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Considering how up close and personal we get with pads, it’s a little too easy to switch into autopilot mode when picking up these routine period products.

These things not only live in our pants but also live in our landfills — for, like, ever. If you’ve already got sustainability on the brain and are buying organic foods, why not go for an eco-friendly vibe downstairs too?

Pads are a major player here, and going organic doesn’t just help the Earth breathe a little better. It also might make your bits feel a little better by keeping those intense chemicals found in nonorganic pads far away from your hoo-hah.

Here’s why it’s worth switching to organic pads and our top 12 picks to test drive.

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Organic pads are made from organic materials (but they don’t necessarily have to be made of *certified* organic materials like you would find at Whole Foods). They might have absorbent cores or top sheets made from plant-based materials like:

  • pure or organic cotton
  • wood
  • bamboo
  • cellulose

They also have little to no plastic and fewer dyes and fragrances. And they’re free of harmful pesticides and synthetic materials that can often cause rashes or irritation, especially for folks with plastic sensitivity or generally sensitive skin.

Another big issue with most traditional, nonorganic pads is that they’re not biodegradable — the average nonorganic pad takes 500 to 800 years to decompose.

Even more unsettling, an estimated 45 billion menstrual products get dumped into the trash every. single. year. *shiver*

Some organic pads can be composted, but if you want to have a truly eco-friendly period, you’ll want a reusable period product.

Going organic isn’t just a more eco-friendly move, it’s one that gives your bod some extra love by avoiding the potentially harmful chemicals that are often found in traditional pads.

A 2019 study dug into more than 15,000 complaints of infections, rashes, irregular periods, and bad cramping that people attributed to certain pads. The pads were later yanked from the market, but the researchers found a gap in regulation of pads and diapers. (Tampons are pretty much the same story.)

Researchers basically pointed out that it’s possible to absorb not-so-great substances, like VOCs or phthalates, since your bits are in direct contact with these products. YIKES.

A 2020 study also found that some period products in the United States contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates, bisphenols, and parabens. These endocrine disruptors can affect the production or function of hormones and may lead to a slew of health problems.

While there haven’t yet been any official studies on whether organic period products are safer, going organic can be beneficial simply because you’re scrapping synthetic materials that, at the very least, could cause annoying irritation.

Read those labels!

Real talk: Manufacturers aren’t legally required to tell you the ingredients in period products. (Umm, what!?) Activist groups are working to make proper labeling mandatory. In the meantime, we have to lean on brands that are doing their best to be transparent and offer third-party testing.

Still, it’s helpful to check labels to find out what your vag might come into contact with.

Take an extra 2 seconds to scan your pads’ ingredients and materials. Are the pads made of materials free of herbicides and pesticides? Free of chlorine? Free of fragrance? Free of plastics like polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyester?

You may be here to shield your vageene from toxins or because you just want to make your period a little more sustainable — or maybe both!

We kept these key factors in mind when choosing the best organic pads:

  • whether the pad or its packaging was made from biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials
  • whether the pads were free of chemicals like synthetics, pesticides, dioxins, chlorine, or dyes
  • whether they included substances that could irritate sensitive skin, like plastic, fragrance, or adhesive
  • what reviewers thought about comfort, fit, durability, breathability and “the sticky factor” (Does the pad stick to your underwear well enough, or is it even a little too glued on there?)
  • what flow levels the pads could handle
  • how convenient the pads were to buy (Can you pick them up in-store or online only?)

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$25
  • $$$ = over $25

Keep in mind that there are often different pad count options and these can change. We’ve noted the count for each price we’ve included.

Best overall organic pad

1. Rael Organic Cotton Pads Regular (Ultra-Thin)

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: This brand made our list twice for good reason — it’s one of the highest-rated and best-selling brands on Amazon. The non-GMO cotton, grown in Texas, is 100 percent organic as well as OCS and USDA certified. In addition to the regular ultra-thin size, these pads come in large and overnight with wings. Reviewers say they’re absorbent AF and super breathable.

Bonus: These pads are hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, so they’re a safer choice for those with sensitive skin.

Considerations: Some reviewers say the wings don’t stick the way they should and have an awkward forward position.

Price: $$ for 24 (2 packs of 12)

Buy Rael Organic Cotton Pads Regular online.

Best ultra-thin organic pad

2. Cora Ultra-Thin Pads

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: Cora promises “cashmere-soft” certified organic cotton that keeps you dry and far away from chlorine, fragrances, artificial dyes, deodorants, toxic adhesives, acetone, rayon, polyester, and phthalates. (Note: The company’s packaging doesn’t necessarily make the same promise on all products.) These pads are rail-thin but are somehow said to hold 10 times their weight.

Bonus: With every purchase, Cora donates pads and health education to girls who don’t have access to safe period products.

Considerations: While some organic pads have many reviewers shouting “not sticky enough!”, these seem to have the opposite effect — some reviewers say the adhesive is so sticky that it may be hard to remove.

Price: $ for 18

Buy Cora Ultra-Thin Pads online.

Best organic maxi pad

3. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Maxi Pads Without Wings

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: We know maxi pads as bulky sidekicks with a reputation for being a bit shifty. But these guys are different. They boast a design that conforms to your bod, so you get that comfy, flexible fit without too much shifty business (because the last thing you need during a heavy flow is a heavy mess).

Considerations: Adhesive effectiveness is a big deal for reviewers, and these pads seem to have almost no complaints in that department — a big victory for organic pads! A con: Things get pretty bulky down there.

