The Ultimate Guide to Using Period Underwear

a woman with a period underwear/period panty

Are you tired of the hassle and discomfort of traditional period products? It’s time to consider a new period of periods with period underwear. Designed to be worn as a one-and-done solution, period underwear is a game-changer for those looking for a more comfortable and sustainable option. But with so many brands, materials, and need-to-know info, it can be overwhelming to navigate the world of period panties. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to using period underwear. From how it works to how to clean it, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and discover the benefits of period underwear together!

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What is Period Underwear

Period underwear, also known as menstrual underwear, are reusable underwear designed to absorb menstrual flow and replace pads or tampons. The concept originated in the late 1990s, although modern high-tech designs only emerged in the last decade. The main goal of period underwear is to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to disposable menstrual products.

Period underwear is designed with a built-in absorbent lining (usually made from cotton or microfiber) in the gusset or crotch area. The lining absorbs moisture and blood, while the special fabric helps prevent leaks. Most brands offer different absorbency levels, from light to heavy flow. After wearing, the underwear can be machine washed and reused again and again.

Some of the key benefits of using period underwear include:

  • More sustainable and eco-friendly – Produces less waste compared to disposable pads and tampons
  • Comfortable – The fabrics are soft, stretchy and breathable
  • Leak protection – The absorbent lining helps prevent leaks and staining
  • Saves money – Reusable so there’s no need to buy disposables every month
  • Versatile – Can be worn alone on light days or as a backup on heavy days
  • Movement-friendly – Provides coverage and protection during exercise, sleep etc.
  • Safe and hygienic – The antimicrobial treatments keep odors and bacteria away

Period underwear offers women an innovative option for managing their periods every month. The advanced fabrics and technology allow for protection and peace of mind while eliminating waste.

Related: Preparing for Your First Postpartum Period

Types of Period Underwear

Period underwear comes in a variety of absorbency levels, materials, and styles to suit different needs.

Absorbency Levels

  • Light: Ideal for light flow days or as backup protection. Holds 1-2 tampons worth.
  • Medium: Great for medium flow. Holds 3-4 tampons worth.
  • Heavy: Maximum absorbency for heavy flow. Holds 5+ tampons worth.

Choose light absorbency for lighter days, medium for average flow, and heavy duty for your heaviest days. Most brands offer a range of absorbencies so you can customize to your cycle.


  • Cotton: Breathable and soft, but not very absorbent on its own. Usually blended with other materials.
  • Modal: Derived from beech trees, modal is smooth and absorbs well while feeling light.
  • Spandex: Added stretch and shape retention. Also helps the underwear move with you.

Many pairs blend cotton with modal, lyocell, nylon and spandex for a good balance of softness, stretch, and absorption. Look for at least 20% spandex or elastane.


Common styles include:

  • Boyshorts: Extends lower on legs with full back coverage. Low-mid rise.
  • Bikinis: High-cut legs and hip coverage. Low rise.
  • High-Cut: Covers navel and higher on waist.
  • Thongs: Narrow rear coverage. Low rise.
  • Hipsters: Lower cut legs and more coverage in back. Mid rise.

Choose a style based on your body type and preference. Most brands offer a variety of cuts and designs. Boyshorts and hipsters tend to offer the most coverage.

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How to Choose Period Underwear

When selecting period underwear, there are a few key factors to consider:

Consider your flow and needs. Think about how heavy your flow is and whether you need light, medium, or heavy absorbency. This will determine what kind of period underwear is best for you. Those with a light flow may only need period underwear for backup or lighter days. People with a medium to heavy flow will want to choose higher absorbency underwear that can fully replace pads or tampons.

Look at sizing, coverage, and absorbency. Period underwear comes in different cuts, from thongs to boyshorts to hipsters. Make sure to pick the right size for full coverage. Then check the absorbency levels – this is usually noted in teaspoons or milliliters to indicate how much fluid the underwear can hold. Higher absorbencies are better for overnight and heavy flow days.

