Hannahpad is one of my latest yet very unexpected “coup-de-foudre” (crush) – quite an un-sexy one, but a crush all the same!

Hannahpad provides washable sanitary pads (cloth pads) made with a certified organic top cotton sheet – an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to conventional pads. I met the owner Jenny at an organic show and she kindly offered to send me a few samples to review.

The first time I talked to my friends about cloth pads, they had a mix of reactions which could be summarized by saying they were not enthusiastic about washing their sanitary pads every month. Honestly, it was one of my apprehensions as well. I thought washing the pads would be time-consuming (and I had no idea how to wash them), plus that it would be gross and well… definitely “not sexy”.

But the first time I used the pads, I actually found out that the washing part was very easy and not gross at all, plus I loved how comfortable they were! But before I talk more about cloth pads and how to use and wash them, let me explain why using washable pads made with organic cotton is good for you and our dear planet Earth.

Why you should use pads made with organic cotton

Why you should use 100% organic cotton pads

What are conventional menstrual products made of?

Conventional disposable menstrual products are usually made of a combination of plastics, cotton, synthetic fibres, wood pulp and fragrances. 1

The use of plastic and synthetic fibres raises serious health concerns:

  • It restricts air flow and trap heat and dampness, potentially promoting yeast and bacteria growth in the vaginal area.  2
  • Highly absorbent fibres (like rayon) used in tampons rapidly absorbs menstrual blood but at the same time can also dry out the natural protective mucous lining of the vagina. They can also amplify toxin production, which is associated with the toxic shock syndrome. 3
  • Phthalates, which give paper tampon applicators a smooth finish, can deregulate gene expression.  2

Conventional disposable menstrual products are also often bleached white with chlorine dioxide. This process produces dioxin, which has been recognised as a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing agent) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization. According to the EPA, dioxins are one of the most potent probable carcinogens yet tested  and people with high levels of exposure to dioxins may be at risk for other noncancer effects that “could suppress the immune system, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, reduce fertility, and interfere with fetal and childhood development”.  3 The effects of dioxin are cumulative and the chemical may stay in the body for decades after exposure. 3

Why choose organic cotton?

Non-organic sanitary products are made from cotton that was sprayed with chemical pesticides (cotton accounts for 16 percent of global chemical pesticide use, more than any other single crop 7). Pesticides destroy biodiversity and cause potentially lethal pesticide poisoning in cotton workers (check out my latest articles on pesticides for more information).

3 Reasons Why you should use organic cotton pads

What are your options if you wish to stop using conventional pads?

As the skin around the vagina is highly vascular and very permeable to a wide range of compounds, more and more women are starting to switch from conventional disposable menstrual products to healthier options. These include:

  • Disposable 100% Organic Cotton Pads
  • Menstrual Cups
  • Washable Pads (Cloth Pads) made with Certified Organic Cotton , like Hannahpad.

While this last option is not very trendy in Western Countries, it’s actually very popular in Korea and Japan. Hannahpad, for instance, have 2 shops in Seoul just selling washable cotton pads.

Disposable versus washable pads

Washable pads were used by our grandmother and it may look like a step back to think about using them again. The main reason why washable cloth pads are back (in an improved version) is because of the waste generated by disposable pads. To give you a few figures:

  • In her lifetime, one woman uses an average of 10,000 pads and tampons. 8
  • Every day in the US, three million pads and tampons are flushed into rivers and oceans. 8 In 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline. 10
  • It can take 500 to 800 years for a disposable sanitary pad to decompose. 1

Many bloggers have also mentioned that by using reusable cloth pads, they have reduced to nil their severe menstrual cramping. That wasn’t the case with me, but cramping in my case can lead to epilepsy and is actually linked to other factors (not just having my period). So if you suffer from severe cramping, you may want to give reusable cloth pads a try.

Washable pads are also a more cost-effective solution and cost less in the long run.

Now, cloth pads may not be for you if:

  • You hate having your period and it’s not a topic you like to talk or think about – you just want to go through it with as little hassle as possible.
  • You cannot commit 5 minutes of your day to wash them.
  • You never wear pads and find using pads can be uncomfortable.

Washable pads may be for you if:

  • You are willing to take a risk and try something new.
  • Reducing waste and protecting the environment is important to you.
  • You suffer from menstrual cramps and want to try a healthier option.
  • You are willing to save some money on the monthly cost of buying menstrual products.

3 reasons to switch to washable cotton pads

Feedback on Hannahpad

Hannahpad review

I have had my period twice since receiving the samples and have worn the pads each time. I have also tried different methods to wash them.

Textile and overall product quality

Hannahpad colourful padsHannahpad  cloth pads are made with a 100% certified organic cotton top layer, and unbleached and non-dyed internal cotton layers (97% of the product). The organic cotton is harvested in India (under strict organic and fair work standards) and the pads are manufactured in Korea. The external waterproof coating (3% of the product) is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (a type of plastic used in the medical industry for advanced medical and healthcare products). Colorful Korean patterns are printed on the back of the pads – I personally love the Korean style but this is obviously a question of taste.

