Bamboo vs Cotton Pads: What’s the Difference?

30 July 2015  |  Admin

We've just taken delivery of new designs in our fabulous eco friendly 100% cotton reusable sanitary pads. Lots of you already love our bamboo charcoal pads, but some customers prefer a thinner pad.  

These lovely pads are 100% cotton, which means that they're cool against your skin plus more grippy in your pants and therefore less likely to move around if you have a physical job. I have to say that the cotton pads are my 'go-to' pad, along with our period pants.

Cheeky Cotton Period Pads

Our cotton sanitary pads come as organic cotton pads which have an anti-slip layer or plain cotton.  The plain cotton come in several pretty patterns, simply choose whichever one you like best. They're cool to wear against your skin, as cotton is the usual material for knickers.  The outer layer is laminated with a very fine layer of TPU which makes them anti-leak and waterproof, but that layer is so thin, it's less than 1%!

The pads all have a laminated outer printed cotton layer, then one or two layers of absorbent cotton plus a cotton top layer.

The liners, day pads and night pads are the same size as our bamboo pads / bamboo charcoal pads:

If you're not sure what you'll need, it's worth checking out our period starter kits, which contain

  • a liner
  • three day pads
  • a night pad
  • double wetbag  

Shop Period Pads Kits

Or, if you want to jump straight in with everything you'd need for your period, our cotton sanitary pad full period kit contains:

  • 2 x liners
  • 6 x day pads
  • 2 x night pad
  • storage container for soiled pads
  • mesh wash bag
  • teatree soaking solution  


How do cotton menstrual pads compare to the bamboo / bamboo charcoal menstrual pads?

 The cotton menstrual pads are great for 'regular' periods.The bamboo / bamboo charcoal period pads are thicker due to having a microfibre core which also means they are more absorbent, so we recommend them if you suffer from heavy flow periods, endometriosis, clots or flooding.     

I would say that my periods are 'normal', so fairly standard with a heavier day on day 2. Using bamboo / charcoal pads, I would change my pad twice during the 1st day of my period, plus one for overnight. 

Using cotton period pads, I would probably change three times on that heaviest day of my period, then twice a day. Of course everyone is different, but I would say that I am 'average'.

It's also worth noting that cotton is a matt fabric, so it's less likely to move about in your pants. To be fair though, I find that wearing decently fitting knickers will sort out any slippage issues with the bamboo fabric pads.

Shop Bamboo Charcoal Pads

Do we recommend bamboo charcoal reusable towels pads or cotton sanitary pads?

It really comes down to personal preference and how heavy your periods are. 

If you suffer from heavy periods, endometriosis, clots or flooding, definitely the bamboo / bamboo charcoal reusable sanitary pads are the ones for you. If you would describe your periods as regular or light, then the cotton menstrual pads will work fine for you.

If you're a disposable pad user and really want a thinner, more discreet pad, then go for the cotton options.

Also, if you suffer from sensitive skin in your vulva area and would prefer a natural fabric in contact with your skin, then the cotton reusable period pads will be more suitable for you. They are also cooler to wear against your skin than the bamboo / charcoal.

What's the difference between bamboo or bamboo charcoal topped Reusable Sanitary Pads?

This is a great question. The main difference between our bamboo menstrual pads is that come with either a cream bamboo terry topping or bamboo charcoal topping, a grey microfleece. They both do the same job of protecting you really well from your period!

At Team Cheeky, we like them both for different reasons.

Do reusable sanitary pads stain?

No, reusable sanitary pads won't stain if you wash them properly in cold water at maximum 30c, following the washing instructions for reusable pads and pants.

However both our bamboo and cotton pads come with grey inners. Obviously the charcoal grey lined pads won't show the blood as much, so if you tend to be a bit squeamish go for them! 

Are reusable pads warm to wear?

Yes, reusable pads can be warm to wear. If you find this to be an issue, avoid the bamboo charcoal as the microfleece top can be warm against your skin. The natural bamboo are cooler and the cotton ones are coolest.

Do reusable sanitary pads smell?

No, reusable sanitary pads don't smell. Menstrual blood is sterile when it leaves your body. Bamboo charcoal is supposed to be more odour absorbent, although I use as standard and can't discern any noticeable difference, with no smell from either.


I think it comes down to personal preference, we've got customers who LOVE both. I like both but if pushed to make a choice, would probably go for the bamboo top as they feel cooler to me and I am not squeamish at all, but it all comes down to the individual. 

However, if you can't make up your mind, try ordering one of each to see what you think, before making a commitment?  Our full range of sanitary pads are available at Cheeky Pants.

Does that help?  If you've still got questions, please contact our customer services team, via email or on chat. Alternatively, take a look at our reusable period protection questionnaire and we'll come back to you with a tailored recommendation to meet your exact needs.

If you found this article useful you may also enjoy:

How to use cloth sanitary pads

The top 6 reusable sanitary pads




About the author: ; Helen Rankin is the founder of Cheeky Wipes, her innovative reusable wipes kit, which was launched in 2008.  Her desire to find a 'Simple Reusable' alternative to horrid, wasteful period products lead her to create a range of cloth sanitary pads and period pants.  This was launched as a separate website in 2018, Cheeky Pants.  The Cheeky team just LOVE to help people ake the switch to reusables and chat pee, poo and periods all day long, so if you've got questions, feel free to drop them a line!




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