofg course everyone is different, but I am probably 'average'.

Cotton is a matt fabric, so is much less likely to move around in your knickers - although tight pants will generally sort out any slippage issues with the plush pads.

So which do we recommend?

It just comes down to personal preference.  

We really like the bamboo / charcoal washable pads for the first day or our period, but are then happy to switch to the cotton / organic cotton for remaining days - and those days between periods when you need a liner.  If you're a disposable pad user and prefer a thinner pad, then go for the cotton or organic cotton, but if you need a thicker pad, then the bamboo / charcoal would be best for you.

If you prefer a natural fabric in contact with your skin, then the cotton or organic cotton will be best for you of course.  It is also cooler to wear against your skin than the bamboo / charcoal.



15 January 2018  |  12:59

Hi Lindsay,
Our bamboo minky pads are very absorbent...why don't you try one each in our bamboo topped and charcoal topped so you can see for yourself? I'd go for a day pad to see how you get on with them too?

14 March 2018  |  22:47

Can you recommend if yourequired pads have PUL linning ? I am thinking of converting ( we use cloth nappies ) and don't want any leaks !

16 March 2018  |  8:31

Hi Amy,
Yes, all our pads are PUL lined so don't leak through. We love them but are obviously biased!

Ilona Jaworska
17 March 2020  |  19:04

Hello. I can't find those mini liners that you mentioned in blog post. I wanted to get some for everyday use :)

16 November 2020  |  17:17

What is the difference and pros/cons with the bamboo or charcoal topped pads? Can't seem to find any information about either to help make the decision. Thanks!

17 November 2020  |  9:09

Hi Caroline, they are both the same in terms of absorbency. The charcoal is allegedly odour controlling and it's a microfleece so feels warmer to wear against your skin. And it's grey so doesn't show stains / blood if you're squeamish about that. The bamboo terry is obviously cream in colour, feels cooler to wear and blood is more obvious although neither should stain if washed on a cold / cool wash at 30c or less.

Amy Green
24 June 2021  |  14:53

I'm prone to infections and so want to get something that is very breathable. Is cotton the best for this or are they all about the same in this regard?

31 March 2022  |  15:50

We hear you! Cotton is definitely the best for breathability. I find the bamboo charcoal quite warm to wear, cotton is great, even overnight.