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fabulous pads for periods or incontinence

How Many Reusable Pads Will I Need?

How Many Reusable Pads Will I Need?

wicker basket with a variety of pretty colourful reusable pads alongside a washcloth, a rose gold razor and handmade soap

Because of individual preferences and differences, this a little bit like asking, "How many pairs of jeans will I need?"  That is something you will have to decide for yourself.  Some of us like to have just a few beloved pairs and some like to collect a whole closet full!  But, what it comes down to is that only one pad can be worn at a time, so we can generalize a bit.

First of all, it will depend on whether you are using your reusable pads for periods or whether you are just wanting washable incontinence pads.

Let's start with periods.

The Short Answer: To wash just once at the end of a cycle, you will probably eventually want about 12-18 pads/liners, in a variety of lengths and absorbencies.

The Long Answer: Let’s take a typical textbook cycle and make some assumptions.

  • Day 1: moderate flow
  • Day 2: heavy flow
  • Day 3: moderate to heavy flow
  • Days 4 and 5: light flow

Our textbook person gets up at 7am, goes to bed at 11pm and changes her pad every 5 hours she is awake, but every 6 hours on days 4 and 5.

  • Day 1:  She will use 4 moderate absorbency pads 
  • Day 2:  4 heavy absorbency pads
  • Day 3:  2 moderates and 2 heavies
  • Day 4:  3 light absorbency pads
  • Day 5:  3 light absorbency pads
  • Total: In this scenario, she has used 6 light absorbency pads, 6 moderate absorbency pads, and 6 heavy pads (including 1 extra-long for overnights) for 18 pads altogether. If she finds her period is dragging on a bit into day 6, she might go through a few liners on this day as well.

But, many people do not change their pad this many times and, of course, you are not necessarily average!  You might have a very different cycle with very different needs. 

As much as we'd love to sell you a whole whack of pads in one go, what we'd really love is for you to be a devoted reusable pad user for life and we find that people are happiest with their cloth pad stashes when they take time to build them up over several months, allowing them to fine-tune to their needs.

A great place to start is with one of our starter sets.  By far, our most common one is our Basic Starter Set.  This offers a sampling of several different pads and allows you to figure out what you like before making the investment in a whole bunch.

And, now let's talk about bladder leaks.

If you have experienced bladder incontinence for any length of time, you probably have a pretty good idea of how often you prefer to change your pad.  You should be able to change your washable pad about as often as you did your disposables. The key is to choose an absorbency that works well for you.  Then, it is simply a matter of a little math to multiply this number by how many days you'd like to go before washing.  So, if you have occasional dribbles or sneeze pees, and change your pad twice a day, you'll probably want light absorbency pads.  If you want to wash once a week, you'll need 14 pads (plus 2 insurance ones) for a total of 16. Maybe you only use one pad a day and want to wash every 4 days? That's 4 (plus one for insurance) for a total of 5 pads.

Your formula is: number of pads used each day x number of days between washing + 1-2 pads for insurance = total of pads needed

To make it easy for you, we suggest beginning with our Single Absorbency Starter Set. This is a set of 4 pads, in the absorbency and length of your choice. Still unsure of which one to choose?  Check out our guide, How to Choose Reusable Pads.

Questions?  Please use the contact form to ask away.  We are always here to help!