Recycle Less: Period Knickers Review. Pants or Drawers Keeper?

This edition is all about period knickers. 

In a time before modern sanitary towels and tampons, women had a choice of pads and tampons made from reusable rags, grass, sheep wool, rabbit fur, menstrual belts to hold pads of various kinds textiles in place. Modern disposable towels, pads and tampons have made our lives so much easier! As always with convenience comes a price normally at the cost of the environment. Parts of the sanitary product is plastic, the packaging plastic, the disposing of them, how do they magically disappear once in the rubbish, trash, sanitary bins? Which poor person has to deal with the disposing? Add there’s debate over the chemicals in the products if they’re good for our nether regions. 

Recently on the ladies sanitary market are period knickers. Think cotton nappies versus disposable nappies/diapers, the concept is the same. Instead of being single use, the disposing of it which can be tricky when out, buying new pads, tampons, all you have to do is rinse, wash, dry repeat with reduced environmental effect. I think this is something most girls want as let’s be honest periods can be expensive with period tax in some countries in addition to the general cost of them. The three number one issues regarding period knickers are: Do they leak? Do they smell? Will they be bulky? Or for me a least they are.

Thankfully a Primark visit earlier this year surprised me with period knickers that weren’t too expensive. I can’t remember how much I paid. I think around €12 for 3 pairs. One for night or heavier flow of 5 layers at the gusset holding up to 5 regular tampons or 24ml, 5 teaspoons. The other 2 pairs are 4 layers at the gusset for light to medium flows of 18ml, 4 teaspoons or 3 tampons. 

Are they bulky? Surprisingly no. The size was true to size and they’re actually quite comfortable in a I’m wearing big knickers way. Perhaps for me the waist band is the most bulky. It’s a thick elastic band. The gusset is a little thicker than regular knickers. You feel secure without the feeling of a bulky pad! Big girl pants! I do however get fed up of them after a few hours. That’s standard for any sanitary product.

Do they leak? I’m quite lucky, I have a light short flow (not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad get it checked) so the set of 3 is fine for me. I haven’t worn them out the house only at home. When I’m out I use a cup. This is mainly as I wear leggings, you get a VPL line with the bulkier knickers, I cycle as transport so things might leak more if you get me. So far I haven’t had any leaks directly. I did have a little leak one time working out at home but this is due to the gusset being quite wide, combined with an old pair of leggings a little accident happened. Apart from that no leaks. I like the night one, it’s thick enough without any leaks to get through the night. They don’t ride up, move, double up like can pads do. Like cups they can be worn for up to 10-12 hours depending on flow before changing.

Do they smell? Yes. They have the period smell. Not strong but yes. If using a cup no. 

The science in the gusset

Are they easy to wash? Yes! I usually rinse them out in the shower and then leave to dry on the washing line until laundry day unless it’s laundry day. The cotton is quite thick so they do take time to dry after rinsing as you can’t squeeze out all the water. They’ll last as long as a normal pair of cotton knickers depending on the water proof layers which sounds and feels after a few washes like a plastic liner. It doesn’t make a noise wearing them! Just when you feel the layers you notice it. If you have a heavy flow I’d recommend a few packs of pairs. 

Would I recommend! Yes! After many years of tampons and using a cup it is weird to be free flowing (cringe pun intended!) again. I’ve never liked pads but sometimes I wonder if wearing a cup for an extended period of time is good. With a cup you can go depending on your flow up to 12 hours before changing. If your flow’s light you can easily forget to change as with cups you can forget they’re there, going longer than 12 hours so I prefer a pad at night and now prefer period knickers at night. I think I was lucky that I found a set that’s good first time. I still prefer to use a cup out as they’re more convenient for me. No smell, no leaks 90% of the time, invisible, more comfortable to run, cycle, workout in. Period knickers are somewhere in between. Aside from production there’s little cost to the environment being a one off purchase until replacing like a cup. They’re 100% reusable like the cup unlike single use pads and tampons. They’re easy to ‘dispose’ of being washable and reusable with minimal environmental cost from the wearer. No sanitary product is 100% comfortable or effective. What works for one girl doesn’t work for another girl. A girl likes to have options and thankfully the more sustainable, zero waste girls have options depending on her mood, day.

Please share in the comments below about any sustainable sanitary brands! Thank you for stopping by!

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