Maxi Pad/Sanitary Napkin Disposal

Hello again,

Trying to get back on-track with a periodtastic post! I recently received an email from a shy young man who writes:

Hi Prexus,

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.

Thank you.

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.) Pad in the original individually-wrapped form

(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.)Package is opened revealing the pad inside

(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.) Pad opened up but with wings tab still intact

(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.) This is the pad with the wing-tab peeled off

(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.) This is the form the pad "ready to be used" - or well, if it wasn't stuck to a desk it would be

(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.) This is the beginning of the disposal procedure once removed

(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.) Rolled up with the wings inside

(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.) My preferred way is to roll it up with the wings outside

(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.) My method of wrapping the wings after the roll-up to "seal" the pad

(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.) Place the pad onto the original/leftover wrapper

(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.) A pad sealed and ready for disposal!

(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

About Prexus Swyftwynd

Probably not a good idea for you to know anything about me....

Posted on January 29, 2010, in Periodtastic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Rolled up pads? Seriously? I am 50 and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of such a thing. I use Kotex. They come folded in thirds. When I am done with them, I merely fold them up the way they came out of the package. Now mind you, I don’t go around looking for used pads, but the ones I have come across seem to be folded the same way. I may or may not use the wrapper they came in. I find it is usually not big enough once the pad is full. And I do tend to have a heavy flow. I usually use a little toilet paper to wrap them in. At home, I don’t care if they are wrapped or not, but I don’t want them to stick to the inside of the trash can so I generally will make sure the sticky stuff is wrapped.

    I can’t fathom rolling up a pad. I just can’t.

    • NO KIDDING, the infamous Jada dropping by!! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and your comments are always valued.

      That’s crazy to hear that you’ve never rolled up a pad before! Just off the top of my head, my closest girl-friends to me ALL roll up their pads and by no direction of me – that’s just always been the way they do it. Even if you look at many of the “how-to” videos on YouTube, it is the preferable way of disposing a pad. Of course to each their own right? 😛

      I do agree it is possible to do it through the “folding it back the way it came” method works. Unfortunately the Kotex wrappers don’t seem to be “reusable” friendly.. they don’t have the nice sticker-tab like the Always one do, BUT at least they make better pads, lol. What about your girl-friends (if you discuss it with them), surely, I would think that rolling has been the more “common” way of disposal.. other than just ditching it outright. Wrapping it with TP is pretty decent, the worst is when people decide to just “leave it open-faced” LOL.

  2. I never really discussed pad disposal with my friends and since they’re all older than me, they’ve all gone through menopause now. We did discuss tampon disposal since at one time or another we’ve all clogged a toilet with them. I’ve been told by plumbers not to flush them.

    • Looks like this stirred up quite a bit of action @ Kayo’s… lol. I have heard from my plumber-friends too that flushing tampons down the toilet may cause issues, but flushing them seems to be the accepted practice… at least it is better than trying to flush a pad down the toilet. This past Christmas-eve, one of my friend’s girlfriend tried to flush one down because she was over and there were no other women in the house, so she wanted to “hide the evidence”. It didn’t work very well because I had to go over to his house and snake out a toilet-saturated-ripped-apart pad… not pretty.

      Menopause sucks, ack!

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    this article.

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  7. great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you.

  8. Brandon (boywhowantstobecomeafemininepad)

    Great article on the disposal of pads. Very well detailed, and the pictures are great. You really put alot of time and effort into your blogs as you post them. :).

    • Thanks – they took a crap load of time, haha. I’m not much of a photographer or graphics expert, so most of my picture-related work is very basic. I did have the enjoyment of taking them, although I had to take re-shoots on a few because they didn’t turn out right and I didn’t notice until after I loaded them on my computer, resulting in a bit of annoyance.

      WordPress is horrid when it comes to management of pictures (the admin interface), probably because they want you to buy the stupid “pro” package, so it was a pain to put these up, scale them and get them in proper order. I wish I could’ve avoided my hand being in one of the pictures though 😆

  9. good one.

    like to know how can we distroy / deccay used napkins in the septic tank of toilets.
    toilets in the public places are generally clogged due to this.
    Include the solution for that too.


  10. You all can always send me your used pads and plugs, and I will guarantee proper disposal. I love the sight and smell of a used plug or pad and sure do miss the days I used to clean my friends sisters waste basket of her used pads and plugs (secretly) I can smell a female on the rag very easy, and its an aroma I thouroughly enjoy. Same for panties with menstrual stains in them and normal vaginal secretions. Let them laying around and I promise you I will have them.

  11. Excellent site! I have a teenage daughter who clearly doesn’t know how to dispose of a sanitary napkin and it’s really kind of gross for my son and me to see a garbage can full of bloody napkins.

    I’m going to print this and have her read it – the pictures and descriptions are excellent.

