Switching to washable sanitary pads and how to take care of it- Zero Waste Philippines

Zero Waste PH blogger Teresa Gueco switched to washable sanitary pads

I ditched disposable sanitary napkin and switched to washable clothe pad

When I decided to shift into a washable sanitary clothe pad I was scared big time, like I was having my first period. I am not sure what to feel and I wonder if I can pull it off. After I decided to finally give it a go, it took me months of research and reading through forums before finally buying a set of washable sanitary clothe pad.

Growing up in the Philippines, we are accustomed to our mother and sisters asking us to buy a ‘napkin’, as we normally call it, at the closest sari-sari store near our own houses. It is a monthly recurrence and it’s a normal thing to do. 

I feel like I speak for a lot of Filipina when I say that we often hear our elders talk about how lucky our generation is because they only have ‘pasador’ during their times, a pasador is a clothe linen used as extra protection for their underpants whenever they have their period. A pasador is technically a sanitary napkin of their generation and a lot similar to the washable sanitary clothe pad we have today.

To be honest, whenever Lola tells us that story I cannot imagine myself going through that kind of thing. My younger self is a bit disgusted by the fact that it seems not hygienic and takes a lot of work. With disposable, you just have to put it in the trash and you are good to go.

Back then, I cannot imagine myself using pasador going out. What if I stain my clothes, what if I need to pee? I have a lot of questions that I eventually stop asking while thanking the fact that I belong to the generation full of options and choices. Those options and choices can be seen just by picking out the variant of disposable sanitary pads in the market according to flow type and base material. We have cotton, dry net, non-wings, and with wings, is it for the day, or is it for the night? So it’s not a shocker whenever you ask a male to buy you one and ended up picking the wrong variant.

The first hygienic shift I did as a zero-waste advocate here in the Philippines is choosing Bamboo Toothbrush over the traditional plastic toothbrush. The fact that we change our toothbrush every 2-3 months is enough reason to take the leap, just imagine all the produced toothbrush is still on Earth right now! So please, switch. As I’ve always said, one switch can make a difference.

Anyway, after more than a year of using a bamboo toothbrush, I decided to finally let go of disposable sanitary pads as well. A scary leap at that.


There are a lot of sellers out there that offer washable sanitary clothe pad in the Philippines, there are Facebook Market, online sites, and selling platforms like Shopee and Lazada.

In my case, I opted to buy from Shopee when a product went on their flash sale promo. The shop where I bought mine has a different washable clothe pad set for the different types of flows and I chose the one for heavy flow.

Whenever I buy disposable sanitary pads I always buy the night and with wings variant because I am always conscious and I always worry that I might stain my clothes. So regardless of the day and type of flow that I have, I normally use the night variant even though it’s more expensive than the other variant for other flow types.

I decided to buy from Shopee because it was a deal and the reviews are all good.  Maybe some are wondering if it’s safe since it will be used on a private and delicate part of our body, for me, I feel like it’s okay to buy from regular shops or small businesses. If you prefer buying from well-known brands, then it’s perfectly okay. Go ahead if that what makes you sleep at night, then do as you please.

Switch to washable sanitary pads
Washable sanitary pad snap button locks.

Personally, I just prefer buying washable sanitary clothe pad from regular shops since technically, back in the days, people use ordinary clothe as pasador. It’s like buying your undergarments, it doesn’t matter what brand as long as it is quality and does its work.

This kind of point-of-view and has to change when buying a menstrual cup. Since it will be inserted inside your body, you have to make sure that the product you are using is really made out of medical-grade silicone to avoid irritations.

If you are near Tarlac City, check Point Zero for zero-waste products. 


So my order arrived a few days after my menstruation cycle was over of the said month so it was a bummer since I have to wait for another month or so.

At first, I was shocked since they were big, bigger than the heavy flow disposable sanitary pad that I normally use. For a moment I was worried it won’t fit with my undergarments. Lol

The first concern I had was the fit and how it will stay still on its place while I’m wearing it since it doesn’t have the sticky side that we normally see on a disposable sanitary pad. In disposable sanitary pad the sticky side helps the pad to stay still and since the washable one doesn’t have any, and the fact that the back part is big, I was worried that it might be displaced sideward.

Also, I was worried about its absorbency since I tried a pouring test like the one we see on commercials and it stayed damp for a long time. Some women are very particular with it so it can be a no-go for them.

Switch to washable pads
The back part of a washable sanitary pad without adhesive.


The pads are absorbent!

The fault of the water pour test is on me. I got excited and lost my patience that I forgot to take into consideration the intervals and amount of water that I pour while doing the test.

Life blogger Teresa Gueco
Water absorbency test.

It actually feels comfortable, like I’m just using another layer of undergarments.

I love how it doesn’t build clumps like a disposable sanitary pad- a major pet peeve for me since once there’s a clump, the pad started to stick with its new form which displaces it.

I don’t know how it works but the back part sticks without an adhesive. It actually amazes me because at first, I was very careful with my movements but later on I was as carefree as I can be.

I can honestly say that it fits me really well and the only thing that I think will throw you out of it is the fact that it is high maintenance in terms of cleaning.

With disposable sanitary pads, you can just discard it every after use but with this, you have to make sure that it is washed thoroughly and that might gross someone. For me, it’s not a big deal since we’ve been taught to wash (take note on the wash, it’s not flush) or run some water over our used pads to lessen the odor once we put it in the trash bins. So washing my new sanitary pads is not a deal-breaker.


As I’ve said earlier, I personally don’t feel like it’s wise to get the most expensive brand out there because what’s more important is the way you clean and take care of the pads.

Yes, it’s really high maintenance because you have to thoroughly clean and disinfect your pads every after use but you’ll get the hang of it.

What I do with my pads every after use is to clean it with a cleaning agent, it doesn’t matter what brand, as long as it can clean and make sure that there’s no more blood residue in it and I wash it with my bare hands.

Once it’s squeaky clean, I soak it with warm water with a little bit of salt for disinfection for a few minutes. After that, I rinse with clean water and let it dry.

It’s actually easy to clean, but you have to remember not to use bleach and fabric conditioner. I repeat, DO NOT BLEACH IT AND DO NOT USE FABRIC CONDITIONER. 

It won’t necessarily hurt your skin and give you a burning sensation, it’s just that it doesn’t help with our PH balance so do not bleach and do not use fabric conditioner with your undergarments as well.

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