Imagine an all-natural menstrual pad you can simply wash out and reuse each period, one that easily stands up to two years or more of wear. Sound a bit gross? It really, truly isn’t, we swear.
Enter hannahpad, a range of extremely pretty certified organic cotton cloth pads that don’t smell icky after use and can simply be rinsed out to reuse again and again.
That’s important because Australia’s estimated 4.2 million menstruating women unwittingly create an enormous amount of landfill, as much as 45,000 tonnes each year – four times the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
Disturbingly, regular tampons and pads take hundreds of years to decompose and are packed with chemicals that can harm our environment. Organic cloth pads, on the other hand, are not only reusable for months on end but, once thrown away, will take only about six months to decompose thanks to their natural materials.
Bringing certified organic cloth pads from Korea to Australia
Says Marcus Steve, who co-owns hannahpad Australia and New Zealand, the non-toxic brand actually originates from Korea, where it was launched back in 2005.
“The founder of hannahpad is surprisingly a man! His friend at the time was experiencing really heavy period pains and was using standard supermarket pads. There were no natural products on the shelves, so that’s how he came about the idea of hannahpad,” Marcus told us.
Marcus and his Korean wife Jenny, who both previously worked for Etihad Airways, decided to launch their Aussie-based Hannahpad branch in 2013, after Jenny started using the pads herself. She’d suffered terrible period pain, too, and found using chemical-free organic pads helped ease the agony.
Each clothpad is made in Korea from organic cotton sourced from India. And, unlike other similar brands, even the pad’s top layers are 100% certified organic cotton.
“There are currently 42 employees in Korea who work with the raw materials and textiles to hand-make our products. The working conditions and benefits in Korea are relative to that in Australia, if not better,” Marcus says.
Less icky smell and leaking, far more comfort
While normal pads often smell icky after use due to a chemical reaction when the blood on the pad is exposed to oxygen – which manufacturers often try to mask with heavily scented artificial fragrances – hannahpads wick away the blood to keep smells to a minimum.
The prettily patterned outer layer that’s a hallmark of hannahpads isn’t just for looks, either; it contains a special TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) waterproof coating on the inside to prevent awkward leaks.
Because they’re more comfy, gentle on sensitive skin and don’t smell like normal pads, most people find they can wear hannahpads for longer, meaning one can last a whole day according to hannahpad customer feedback.
Washing the pad afterwards is a super simple process: after a quick rinse in cold water, you soak the pad for six hours or more (overnight is best) in cold water and a little natural washing detergent. Afterwards, give them a quick hand wash or pop them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, then hang out to sun dry.
Combatting the common (false) belief that reusable pads are gross
Jenny says being at the forefront of a menstrual pad revolution (and, actually, hannahpads also work great for pregnant and postpartum mothers or those suffering incontinence) can at times be challenging.
“People often think reusable pads are dirty, unhygienic and cheap. We’ve had women on social media express how they think washing pads is gross. That level of openness is not something you would typically experience in Korea, so it’s been an adjustment,” Jenny says.
But a loyal community of supporters has sprung up, confirming what Jenny knows from personal experience – hannahpads are the real deal.
“It’s really amazing to see that kind of loyalty and passion towards our brand,” she says. “This has been such a great opportunity to build a business and a life that we can be proud of.”