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For the last couple of years, I have been looking into ways to reduce our plastic consumption in our house. One of the ways I know that I can improve is to have a greener period. Over a year ago I switched to a menstrual cup which I have been pleased with. But I also find after the first heavy day I don’t want to keep pulling the cup in and out. For some reason my cup often rides up really high too, which might mean I need to look into a different size, but it can be uncomfortable to get it out.
I have been intrigued to try period pants for a little while, but to be honest wasn’t sure where to start, how many I would need, and especially on my heaviest day which can be very heavy, would they be able to do the job. So I was very intrigued to try out some period pants from WUKA.
WUKA Period Pants
WUKA are the UK’s first reusable and leak-proof period underwear. WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass, which is also kind of cool too. They are on a mission to put an end to period poverty and to ensure sustainable periods are accessible to all. Every pair of reusable period pants prevents 200 sanitary towels ending up in landfill.
Using WUKA Period Pants with a Heavy Period
I have so far, only used the WUKA pants for one period, so I am a bit of novice. But I had reservations, the first and second days of my period can be very heavy. I often leak and have to use a sanitary towel and a tampon at the same time. I was nervous that the pants would be up to the job and I would end up with a leak onto my chair or clothes (both have happened to me with disposable products).
For the purpose of this review, I was sent two different pairs of pants. The Ultimate Midi Brief – heavy flow and WUKA Basics Hipster – medium flow. I have these in two different sizes the first pair in a 3XL and the second in a 2XL. I wear a size 18. I much preferred the cut of the first pair, but the size of the second pair – the 2XL was better for me (which is stated as 16-18 on their size guide).
For the first day of the period I used the heavy flow ultimate midi brief. I wasn’t quite sure when I should change it. The heavy flow pants hold 20ml of blood (at least) which is about 4 tampons worth. And the advice on the WUKA website was 4-6 hours or all night.
I put the heavy flow pants on first thing in the morning, about 7am, with a plan to change them at about 11am/lunchtime. I ended up googling when to know to change the pants and the advice was when they start to feel a bit damp. They felt fine at lunchtime, but by about 3/4pm I knew they needed changing. For a heavy flow that’s 8 hours which is pretty impressive. Better than that, I always get some sort of leak on day one. I keep old pants aside for this reason. I had not one leak at all. I was really surprised.
The pants are bulkier than your normal underwear. They do feel a bit different, but not uncomfortable.
I wore the hipster pants (medium flow) on my less heavy day. Again I was impressed, I didn’t like the cut of the hipster pants as much, but the size was better on me. They literally lasted all day and I changed them later afternoon. The pants hold 15ml of blood or 2-3 tampons worth.
As my period lasts 5-7 days I managed to wash the pants and dry them and wear them on subsequent days on my period. I quickly began to prefer them to sanitary towels, on my lightest days I didn’t need to change them until bedtime. There were no leaks, smells, no worrying about changing and a convenient time to do that, it was just really easy.
Washing thePeriod Pants
I think whenever I thought of using reusable pads or knickers before, it’s the cleaning and dealing with the blood part which has always felt a bit icky. I think having a cup for a while has helped with that, but it’s really not as icky as you think.
When I had finished wearing the pants, I rinsed them them straight away and popped them in a bag. Then chucked them into the next dark wash I was doing, washing them at 40 degrees. They cannot be tumble dried so I put them on my drying rack (which is heated). The heavy flow ones took a bit longer to dry, but the medium flow were dry overnight.
Would I Use Period Pants Long Term?
The answer is unequivocally, yes. When my daughter eventually starts her period I am pretty sure this is what I will buy for her straight away too, so much more convenient and less faff.
The thing that can be a bit off-putting is the initial outlay to buy enough to last your whole period, especially if you have a long, heavy period like me. As I think on my heavy days I would go through two pairs in the day and one at night. Even washing them every day I would need 6 or 7 pairs at least I think. WUKA are strong believers that sustainable periods should be available for everyone and some of they’re pants are really good value and start at £12 or a 5 pack for £50. Or, you could do what I am planning to do and just buy a new pair each month, while I also run down my disposable supplies. In the long term, just like reusable nappies, it will be cheaper. I am trying to reduce our plastic consumption, particularly our single-use plastic, so I think this is a great way to do it, and they’re more comfortable too.
New Seamless WUKA Pants
Launching today, is WUKA seamless period pants. The seamless range is part of their Perform collection and will be thinner in feel with subtle seams to ensure the Period Pants cannot be seen through clothing. Although the pants may feel tight to begin with, they will expand with use. They are made from Recycled Nylon and WUKA is the first-period underwear created using this material. Even more exciting is that will soon be making swimwear will soon be coming in the same fabric. Which I look forward to trying out!