Choose organic materials if possible. Many period underwear brands now use organic cotton, which is soft, breathable, and chemical-free. Some also utilize antimicrobial fabrics to prevent odor. Stay away from synthetics like polyester if you can, as these aren’t as absorbent or comfortable.

The most important thing is finding period underwear that meets your unique needs and flow. Take the time to understand the different options so you can pick the perfect pair!

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When to Wear Period Underwear

Period underwear can be used in a variety of ways depending on your needs and flow. Here are some of the most common times people use period underwear:

All Throughout Your Period

Many people choose to wear period underwear all throughout their period instead of using disposable products. The absorbent design means you can wear a pair from start to finish without leaks or discomfort.

Period underwear works well for light to medium flows, though some brands offer high absorbency options suitable even for heavy days. Wearing period underwear throughout your cycle reduces waste and saves money compared to buying pads or tampons each month.

On Your Heaviest Flow Days

For extremely heavy periods, period underwear can be worn as backup along with a tampon or menstrual cup. The underwear provides an extra layer of protection in case your other product leaks or overflows.

Brands like Thinx, Knix, and Modibodi offer “super” or “heavy” absorbency levels perfect for heavy flow days. The gusset is designed to hold several tampons worth of fluid. This prevents stains and embarrassing leaks when your flow is at its peak.

While Sleeping

Many prefer to wear period underwear at night because it allows uninterrupted sleep without having to wake up to change products. The large absorbent area holds flow all night long even during tossing and turning.

For light sleepers, period underwear prevents crinkling noises and discomfort from pads bunching up. It provides security and confidence for better quality rest during your period.

Related: How To Know If Menstrual Cup Is Inserted Correctly

The Ultimate Guide to Using Period Underwear

Period underwear is designed to be worn just like regular underwear. Here are some tips for getting the most out of them:

Putting Them On and Taking Them Off

  • Make sure your hands are clean before handling period underwear to avoid transferring dirt or germs.
  • Step into them just as you would regular underwear. Some brands recommend wearing them a bit higher on the hips.
  • When it’s time to change, simply slide them off as usual. Roll or fold the used underwear to contain any leakage before throwing in the wash.

Preventing Odors

  • Change period underwear at least twice per day to prevent odor. More frequent changes may be needed for heavier flows.
  • Consider using an odor neutralizing spray or soak if needed between washes.
  • Avoid using scented products in the vaginal area, as these can disrupt the natural bacterial balance.

Storing and Washing

  • After use, rinse period underwear in cold water before machine washing to prevent staining.
  • Wash in the machine on a cold setting with mild detergent. Avoid fabric softener, as it can impact absorbency.
  • Tumble dry on low or hang to dry. High heat can diminish performance.
  • Store properly when not in use. Folding and keeping in breathable cotton pouches or bags is ideal.

Let me know if you would like me to expand or modify the section in any way!

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Period Underwear vs. Pads/Tampons

Period underwear offers several advantages over traditional pads and tampons:

Pros of period underwear:

  • More comfortable and breathable than pads
  • No chafing or irritation like some experience with pads/tampons
  • No risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS)
  • Often more affordable long-term than buying pads/tampons monthly
  • Reusable for several years, reducing waste compared to disposable products
  • More environmentally friendly than single-use pads/tampons

Cons of period underwear:

  • Require more effort to wash regularly
  • May leak onto clothes if absorbency limit is exceeded
  • Less convenient than disposables when changing frequently

Cost analysis:

The upfront cost of a pair of period underwear ($10-35) is more than a package of pads or tampons. However, quality underwear can be reused for years, while disposables are a monthly expense. Over time, period underwear becomes the cheaper option that can save hundreds of dollars.

Environmental impact:

Billions of pads and tampons end up in landfills each year. Most contain plastic and take centuries to decompose. Period underwear can be washed and reused, producing significantly less waste. As a reusable product, period underwear is better for the environment long-term.

