Maxi Pad/Sanitary Napkin Disposal
Trying to get back on-track with a periodtastic post! I recently received an email from a shy young man who writes:
My name is [removed] and I have often been interested in periods just as yourself. Having grown up in a family which has gone through a divorce, I have had little female-contact as my sisters and mother have moved away. I rarely see them and I do not feel comfortable approaching any of my female friends to ask them questions about their periods. I have found many sites that talk about periods, but use references and language that only females would understand. Although I know bits and pieces about what periods are, I feel very stupid to be in my mid-teens and barely know anything about girls. Your blog has really allowed me to see what periods mean from a boy’s perspective. I understand little about sanitary napkins and tampons. I have heard from my friends that say girls can flush these things in the toilet. I also heard some people say that you throw them in the garbage. What is true? How do girls dispose of their hygiene products after they use it? I hear many different things I do not know what is right or if they are lying to me. I am curious to learn more but feel ashamed to bring this up in my health class or with another girl because I do not know if they will laugh at me.
Since this was always a topic I wanted to cover, I guess I’ll take the opportunity to address it now and hopefully answer the inquiry of this gentleman. I have found with this subject of menstruation or anything surrounding it are often shrouded by shyness. I never expect my readers to write to me using their names, so anyone who feels like writing to me can rest assured that your identity will be protected unless you say so otherwise. I will either use a fake name or you may use an alias for yourself and I do not mind. I am happy to hear feedback from ANY of my readers, positive or negative.
So, to proceed with this topic, I would like to first of all say that proper disposal of menstrual protection is of utmost importance. I have worked with people in any position/ranking and most notably, caretakers will attest that the women’s bathroom is usually more disgusting than the men’s washroom. With that said, I am totally understanding of the fact women have a lot more to “take care of” in the washroom than men do, but it is also imperative that basic sanitation standards be adhered to such as proper hand washing and disposal. Let’s face it, how many of you really (exception: the flow-lovers) want to see soiled tissue, dirty toilet water, dirty commode, used pad/tampon/alternative product or dirty floors/walls when you enter your stall? I’m betting most of you would find that very disgusting, therefore, it is common decency to ensure that when you leave the stall that it is in a condition that you would like to walk into!
Since this is again a male-oriented blog, there probably won’t be much of a need to “teach” girls how to dispose of their used products, so we’ll skip ahead for the guys. So, one of my readers wanted me to address about how sanitary products are disposed and to demystify the “science” behind it. In regards to maxi pads, they should (under most circumstances) be disposed of in the garbage or in a sanitary bin (usually behind the toilet/stall wall). There is a flushable pad on the market, but it is likely most women are using your conventional non-flushable pads. Pads are extremely bad for most toilets so unless you want to clog the toilet (which may be embarrassing and/or gross), I would advise against it – trust me, it isn’t pretty, I’ve seen it. In regards to tampons, most tampons are flushable, however, when I say tampon I mean ONLY the tampon portion as the applicator/wrapper should be disposed of via the garbage/sanitary bin. However, knowing plumber friends, some of them advise women to not flush tampons either, especially if their drainage system or toilet is older or not in a decent condition as it adds unnecessary stress to the system(s).
Proper disposal of used sanitary items also help reduce the odor that is dissipated. Dried menstrual fluid doesn’t exactly smell “pleasant” (again, exception to the flow-lovers), so through proper disposal, women can assist in keeping the air in the washroom relatively clean. Suffice to say, no matter how well proper disposal is followed, unfortunately when you have 20 used products in a garbage/sanitary bin, it is not really going to give off the smell of apples either way, so women generally have a practice (at home) of emptying the garbage more frequently than when they’re not menstruating to prevent “build up” of old products and allowing the accumulation of the smell. This is especially important to note to the guys that menstrual fluid being “smelly” is not because a woman’s vagina/blood is dirty (unless there are health implications). The odour that is emitted from a used menstrual product is a result of the bacteria that comes in contact with air, therefore it is imperative men understand that this is not fault of the female body as the menstrual fluid itself is clean!
