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Different Types of Reusable Products for Menstrual Hygiene

There are so many reusable options today - menstrual cups, period panties, reusable pads. I even heard of a menstrual disc. I don’t know which one(s) to choose.
Reusable pads and menstrual cups appear to be the two options becoming more common. Some girls use both these options and some prefer one over the other. For youngsters, reusable cloth pads are the best recommended choice. Period panties tend to be expensive. Menstrual discs are new and time will tell us about their acceptability.
Why are women switching to reusable pads?
Switching to reusable pads is the choice many educated and well-informed girls and women are making today. All over the world, folks are becoming increasingly aware of the health risks and the environmental problems caused by disposable sanitary pads and are choosing reusable pads over disposable ones. Girls and women realize that it takes less time to wash a used pad as compared to shopping for disposable pads every month. Frankly, it has surprised us to see that large numbers of women making the switch. Many in their 20s, 30s and even 40s invest in a set of reusable pads. Our team conducts awareness sessions in schools, and it makes us really happy when teenagers choose reusable options over disposable pads. These smart youngsters understand that switching to reusable pads will ultimately help them save a lot of money as well.
What are reusable pantyliners ?
Pantyliners are used by several women during the regular days of the month to absorb the vaginal discharge. Just like women are shifting to washable cloth pads for menstrual hygiene, many women are adopting reusable and washable pantyliners instead of disposable ones. The reasons are the same – creation of less waste, saving money and no hazards to health. Please note that pantyliners are not meant to absorb menstrual flow, even on light-flow days.

Concerns about Reusable Pads

How do reusable menstrual pads work?
Reusable menstrual pads work in much the same way as disposable sanitary pads, with one major difference. After use, one washes a reusable pad and uses it again. Whereas, one throws away a disposable pad after one use. Most reusable pads are designed to be just as convenient as disposable pads. They need to be changed after a few hours just as one would change disposable pads.
I am concerned that reusable pads might leak.
Reusable pads are designed to be leak-proof. Saukhyam day and night bases have a leak-proof layer made of poly urethane material. Leakage is both a function of the product and the usage. If reusable pads are worn with an ill-fitting or a loose panty, the pad may shift and in spite of the leak proof layer, there may be a leakage.
I have heavy flow and am not sure that reusable pads will work for me.
If we make them work for us, reusable pads will certainly work for us. Saukhyam has custom pad packs for menstruators with heavy flow. Our night pads are 12” long and have 9 gm of banana fiber in them. They are 4” wide at the back side.
Reusable pads seem expensive to me.
Not if you do the math. Reusable pads can be used for a long time. Saukhyam pads last for at least 3 years. If you divide the price of a pad pack by 36 months, your per month expense would turn out to be a few rupees only. Contrast this with the amount you are currently spending every month for buying disposable sanitary napkins, which is likely to be much more.
The idea of touching blood soaked pads to wash them seems repulsive to me.
Lets try and understand periods one more time. During a particular month, because I did not get pregnant, the body does not need menstrual blood and hence lets it go. In this sense, it is a waste product. However, it is not like urine or feces. If I had become pregnant, the same blood would have nourished the fetus. Menstrual blood is neither impure, nor something repulsive.
My daughter goes to school. If she is the only one in her class using a wet bag, will she not feel squeamish ?
Perhaps not if we are able to explain all the pros of using reusables and the cons of using disposables. During a parent teacher meeting, ask if you can conduct an awareness workshop for reusable pads for the school girls and their teachers. We would be happy to share our material with you and one of our volunteers can even accompany you, if they are available.
The pads become hard after washing and using a few times.

True. Especially if you live in an area that has hard water, the pad might feel rough or hard. Ironing helps. The fabric of the pad feels soft again.

Some folks also like to soak the pads with washing (or baking) soda, and this helps the fabric become soft. Soaking the pads in water to which a few drops of lemon juice has been added or vinegar or even water in which neem leaves have been soaked overnight are other methods folks have successfully used.