    • Hi Single Dad,

      I’m very happy to see that you have taken the time to look for resources to help your daughter and in the meantime, help the sanity of you and your son 😛

      Hopefully she’ll take heed as to how to ensure proper disposal of her used products as that will also encourage her to do the same out in public facilities. It is most definitely necessary to be respectful of others feelings about seeing her improperly disposed sanitary products.

      Although there are probably 101 ways of disposing a used napkin, the main point to get across to her is that menstrual fluid [on the pad] should at least be “concealed from sight” when possible, because not everyone likes the view of a soiled pad/tampon. It is important to note that menstruation or her menstrual flow is not the issue as to why proper disposal is necessary, but rather emphasizing, hygiene and general respect for others.

      If she still can’t follow through with that, perhaps provide her with her own trash bin to store her used sanitary napkins and have her empty it herself.

      • LOL, I’m sure not every guy in this world is disgusted looking at garbage full of sanitary napkins xDD

        That’s exactly y I hv my own garbage, so no one else has to c my icky stuff 😛 Also… should double check after u flush the toilet to mk sure the tampon actually went down n’ doesn’t cm bk up 😆 Used, shredded n’ floating tampon does not generally mk ppl vry happi 😀

  12. 27. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is wonderful, let alone the content!

  13. Just a few of my thoughts….where do you get this idea that garbages with used pads in them smell? This has never been an issue for me or anyone else I know and I think it’s being exaggerated a lot here. Also, rolling it up perfectly is fine, but you shouldn’t *have* to do that. If men are reading this article they need to know that every woman does things differently.

    • As you say, I believe this is different for every woman. If you want to ask me personally if I have smelt disposed pads aroma before from the garbage (and that’s without sticking my nose in it), I have. The smell is not necessarily strong, but it certainly can be noticeable. Each woman has a different scent or a different degree of menstrual pungent (sometimes it may even change from period-to-period or throughout one’s life) and likewise, some people have better sense of smell than others. There are also female’s who I visit on a regular basis who I wouldn’t even know that they’ve disposed of their stuff in the garbage before, so yes, not all women have a noticeable menstrual flow smell.

      You are right that rolling or folding is not “necessary”… some women just rip it off and toss it in the garbage. I think the reason why folding or rolling is necessary is to respect others who may visit/share the same bathroom not to have a bloodied exposed pad staring at them. Each household or living space has their own “what is acceptable” type of unspoken rule. I know one of my friend’s household are very particular about disposing of used menstrual products, they keep small brown paper bags for women to put their used product in for disposal. If you are disposing your product in your own place, then of course it’s up to your choice on how you want to manage it. I think most people would be at least slightly more cautious or considerate about providing some kind of “shielding” to a used product if they’re a guest at someone’s place or a public washroom.

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  15. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people do not talk about
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  17. There is a major health reason for proper disposal of used menstrual pads: bacteria growth. A few women have died from anaphylactic shock caused by bacteria growth on tampons (inside them). It also happens to a lesser extent with pads while women are wearing them. However, after use, bacteria continue to grow on the pad. If not handled and disposed of properly, there is the possibility of infection to anyone handling the used pad in the trash. Heaven helps us if a small child finds it in the trash and puts it in their mouth (most small children DO put things in their mouth). While this is extremely rare, if it happens to your small child and that child dies from massive infection that antibiotics cannot stop; you’d be devastated. Animals may also be susceptible to trash hunting.

    The point here is simply this: think of others and not just yourself.

    • You seem to be really confused here. Women have died from toxic shock syndrome from wearing tampons, not anaphylactic shock. Also this bacteria grows inside the vagina, not the tampon itself. Wearing tampons can cause the bacteria to overgrow. There is NO risk of toxic shock syndrome from wearing pads, because they are worn outside the body. Also in the rare case that a child came across a used pad or tampon, the risk would be from exposure to blood born diseases more than bacteria. You would not get toxic shock from handling a used pad or tampon… The bacteria have to be growing in your body for a length of time (which is why you can’t wear tampons more than 8 hours). Please educate yourself because you sound ignorant.

      • Calling people names isn’t the best form of communication if, in fact, that was your intent.

        The aggressive growth of bacteria continues after discard of the product (more so with tampons than pads). Contact with the bacteria (say in a cut or open wound) could have dire consequences, depending on one’s immune system, allergies AND the length of time the bacteria has had to multiply. Allergic reaction, triggered by contact with bacteria-laden pad can cause death.

        • I didn’t call anyone names in my post. “Ignorant” is not a bad name, it means you are misinformed. Just trying to let people know correct information. The bacteria does not grow on pads, because the bacteria grows inside the vagina. A tampon may have some of the bacteria on it but like I said already, you get TSS from prolonged contact with the bacteria (which is why tampons can’t be worn for more than 8 hours). The scenerio you are suggesting is extremely unlikely if not impossible and you are scaring people with points that have no evidence. The fact that you didn’t even know the correct sickness was “toxic shock syndrome” and not “anaphylactic shock” (which is an allergic reaction and has absolutely nothing to do with tampon use) says a lot about your knowledge of the subject.

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