Sustainable Living

Bluebird Pads – A Plastic Free Period

When we were gifted some products from Blushing Bluebird Essentials, we were hopeful but skeptical about whether we were going to like using a reusable, cotton sanitary pad. (Spoiler alert: we loved them so much that Krista has already purchased more with her own money and I have plans to.)

Even though we were skeptical, we were motivated by the reality of period waste. Plastic Free July has had us examining areas of our lives that we don’t necessarily look that closely at and a plastic free period was one of them.

According to the Huff Post, “On average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That means the average woman endures some 456 total periods over 38 years.”

If a woman uses 6 pads per day (changing pads every four hours, plus one overnight), over 4 days that is 24 pads per period. If she has 456 periods in her life, that’s 10,944 sanitary pads sitting in the landfill.

Those 10,944 sanitary pads will take between 500 and 800 years to decompose! 500 years at minimum! That’s such a frightening thought! And it’s the reason we started looking at reusable options.

A Company That Walks the Talk

When my products arrived in a compostable bag, I knew this was going to be good! I was so impressed by the fact that the ladies behind this company were paying attention to all of the small details of a transaction. Krista and I specifically searched for a local company not only to support a small local business, but also to minimize the distance that the packages would be travelling. To see our package arrive in a compostable bag was a delight and a relief. While packaging is inevitable in a purchase, it helps to know that this packaging will not be around for years to come.

What Reusable Pads Are Like

This may be shallow, but I need to take a minute to say how cute these pads are. I mean, if I’m going to have a miserable few days, I might as well have a super cute pad to get me through it. Aside from just the look of the fabric, it feels soft to the touch and these pads are wonderfully constructed and well made. If you are choosing a reusable pad, those are some things to consider: the type and feel of the material for comfort and the construction for longevity of use.

But what about using the actual product?

I had three main objections to using a reusable pad:

  1. It’s gross
  2. They will be high maintenance
  3. They will not be as effective (no sticky backing to keep them in place, not as absorbent, etc.)

My first time wearing the Bluebird reusable pad I was shocked at how comfortable it was! I feel a little silly about that now that I think about it. They are made out of cotton and would be the same (or similar) material to wearing underwear, so it makes sense that they would feel comfortable. I had some concern they would be bulky, but these were no different than a disposable pad in that regard. The design of these particular pads are very thin with an absorbency layer between the cotton fabric.

Surprisingly I found the gross factor to be minimal. The pads worked well and were really absorbent. I felt that the absorbency of the pads helped minimize any negative reaction from me. I felt these were as effective as the disposables I was used to–possibly even moreso.

While the reusable pads only had one snap to hold them in place, I found no movement while using them. I tried to go through the typical TV-ad-for-menstrual-products regime–proving I can do everyday life in the product. I exercised, slept, did daily chores and it all worked out just fine with no leakage!

Using these reusable pads was a shocking experience all around. I was surprised at how comfortable they were. I was surprised at not being grossed out by them.

And I was also surprised at how much healthier they felt than the disposable plastic pads. I noticed this the most when I was switching back and forth between the two as I don’t yet have enough reusables for a full cycle. The best way I can describe the feeling of the disposable is unnatural. After using the cotton pad, I could feel plastic of the disposable as well as its lack of breathability. The cotton felt so much healthier than the plastic disposable.

The menstrual products we find on shelves at the store don’t actually have to tell us what “ingredients” make up their products. Bluebird pads are made from eco-friendly, organic, and ethically sourced materials. I could feel the difference of this comparison!  

How to Clean

For my worries about reusable pads being high maintenance, they were unfounded. I took three steps for washing my Bluebird pads, but the first two are not completely necessary.

1. Rinse after use
2. Spray lightly with a stain remover before putting in wash
3. Wash in cold water with a gentle detergent

That’s it! It was essentially no different than washing regular clothes. As with all regular items, you will want to be consious of the fabric types you wash together as some heavier fabrics can cause lighter fabrics to break down faster if they are washed together.

Blushing Bluebird Essentials also has some great care tips on their website.

Who are Blushing Bluebird Essentials?

Blushing Bluebird Essentials is a family run company started by a mom and two daughters. They are based out of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Their business grew out of a knowledge of reusable sanitary pads that they used and the realization they could make reusable pads themselves. It was an opportunity to do good for the environment, making a positive impact for future generations, and also a way to support their community.