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Top Brands of Period Underwear

When it comes to period underwear, there are a few major brands that stand out for their quality, comfort, and effectiveness.


Thinx is one of the most well-known and popular brands of period underwear. Their underwear comes in a wide variety of styles, from thongs to boyshorts. Thinx uses patented technology and layers of moisture-wicking, absorbent, and leak-resistant fabrics. Their underwear can absorb up to 4 tampons worth of blood. Thinx has a price range of $24 – $42 per pair. Some of their most popular styles include the Cotton Bikini and the Sport Thong.


Knix is another top brand that makes leak-proof underwear designed for periods, bladder leaks, and postpartum bleeding. Their underwear is made of super-absorbent fabric that can hold up to 3 regular tampons worth of fluid. Knix has a good selection of styles including briefs, thongs, and boyshorts. Their price range is $24 – $32 per pair. The Knix Boyshort and Bikini are two of their customer favorites.


Modibodi, based in Australia, creates maxi-briefs, boyshorts, bikinis, thongs, and swimwear using their proprietary absorbent fabric. Their underwear can absorb between 1-3 tampons worth depending on the style. Price range is $17 – $30 per pair. The Modibodi French Cut and Boyshort are popular

Ruby Love

Ruby Love specializes in leak-proof period underwear and swimwear. Their panties feature a PUL moisture barrier and can hold up to 1-1.5 tampons worth of fluid. Price range is $11 – $35 per pair. The Ruby Sport Bikini and The Hipster are two of their best-selling styles.

When shopping for the perfect period panties for your needs, these top brands are great places to start your search. Consider the absorbency level you need and your preferred style. With so many options now available, you can find cute, comfortable, and effective period underwear from these leading brands.

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Buying Period Underwear

When it comes to buying period underwear, you have several options for where to shop both online and in stores. Many mainstream retailers now carry period underwear alongside traditional period products.


Some of the most popular places to buy period underwear online include:

  • Directly from brand websites like Thinx, Knix, Modibodi, etc. This can give you the widest selection of styles and prints for each brand.
  • Amazon – A one-stop shop for many top brands. Watch for discounts and bundle deals.
  • Dedicated organic period underwear sites like Ruby Love.
  • Retail sites like Aerie and Parade that have a selection of period panties.

The benefit of online shopping is getting access to the widest range of brands and being able to easily compare pricing. Make sure to look out for any current sales or promo codes to get the best deals.

In Stores

Major retailers where you can find period underwear in store include:

Brick and mortar stores will have a smaller selection, but you can see and feel the products in person. Talk to sales associates about trying on different styles and fits.

Subscription Services

Subscription services provide a convenient way to have period underwear automatically delivered on a schedule. Top options include:

Subscriptions help save time reordering and give discounts off individual pieces. However, you have less choice over prints and styles.

Sales and Deals

Keep an eye out for the following deals and savings:

  • Sitewide sales around major holidays and events
  • First-time subscriber discounts from subscription services
  • Refer a friend programs for free underwear
  • Student and military discounts from some brands
  • Buy one, get one half off or free underwear bundles
  • Free shipping thresholds and coupons

Signing up for email lists and following brands on social media can help you find out about the best period underwear deals and discounts. With some savvy shopping, you can stock up on period underwear at great prices.

Troubleshooting Period Underwear

Period underwear is designed to be a worry-free alternative to pads and tampons, but problems can occasionally arise. Here are some common troubleshooting tips for handling leaks, stains, odor, and fit issues with period underwear:

Leaks and Overflow

  • Make sure you are changing your underwear frequently enough for your flow. For heavy days, you may need to change every 2-4 hours.
  • Select an absorbency level that matches your typical flow. If you often experience leaking, size up to a higher absorbency underwear.
  • Check that the underwear fits snugly against your body – underwear that is too loose may lead to leaks.
  • Consider using period underwear as backup on very heavy days, and pairing it with a cup, pad, or tampon for extra protection.
  • Try a different brand or style of period underwear that may fit your body better. The absorbent section should fully cover your vaginal area.
  • Wear your underwear low on your hips to fully catch any flow. Wearing too high can lead to leaks.

