This Is What It’s Like To Wear Washable, Reusable Pads On Your Period


Susan Barrett |

Photography by Agata Pec at Hearst Studios

See ‘ya later, tampons!

We tested washable, reusable pads to see how they worked. Here’s what happened…

The reasoning behind reusable pads

Nobody ever said they enjoy their period. But have you ever stopped to think about what girls in poverty-stricken areas do when they get theirs?

Besides a lack of access to sanitary wear, what little money they have goes to the essentials, like food. So of the 9 000 000 girls in South Africa between the ages of 13 and 19, the school-going age of menstruating women, a fairly large number of them are left with two less-than-desirable options when they get their period:

They could try one of these methods: packets tied around the body filled with sand and leaves, waste paper, newspaper, old cloths, rags, or previously soiled and dried sanitary pads (if they have any) – these might not always their own.

Or they could just spare themselves the shame and pain and skip school that week. That’s one week every month. Subsequently, their education is hindered by 25 percent, which is a massive setback. It also puts them at a clear disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts – and women deserve better.

And that’s where great initiatives like menstrual cups and Subz Washable Pads and Panties play such a vital role.

A WH staffer tested Subz Reusable Pads And Panties

At first glance…

“I’d promised myself that, the next time a period struck, I’d take these babies for a spin. But, looking at them, I was a little concerned that they’d feel bulky – especially since I’m a super-fan of leggings and pretty much live in my workout tights (she says, praying that ‘athleisure’ lives on and on and on…)”

“I also wondered about the comfort factor, since, if I do wear pads, I stick to those paper-thin varieties you pay a mint for…”

Putting them on…

“Attaching the pad to the panties involves nothing more than a simple press-stud or popper mechanism. I stole a glimpse of myself in the mirror – it looked like I was wearing a regular pair of broekies!”

Giving them a go…

“They were comfy. Like, super-comfy! In fact, I think I’d forgotten I was even wearing them a minute later. Throughout the day, the only time I remembered I had them on was when I went for a wee and was, like, Oh hello. They didn’t budge. They didn’t cause the slightest discomfort. I could definitely wear leggings with no-one the wiser as to what was going on down there. They were super-absorbent – no wetness or odour. Also, what I really loved was that they’re black, so you don’t even see the blood. I have gore issues…”

The night test…

“Day two is my strongest day. And the longest night… So I was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find zero spillage. I’m also a mega sleep-fidgeter – but the pad didn’t shift position. Success.”

The clean-up…

“This was the part I wasn’t really looking forward to, but a quick scrub with regular washing powder in the bathroom sink, plus a short soak while I occupied myself with other things, then another scrub and they were clean. Bonus: They dry fast too.”

Final word?

“Impressed.”

How you can help underprivileged girls

The Subz Washable Pads And Panties come in three different pack sizes: SUBZ1: 1x panty and 3x reusable pads (R80 per pack), SUBZ2: 2x panty and 6x reusable pads (R150 per pack) and SUBZ3: 3x panty and 9x reusable pads (R220 per pack). All come with ziploc bags for hygiene purposes. The SUBZ2 pack will last a girl three years, while SUBZ3 should last five years. You can also opt for self-clipping pads, which clip directly round a girl’s own underwear – these cost R20 per pad. (Note: They can also be used for mild incontinence.)

The pads are hypo-allergenic, 100 percent sustainable and eco-friendly. Love.

Visit subzpads.co.za and click on the donate button. Or simply check out the site to find out other ways you can get involved.

Want more news on this pressing issue? Did you know that KZN is the first province in South Africa to offer free sanitary pads to schoolgirls?

READ MORE ON: Health Health Advice Menstruation Periods

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