• Sarah Callaway

Disposables Vs Cloth: The Cost

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Hello everyone! I really wanted to write this post to break down the popular question of 'aren't cloth pads more expensive than disposable pads?'. Below I will use a hypothetical but realistic situation to explore the financial side of switching to cloth.


This is based on the same person either using disposable products or by using pads from our range for a 7 day long period (averaging 13 cycles per year). This hypothetical person will be using a modern, eco friendly washing machine, a common brand of detergent and stain soap bar to wash the reusable pads. They have purchased 6 moderate pads, 2 heavy pads and 3 light pads.

With regards to disposable pad usage, this person uses 3 'normal' pads per day for days 1-4 with one night time pad each night. They then switch to 2 normal pads during the daytime and 1 normal pad during the night for days 5-6. On day 7, they use 2 pantyliners during the daytime and one overnight. All prices have been taken from Tesco (a popular UK supermarket) and prices are correct as of today (15/10/18). This is not to say that I particularly recommend any products spoken about, this is just for illustrative purposes. I will be exploring the cost over years rather than months to get a true impact in the long term.


Bodyform Ultra Normal Wing Sanitary Towels 14 Pack - 95p (cost per pad: 7p)

Always Ultra Secure Night Time Sanitary Towels With Wings 18 Pack - £2.85 (cost per pad: 16p)

Carefree Normal Panty Liners Cotton Fresh Scent X20 - 95p (cost per pad: 5p)

Cost per period:

Normal pads: 18 used (18 x 7p = £1.26)

Night pads: 4 used (4 x 16p = 64p)

Pantyliners: 3 used (5p x 3 = 15p)

Total cost per cycle: £2.05

Cost per year: £26.65

Cloth pads

Light pads: 3 (3 x £5.50 = £16.50)

Moderate pads: 6 (6 x £7 = £42)

Heavy pads: 2 (2 x £9 = £18)

To keep up to the same level of usage as above, this person would need to wash every other day. The pads would be sharing the machine with their usual laundry. It would be extremely difficult to estimate the cost per washing cycle so I will only take into account detergent prices here.

Persil Non Biological Washing Liquid 57 Wash 1995Ml - £7 (cost per wash: 12p)

Vanish Stain Remover Pre-Wash Bar 75 G - £2

Total cost:

£78.50 for the set of pads and stain soap

Washing: 3 times per period (3 x 12p = 36p)

Total: £78.86

Costs over time

Given that, with correct care, cloth pads can last a significant amount of time (some people out there have been using a pad in their collection for many years with no signs of it slowing down), I feel it is worth considering how the initial investment for cloth pads compares to continuously paying for disposable pads.

If you were to invest the £78.50 it costs to purchase the previously mentioned amount of cloth pads (plus stain soap), you would be in a position where you would no longer need to pay for menstrual products for the lifespan of the pads. This is in contrast to disposables where, for the same amount of money, you would only have sanitary protection for just under 3 years.

Can it be made any cheaper to switch to reusables?

Reusable menstrual products are not limited to cloth pads. You could, theoretically, limit the number of cloth pads you needed to purchase by adding a Mooncup to your sanitary product collection. You can read more about my experiences with Mooncup on this blog post.

Another way to cut costs is to consider purchasing from our Bundle Deals area. Here you can find sets of pads to either boost or complete your stash with discount already applied.


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