How Reusable Panty Liners Are Still Helping Me Save After 3 Years

Reusable Panty Liners - 3 years later with Öko Creations

Updated May 2019

I realize it’s kind of a bizarre milestone to be celebrating, but what can I say? I’m excited and proud to announce that it has been almost exactly three years since I banished disposable panty liners from my bathroom cupboard and switched to reusable panty liners. Because I am blessed with excessive leukorrhea (excessive vaginal discharge) and have been since before puberty, I use a lot of panty liners: at least two per day since I was twelve. At certain stages of my cycle, I’m likely using three or four per day. During my first pregnancy, I was changing my liner probably closer to five or six times per day. Therefore, making the switch to washable liners has had a drastic impact on the amount of waste I produce and the amount of money I spend on pads. I based my calculations on two pads per day for three years, with a box of the ones I used to use costing $9.99 for 80 liners.

Impact of switching to cloth panty liners

The reusable panty liners I use are made by an awesome, Quebec-based company called Öko Creations. I also happen to be their Social Media Manager, but in view of emphasizing my impartiality, I loved their liners before I managed their Facebook page!

Making the switch was really easy, because their panty liner is basically the same shape and size as the Always liners I was used to. You can read one of my very first blog reviews, ever, on the topic of Öko’s pads, here. I also used their longer pad, designed for a heavy menstrual flow, as a post-partum pad. In fact, they weremy FAVOURITE post-partum pad!

Oko Liner Compared to Always Liner

Each Öko panty liner is topped with a double layer of an absorbent hemp/organic cotton blend fibre: the same fibre used in their cloth diaper inserts and nursing pads. Hemp is the most sustainable fibre for textiles on the market and, in my opinion, the most comfortable natural fibre for cloth pads. I don’t feel damp when I’m wearing an Öko liner, whereas I do feel dampness in the 100% cotton or bamboo blend pads I have tried. The Öko panty liner is also waterproof, which is necessary if you’re looking for a pad to absorb on a light period day, as a back up to your cup or tampon or for light bladder leakage. These pads (literally) saved my butt during pregnancy. What makes Öko’s pads so special compared to others on the market (besides the fact that I have met the women who make them and spent a day in their quaint workshop) is that their waterproof layer isn’t synthetic fleece or PUL; instead, sandwiched between the hemp/cotton top layer and the pretty organic cotton printed back layer is a thin, breathable membrane of polyurethane. The best way to describe it is to imagine a piece of Saran wrap sewn in the middle of the pad. I conducted a slight dissection on one of my oldest, most worn-out pads so I could show you what I mean. *Update: Öko’s pads now use PUL, but still sandwiched between the cotton backing and hemp/cotton top layer, so the pad doesn’t slide in your underwear!*

Inside an Oko liner

And while this pad is three years old, I do indeed plan to continue using it. When I realized I was coming upon my third year using Öko’s pads, I also realized that I was still using the same pads I started with three years ago. My pads are the perfect test case for the lifespan of an Öko liner. If you are using your pads only for your period, then we’re talking perhaps 24 wash and dry cycles per year. (Assuming you use and wash each pad twice over your cycle.) But lucky leukorrhea-afflicted Lindsay has washed (and I do not use a gentle cycle) and dried (on hot, contrary to wash instructions) some of these pads up to 360 times! (I figure they get washed—at a minimum—every third day.) I recently got a few new sets of liners to beef up my stash and figured I could even show you how well my three-year-old pads have aged.

Öko Creations Panty Liners after 3 Years (2)

So obviously the top pad is the old one. You can see that it is worn at the edges compared to its new counterpart. If you use hemp diaper inserts, you’ll know that this kind of wear is mainly cosmetic. I plan to wear these liners until they are threadbare. Who sees them, anyway? Only me!

Öko Creations Panty Liners after 3 Years (4)

When you consider the wear and tear on my old pad, it’s important to remember how hard I’ve been on it. Most of the time, my pads get washed with our cloth diapers, so that means a heavy duty, hot wash cycle. The frequency of washing is also extreme: if you only use pads during your period or postpartum, think how much less wear and tear your pads would see after three years.

Like pretty much all “sustainable” choices we make, cloth pads lack the convenience of their disposable alternatives. I try to buy as few disposable products as possible and to reuse as much as I can even before I recycle. For me, cloth menstrual pads were a natural extension of cloth diapering. The “ick factor,” which I completely understand, totally disappeared once I’d given birth and started using cloth diapers.