All sets of pads come with plastic bags to keep the pads in a handbag during the day, which I find really useful.

In terms of thickness, the Hannahpad cloth pads are similar to disposable pads.

They are reusable for 2 to 3 years.

Comfort and effectiveness

Hannahpad padsFinding out how to wear the pads was easy: the smooth side of the pad goes against the skin, and the wings wrap around the crotch of the underwear to snap together.

When Jenny from Hannahpad sent me samples for review, she included a few extras so that a friend of mine could also try them.

My friend and I both found the cloth pads very comfortable and soft. We liked the fact that they were incredibly more absorbent than conventional pads (which is great for heavy flows), plus they stayed in place (no ruined underwear). However, we would not recommend wearing boy leg underwear as it may be difficult to snap the wings together.

Practicality

  • washing

Cloth pads are actually easier to clean than I thought. I followed the steps recommended by Hannahpad:

  • Place used pads under running cold water
  • Add washing detergent onto the pads and rub them
  • Fold pads in half and soak them in cold water for minimum 3 hours to 12 hours
  • Machine wash or hand wash the pads

Hannahpad carry bagsWhen I was not home and obviously could not rinse the cloth pads straight away, I simply put them in the small plastic bags provided by Hannahpad. Once the pads are folded, it’s impossible to see that they have been used.

Washing the pads only takes 5 minutes of the day (rinse pads and put to soak/or in the washing machine), but it has to be done properly, following the steps recommended by the company.

Even if it’s not possible to rinse the pads for a few days, it’s possible to remove all the stains by increasing soaking time over 12 hours. If you are wondering, the soaking is not gross at all: no red bloody water – the water looks clean since the pads are folded in half. But for sanitary purposes, it is recommended to change the water every 12 hours.

After soaking, I would usually check if the cloth pads were clean. If not, I would change the water and leave them to soak again for 12 hours.

I have tried putting the pads straight into the machine but it does not work: the “soaking step” is mandatory.

  • Drying

Cloth pads also take time to dry, up to 2 days for large sizes, which may be inconvenient for frequent travelers.

It’s recommended not to tumble dry cloth pads, which means they have to be left to dry somewhere in the house or in the garden. After my first wash, I realised something I had not anticipated: I did not know how my partner was going to react when seeing all these pads (un-stained and perfectly clean, let me reassure you!) hanging on the clothesline. It turns out he wasn’t uncomfortable at all but not all men may feel this way, so I recommend having a discussion with members of the household or at least your partner before committing to using washable pads. If however you feel that you or somebody in the household would be uncomfortable, you can buy a $5 AUD laundry rack and place it in a different room of the house.laundry rackPersonally, I believe it’s actually an important discussion to have. When I think about it, feeling shame that we lose blood every month is just not right, and men should support their ladies during that time, not feel disgusted about it. After all, babies are not only the result of an act of love between two people. Women’s bodies prepare themselves for years for the purpose of creating life, and having our periods should be acknowledged as part of this beautiful process.

Ok, that being said, back to Hannahpad now ^^

Customer service

The company offers an amazing customer service. When preparing this review, I sent a few emails to Jenny who replied with all the information I needed, sometimes at 1am in the morning! I also love their care in packaging the pads with recycled Kraft paper, cotton ribbon and a thank you note.Hannahpad customer service

Prices

In terms of prices, Hannapad cloth pads can be used for at least 2 years. A medium set costs $84.80 AUD, plus soap is $5 AUD. Assuming you’ll need to buy soap twice a year, the cost of the pads is equivalent to $4.36 AUD per month. For comparison purposes, a box of disposable organic cotton medium pads costs $7.95 AUD (brand: TOM Organics).

So using washable pads is actually pretty cheap on the long-term, however the upfront cost plus the fact of never having used that type of pads before may still play a big role in buying decisions. If you are interested in trying cloth pads but not quite ready to commit, I would advise to buy either one pad or a small box and give it a go.  Hannahpad also run frequent promotions on their website.

Final thoughts

Strangely enough, by wearing, folding, carrying and washing the pads, I felt like I was acknowledging my femininity more. For most women, having our period is an inconvenience that prevents us from doing things as comfortably as men do:  we feel down, it’s often painful and exercising or traveling becomes trickier. We use tampons and sometimes don’t realize that they hide the fact that we are indeed losing blood. Having our period is often unwanted, hidden.

But by taking care of myself during that time and using the washable pads, I came to accept this inconvenience as part of something that just “is”, just like I was born with green eyes and white skin. I was born with the ability to conceive, with hormones that allow that to happen and having my period is just part of that whole process.

