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Let’s talk pants

Saving-the-world-one-pair-at-a-time-reusable-period-pants to be precise. And no, you don’t have to wear them on the outside of your leggings to be the hero in this story.

Imagine a world where you wake up and don’t have to rummage around the bathroom drawers for that last tampon you know must be hiding in there. A world where there’s no need to panic about whether there’s a bin in the bathroom whenever you visit friends. Or what about not having to find a bathroom every four hours? Sounds like science fiction, right?

Enter period-proof underwear. Over the past couple of years there has been an influx of brands bringing innovation to the humble knicker. Many of the pants range from light to heavy absorbency levels and can hold around 20ml of blood (that’s two tampons worth to me and you) just check that you have the correct absorbency for your flow as Zero Waste Scotland team member Amy discovered when she tested out the pant recently - read Amy's story here.

Period pants are moisture-wicking, odour-controlling, super absorbent and leak-resistant. Though we can’t promise there won’t be a few trips to the loo just to check the first couple of times you use them.  

Why period pants are pretty awesome...

  • Convenience of not having to change them throughout the day.
  • Really comfy for bedtime!
  • Hygienic – antimicrobial fibres and moisture-wicking technology neutralises odours and bacteria
  • Can be mix and matched with other reusable products – wear with a cup for extra peace of mind or use your cup on heavier days and keep your pants for towards the end of your period
  • Easy to use – just rinse in cold water, then most brands suggest machine washing at 30 degrees and line drying
  • Environmental – reports suggest that around 35-47% of all menstrual products are flushed each year, with Marine Conservation data showing that for every 100m of beach in the UK, there are 4.8 pieces of discarded period products
How do these work?

You wear planet-loving period pants like any regular pair of pants. They have an absorbent lining that absorbs menstrual blood. The breathable and super absorbent material means they keep the moisture away from your skin so you feel dry and fresh all day.

How often do I change them?

This is entirely dependent on your flow; typically period pants can take up to two times the menstrual blood of regular tampons. If you have a heavy flow, you may want to carry around a spare pair  - just pop the used pair in a waterproof bag.

Where can I get them?

You can get various types of pants from different retailers online, have a look and try one that works for you.

How do I wash them?

Period pants can be hand or machine washed. If you soak them before in cold water, this helps reduce any staining. However, if you don’t have the time to soak them, don’t worry – just give them a rinse under the cold tap. You can pop them in the machine with the rest of your washing, some people like to put them in a wash bag.

How long do they last?

The life span of period pants can vary greatly depending on the care you give them. Generally, they can last up to two years.

How many pairs do I need?

It’s entirely up to you and whether you intend to opt for a pants-only approach to your period, or whether you wish to go for a mix, say wearing pads for day and pants for night.  Some people also change their product depending on what they have in the diary that day. It is handy to have at least acouple of pairs to make sure you are always experiencing a comfortable and hygienic period.  Many packs come in multipacks of five for better value. 

Can they really hold a day’s worth of blood?

Absolutely! For some people, period pants will only need to be changed once a day. If you are someone that experiences a heavier period, you could wear them in conjunction with a menstrual cup for a more sustainable period.

Will they leak onto my clothes?

Pants can hold two times the amount of menstrual blood than tampons, so as long as you change them when you need to (like disposable tampons), there will be no leakage.

Do they feel damp?

No, as long as you change them after a heavy or prolonged flow during your period, the pants will feel comfortable.

What are pants made of?

Pants will most likely be made from cotton or a small amount contain bamboo fibre.

Some brands of period underwear may also contain chemicals called PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances). 

How do I dispose of my pants?

At the end of their lives, pants should be disposed in the general waste bin. Using reusable pants cuts down on the amount of disposable sanitary products that end up in landfill or flushed down the loo.  

Looking for something else?

Menstrual cup
Reusable cloth pads