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Using reusable pads for incontinence

clipart woman with knees crossed blue hair pink dress reusable pads for bladder incontinence

 

Did you know that an average wearer of disposable pads uses nearly 1100 per year?! Even at only 3 pads a day, these add up tremendously.  If someone is wearing them for 10 years, this is 11,000 paper and plastic pads thrown in the trash and building up in our overburdened landfills. Fortunately, there is a better way.

We say that one reusable pad will replace a minimum of 100 disposables, but in our experience, many women find they will get 250-300 uses out of each pad!

So, can I use cloth pads for incontinence?

Yes, you absolutely can. You can use them for light bladder leaks or for heavy incontinence.  It is all about choosing the right absorbency for you, which we'll cover later on.

Will they smell?

Reusable pads have a huge advantage here. Disposable pads contain super-absorbent gelling material, chemicals and fragrance intended to mask odours that, paradoxically, have an offensive smell of their own, particularly when wet. Cloth pads are just that - cloth, and are free of odours.  Most of the time, following a standard wash routine will keep them nice and fresh, but occasionally, they will need a very simple step to give them a little TLC. Read on!

How do you wash them?

When you remove a pad, you can rinse it or simply leave it in a container open to the air so the pads can breathe (this is really important), and toss them in with your regular wash and dry when ready to wash.  You can also hang them to dry if you prefer.  Sunshine, especially, is a terrific natural sanitizer and freshener. Occasionally, women will find that their pads start to hang onto a urine smell after washing. This has a very simple and economical fix.  Before washing a batch of pads, simple soak them in a tub of water with a tablespoon or so of baking soda for about 15 minutes.  This will neutralize the smell of urine. Wash and dry as usual.

Which ones should I start with?

Choosing the right reusable incontinence products is fairly straightforward.  We find that women are happiest with their pad stashes when they take time to build them up over time. This gives you a chance to see what is working well for you and what you need more of. We'd suggest starting with 2-4 pads in an absorbency you think will work for you. We have pads in light, moderate and heavy absorbency.

  • Light: If you experience light bladder leakage, like small dribbles or the occasional low-level sneeze pee, start by trying a couple of light absorbency pads.
  • Moderate: If you don't experience full emptying of your bladder, but you'd describe your incontinence as more than just light, we suggest starting with a moderate pad.
  • Heavy: If you typically experience a full emptying of your bladder or would otherwise describe your incontinence as heavy, start off with a heavy absorbency pad, probably in an extra-long length.  This usually covers most people, but occasionally, extremely heavy bladder incontinence may call for our super/postpartum pads.  These are a very large pad with a lot of coverage and a lot of absorbency.  The downside is that they can take a long time to dry, so we always suggest going with a heavy absorbency pad, if it will work for you.
Can I use pantyliners?

Weeeelllll...you can use them, but we'd like to point out that our reusable pantyliners are different from disposables, in that they don't have a waterproof backer. They are designed for daily freshness for women who like to use pantyliners, for very small amounts of thick-quality end-of-cycle menstrual flow or for just the teensiest dribbles of urine.  Mostly, we steer people toward our pads instead of liners for the extra insurance of the waterproof backer.

Will they show through clothing? Are they bulky?

Nope!  Thanks to lots of advances in fabric development, we think you'll find that reusable pads are trim and discreet.

The inside layer of our pads is a bamboo/organic cotton fleece that is highly absorbent. You can feel confident wearing them, even in leggings. 

I hope that information is helpful to you. Please reach out anytime if you need help choosing reusable pads for incontinence (or anything else!) via our contact form. We're here to help!

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