Without further ado, I took the liberty of demonstrating a pad disposal (without the gore for easily-disgusted-male sake):
(Fig 1.) This is the general package of a pad, obviously will be different for each brand/size. This the usually the state of a pad when it is taken from the package and unopened. In conventional pad packages, each pad is individually wrapped.
(Fig 2.) The wrapper is opened and within contains the pad. Generally, the wrapper of the pad is SAVED to wrap up the old pad that will be removed or saved to wrap the current pad that is going to be used for disposal later.
(Fig 3.) To fully utilize the pad, one must open it up usually by unfolding all the necessary parts to make it “whole”
(Fig 4.) Since this is a “panty-less” demo, I’ve already removed the wing-tab. Most people would have placed the pad onto the panties and then removed the wing-tab to secure the wings around the crotch of the panties. This is to ensure that the wings do not stick to anything else and thus the reason why it is done last. You don’t ever want the adhesive to stick to anything else… it hurts!
(Fig 5.) So here we have it guys, a pad ready-to-go in all its glory, LOL! Sorry that it is on a bit of an angle, but like I said, the sticky adhesive is a pain, it was actually stuck to my desk for a while and I had to fight with it to get it off! To continue onto Figure 6, let us assume that this is the pad AFTER it has been removed. Before initiating the “roll up” one may choose to either fold the wings in first or leave the wings out.
(Fig 6.) Here’s where the main point of this entry comes into play, the disposal! Once the pad is saturated, it is removed from the panties and generally, most people will roll it up. My ex dubbed it the “spring roll” (especially because she used the Always Regular which had the yellow wrapper – harhar!) as the most common method of disposal. As you can see, the the wings have been folded in before being rolled up but I personally prefer it left outside, but I will demo the results of that in the following figures. Since the pad itself is (normally) saturated, you have to be careful about how tightly you roll it up because it may “squeeze” some of the fluid out.
(Fig 7.) I find that the problem with rolling it up with the wings in is that it sometimes tends to “open up” which is not exactly aesthetically pleasing. However, having spoken to many of my girl-friends, this apparently is the “preferred” way of doing it.
(Fig 8.) This is personally my way of doing it, because what it allows you to do is to wrap the wings around the “holes” of each end which securely fastens the sticky parts all together, thus reducing the possibility of it “opening back up” or having fluid “come out the sides”. Also, this method, in my opinion, also compacts the pad itself, thus allowing for a smaller disposal profile.
(Fig 9.) As a result of leaving the wings unwrapped during the roll-up sequence, you create a “tail” as per the previous figure and thus, you are able to grab each end and bring it to where the top of the pad and the bottom of the pad meet. This creates a 3-way sealing effect and again, can be used advantageously for disposal taking up less space in the trash/sanitary bin.
(Fig 10.) Regardless of which method you choose to “roll” it, you will end up with a “spring roll” of your used pad. It is also possible to include any wrappers/tabs if not previously disposed as part of the package. Roll or enclose the pad within the wrapper in a suitable fashion for disposal. I prefer wrappers that actually have a small “sticky tab” that you can use to seal the wrapper, but unfortunately this brand doesn’t have it. In North America, I can only think of the Always pads that come with the little sticker you can use to seal the package.
(Fig 11.) And finally the disposal process is almost complete (next to placing it in the proper container). This isn’t my “best handiwork” and I can definitely do a much better wrap, but doing it one-hand while holding the camera is rather hard. And before you ask, no I don’t have a proper set-up for taking pictures/videos – lol.
So there you have it guys, a small demo of a pad from its original form to wrapped-for-disposal form! To my reader who wrote me the above letter, I hope that you find this tutorial of interest to you! I might not have covered every aspect, but have done what I can think of at the moment to answer your inquiry. If you do have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at all! Feel proud that you took the initiative to learn more about menstruation because it is men like you who will help women and allies such as ourselves break through the taboo of menstruation!
P.S. The demo’ed pad is a Kotex Regular with Wings
Posted on January 29, 2010, in Periodtastic and tagged Blog, Education, Educational, Feminine Hygiene, Help, Maxi Pads, Menstrual, Menstruating, Menstruation, Periods, Sanitary Napkins, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.