Sanitary Towel Alternatives for When You’re Stuck Without

Sanitary Pad - Towel

When you’re experiencing your period, it can be tempting to rely on sanitary towels to absorb the blood flow and keep you feeling clean and fresh.

But sometimes, you may be in a situation where you don’t have access to these items, whether they’re not available in your country or you don’t have any spares on hand. 

Sustainable tampons made from cotton

Buy sustainable, chemical-free cotton tampons. They are made from organic cotton and cardboard instead of plastic and aren’t bleached with chlorine.  

Buy as many as you need at once—you should be able to find them online. If you don’t want to purchase a bunch of them at once, keep a bag in your car or office desk if you need one when you’re away from home.

Use your regular sanitation towel until those runout, then use these instead if needed until you can get home again. Skip flushable pads: Sure, some women use sanitary pads that are flushable or throw-away.

Menstrual cups – why they could be a good alternative

It can be a bit of a nightmare if you need sanitary towels when you’re out and about. Where are you going to get them? Are they even stocked in your size? How much are they going to cost?

The more of these questions that go through your head, the harder it is to think about anything else—especially when you’re trying to do something as simple as buying milk from a supermarket or visiting friends at their homes.

Thankfully, alternatives are available if you want an eco-friendly option or don’t want to deal with a sanitation towel.

Organic pads

Organic cotton pads are great for people with allergies or sensitive skin. They also feel more natural, and some brands even offer organic bamboo.

If you’re looking to avoid petrochemicals, look out for rayon made from wood pulp – or even plain cotton might be better than Tampax or Always! However, they’re not as effective as most synthetic ones. 

Disposable pads: As mentioned above, if you have allergies or sensitive skin, it’s good to carry around a few disposable pads in case of emergencies.

Reusable pads (great if you have heavy flow)

If you’re stuck in a location where there aren’t shops nearby, don’t panic! You can always resort to traditional feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads in a pinch.

While some of these might not be right for your body (you could experience skin irritation or infection), they are great alternatives when all else fails.

On top of that, it never hurts to have them handy just in case an emergency does happen! There are some other items you can use if your period strikes when you’re out camping, hiking, or traveling abroad. 

Sustainable menstrual sponges

Made from natural materials such as cellulose, these sponges have a water-repellent coating that keeps them from absorbing menstrual blood.

Many women report being able to wear and wash them multiple times before disposal—spending less money on sanitary towels.

They are also excellent at reducing odor, which can be an issue with other types of reusable products. As they don’t absorb blood flow, they can be composted if you want to do away with them altogether; many companies even offer compostable bags to make it easy.

Cloth Pads 

The first thing to know about cloth pads is that they’re reusable. Most cloth pad users throw them in with their normal laundry and then use them again.

This can be a bit terrifying, especially if you’ve never used them before, but it can save you money. For example, if you regularly use normal period products like pads or tampons, it could cost you over $600 per year, depending on your usage and what kind of product you buy.

Tips on how to deal with your period when there are no shops nearby

  • In any situation where you can’t make it to a shop, know that periods are relatively discreet. 
  • Because no matter what type of pad or tampon you use (or whether you’re on your period at all), everyone poops. 
  • If there’s no bathroom nearby, use your boxers as a make-shift pad. 
  • Soap and water are also excellent alternatives to sanitary towels. Lastly, if nothing else is available, remember that grass (usually) makes a great substitute! 
  • No amount of education can take away that initial grossed-out feeling – but I hope to know some simple alternatives will help put minds at ease when facing an unfortunate circumstance. 
  • There are worse things than having an emergency supply of sanitary towels in your backpack! Always make sure to carry a small pack of tissues with you and an extra-long handbag. 
  • Tissues can be used to keep your underwear clean and dry, while a long handbag gives you easy access to them (not to mention it saves you from having your hands smell). 
  • If you have any baby wipes handy, you can use these instead of tissue paper. Also, don’t forget that drinking water will help relieve some cramps and keep your body hydrated, so even if there’s no shop nearby, it may be wise to collect a drink from somewhere else, such as a fountain or tap.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you use instead of a sanitary towel?

There are some situations when it might not be safe to change your tampon or sanitary towel during your period. In these cases, it’s good to know what you can use instead.

The alternatives will vary depending on how long you’re going without access to feminine hygiene products and whether you have access to water (or clean-ish water). 

But don’t worry: if you have a tampon or sanitary towel on hand, don’t risk any other methods as they may not be safe enough. They may also be less comfortable than using a product specifically for periods. Finally, remember that just because something is good enough doesn’t mean it’s ideal!

How do you keep your pads secretly?

You probably have a few secrets stored in your lingerie drawer if you’re a woman. Maybe you tuck an ace bandage into your sports bra if you’re planning on a workout but don’t want those unsightly bumps in your tank top.

Or maybe you keep a tampon tucked away for post-workout bleeding (something we hear about more than we think). 

How to open a pad quietly?

Many women open their pads with a loud noise to get them out of their packaging and into a bin. First, do not do that—it makes no sense.

Second, if you have to take care of things in a public restroom, check your pad’s packaging before you enter to be prepared.

If there’s no opening mechanism, take a tissue, scrunch it up tightly, and slide it into one end until you hit something soft inside your pad. Then pull on the tissue until you have enough room to grab one side of your pad.

Final Touch

While there are alternatives to using sanitary towels, they may not be as comfortable or convenient as commercial brands.

Instead of making do with a pair of socks (the classic substitute), you can use regular pads or tampons. Regular pads should be worn with a pair of underwear over them; if you don’t wear underwear, pad around your thighs instead.

Tampons can be inserted into your vagina before putting a sanitary towel and underwear over them. Ensure both tampon and towel don’t leak by regularly checking your flow to see if more blood is being absorbed than normal.

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