Öko Creations Panty Liners after 3 Years (5)

While I can confess that I find disposable coffee cups more enjoyable on some levels than a travel mug (no dishes to wash, no need to remember to bring it along, no need to tote an empty cup all day), I am not exaggerating when I say that I really prefer my washable pads to the disposable ones I spent almost two decades using. I never left the house without a spare disposable pad in my purse or backpack, so toting a clean Öko liner with me is no different. I often brought my soiled pad home with me for lack of a discreet spot to dispose of my pad in a friend’s bathroom, so there’s no worries there either. I just use a little mini wet bag for my used pad. Öko makes this cute one with a side for a fresh pad and a side for a dirty one:

Oko Pouch

Cloth pads don’t make that distinctive crinkle when you’re in a ridiculously silent and echoey public bathroom. The don’t get folded over and stick to your labia (or worse, your pubes). If you’re wondering, you cannot feel the snaps on the wings, and Öko pads—because they’re not backed with slippery PUL—don’t shift much in my underwear. (They also make a liner for thongs, but I cannot stand wearing a thong, so I’ve never tried them.) When using disposable pads, I always hated having to decide whether or not to put on a fresh one when I’d go to the bathroom. The thought of wasting another pad that day (especially during my rather secretion-rich pregnancy) or toughing it out ‘til the next trip to the bathroom is not a dilemma I have to face with my washable pads. At home, I have a cute little box of pads near the toilet. I have a small wet bag hanging off the toilet paper rack for soiled pads and for family cloth. In my purse, I have my extra pad and mini wet bag. When I was at work, I used my cloth pads too, keeping them in my little cosmetic pouch where I also kept a toothbrush and lip balm.

While I know I won’t convince everyone to switch to washable feminine hygiene products, if you’re on the fence about it, I hope you’ll give it a try! At $17.99 for a two-pack, I figure a good rotation of pads is five packs, so ten pads total. That is a cost of $90, and three years’ worth of disposable liners would’ve cost me $275. As you can see with how well my three-year old liner has fared, the savings are going to continue onto year four. And when my Öko pads are completely unusable, it’s just that super thin polyurethane membrane and the metal snaps that can’t biodegrade, compared to the pounds and pounds of disposable pads that each Öko liner has served to replace.

Update: Öko recently redesigned their Öko Minis, and they make perfect liners for every day use. They are slightly narrower at the front and slightly shorter than their regular Öko-Liners (which are what I use), but they also now have a waterproof layer, so great for light bladder leakage and cup or tampon back-up.

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37 responses to “How Reusable Panty Liners Are Still Helping Me Save After 3 Years”

  1. Anonymous

    My husband has a cyst up on the back of his butt and uses panty liners when it bleeds. Would these work so high up, or would there be nothing to hold them in place?

    1. Lindsay

      They’re designed for women’s physiognomy, but there are washable pads for men. Öko doesn’t make them, but I have seen them before. Their long pad might do the trick, but I must say I have zero experience in this area!

  2. stephanie

    You had me until “polyurethane”! Not sure how I feel about that in a pad. Too bad because I’ve been wanting to try the Oko brand…

    1. Camille

      If you’re just looking for a light pantyliner, they do have one (the “mini” pantyliner) without the waterproof polyurethane layer…

      1. Lindsay

        Assuming you do use some kind of pad, washable or disposable, there are synthetic ingredients in them no different than polyurethane. In disposable pads we’re talking plastic, and in reusables they’re either backed with PUL (which is polyurethane laminate) or fleece, which is, essentially plastic. The polyurethane film inside the pad is what makes it waterproof, so yes the light panty liner mentioned by Camille is an option without the polyurethane but it is not waterproof. The most important layer is the one going against your skin, and that is hemp and organic cotton…. certainly my preference to the plastic layers in disposable pads at least! If you use cloth diapers or rain coats, you’re using polyurethane… anything that is in some way waterproof, unless you’re using wool, must contain some kind of waterproof (synthetic) layer!

  3. I LOVE my Oko panty liners. Like, LOVE THEM. I’ve used exactly ZERO disposable products for my last two periods and I don’t see myself ever going back. These liners are perfect for cup back up! They’re super duper soft on my lady bits and REALLY absorbent.

    1. Lindsay

      Someone awesome clearly introduced you.

    2. Thalia J

      This is what a was looking for then!! Thank you been looking for a cup backup. But wasn’t sure if needed a thin pad o a liner. Or if a liner was going to be the right way to go. I’ll give it a try then since disposable liners been giving me a horrible rash lately

  4. Vanessa Aubie

    Thank you so much for this review. I’m now seriously considering switching to cloth liners.

  5. Amanda Muskego

    I haven’t used the oko brand yet, but have used some that ride up my bum. Did you find that with these?

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t think I could use them daily for three years if they rode up my bum! It definitely helps to wear snug-fitting underwear, with a fully bum cut, haha!

  6. janie vezina

    we have all switch here.. expense as well as the nasty side effects we had.

  7. Alicia Craven

    I’ll never go back to any disposable products for down there!! I so much prefer the feel of cloth. I’ll look at this brand next time I’m looking, I’ve only ordered the very cheap ones to see how I like them, and it’s love! But I do want to upgrade in the near future 🙂

  8. Lexy Overstreet Broome

    Thanks for this detailed review. This is a product I’ve been curious about.

  9. Molly

    I’ve really been thinkin of switching to cloth pantyliners and a menstrual cup since I started CDing. This post is really helpful and answered a lot of questions I had about cloth liners

  10. Wanda Bee

    What a great idea! I have never heard of these before but they look so comfortable and saving money is awesome!