You can watch this video on their Facebook page about their vision and goals and get to “meet” them. They are so cute!

Here’s how you can find them and their products:
Blushing Bluebird Essentials Website
Facebook Page

Have you used reusable sanitary pads before? What was your experience like?


  • Roni

    This is a great idea. Plastic-free disposable tampons and pads can be a little too expensive but as these are reusable, this would definitely be worth the investment. I’ve been trying to cut down on my plastic usage so this will definitely be my next step!!

    Roni |

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      An investment is a great way to look at these! The reusable option is something that will be around for years, so a little more cost up front, but savings in the long term. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • bathisolo

    You are definitely right about how cute they are! It’s the first time I see something like this. It seem like a good alternative. Thanks for sharing <3

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It has been great to discover all the new (and old!) ideas that are out there to be more sustainable. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

    • Mrs. P&P

      There are so many incredible alternatives for period care that are plastic free and reusable! So glad you moved past the “gross” factor, (It’s not that gross! We have to deal with our periods either way) and gave thema try. These look super cute, too!

      • A Sustainably Simple Life

        I’m so glad I moved past the gross factor too! It was not bad at all like I feared.
        Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      They are a great small company and their products are really well made. Worth checking out! πŸ™‚

  • brittshedhappens

    I have never tried reusable pads before – I had many of the same concerns that you listed… the gross factor and the maintenance being the biggest. That being said, reading through this review, I think I need to go for it and give it a try. I can’t argue the fact that it’s SO much more environmentally friendly, which has always been in the back of my mind.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I really was blown away by how awesome the reusables were. Let us know what you think if you do give them a try! The impact on the environment is huge and was what pushed us to try them too. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • Jaya Avendel

    I love reusable pads and have been using them all my life! I make my own so I always have enough on hand, and love that you felt the gross factor was at a minimal! I cannot imagine how hot and sticky a plastic pad must feel, since I like my skin to be able to breathe, so it is awesome you have made a switch you are happy with. πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s awesome you’ve been using them all your life! I wish I had learned about the breathability factor a long time ago. It makes such a difference to use cloth! Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience! πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I was shocked to research and find out how much waste I can save with these reusables! Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • Lisa's Notebook

    I had no idea there was such a thing as reusable pads – I know about nappies but pads? These look so cute and it’s great to hear how effective and comfortable they are. Also that they’re so environmentally friendly. Such an interesting post, thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ Lisa

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      This was a new concept to me too until fairly recently. Once I started looking into it more, it just made sense! Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • Georgia

    These seem like such a great alternative – and super cute too! I’ve been meaning to purchase some period specific underwear as a more ethical alternative, but never even considered reusable pads. Fab post <3

    // xx

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I’ve heard people have had great experience with the period underwear. I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around those yet. I love the familiarity of the reusable pads and that I can easily change them. Any reusable option is so much better for the environment though! Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • Wendy

    I just found Bluebird pads a few months ago, and bought a few. They are super comfortable! One of my favourite things about them is that they have a waterproof membrane sandwiched between the layers. A lot of other cloth pads use fleece for a backing, and it has leaked for me in the past. I like the comfort of knowing leaks are not going to seep through to my underwear. Also, look carefully at the measured sizes when you buy. They do come very narrow in the smaller sizes, which are great for smaller people like my daughters. The higher absorbency pads are wider, which works better for me.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I love hearing that you’ve found Bluebird pads too! The leakage was a concern for me as well, so I tested them out when I was at home first. But I had no problems either! Thank you for mentioning the sizes. I found the “long” size to be more like the disposable size I was used to and that one worked great. There is a great variety of sizes for different body types though. Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience! πŸ™‚

    • Amie Webster

      Thank you for this great detailed review of our Bluebird Pads! It’s been so amazing to see people really thankful for more options for leak liners and period care. Huge gratitude!

  • Yaya

    I’ve always wondered about these! I see a lot of cute designs on Etsy too, that make me wonder. Thanks for sharing your experience, I might have to think about getting some πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      A cute design is a must! πŸ™‚ Would love to hear what you think if you do try them. Thanks for commenting!

  • Grislean

    That’s super cool! I have been wanting to try reusable pads, but was a bit intimidated about what to do after use. Thank you for the tips and advice! I feel more comfortable trying them now.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      So glad this was helpful and made the idea a little less intimidating! They were really so easy to use. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s fantastic you’ve found a reusable option that works for you! Thanks for commenting and sharing what you’ve been using! πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!