I really didn’t expect that result and am very grateful to Hannahpad for making it possible for me to try their cloth pads.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know via the comments below or email: lily@mademoiselleorganic.com For orders or more information on the pads, you can also check Hannahpad’s website in Australia. And for a list of countries where the pads are available, please check Hannahpad’s brand page on the blog.

Keep well ^^

Lily

 

HannahPad Review
8.4 My Score
Pros
  • Eco-friendly and healthy alternative
  • 100% certified organic cotton top sheet, internal layers made of unbleached and non-dyed cotton (97% of total product)
  • Lovely design and recyclable packaging
  • Plastic bags to carry the pads when not home
  • Very absorbent (no leakage)
  • Cost-effective (but high upfront cost)
  • Empowering
Cons
  • Not recommended with boy leg underwear
  • Not all cotton is organic
  • Washing: easy but need to follow steps
  • Drying: no tumble dry, long drying time
  • Unfamiliar product
Summary
A very high-quality product, which I recommend if you are willing to try something new and better for your health and the environment.
Quality
Comfort
Practicality
Customer service
Price

 

 

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Disclaimer:  Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only.  All brand and product information and details are according to information received from the company or the company’s website. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. For information on how to use this site, please read my Blog Policy page.

Sources:

  1. Margie BUTTRISS, sexual educator, “Parting the Red Sea – Part two”, http://husheducation.com.au/parting-the-red-sea-part-two-2/
  2. Dr Mercola, May 22, 2013, “Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients”, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/22/feminine-hygiene-products.aspx
  3. American Congress Bill, 2011, 2012,”H.R.2332 – Robin Danielson Act”, https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2332/text
  4. Dr Mercola, May 22, 2013, “Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients”, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/22/feminine-hygiene-products.aspx
  5. American Congress Bill, 2011, 2012,”H.R.2332 – Robin Danielson Act”, https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2332/text
  6. American Congress Bill, 2011, 2012,”H.R.2332 – Robin Danielson Act”, https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2332/text
  7. Institute of Science in Society, March 15, 2007, “Picking Cotton Carefully”, http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Picking_Cotton_Carefully.php
  8. The media education foundation. A film by Diana Fabianova, study guide by Jason Young, “RED MOON Menstruation, Culture & the Politics of Gender”, http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/240/studyguide_240.pdf
  9. The media education foundation. A film by Diana Fabianova, study guide by Jason Young, “RED MOON Menstruation, Culture & the Politics of Gender”, http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/240/studyguide_240.pdf
  10. Women’s Environmental Network, “Environmenstrual”, http://www.wen.org.uk/environmenstrual/
  11. Margie BUTTRISS, sexual educator, “Parting the Red Sea – Part two”, http://husheducation.com.au/parting-the-red-sea-part-two-2/

11 thoughts on “Hannahpad Review (And Why You Should Use Pads made with Certified Organic Cotton)

  1. Gwen says:

    Great story! Thank you for that. I understand what you say about ‘hiding’ our menstrual cycle. I started using a LadyComp about 8 months ago and also loved how it helps me to understand my body better and really connect with myself and my cycle.

    • Lily says:

      Hi Gwen^^ Thanks for your comment, I’m so glad you liked the article! I had never heard of LadyComp before but just had a look at their website and it seems like a great tool ❤ If you are interested in the topic of “hiding” and “shame” around periods, you may like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWwmhNWvhno ^^

  2. Toni C says:

    I’ve entered the giveaway but it says I have 0 entries. Is there a way to know for sure if I’m in the running? I would love a set of these ?

    • Lily says:

      Hi Toni ^^ I think it’s because you haven’t confirmed your entry yet. You should have received an email and if you click on the link in the email, it should re-direct you to the contest page and say “you have 1 entry” 🙂 Please let me know if it doesn’t work ?Thanks for entering the giveaway, have a lovely evening! ?

  3. Maiko says:

    Hi. I am really curious, how about if you’re outside and you need to change but the only option you have is go to a public washroom and obviously it will be hard to wash it in the sink infront of others. So what’s your advice? I really want to try this one im just not reallg sure about the changing when im outside. Thank you!

    • Lily says:

      Hi Maiko, when you are outside you just need to fold the pads and put them in a zipped plastic bag like the one you can see on one of the photos ? The plastic bags are free and Hannahpad sends them with every order ^^ Because the pads are folded, it’s impossible to see that they have been used. When you get home, you simply rinse them thoroughly and then put soap on them and leave them in cold water. The longer you wait before rinsing the pads, the more time you’ll need to leave them in water. I’m very lazy and usually only rinse and wash my pads in the evening, and I always manage to get all the stains gone ^^

  4. Nat says:

    What an amazing review! Thank you for answering all the questions I had and I loved your thoughts on periods and how we shouldn’t let it make us feel shameful.
    ❤️

    • Lily says:

      Hi Meduline, thanks very much for letting me know! Hannahpad changed their website so that’s probably why the code doesn’t work anymore. They are having a sale at the moment, 30% off, if you’d like to try them 🙂

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