Bamboo Pads vs Cotton Pads: How To Make The Right Choice

Bamboo Pads vs Cotton Pads: How To Make The Right Choice

It’s time to dispose of your disposables. Did you know that period based waste is one of the leading causes of plastic pollution across the globe? To put it into perspective, a single menstruator can use up to 15 thousand pads and tampons within their lifetime and there are nearly 4 billion women in the world.

As we continue to dispose of single-use pads and tampons, plastic-based sanitary waste continues to line landfill sites and pollute ocean floors. In fact, experts have estimated that one sanitary towel is made up of 90% plastic and one pack of single-use pads is equivalent to 4 plastic bags.

For those of you looking to make the sustainable swap, it’s time to delve deeper into the future of eco-friendly period care. From a selection of sizes to choosing a material that suits your flow, let’s put bamboo pads vs cotton pads to the test, and find out which one is best for your reusable journey.

Bamboo Pads vs Cotton Pads

When comparing reusable pads, there are a number of factors to consider. How heavy is your flow? What size and absorbancy would suit your cycle? It’s important to take a step back and review your own period before choosing a core fabric to suit your needs.

From comfort to breathability, let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons of bamboo pads vs cotton pads.


Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet. As a highly resilient plant that can grow quickly all year round, its durability and biodegradability render it an ideal material for manufacturing sustainable products. The question is, are bamboo reusable sanitary pads better than cotton?

How Are Bamboo Sanitary Pads Made?

You may be wondering how sustainable collectives turn a plant into a product. For those of you who are curious, modern forms of bamboo-based fabric production consist of a chemical soaking process, using sodium hydroxide. Crushed bamboo fibres are simply soaked and left out to dry before their strengthened fibre threads are rolled out into yarn, ready for material production.

There are a number of positives associated with choosing a bamboo-based fabric for reusable sanitary products. From a fast absorption rate and hypoallergenic properties to a soft texture, both comfort and protection are prioritised.

We’d suggest a bamboo-based sanitary pad for those of you with heavier flows as bamboo’s ability to absorb while still feeling thin and flexible to wear is great for heavy menstruators on the go.

However, while bamboo-based pads can provide effective protection, they are more likely to stain if not treated properly. We recommend un-dyed, solid dark colours for bamboo pad wearers such as the charcoal coloured, Bambaw Reusable Sanitary Pads that prioritise comfort, odour control and tone down the appearance of stains.


Cotton based sanitary pads are great for users with light flows. Known as the thinnest fabric on the sanitary towel market, cotton is a perfect choice for users who want to remain comfortable, cool and flexible while wearing a reusable sanitary pad.

However, the downside to cotton is that it is significantly less absorbent than bamboo. In fact, bamboo fibre offers up to 40% more absorption than cotton, making it a clear winner for flow protection in the bamboo pads vs cotton pads race.

If you do have a lighter flow, cotton could still be for you. We recommend interchanging both bamboo and cotton products over the course of your cycle. While bamboo strives to provide that extra protection on heavy days, cotton is a perfect alternative for your lighter cycle days or when you want to feel pad free! 

How To Take Care Of Reusable Pads

If you take care of your reusable pads, they will take care of you. In fact, when treated properly, both bamboo and cotton pads can last up to 4 years.

So, if you’re wondering how to wash bamboo pads and take care of those cotton stains, the key is pre-rinsing before you wash. Using cold water, simply soak the pad for 20-30 minutes, adding natural soaps for enhanced stain lifting.

Secondly, we recommend machine washing at no higher than 40°C with gentle detergents that won’t irritate the skin. 

Finally, let your sanitary products air dry. Using tumble dryers can shrink both bamboo and cotton fabrics, affecting both absorption and comfort. Reusable sanitary pads are manufactured with quick-drying material, so they should be good to go in a matter of hours.

Looking To Invest In Reusable Sanitary Products?

From bamboo-based pads to MoonCups, why not check out Bower Collective’s eco-friendly period care selection? Partnering with a number of sustainable brands, it’s time to greenify your personal care and embark on your sustainable journey.

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