Top TEN Differences Between Disposable Pads and Reusable Cotton Pads

1) More comfortable

This is a big one. Really, who wants a crinkly, sticky wad of sweaty plastic all up in their business? It’s estimated that disposable menstrual pads have the same amount of plastic as four plastic grocery bags. Ick! Or what about inserting a plastic applicator with a dry wad of cotton in your already achy vagina? No thanks!

People get 12-13 periods a year, averaging 5 days long… that’s about 62.5 days PER YEAR that you’re menstruating! Yep, you spend two entire months of the year on your period! Add that up over a lifetime (averaging about 40-45 years of periods in a lifetime), that’s about 7-10 years of your LIFE spent menstruating! So… get comfortable for it! Periods may not be something you think about much when you’re not actively menstruating, but chances are you still have hundreds of periods to experience in your lifetime, so it’s best to choose a product that makes you feel as comfortable as possible. Your future self will thank you!

2) Better for your skin & body

Rashes, ingrown hairs, chafing, allergic reactions, dryness, exposure to toxins… these are all caused by disposable period products! Many of our longtime customers have turned to cotton reusable pads because they needed relief from the irritating rashes they would get with every period. These common issues can be completely avoided by switching to cloth pads– they’re soft, flexible, and made with 100% cotton top and inner layers. In many ways, they’re very similar to the feel and material of normal underwear. 

Beyond skin irritations, disposable menstrual products have an even darker side. Disposable pads and tampons are laced with toxic chemicals that can mess with hormones and even cause cancer later in life. Chemicals, bleach, perfumes, glue, wood pulp that’s a waste product from other industries, and other mysterious substances are all commonly found in disposable menstrual products. In fact, companies that manufacture disposable menstrual products are not required to list the ingredients on their packaging! They are basically able to use whatever materials they want, with no responsibility to inform anyone about what’s in them.

You know the period brand “Always”, manufactured by Proctor & Gamble? It’s one of the largest and most common period product brands in the world- you can find them in almost any grocery store or pharmacy. Anddddd their products were tested by a third party group called Women’s Voices for the Earth, and they found at least 20 concerning chemicals in Always pads, including:

  • Styrene: cancer-causing
  • Chloromethane: reproductive toxicant
  • Chloroethane: cancer-causing
  • Chloroform: cancer-causing, reproductive toxicant, neurotoxin
  • Acetone: irritant

Um, yikes! Considering that the skin tissue of the vulva and vagina is some of the most absorbent tissue in the human body, this is definitely a cause for concern! Read more about their study here: https://www.womensvoices.org/menstrual-care-products/detox-the-box/always-pads-testing-results/

Another plus for Party in My Pants menstrual pads? We always offer 100% certified organic cotton options too!

Which would you choose?

3) Reduce waste

This is a huge one, and so, SO important! Single-use product waste is an enormous drain on the health of our planet, and it’s only getting worse. Taking personal action to reduce waste and be more intentional about products is an empowering step towards taking ownership about how our daily choices impact the planet. It’s a step that we can ALL take, and it’s so rewarding to contribute to positive global change on a personal level. 

Each reusable cloth pad saves hundreds of disposables from the landfill. The impact is even greater than that, because Party in My Pants is intentional about reducing waste through our entire production process, and even our packaging and shipping materials are eco-friendly. The large corporations that produce disposable menstrual pads also produce a lot of waste materials and pollution during the entire process, and this adds to the huge negative impact of single-use products overall.

Reduce waste at every step by switching to washable cloth.

4) Save oodles of money

Yep, you’ll save thousands of dollars by switching to washable cloth pads… end of story! They may be more expensive up front, but all those purchases of disposable products month after month definitely add up over time. By investing in a few orders of cloth pads, you’ll save money for years to come. With proper care, our pads can last much longer than the modest (but still substantial) 5-7 year estimate, and we have heard from many customers that have used the same pads for over 15 years and counting! 

Additionally, many people find that they appreciate having cotton pads around for other uses besides menstruation, so they will keep serving you in diverse ways, year after year! Learn more about it in our blog article, “Eight Other Uses for Cloth Pads that may Surprise You“.

5) Not noisy- and discreet in other ways too!

Ugh- that swishy, crinkly sound when you’re walking around with a disposable menstrual pad in your pants… no, thank you! Besides that material feeling gross and sweaty, it also has that telltale NOISE, not to mention the crinkly wrapper. Cloth menstrual pads? Silent! Your cloth pad will be quietly doing it’s job and keeping you comfortable while you go about your day. 

