How to use reusable sanitary pads - our easy guide!

15 November 2021  |  Admin

Inside this post: Easy guide to switching to reusable sanitary pads. All you need to know!

You know this feeling. 

It's school run time, you're chivvying kids along to brush their teeth properly, put on their shoes without being asked again and suddenly you feel a familiar moist feeling between your legs and realise that your period has arrived. 

Normally, your heart would sink, but it's great news on this occasion because it means you can try out your new eco friendly Cheeky reusable sanitary pads which you're strangely excited to try.  

You quickly grab a pad and head for the loo. 

The pads are so soft to touch, such a difference to crinkly, wrinkly, plasticky disposable pads which make you itch and chafe.  You actually can't wait to give them a go.

But hold on.  Houston, we have a problem.

'Which way round do they go?  And which side faces up? What if I get them the wrong way round? I don't want to end up sitting in a puddle of blood.   AARRGGHHHH'

How to use pads - easy guide to using reusable sanitary pads

Duh, duh, duuuuhhhhhhhhh. <Or other suitably scary musical interlude....>

Thankfully, you aren't alone, this is one of the questions we most often receive from customers regarding how to use pads and it's a quick and simple one to answer.  Wearing a pad, washing it and reusing are easy.  Let's show you how.

'Wasn’t sure at first as the thought of washing them put me off but the are really comfortable and easy to put on and take off,  no more messing around with stupid plastic packaging and making sure it’s stuck on properly. Will be buying more' Vicky, Nov 2021

How to put on a pad to prevent leaking

The lovely Issie has done us an Insta video showing EXACTLY how to insert the pads into pants, but here's the quick summary.

1. Label down!

If there's a label on your pad, you want to place the label facing down into your pants.  No-one wants a scratchy label against their vulva!   

2. Narrow end to front

This doesn't apply to all pads, really just our Fearless reusable incontinence pads, but if there's a narrower end to the pad, that should go to the front.  

3. Pattern down

With Cheeky pads, you'll find that means you'll be inserting the pad into your knickers with the patterned side down and the plain coloured side face up against your skin. 

Our pads come with either a grey cotton or bamboo charcoal top or a cream bamboo terry top.

4. Popper under your knicker gusset

Then it's just a matter of using the poppers to close the pad under your knickers.  Cheeky pads have two poppers, allowing you to adjust the width which is super handy, as different knicker styles tend to have different width gussets.

How often should I change my pad?

Generally, reusable pads tend to be more absorbent than their disposable counterparts.

Here at team Cheeky, on lighter days we tend to need a fresh one in the morning and the evening, but we don't have particularly heavy periods. 

On heavier days, we'll probably change at lunchtime and then after school / work too.  That being said, every period is different, every person is different.

If this is your first time using cloth sanitary pads and you're a bit anxious about it, just use them at home until you get used to them.   

That will give you a chance to get used to them, see how absorbent they are for yourself and then be able to wear them with confidence when you need to:

'As someone who suffers heavy periods, I was very reluctant to switch. I would go through about 7 pads a day. Leaking through 3 pairs of trousers. Changing every 2 hours, sometimes more.

I read about how much more absorbant reusable pads were so decided to just go for it. After reading reviews, I felt like cheeky wipes were the best to get started with.

All I can say is, what a life changer. I ordered 3 day pads and 2 night. I got started on my heavy day and used a day pad.

Not joking. I wore it for 4 hours before needing to change. That whole day I only used 3 pads!!! And I didn't leak once!!!!!!!

The washing didn't bother me. I just soak in cold water for 30mins. Then throw them in the wash with everything else.

I have washed a few by hand and then on the last rinse add tea tree oil. I've ordered more so I don't have to worry when the others don't dry.  Best decision I've ever made!!' Emily, Aug 2021

What do I do with my used pads?

So now that you've tried your pads out, been astounded and amazed at how well they performed, but what on earth do you do with your used pad? 

Definitely not something to be left lying around for your mother-in-law to spot if she drops in for a cuppa.

Here's where those handy poppers come into their own, especially if you're out and about, allowing you to popper the pads closed for discreet carrying:

  • Take the pad off, continuing to hold it pattern side down / soiled side up
  • Fold each end of the pad in on itself, covering the soiled area
  • Popper closed over the soiled area to make a neat, discreet packet

How do I wash used pads?

How to wash reusable pads

The most important thing to remember here is cold / cool washing, definitely no higher than 30c. 

Avoid hot water, 40c or above because blood is a protein stain and by washing in anything higher than body temp (36.5c)  will 'set' the stain.

Here at Team Cheeky, we prefer to give our pads a rinse out immediately or soak the pads in cold water until washing, then wash on a decent wash cycle length at 30c, along with a capful of stain remover. Oxi type is our favourite because it's ecofriendly and works really well.

Then simply line dry and reuse:

'This month I took the plunge and just wore the cloth pads....I can't believe the amount they can hold. I went through 5 pads in 2 days compared to my usual 14 disposable pads.

With disposable pads I have to change them really frequently (sometimes once an hour!) and I can smell my period. The cloth pads are amazing, I was able to wear them longer and I couldn't smell my period at all. They're also really comfortable and don't feel/look bulky....

The pads are really easy to wash too. With the first load I did a pre rinse but with the second I didn't bother, I just put them in with my usual washing.

I found the pre rinse wasn't really necessary. I prefer the charcoal to the bamboo (I have some of each) because with the charcoal ones any stains aren't visible.'  Sarah, May 2021

We hope you've enjoyed our Cheeky guide to reusable pads. 

As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please try our online quiz or questionnaire where you'll get a tailored recommendation based on your period needs - answered by a real person!

Or, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. 

The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...


About the Author:  Helen Rankin is the founder of Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. Champions of ‘Simple Reusables’, with 4 kids of her own, she appreciates that switching to reusable alternatives needs to be easy.

Along with her crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to talk taboos. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.

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