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How Do I Know When My Period Pants are Full?

Hey there, lovely readers! As you know here at Team Cheeky we've been all about 'Simple Reusables' since we launched our bestselling reusable wipes kit way back in 2008.

Since then, we've become known as one of the UK's top reusable period protection brands and more than half a million of you have tried our products.

As you can imagine, our inbox is pretty full with customer queries, which we LOVE answering. Our team all use our products and nothing is TMI so we get asked lots of questions day in and day out.

If you're used to disposable pads, tampons or a menstrual cup, period pants work a bit differently, making it a bit trickier to understand when it's time for a change.

Good news, we've got you covered! Let's explore the signs that indicate your period pants are reaching their limit.

Today, we answer: How do I know when my period pants are full?

There are several signs to look out for which indicate that your period pants are full:

  • they leak
  • they feel wet
  • you can see blood on the wicking layer
  • the gusset feels heavy
  • the gusset feels stiff
  • they start to smell


They Leak

Period pants do sometimes leak. If they're brand new, a pair of period pants can take 3 or 4 washes to reach full absorbency, so wearing them straight from the pack can cause leaks.

However if they leak after this initial period, it's generally because you've worn them for too long and they are full. OR you have chosen the wrong absorbency for your period. If day two of your period is your heavy flow day, choose heavy flow pants!

Pay attention to your body. If you've worn your period pants for 12 hours and they leak, it shouldn't come as a surprise really. Wearing period pants for 12 hours is really only possible for light flows. Even heavy absorbency pants which can absorb up to 6 tampons worth should be changed every 8 hours or so on heavy days.

"Always love the products from here. This is my 2nd time ordering and the pants and pads are comfy and do the job, no waking up frustrated/embarrassed as I’ve leaked through the night.

I did try a cheaper version from Amazon and regretted it as they were not for heavy flow at all." Samantha, Trustpilot

They Feel Wet

Starting to feel a damp sensation down there? If the inside layer of your knickers feels wet, it's a good indicator that your period pants are reaching capacity. This wetness suggests that the absorbent layers are saturated and need to be swapped for a fresh pair.

You Can See Blood on the Wicking Layer

Take a peek at the wicking layer (top layer) of your period underwear. If you can see traces of blood, it's a telltale sign that your pants are full and ready for a change.

The wicking layer's job is to pull moisture away from your body, so blood remaining on this layer indicates that it has had as much as it can handle.

The Gusset Feels Heavy

Pay attention to the weight of the gusset in your period pants. The heavier it feels, the fuller it is. As blood and fluids accumulate throughout the day, your period underwear will gradually become heavier. If you notice a significant increase in weight, it's time to swap them out for a fresh pair.

The Gusset Feels Stiff

Freshly washed period pants typically have a soft and flexible gusset. However, when they're full, you might notice that the gusset feels a bit stiffer. This stiffness is a result of the absorbed fluids, indicating that your period pants have done their job and need to be changed.

They Start to Smell

There's no smell to period blood aside from smelling a bit metallic as it leaves your body but as it begins to break down, over time it can begin to smell. To be clear, we aren't talking minutes or even a couple of hours, but by the 12 hour mark, stale period blood will begin to smell and your pants smell bad too!

At this point remove your knickers and swap for a fresh pair. Rinse in cold water until water and then pop in the washing machine or hand wash with detergent. Always avoid fabric softener as this can impact the absorbency of your period pants.

"My experience of Cheeky Pants: They are great quality, easy to wash, don't have that 'smell' that seems to come with using disposables & feel so much more comfortable, only a tiny bit thicker than normal undies! Thank you Cheeky. Great products :)" Claire, Trustpilot

We hope you've now learned how to understand when your period pants are full!

Remember, listening to your body and understanding your period underwear's capabilities and limitations is key to staying comfortable and confident during your cycle.

Recommended Period Pants for Heavy Periods:

If you have any questions or want to explore more about period products, check out our other blog posts or drop us a line. The team just love to help people make the switch and ditch disposables.

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About the Author: Helen Rankin founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. 4 kids later, she went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable period kits and reusable intimate care. Both she and the rest of the leadership team are now navigating menopause, with all the joys it brings!

The Cheeky customer services team pride themselves on providing honest, friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long, helping people make the switch to reusables! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.