Stains and Odor

  • Rinse stained underwear in cold water as soon as possible after use before laundering. Hot water can set stains.
  • Soak in an enzymatic cleaner or oxygen bleach before washing to help remove stains and odors.
  • Turn underwear inside out before washing and select a cold wash cycle. Hot water can set stains.
  • Air dry rather than machine drying can help prevent stains from setting.
  • Replace heavily stained or odor-retaining underwear to avoid having smells linger.

Fit and Comfort Issues

  • Size up if underwear feels too tight or constricting in the hips and rear. It should not dig in or feel uncomfortable.
  • Size down if the absorbent section gapes away from your body, which can lead to leaks.
  • Look for underwear with a wide, high absorbent area if you experience leaks at the back or sides.
  • Try a low-rise style if regular panties fold or roll beneath your belly.
  • For chafing or irritation, look for breathable cotton blends with minimal seams in the absorbent section.

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Period underwear offers an environmentally friendly, comfortable, and convenient alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products. For many people, they can completely replace the need for pads or tampons.

As we’ve covered, the main benefits of using period underwear include:

  • Comfortable, breathable fabrics that feel similar to regular underwear
  • Extra absorbent layers and leak-resistant linings to contain flow
  • Reusable for up to 2 years, saving money and reducing waste
  • Freedom of movement without pads or bulky products
  • Odor-minimizing technology to keep you feeling fresh
  • Stylish designs that are invisible under clothing
  • Leak protection for light to heavy flows
  • Can be worn alone or as backup with cups or tampons

If you’re new to period underwear, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Take the time to find the right absorbency level and style for your needs. Be patient as you get used to wearing and caring for them. With a bit of trial and error, you’ll likely find period underwear to be a total game-changer for your monthly cycle.

To recap, period underwear offers an eco-friendly and liberating alternative to disposables. With the right pair that fits your flow, they can make your period significantly more comfortable and convenient. Once you get the hang of them, you may never want to go back to pads or tampons again!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it OK to wear period underwear all the time?

It’s generally safe to wear period underwear all the time, but it’s important to change and clean them every 12 hours or more often if needed.

How do you use period underwear?

You wear period underwear just like regular underwear. They’re designed to absorb menstrual fluid and prevent leaks.

How do you know when your period underwear is full?

It’s important to change your period underwear every 12 hours or more often if needed. You can also check for leaks or stains to determine if it’s time to change.

Do you wash or throw away period underwear?

Period underwear is reusable and should be washed according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

How does period underwear work with clots?

Period underwear is designed to absorb menstrual fluid, including clots. However, it’s important to change them regularly to prevent leaks.

How many pairs of period pants do I need?

 The number of period underwear you need depends on your flow. Generally, it’s recommended to have 3-4 pairs for your cycle.

Can you wear period underwear without a pad? 

Yes, period underwear is designed to be worn without a pad or other menstrual products.

How long can you wear period underwear?

You can wear period underwear for up to 12 hours or more often if needed.

What are the best period underwear brands?

There are many great period underwear brands, including Thinx, Knix, Modibodi, and more.

Disclaimer: Affiliate links used. We may earn a commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase.

Hi, I'm Sushil Singh, a devoted dad and guiding voice in the transformative journey of parenting, based in Mumbai. Drawing from a decade of firsthand experience and extensive research, I offer authentic insights into prepartum, pregnancy, and postpartum stages at Pregnancy Boss. From joyous milestones to challenging uncertainties, my mission is to provide reliable support and practical advice, helping you navigate this profound journey with confidence. Let's embrace the beauty and complexities of parenthood together. Connect for guidance or shared stories. Cheers to our shared path! 🥂 Social Medial Profiles: Quora Pinterest Twitter Facebook

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