Why use cloth pads? There are many reasons. Let’s take a quick look at why they are the superior choice when it comes to period products.

Cloth pads are: 

  • more absorbent than disposable pads, due to their inner core layers which are specifically engineered to soak up liquid
  • made to last. We choose to turn and topstitch the edges of our pads rather than simply serging/overlocking, making them more durable than both disposables and other cloth pads 
  • super comfortable. Made from natural and super soft fabrics, our pads feel just like your most comfy pair of underwear
  • free of chemicals, artificial fragrances, and adhesives
  • made from breathable and naturally antibacterial fabrics which don’t emit or hold unnatural odours
  • less likely to cause skin irritation
  • easy to use, easy to wash
  • ideal companions to use with silicone cups for a comfortable and waste-free period 
  • helping to save the planet 
  • more affordable than other options (when compared over a long period of time)
  • mood enhancing! Our bold patterns and colours will brighten up any grey day
why cloth pads
cup and pad

Kind to your body

kind to your body

Probably the first thing you’ll notice when using cloth pads is how comfortable they are and how good they feel against your skin. But the good news doesn’t stop there.

kind on skin

Cloth pads are also:

  • suitable for people with sensitive skin
  • less likely to cause irritations and infections
  • a safe option to use postpartum (when cups and tampons are not advised)
  • ideal to use during and after a yeast infection
  • free from chemicals, artificial fragrances, adhesives, and other harmful substances (disposable pads for example are usually bleached white)
  • associated with lessening the severity and regularity of menstrual problems caused by plastics and chemicals used in disposable pads

Gentle on our planet

gentle on our planet

According to National Geographic, an individual can use between 5,000 - 15,000 disposable pads and tampons during their menstruation life; Organicup puts that figure at 11,000; the Green European Journal states that most menstruators each produce around 150 kilograms of period-related waste during their lifetime. Other research has shown that the carbon footprint from using disposable period pads for one year (approx 240 products) is the equivalent of 8.5 kilograms of CO2.


Whatever way you look at it, the number of disposable period products we collectively use is high, and the amount of environmental damage those products are causing is significant.


Since being introduced in 1888, the disposable period pad has evolved to be currently composed of 90% plastic, is made with harmful polyethene plastics (used in the adhesive), and takes 500 to 1000 years to decompose. Tampons also contain toxic chemicals and plastics including chlorine, rayon, and dioxin, all of which are absorbed into our waterways and oceans when flushed down the toilet, and their applicators are made from non-recyclable, single-use plastic.


Add to that most tampons and disposable pads are made using cotton - a water-intensive crop that degrades soil and uses aggressive pesticides and fertilisers - and the processing of single-use plastics used in tampon applicators and pads requires large amounts of fossil fuel-generated energy.

good for earth
period waste
eucalyptus leaves
lyocell fibre

In comparison, most reusable cloth pads are made from natural fibres free from any chemicals or toxins. At Pena, we use lyocell (also known by the brand names Tencel, Excel, or Newcell) specifically because it is a plant-based fibre that is made from wood cellulose sourced from sustainably certified tree plantations. It is made primarily from eucalyptus trees - a source that grows quickly, without irrigation and pesticides, and on land no longer fit for food. It is also produced using a closed-loop process in which 99% of the water, solvents, and energy used is reused or reprocessed.


We also use ZORB, a highly absorbent fabric composed primarily of bamboo fibres. Bamboo is a crop that regenerates quickly, needs little space to grow, and is naturally pest-free, eliminating the need for chemicals and pesticides. And we choose to work with organic cotton, as it too grows without needing herbicides, pesticides or chemicals, provides good and healthy conditions for farmers and generates crop rotation to enrich soils.


More about our fabrics 

Good for your wallet

good for your wallet

Let’s break down the math. Typically, people who menstruate spend around 35 - 40 years doing so, and for anyone who uses disposable pads as their main period product, let’s say you would use, on average, around 20 pads per month, or 240 pads per year. At around €5 - €8 for a pack of 24 medium-sized pads, you’re likely to spend €50 - €80 per year (not including overnight/heavy flow pads which are usually more expensive), which is €250 - €400 every five years. 


Depending on your flow and how often you will be washing and wearing your cloth pads, we recommend building a core kit of 10 - 15 pads in various sizes (spending around €100 - €150), and with the proper care, each Pena pad should last 5 - 10 years.


That means, generally speaking, we estimate that by using reusable pads you can save anywhere from €150 - €400 over five years, and from €1000 - €3000 throughout your menstruating lifetime.


So while there may be a higher initial cost involved with using cloth pads, they are hands down the more affordable option in the long run. Once you make that initial investment and build up your stash of pads, you won’t have to think about buying more period products for a long time afterwards - and no more last-minute trips to the store for that emergency pack of pads.

save money
folded pads