It’s no secret that your average menstrual products found on supermarket shelves are awful for the planet.
Nonetheless, you might still be surprised to hear stats that tell you just how awful they are – like the fact that your typical sanitary pad takes about 500 years to break down due to its high plastic content (yikes).
A 2022 exploratory study into menstrual waste in the UK found that an estimated 28,114 tonnes of waste from menstrual products is generated each year, with a whopping 26,903 tonnes of that coming from disposable menstrual products (with disposable pads being the worst culprit, of course).
Replacing these with reusable period products like reusable pads, menstrual cups, and reusable period pants could reduce waste production by almost 23,000 tonnes a year.
Most of us know that we can do better too. By the end of every period, I typically have a bathroom bin that’s filled to the brim with sanitary towels, and I don’t feel good about it! So when WUKA got in touch to see if I’d like to try out some of their reusable menstrual underwear (period pants, if you will) I jumped at the opportunity.
I did try a different brand of period underwear years ago – when it seemed they were just hitting the market – but they were bulky and uncomfortable, didn’t feel absorbent enough for my heaviest days, and didn’t wash well.
So I was curious to see how period pants have developed since then and whether WUKA products could live up to their promise of being leak-free from the beginning of my period to the end, helping me to cut back on my own contribution to menstrual waste.
This post is kindly sponsored by WUKA, but all opinions are entirely my own. Purchases made via the links in this post will earn me a commission, at no additional cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure.
Here’s everything you can expect to find in this post:
- Who are WUKA?
- WUKA Period Pants Review: Light, Medium and Heavy Flow Pants
- The verdict
- Period pant FAQs
Who are WUKA?
WUKA are a UK-based reusable and leak-free period wear company, created by environmental scientist Ruby Raut.
The name of this female-led company stands for “Wake Up Kick Ass” because they believe that menstruation shouldn’t hold anyone back from living their life the way they want to.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the entire company is centred around sustainability from their products to their packaging, replacing the need for disposable products at an affordable price!
I tested WUKA period pants throughout my cycle
I set out on this challenge to see if I could get through my entire period exclusively using WUKA pants, to truly put them to the test.
I tried out several different styles and flows to give an honest review of the products and how realistic it is to ditch disposable period products for good. Here’s my WUKA period pants review…
Day 1 (light – medium flow)
Choosing which flow to use was a bit of a guessing game on the first day of my period. Typically I am fairly light when I first come on so I reached for the Ultimate Midi Brief in Light.
My first impressions taking them out of the packaging were that they’re surprisingly soft! They’re a silky tencel material with mesh detailing on the sides.
I also felt like they were the perfect fit when I first put them on – they were snug enough that I felt secure, but they didn’t feel too tight. It was freeing to feel like I could sit however I wanted and feel protected, because they didn’t move about like a disposable pad often can.
I put them on at about 11 am and they lasted all day. Before bed, I simply washed them in the bathroom sink in cold water until they ran clear, and then put them in WUKA’s Waterproof Changing Bag to store until wash day. The whole rinsing process was super easy – the worst part was that I got really cold hands!
All in all, I was very happy with how smooth the first day had gone and I changed into the Ultimate Midi in medium to go to sleep, knowing that tomorrow would likely be the true test…
Day 2 (heavy flow)
On the second day of my period I woke up early morning to heavier bleeding and had an immediate panic that I typically get when I feel my pad might leak. But I went to the bathroom and was pleasantly surprised that the pants had absorbed well and were drying quickly.
I changed into the WUKA Stretch Seamless High Waist in heavy after showering, half expecting them to feel like a nappy, but they really don’t feel much thicker than regular underwear.
The fabric on these also reminds me of a pair of bikini bottoms, and they sit super high-waisted which is really comfortable! I was even brave enough to wear a pair of leggings with these and there was minimal VPL and no bulkiness.
My only criticism is that the padding is almost a bit separate from the outer fabric in these, and it moved side to side a bit. But this was more of a mental concern because they held up and I didn’t have any leaks.
I also had some quite bad period pain this day so I took the opportunity to try out WUKA’s Water Bottle. This is a nice soft fleece material that you can tie around your waist. I wore it for the entire day and found it such a game changer for cramping and the lower back pain I virtually always get when I’m on.
Late afternoon I changed back to WUKA’s Ultimate Midi, this time in their heavy flow, and I kept these on until bed when I changed into the Ultimate High Waist in Overnight Heavy – the padding in these covers the entire back of the pants to prevent leaks overnight which I love.
Day 3 (medium – heavy flow)
The Ultimate High Waist held up okay, but they did feel pretty wet in the morning. Some moisture had actually made it to the other side of the fabric on the sides but thankfully this was minimal and hadn’t made it onto my nightwear so I wouldn’t class it as a leak.
I instantly loved the look and feel of the Flex when I put them on. I’d say this is the closest style to a pair of underwear that I would normally wear. And I like that the waistband is adjustable so if you bloat (like I do!) you can make them a little looser.
