Are Reusable Period Products Safe?

23 December 2022

Yes, reusable period products are safe. When answering our pee and period advice questionnaire, customers have expressed their despair with many skin diseases and skin conditions that are exacerbated by their periods or bladder weakness combined with disposable pads and tampons - eczema, lichen sclerosis, vulvodynia, thrush, bacterial vaginosis to name a few!


I moved to reusable pads 12yrs ago after the birth of my third child. My skin suddenly couldn't cope with disposable pads and was irritated all the time. I switched and have not had a days trouble since!

Many of my washable period pads are still going strong from my first order. I rinse them, store in a box or wetbag, then wash alongside the rest of our washing. I've been using our Cheeky pant undies for two years now and find them as gentle as my cloth pads.


They are easy to wash and store, easy to transport when out and about meaning that you won't get caught short or need to dash to the shops before an exercise class or country walk! You can read about how they work and washing and care guides here.

All of our fabric dyes meet Oeko Tex 100, a globally recognised testing standard or are natural undyed fabric. This means that every element has been tested for harmful substances and has been found to be completely safe for skin contact. Customers can feel confident in the safety of our products.

Disposables have been found to contain endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogens. WEN writes that single use sanitary products can contain phthalates, bisphenols and pesticides that most brands aren't required to list.

Wikipedia says 'the main materials are usually bleached rayon (cellulose made from wood pulp), cotton and plastics. In addition, fragrance and antibacterial agents can be included. The plastic parts are the backsheet and polymer powder as an additional powerful absorbent (superabsorbent polymers) that turns into a gel when moistened.'

Are Reusable Pads Safe?

Yes reusable pads are safe to use both as incontinence products and reusable menstrual products. Whether you suffer with heavy flow days or stress incontinence, there's a reusable pad for your needs.

Cheeky reusable sanitary pads are designed in four different fabrics - cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, and charcoal bamboo. Cotton and bamboo leave a layer of natural fibres next to your skin, just like normal underwear and our charcoal pads have a top layer with bamboo and microfleece mix - great if you want to avoid stains.

Absorbent layers come next - either bamboo, cotton or microfibre. Next there is a waterproof TPU stay dry layer to prevent leaks (tested and certified clear of both PFOS and PFOA content found in some companies pants and pads) followed by an outer layer of black organic cotton, patterned plush or patterned cotton.


No sanitary pad - disposable or reusable - is sterile, and modern washing machines and detergents deal with any blood and pee so no bacteria or ammonia can build up. They can be washed along with your normal washing so no energy wasting extra loads are needed. Just avoid fabric softener and tumble dryers on that load!

Canesten Gynaecologist Dr Anne Henderson says  ‘Reusable sanitary pads are just as healthy and safe as disposable ones and women need not have any concerns in this regard, in terms of cleanliness. 'It is a myth that there is a need to kill bacteria on the pads as sanitary pads are not sterile, regardless of whether they are disposable or reusable. Simple hygienic cleaning is all that is required – nothing more complex than that.'

Washable pads are perfect for sensitive skin as they are made of natural fibres which are moisture wicking away into an absorbent core, whilst the area next to your skin stays dry. Cloth period and incontinence pads absorb urine / menstrual blood, protect sensitive skin and save you money almost straight away!


"Game changer.Fast delivery. I love these new pads, they hold so much! I am very heavy and would flood constantly the first two days of my period. Not now! I rinse them straight away in cold water and then soak them in a container until ready to wash. They come out lovely and clean no stains. So very pleased. Wish I started using them sooner." Hayley Nov '22 trustpilot

Are Period Underwear Safe?

Yes, period underwear is safe. Regularly changing your period pants, rinsing them and washing at 30 degrees will prevent bacteria building up in them. Changing every four to eight hours will keep you feeling and smelling fresh, prevent leaks and modern washing machines and detergents will keep them as good as new!

Hot water doesn't work well with blood, and washing at high temperatures may lead to stains - on your period undies or pads, or your bed sheets and clothes.

Washing in cold water or 30 degrees stops the proteins in blood setting as a stain. Giving a longer wash with your machine 3/4 full will ensure that the menstrual pants get agitated sufficiently to remove all blood, preventing bacteria from building up.


Hanging your washable pants to dry inside out on your washing line or in a warm ventilated room will ensure they dry quickly, ready to be worn again! Reusable period pants have natural fabrics next to your skin, this makes them cooler to wear and means your vulva is less likely to overheat as it can with the plastic of disposables, and leads to less chafing and irritation. 

Unlike the risk of bacterial infections from tampons you can’t get toxic shock syndrome from period panties because all reusable pants and washable pads period protection is external. Unlike tampons nothing enters the vaginal canal making for a breeding ground for staph.

You can wash period knickers with other clothes washing. As you have rinsed your pants clear of blood, they are fine to go in with ANY other washing that you have waiting, no need to wash alone and cause extra energy use.

I have been wearing period underwear and washing reusable period products alongside the families washing for 12 years with no issues and the family are none the wiser. You really can pop the kids uniform in with them! 

"Fantastic product, really wish hadn't left it so long to try! Also absolutely amazing for my 12 yr old. Such a great product for young girls especially at school. Period pants lovely fit, the inner part goes right up to waistband front and back, very secure! Really recommend" Karen Dec '22 trustpilot

Period undies are available in many different styles, from high waisted to pretty lacy panties. You'll need a couple of pairs of period underwear for each day of your period, depending how long your menstrual cycle is and how often your washer goes on.

Are Period Cups Safe?

Yes period cups are safe as long as they are emptied and rinsed regularly. They have a much lower chance of causing toxic shock syndrome than tampons as they are not made of absorbent rayon.

Although less likely, as it is an internal device, a menstrual cup can cause toxic shock syndrome. Silicone cups, compared to regular tampons, have a low risk and the menstrual cup would need to be inserted for an extended length of time - over 30hrs. Therefore TSS from a menstrual cup is unlikely as long as you remember to remove the cup at the end of your period. Washing your hands before inserting the cup will also help lessen your risk.

If you found this blog helpful you may like to read our blogs - 

The beginners guide to period undies

How to get period undies to last longer

Ultimate guide to postpartum undies

Do period undies smell?

As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...

About the Author:  Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!

Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.


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