How to Make a Substitute Sanitary Pad

If you're on your period and you don't have a sanitary pad on hand, you might be feeling stressed out or even embarrassed. Luckily, though, a little creativity will get you through the day until you can find a pad or a tampon. There are several options you can use to make your own makeshift pad, like using toilet paper, a washcloth, or even a sock!

Method1
Using Toilet Paper or Paper Towels

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    Fold together a thick stack of paper towels or toilet paper. If you can find paper towels, grab enough of them so they make a stack that's at least 12 in (1.3 cm) thick, and about as wide and long as a normal pad. If you can't find paper towels, fold toilet paper together to create a thick stack, instead.[1]
    • Paper towels are more absorbant and durable than toilet paper, so they're better to use if you can find them. If not, though, toilet paper will work—you just might have to change the pad more often.
    • You can also use thick stacks of tissues if you have them.
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    Place the stack on the crotch of your underwear. Once you've folded the stack of paper towels or toilet paper, press it into your underwear in the same place your pad would normally go. It's okay if it overlaps the sides of your underwear a little—just fold the edges down, similar to wings.[2]

    Tip: If you have tape on hand, fold a strip into a circle to make it double-sided, then use it to attach the toilet paper to your underwear.


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    Wrap a long strip of toilet paper around your underwear 4-5 times. Wrap the toilet paper so it goes over the pad, all the way around the crotch of your underwear, and back again. This will help secure your makeshift pad so it doesn't shift around.[3]
    • Feel free to wrap more toilet paper around the pad if you want. The more paper you use, the more secure you'll be against leaks—although you may be uncomfortable if your pad gets bulky.
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    Change the paper pad at least every 3-4 hours. Exactly how often you'll need to change the pad will depend on the heaviness of your flow and the durability of the paper you used. However, when the pad gets soaked or starts to disintegrate, or once you've had it in place for several hours, it's time to replace it. To do that, just tear away the paper wrapped around the crotch of your underwear, discard the pad, and make a new one.[4]
    • Even if you're having a light flow, you should still change your pad every 3-4 hours. This will help prevent leaks and odors.

Method2
Trying Other Household Items

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    Wrap a clean sock in toilet paper for a quick fix. If you have a spare pair of clean gym socks or you're wearing a pair of socks that's still clean, take one of the socks and wrap toilet paper around it several times. Place the sock in the crotch of your underwear, then wrap more toilet paper around your underwear and the sock to hold it in place.[5]
    • Socks are made to absorb sweat from your feet, so they should be absorbent enough to work for your period, too.
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    Try a washcloth or another small cloth if you have one. If you can find a clean cloth, you can use that in place of a pad, as well. Fold it so it's about the size of a sanitary napkin and place it in your underwear until you can find a pad.[6]
    • It's a good idea to test whether the fabric is absorbent first. Run a small corner of the material under water. If it soaks up the water, you can use it as a pad, but if the water beads up and rolls off the fabric, you should find another option.

    Note: A cloth used for this purpose will probably be permanently stained.

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    Check first aid kits or craft supplies for cotton or gauze. Cotton balls, cotton wool, and gauze are all absorbent materials that you can use as a pad in a pinch. If you find cotton wool or gauze, fold and stack it together until it's the shape of a pad. If you have cotton balls, wrap at least 6-7 of them in toilet paper to keep them together.[7]
    • Wrap toilet paper around the pad and your underwear so it doesn't shift around

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