Another thing? Well, we’ve all had that experience of a disposable pad or tampon falling out of our bag onto the floor… usually at an inopportune moment. I remember leaving a class in college, and my extra tampon fell out right in front of my crush- not a fun experience! Of course, this was before I realized that periods are absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, and we should all feel comfortable talking about this completely normal bodily function… but still. Not an experience I would repeat! 

The thing about cloth period pads is they really don’t LOOK like a period product, especially if they are folded and snapped around themselves (see picture). To the untrained eye, they look like… a fabric thingie. Once I was on a long road trip and I had just hand-washed some of my pads outdoors and left them to dry on top of the car while we walked along the lakeshore (compared to my college crush story, I am now very open about things!). Well, of course my pads blew off the car roof, and when we returned we saw an elderly man peering at them on the ground. He was looking at them because he was so perplexed- I tell you, this guy had NO idea what the heck he was looking at! So I just scooped ‘em up and threw them in the car, and he never knew that he’d been pondering a menstrual pad that I had bled all over just hours before.

Party in My Pants pads fold up discreetly.

6) So much thinner!

One of the reasons people love our pads is because they’re so THIN compared to basically any other option! Disposables are made of yucky-feeling material and they’re generally pretty darn thick, which makes it hard to forget that you’re wearing one as you go about your day. Our cloth pantyliners & pads are highly absorbent and leak-resistant while remaining thin and flexible, so it’s really possible for it to slip your mind that you’re even wearing a pad, they feel that similar to normal underwear! 

There are 18 cloth pads of varying sizes in this pile. Now that’s thin!

7) They’re made by real people, for real people

We’re a small business of 12 real people living and working in Ashland, Wisconsin, a rural northern town with a population of 7,892. In addition to being cloth pad enthusiasts that predominantly use Party in My Pants products for our own personal menstrual care, this business is our livelihood. It’s how we fund our DIY home projects, feed our pets, fix our car, and nurture our many hobbies. We feel a personal connection to the product AND our customers, because this business IS personal- we make everything by hand on-site, and package and ship orders ourselves. 

Compare that to, say, Proctor & Gamble, the largest producer of menstrual products in the world, containing brands such as Always. They also own 60+ other brands such as Crest, Gillete, Pampers, and Tide. The CEO is David Taylor, whose net worth is 65.9 million dollars, and you can bet he doesn’t celebrate the individual orders that come in, like we do!

Three members of our team (from left): Maddy, Heather, and Liz!

8) Creates a more positive mindset

Choosing a product for your personal care that feels good, looks good, and is handmade with high-quality materials, can really add a positive ray of light to your monthly cycle! Many customers have told us that using our pads changes the way they think about their period, and our funky fabrics even make them look forward to their cycle, because they so enjoy using their favorite pads.

9) You can personalize your choices

People aren’t one-size-fits-all, and periods aren’t either. This can be a challenge when you’re shopping from boring, cookie-cutter choices… OR it can be an extra opportunity to enjoy choosing something that’s special just for you. We have 15 sizes (5 cloth pantyliner sizes and 10 cloth pad sizes), and beyond that, you can choose your own adjustable width by requesting an extra snap added, or including an extender in your order to make them wider. All of our fabrics are 100% cotton, and we offer that in our classic cotton material (smooth like a bedsheet), fuzzy flannel (cozy like pajamas), and also 100% certified organic cotton and flannel.

And have you taken a look at our fabric pattern choices?? OMG! We have a pattern for everybody, and we’re always adding new options, too! Astronauts, cupcakes, sailboats, avocadoes, flowers, polar bears, puzzle pieces, books… those are just a tiny handful of examples of the thousands of patterns we have offered over the years, in addition to classic solids, stripes, and polka dots! Our goal is for every shopper to be able to find a pattern that speaks to them, and that they’re excited about using! 

Just a smattering of examples of our diverse fabrics!

10) Always be prepared for your cycle

Remember all those times you started your period… but had zero period supplies at home? So, just as you were about to settle in for the night, you had to do an 11pm Target run to buy a bunch of disposables… that won’t prevent the same thing from happening again in the future? Now imagine NEVER having that experience again. Imagine how relaxed you would feel if you started bleeding, and could just cruise into the comfort of your own bathroom, grab a comfy, trustworthy pad, and snap it on and… voila! No trips to the store, no spending money, and no worries! Especially for folks who don’t live near any convenient stores, having all the supplies you need (for YEARS to come), will really pay off!

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