Our panties become a little hard in the crotch area, isn’t it ? This is because of the vaginal discharge, which is a healthy vagina’s way of cleaning itself. Not only does the panty become hard and stiff, it also becomes discolored. The acidic nature of the vaginal discharge “bleaches” the colored panty.

But we continue using the panty, right ? We do not experience any great discomfort due to the fact that the panty is now a little stiff and discolored.

It is a similar story with our reusable pads. Over a period of time, they may become somewhat stiff or hard or rough, but that does not mean that they won’t be comfortable to use anymore. On the other hand, reusable pads help us have a much more wholesome period experience.

Are reusable pads hygienic ? I mean, we have always been told that using cloth is not hygienic.
That narrative is now changing. India notified ISO standards for reusable pads in 2021. As long as they are washed and dried properly, reusable menstrual pads are completely hygienic. Not only are they hygienic, they are safe for our bodies, unlike disposable sanitary napkins which often have chemical additives.
Are reusable menstrual pads comfortable?
In recent years, the number of reusable pad makers in India has grown significantly. There is increasing demand for these pads because they are in fact, perceived to be more comfortable than disposable pads. Disposable pads often cause rashes and reusable pads do not – this is a common refrain that we hear from Saukhyam sanitary pad users. The soft cotton material that Saukhyam Reusable Pads are made out of enables free air flow that prevents the growth of anaerobic bacteria that can cause irritation and rashes. Reusable pads are comfortable; hence menstruating women are making the shift in large numbers.

Saukhyam Compared to Other Reusable Pads

Why do you use banana fiber when all other reusable pad brands use cloth ?  
Banana fiber is a type of cellulose fiber and it has therapeutic qualities. There is much anecdotal evidence of girls getting relieved from painful period cramps after usage over a period of time. Banana fiber is obtained from agro-waste. Our pads use less cloth and have a lower carbon footprint.
Are Saukhyam pads better than other types of reusable pads? 
In India today there are 20-25 brands of reusable pads available on a platform such as Amazon. All are good. Saukhyam is a little different, that is all. Certainly reusable pads are better than all types of disposable pads.
Saukhyam pads are stiff, unlike other reusable pads.
That is right. They are stiff, but they are certainly not uncomfortable. They take the shape of our body and fit snugly when worn with a well-fitting panty. The period experience is far better when using reusables.

Using the Pads

How does one wear the pad?
Please see the video demonstrating the use of pads. The insert is tucked inside the base, which has a leak proof layer and wings that fold around your underwear and are secured with a button. Well-fitting underwear offers the best results.
How often should I change the pad?
For the most part, reusable pads can be changed just as often as you would change a disposable pad. That is, every 4-5 hours, depending on how heavy your flow is. When using the day pad base and insert together, this double-decker pad is meant to last for more numbers of hours. The night pad also offers protection for several hours.
When traveling, how do I manage using reusable pads?
One can manage just fine. The soiled pads can be kept in the wet bag (available with the super pack) to be washed and dried when you reach your destination. Some women hold the used pad under a running tap for a minute, squeeze out the blood and then put the wet pad in the wet bag to be stored until it can be washed later. Some others just fold the used pad and put it away in the wet bag. After every use, or at the end of the cycle, the wet bag can be washed.
How many reusable pads will I need for my monthly cycle?
We suggest buying our ready-made packs to have enough pads to comfortably go through the monthly cycle. The super pack and the value pack are popular and should be adequate for most users, depending of course on your flow type.
I have less cramps now after switching to reusables. How is that possible?
Several women do indeed state that their periods are less painful after making the shift to reusables. Zero exposure to chemicals and dioxins is certainly one factor. In the case of Saukhyam, please see this video testimonial of a long-term user, whose cramps reduced and other stressful symptoms vanished. People ask if reusable menstrual pads are better. This type of anecdotal evidence provides the answer.
When there is a heavy flow, does the pad feel wet?
The liquid gets absorbed into the inner layers of the banana fiber. Some clots might stay on the surface. If the pad starts to feel wet, it just means that it is time to change to a fresh one. Regular users report feeling less wetness and more comfort with cloth against their body as compared to sticky plastic pads.
How long do these reusable pads last?
A Saukhyam Reusable Pad can last 1-2 years, depending on the care it receives.