  11. Marie Cole

    I haven’t tried reusable pads yet but I’m looking into them. I figure I save money cloth diapering my son I might as well save money using cloth myself.

  12. Mary M

    Ok I wouldn’t mind trying these. But the one thing that has been holding me back is I have two older daughters. Neither has reached that “stage” yet but it will be soon. I don’t know how either of the girls is going to handle taking them to school, or for that matter explain how the used one has to go home. I know I can use them just at home but if I do this I want to be all in. Thoughts?

    1. Lindsay

      I guess it’s all about normalizing. My daughter is still a baby, but I hope that if she sees me using them and sees it as completely normal and not gross or weird, then it will be easy for her when the time comes.

  13. Crystal

    Lindsay, I am so happy I found your blog last year! I feel like we are so much the same and yet totally different! I too am blessed with excessive leukorrhea and have been wondering about cloth panty liners. I’m not quite ready to go all out with cloth pads through my whole cycle, but definitely need to cut back on the amout of money I’m wasting on my everyday liners! Are these available in the states? Might need to find them on my next trip up to Vancouver. 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Crystal! Thanks for the kind words! Oko does have an American distributor but I am not sure if their pads are available yet stateside. However, you can order from Okocreations,ca, or from one of their Canadian retailers that ship to the US. For example: LilMonkeyCheeks,ca, GentleNest.ca and CozyBums.ca all do!

  14. Angela

    I also love my Oko liners and I’ve been meaning to buy more. I was lucky enough to win some years ago, but I can’t remember if I have the minis or the liner. The part that I really love about them is that they don’t have the “wings” that so many other cloth pads have. Sometimes I feel like cloth pads are too bulky because of the fabric that folds over the sides. These are slim feeling and it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them.

    1. Lindsay

      You’ll know the minis versus the liner because the minis are the smooth side of the hemp fabric (so texture is more like a t-shirt) while the panty liners and all other absorbencies are the “nubbly” side of the hemp, so they are kind of fluffy!

  15. Sandra Caballero

    I have been wanting to do the switch but am afraid on what I would do when out in public. How would I wash the cloth pad full of blood? Do I just put it like that in the wet bag with blood because I’m embarrassed washing it public sinks? Would my bag smell from the wet bag? Anyway for sure at home I’m good to do the cloth pads. Just the public situation is what I’m afraid of.

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Sandra! I actually wrote all about this here: https://mamanloupsden.com/2014/05/15/im-on-the-rag-what-its-really-like-using-washable-menstrual-pads/ You don’t have to rinse your pads out in a public place – in fact, I don’t typically rinse mine even at home. I absolutely just put my pads in my little wet bag and carry them with me. There’s no smell! (I mean, maybe if you left it there for three days … hehehe)

  16. […] I’ve posted before about my love of washable panty liners. I stopped using throwaway liners almost a year ago and haven’t looked back. But I’ve […]

  17. Olivia

    I switched to reuseable menstrual products quite a few years ago beginning with a menstrual cup and then going to cloth liners as well. I can honestly say I will NEVER use a disposable down there again I used to hate them so much I’d rather deal with the extra laundry than use a disposable liner. Since I didn’t use them that often I wasn’t bothered by he fact that I wasn’t in love with the brand of reuseable pantyliner I was using. Then I read one of your other Oko reviews and decided to give them a try and I am hooked they are by far the best loner I’ve ever tired (and I’ve tried quite a few brands) they are the softest most absorsbant and they never move. I don’t think I’ll buy from any other brand again I love them that much!

  18. Elaine Buonsante

    I will be ordering some of these cloth pads for light bladder leaks. Hope they work!

  19. […] the thing: I wear an Öko Creations liner every day (usually multiple liners). Pregnancy is a messy time, but overall I have been a daily […]

  20. Patty Uy

    Hi! I`m currently preggers, and i`m wondering how many reusable liners are advised to use in a day? 😊

  21. […] anyone who listens how much I love using Öko Creations’ hemp-cotton blend menstrual pads and pantyliners for discharge, menstruation, postpartum bleeding and light bladder leakage. I haven’t used a […]

  22. […] years. There’s also the 45 lb of garbage I’ve kept from landfills. (I did all this math in a blog post back when I only had two […]

  23. Sarah

    I just got mine, washed them a couple of times and am trying them out. Maybe it is my thick thighs, but I find that the corner where the fabric is folded for the snaps seems to be poking me. Did you find that problem and does it just work itself out once they have been used and washed a few times?

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Sarah! I can honestly say that this is not a problem I’ve experienced, and I wear them every day, so I’m not sure!

  24. […] less.” Their menstrual pads are designed to last six years, but honestly they last much longer. I did some calculations a few years ago on how many times I’d washed and worn my Öko panty liners (since I use them […]

  25. […] I’ve shared in previous posts, I love Öko panty liners because they are thin, comfortable and ethically made with eco-friendly […]

  26. […] Reusable menstrual pads, reusable makeup rounds, handkerchiefs, washable toilet paper, face and body cloths, and soon period panties … Öko has single-handedly reduced how much garbage I produce by literal pounds. (Yes, I once calculated it.) […]

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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