With that being said, these weren’t the perfect fit for me. They were comfy to lounge around in, but these wouldn’t be my choice for leaving the house because they were very prone to giving me a wedgie when walking!
Before bed I went to change into the Ultimate Midi in medium again but I felt like they had got noticeably tighter after washing and were now digging in. I had previously read reviews saying to size up in this style, so this might be something to bear in mind.
Instead I changed into the Heavy Seamless – I didn’t need this level of protection but I wanted to be comfortable overnight and it felt like a better option than reaching for a pad or tampon!
Day 4 (light – medium flow)
In the morning I reached for the Ultimate Midi in light to see how they compared to the medium (which were noticeably tighter the night before). Weirdly I didn’t have the same issue with these so I might have just got an off pair!
The light flow actually felt a bit too light for this day, but they did still get me through to the afternoon with no leaks. I could have probably left them for longer but I wanted to feel fresh so I thought I’d give the medium pair another go. They did seem to stretch somewhat after a while of having them on but I was still a bit disappointed that they weren’t as comfy as day 1.
At night I decided to sleep without period pants because a) most of my pairs were now rinsed and waiting to be washed and b) I don’t really bleed overnight at this stage anyway.
So instead I put on a pair of boxers, excited to wake up and try the product I was most excited about… the WUKA thong.
Day 5 (light flow/spotting)
I typically find the end of my period a bit frustrating because I am far too light to use a tampon, using a pad feels wasteful, and I’m usually SO over wearing knickers that I don’t feel my best self in.
In my day to day I would normally reach for a thong, but many a thong have been ruined by my impatience during the last days of my period! So you can imagine my excitement at having a thong to put on that was actually designed for light flow days like this.
And I am happy to say this did not disappoint! On this day I honestly forgot that I was wearing period underwear. It was such a freeing feeling to be able to wear the underwear I feel best in, while still protecting my clothes against leaks. This was such a game changer for me.
My goal throughout this was to see if I could ditch disposable period products and use nothing but period pants for an entire menstrual cycle, and I’m pleased to say this was a success! It was a really nice feeling to realise I didn’t have a bin full of sanitary waste to empty at the end of my period, which made me feel like I was doing good for the planet.
I was very pleased with the specific products I tried too. Having different flow options was so handy to take me through each day of my period, and yet even the heaviest pairs didn’t feel bulky.
I feel like if there was anything I would change going forward it would be sizing up in the Ultimate Midi, because they did get tighter after washing. Thankfully WUKA do offer a 40-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you are unhappy with the size of your period pants you can exchange them for a different size free of charge.
I also think to truly complete my cycle I would also get another overnight pair in Super Heavy. On my heaviest night I did feel like I was testing the capacity of the Heavy, so I think this one extra pair would take me through those heavy flow days safely with no fear of leaks!
Going forward, I think the only time I would use a tampon now is if I had an event or holiday, with the WUKA Thong being perfect as “backup” in these cases (in fact, I may just have to order some more of these!) And I actually feel confident that there is no need for me to use disposable pads at all!
All in all, I think that’s a great success for my first cycle wearing period pants. And I feel confident in recommending WUKA as a great option if you’re looking to cut back on your own period waste.
Liked my WUKA period pants review and interested in the products I tried? Here’s a roundup:
Period pant FAQs
Yes, and surprisingly well! I made it through my whole cycle with no leaks, even on my heavy days. They have an absorbent layer to soak up blood just like a pad would (maybe even better).
After wear you should rinse your WUKA underwear with cold water to prevent any menstrual blood setting into the fabric.
Then you can wash your pants either by hand or in the washing machine at 30 degrees. If you’re machine washing, just make sure to skip the fabric conditioner, and use a laundry bag to protect and prolong the life of your underwear.
The fabric used in WUKA period pants has antibacterial properties to prevent smells. I found that if I wore a pair all day they could have a very faint smell by the end of the day, but much less than a pad would and this went after washing.
It depends on your flow and the style of pants, but if you’re wearing the right flow then you can wear period pants for up to 12 hours.
You can change into a fresh pair more frequently than this if needed (every 4-6 hours) but my experience was that you can wear a pair of period pants significantly longer than a disposable pad while still feeling fresh and clean!
I found WUKA’s period pants dried surprisingly quickly and didn’t feel wet at all against my skin. The only thing I noticed was that they might feel initially a bit cold to pull back up after a bathroom break, but this quickly passes.
It truly depends on your cycle length, flow, and how often you’re prepared to wash them. WUKA’s recommendation is 6-7 pairs to make the full switch, with 3 pairs being the perfect starter set.
I tested 7 pairs and this got me through my whole cycle with one wash in between.
Liked this WUKA period pants review? Don’t forget to pin it!
Check out some of these other posts:
- The Ultimate Yoni Egg Guide (Everything You Need to Know!)
- How I Stopped Taking Birth Control Pills (with no side effects!)
Esther is the founder of Through the Phases. Her mission is to help other women to cultivate self-awareness and find what lights them up, so that they can more easily navigate the stressors of life! She does this through sharing healthy mind/body/soul practices and habits. Read more about her story here.