Pads for Different Needs

What type of washable cloth pads are good for medium flow?
The day pad would be the ideal choice. The Saukhyam day pad comes with straps which allow additional inserts to be added. Don’t want to use the inserts? Simply turn the straps so that they are on the back side. Most women and girls use the additional inserts during the heaviest flow days of the cycle. During the last couple of days, the day pad base alone might suffice.
I am a heavy bleeder. What kind of set is right for me?

We would recommend the Saukhyam Reusable Night pads ,if you have heavy flow. These offer protection for 6-8 hours and can be used during nights or during the day as well. These night pad bases have a leak-proof layer. Night pad inserts can be added for additional protection.

If you are ok with using pads that are slightly thicker, then the 3-fold pads are made especially for heavy bleeders. Otherwise, the day pad base and insert together is also adequate for most heavy bleeders. A set of 4 night pads is also available if these are preferred.

Would you recommend washable cloth pads for postpartum needs ?
Yes definitely. Postpartum bleeding may need to be managed for one month after delivery. Not only do disposable maternity pads create waste, they also have trace amounts of dioxins. If one is used to washable cloth pads then any of our heavy flow pads would be able to provide the new mother with wholesome postpartum period care.
There are many different types of Saukhyam Reusable Pads. Can you explain the differences between them?
There are pad packs for adults and for teenagers. The primary difference between these two is the size. The teen size pads are petite and more suitable for use by teenagers. In addition, there are several options for those with heavy flow. The amount of banana fiber is different for different pad types. All pad packs have a sufficient number of pieces that offer adequate protection and a hygienic means to manage menstruation. Please refer respective product pages for further details.

Washing and Drying

How does one wash and reuse the pad?
The pads can be washed either by hand or in the washing machine. First, soak the soiled pads in cold water for about 5 minutes. Or rinse under a tap. After this, wash the pads just like you would wash any of your other clothes, either by hand or machine. Make sure you hang up the pads to dry in sunlight or use a dryer. Once washed and dried, the pad is ready for use again. It is perfectly ok to use an iron during the rainy season if the pads are taking a little longer to dry. Some women get creative and use their hair dryers as well to dry their pads.
If I cannot wash my soiled pad immediately after use, what should I do?
You can use the wet bag (available with a super pack) to store soiled pads until they are ready to be washed. If you are not ok with the idea of folding a used pad and keeping it away for washing later, just hold it under a running tap for a minute or so and squeeze out all the blood. Then fold the wet but clean pad and keep it away for proper washing after returning home. Many who buy reusable pads at first use them only at home because they want to wash them immediately after use. However, several users who get used to the comfort offered by these pads figure out a way to use the pads at work or in school / college or even while traveling. On our team, almost all of us now are very comfortable using these pads even when we travel.

About Organisation

Who makes Saukhyam Reusable Pads?
As part of Embracing the World’s Amrita SeRVe (Self Reliant Village) project to help 101 villages throughout India achieve empowerment and sustainability, rural women across India are trained in the production of the eco-friendly Saukhyam Reusable Pads for distribution and sales throughout the world.
Where is Amrita SeRVe working?
Since its inception in 2013, Amrita SeRVe has supported its target communities in 20 states of India in successfully addressing a wide range of issues, ranging from literacy and food security to sustainable farming and empowering women. It is working in village clusters in the states of Andhra, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odhisa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Proceeds from the sales of Saukhyam Reusable Pads support various village developmental activities, including health and education programs for girls in the villages.
Do you organize awareness programs?
Yes, we conduct awareness sessions in schools, colleges and corporations. If you would like to schedule a session, please get in touch with us at