Lockdown Limiting Sanitary Napkin Supply? Learn to DIY Cotton Pads

How to make your own cotton sanitary pad amid coronavirus lockdown?

3 min read

Script: Shreya Mudgal
Voiceover: Jharna Singhal
Editing: Ipsa Agnani

For the first seven days of India’s nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, sanitary napkins were not listed as an essential commodity – thus, halting its supply chain. While it was later included as an essential on 29 March, and the manufacturing of sanitary pads were allowed, the supply still remains disrupted.

The National Family Health Survey 2015-2016 estimates that of the 336 million menstruating women in India about 36 percent of them use sanitary pads. The lockdown has disrupted the access of an estimated 121 million women to their basic need.

However, it is not just the lack of supply but also access to the local markets and pharmacies that is hampering their monthly routine.

The members of The YP Foundation, an organisation working to advance the rights of young women has been conducting free online sessions on making one’s own sanitary cotton pad.

"Cloth pads are easy to make with materials at home. Even more easily available in our homes and will prepare us to manage menstruation during this time. This makes a temporary solution during the lockdown, when many women are left either without supply or access to pharmacies,” The YP Foundation told The Quint.

The foundation which has currently conducted sessions in Hindi and English, is planning to do several other sessions in various Indian languages.


DIY Sanitary Pads: Tools Required

In a video for The Quint, the YP Foundation demonstrated DIY sanitary cotton pads. Here’s what you will need to make your own sanitary pad:


Steps To Make A DIY Cotton Pad

  • Create a stencil of the pad and mark it on the cotton pad
  • Use cotton cloth that you would be comfortable wearing. Avoid synthetic cloth.
  • Make cutouts from the cotton cloth to form top and bottom layers of the pad.
  • Take a towel cloth and cut it out in the same shape, to form the absorbent/inner layer.
  • The number of towel cloth for this layer depends on your needs. Generally, 2-3 layers of it will do the job for you.
  • Now, begin by stitching the inner layers (towel cloth) together.
  • Once done, stitch the inner and the top layers together.
  • But make sure you leave some space to turn the pad inside out.
  • Once turned inside out, stitch the remaining part.
  • You can then use either titch button on the wings – these will click and hold the cotton pad together – or a normal button to hold the wings.

How Safe Is It To Use Cotton Pads?

“Any menstrual product if used wrongly increases the chances of infection,” said Jharna Singhal, who is holding DIY sessions for the organisation, addressing whether a cotton pad will risk menstrual hygiene of women.

“A disposable sanitary napkin has, if not higher, equal chances of infection as a cloth pad. They must not be worn for long, especially disposable ones as they are not made out of breathable materials,” she added. The other precautions that are to be taken while using a cotton pad are:

  • Soaked used pad in cold water for 20-30 minutes
  • Gentle machine/hand wash with detergent
  • Dry in the sun
  • Change the pad every 4-6 hours
  • Wash your pad after every use

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from voices and women

Topics:  DIY   Menstrual Hygiene   Cotton Pads 

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