Menstrual Hygiene Day: How to make reusable sanitary pads at home

Reusable sanitary pads are an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable menstrual products.

Reusable menstrual pads [LittleHouseLiving]

Made from absorbent fabrics, these pads can be washed and reused for several years, making them an ideal solution for menstrual hygiene management, especially in underprivileged areas where access to disposable products may be limited.

What are reusable sanitary pads?

Reusable sanitary pads are made from layers of absorbent fabric such as cotton or bamboo, which are sewn together to form a pad. They often come with wings that can be fastened around the underwear to hold the pad in place.

The top layer that sits against the skin is usually made from a soft, comfortable material, while the core layer is made from an absorbent material that can hold menstrual fluid. The bottom layer is typically waterproof to prevent leaks.


Benefits of reusable sanitary pads:

  • Cost-effective: They reduce the need for frequent purchases, as they can last up to 5 years with proper care.
  • Eco-friendly: By reducing waste from disposable products, they contribute to environmental conservation.
  • Healthier: They are free from chemicals and synthetic materials found in many disposables, reducing the risk of rashes and irritation.

How to Make Reusable Sanitary Pads: Here’s a simple guide to making reusable sanitary pads for distribution in underprivileged areas:

Materials needed:

  • Soft, absorbent fabric (like cotton or flannel)
  • Waterproof layer (like PUL fabric)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Snap fasteners or buttons

Steps to make reusable sanitary pads:

Cut the fabric:

  • Cut two pieces of the soft fabric and one piece of the waterproof fabric, all in the shape of the pad. Typical dimensions are about 10 inches long and 2.5 inches wide when folded.

Layer the fabrics:

  • Stack the fabrics so that one piece of soft fabric is at the bottom, the absorbent fabric is in the middle, and the waterproof layer is at the top. Place the second piece of soft fabric on top of the waterproof layer, with the soft sides facing outwards.

Sew the layers together:

  • Sew around the edges of the pad, leaving a small section unsewn for turning the pad right-side out.

Turn the pad right-side out:

  • Turn the pad right-side out through the unsewn section, then sew the gap closed.

Add fasteners:

  • Sew snap fasteners or buttons on the wings to secure the pad to underwear.

Final touches:

  • Optionally, sew additional lines through all layers to improve the stability of the absorbent material.


  • Once made, these pads can be distributed in kits that include several pads, washing instructions, and a small waterproof bag for storing used pads.

By teaching communities how to make and maintain reusable sanitary pads, you empower them with the tools to manage menstrual health in a sustainable way, fostering independence and promoting hygiene.

This initiative not only supports women and girls in these areas but also promotes a healthier environment.


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