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Reusable Sanitary Pads Too Dirty to Wash?! They Smell

20 Oct 2020

A major difference between reusable sanitary pads or moon cup and disposable sanitary pads is reusable sanitary pads or moon cup are to be washed after use. Some may have concerns about the wash part, including men. Yet, you will wash panty with spots, smelly sportswear or soiled clothes and bedsheet but not throw them right away. 

Periods are dirty?!

“Periods are different. They are dirty!" This is a common perception about period in many cultures. What if you bleed after you cut yourself accidentally? Do you think the blood is dirty? Probably not and guess you feel painful instead. You will also get worried if bleeding does not stop. One of the reasons why menstruation is considered dirty may be because it comes out from your body regularly in a similar way as urine or poo. In addition, menstruation usually makes you feel inconvenient, shameful and embarrassed to mention, and sanitary pads need to be hidden from others, let alone bringing the used pads home to wash. Period is stigmatized in most society since historical times. Relating dirtiness and bad luck to menstruation maintains a patriarchal society keeping women subordinated to men. Moreover, menstruation indicates the start of female reproductive life through sexual behaviors while sex is usually a taboo and hence menstruation is usually not something to discuss publicly. It would be worthwhile to understand what is menstruation before we conclude menstruation is dirty. 

Why Used Pad Smell

You ovulate one egg per month, usually. Once the egg reaches maturation, it breaks free from the ovary and begins on its journey down the Fallopian tubes. At the same time, hormones of your body changes which cause the lining of the uterus to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach to and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks down and is shed as menstrual flow. Therefore, menses is not rejected body fluids or waste and not something "dirty blood".


All disposable sanitary products have to be changed regularly, otherwise you are much more prone to develop rashes and vaginal infections. Bad odor is not uncommon when you change pads and it is very embarrassing. Does it imply that menstrual blood is full of bacteria? In fact, the blood itself contain tissues without bacteria. It will wash away the bacteria inside cervix and vagina and only start to smell when the blood gets in contact with oxygen. Disposable pads create a humid environment for bacteria to grow tremendously due to its plastic material. That is why it usually smells when you change pads every time and smell become stronger if not change often.


If you are healthy without any inflammation or infection, the reusable pads would not be smelly even you change after sleeping for the whole night, or at most a bit of bloody smell. It is because reusable pads do not have any plastic and very breathable. Lovely Cotton reusable pads can be placed inside a waterproof pouch after use and have no smell at all when you take them out after all day long. No one will ever notice you are carrying used pads with you!