Price: $ for 24

Buy Seventh Generation Maxi Pads online.

Best organic panty liners

4. Oi Organic Cotton Panty Liners

Flow level: Light

Why we chose it: These liners are a good fit for those light days in your cycle or for added backup when sporting a tampon. They’re made with 100 percent pure certified organic cotton, are non-GMO, and are free of perfumes, pesticides, and chlorine bleach. Amazon reviewers say they’re so soft and comfortable that they feel like nonorganic liners.

Bonus: This brand is female-led and focused on sustainability and social responsibility.

Considerations: Reviewers on Amazon seem to agree that these stick best to cotton panties, but the adhesive is less than ideal for other fabrics.

Price: $ for 24

Buy Oi Organic Cotton Panty Liners online.

Best organic hypoallergenic pad

5. Veeda Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings

Flow level: Medium

Why we chose it: Veeda organic pads leave it all behind — no synthetics, pesticides, dioxins, chlorine, dyes, or fragrances. They’re dermatologically tested and designed to reduce the risk of irritation and allergic reactions. And they’re breathable but tough: Amazon reviewers love how they hold up, even in sweaty climates.

Bonus: The packaging is oxo-biodegradable.

Considerations: This popular pick seems to be a bit tough to keep in stock on Amazon or anywhere else.

Price: $ for 14

Buy Veeda Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings online.

Best value organic pad

6. Natracare Natural Ultra Pads with Wings, Regular

Flow level: Medium

Why we chose it: These pads are made from certified organic cotton, ecologically certified cellulose pulp, corn starch, and nontoxic glue. Even the wrapper is sustainable, made from compostable cellulose and compostable starch film. They’re plastic-free, which is bomb for those with plastic sensitivities. Reviewers say they stay in place and are great for sensitive skin and heavy flows.

Bonus: The back of the pad is plant-based and waterproof too.

Considerations: Some reviewers say the pads are too stiff and start to fall apart after prolonged wear.

Price: $ for 14

Buy Natracare Natural Ultra Pads online.

Best flow variety organic pad

7. Organyc Hypoallergenic 100% Organic Cotton Pads

Flow level: All

Why we chose it: Organyc offers oodles of flow and size options, so you can stick with just one brand and tackle each flow day as it comes. Reviewers with sensitive skin who usually experience rashes from pads rave about how gentle these are. Many report rocking these without any sign of rash or irritation.

Bonus: These are made from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable organic cotton, bleached without chlorine.

Considerations: Be careful what flow size you buy. Some reviewers say the moderate flow option couldn’t deal as advertised.

Price: $ for 10

Buy Organyc Hypoallergenic 100% Organic Cotton Pads online.

Best for heavy flows

8. NannoPads

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: Not just equipped for handling hella heavy flows, NannoPads may also help with circulation and discomfort issues, thanks to the micro-sized “nanoparticles” they contain (or so the brand says). They’re made with 100 percent organic cotton, and the brand claims they help reduce odor and bacteria. While many of the claims just sound like marketing, reviewers are obsessed with how absorbent these are, saying the absorbency helps reduce anxiety over leakage.

Considerations: Some reviewers really don’t like the shape and fit of these pads.

Price: $$ for 20

Buy NannoPads online.

Best overnight organic pad

9. Always Pure Cotton & Chlorine-Free Pads, Ultra-Thin Overnight

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: This is a name you probably already know, but these pads are made in a way you can feel better about. The pure cotton pads are chlorine-free and unscented, with an organic top layer made from absorbent wood cellulose and a gel core. There’s no bleaching, fragrances, or dyes.

Considerations: The wrapper is made of printed polyethylene, so there’s still some plastic involved.

Price: $ for 18

Buy Always Pure Cotton & Chlorine-Free Pads online.

Best organic pad for light days

10. Eco by Naty

Flow level: Light

Why we chose it: For both the packaging and the backing of the pad itself, Eco by Naty uses plant-based plastics instead of petroleum-based plastics. Lots of reviewers with plastic sensitivity say these are fab but are best for your lighter days. You may have to experiment a bit to find your best size and absorbency.

Considerations: This brand is imported from Europe, but you can still pick it up in the U.S. BUT keep in mind that European sizing may be is a little different from what you’re used to, so pay close attention when clicking!

Price: $ for 15

Buy Eco by Naty online.

Best soothing organic pad

11. Honey Pot Super with Wings Herbal-Infused

Flow level: Heavy

Why we chose it: Yeah, we said it — a soothing pad. Tea isn’t the only thing that can be herbal-infused. This may sound a bit bougie, but Honey Pot makes herbal-infused pads that contain calming lavender, cooling mint, and soothing aloe.

Considerations: These are clinically tested and pH-balanced, but herbal infusions still may not be the best choice for folks with sensitive skin.

Price: $ for 16

Buy Honey Pot Super with Wings Herbal-Infused online.

Best reusable organic pad

12. Rael Organic Cotton Reusable Pads

Flow level: All

Why we chose it: If you’re looking to take your organic pad journey a step further into the world of period sustainability, consider these hypoallergenic reusable pads. The top layer is made of certified organic cotton without the use of chlorine, toxins, pesticides, or fragrance.

Bonus: These have a snap closure, so you don’t have to worry about them shifting.

Considerations: We know — this may sound like wearing extra underwear. And you have to wash them. But you can just clean these as you would your normal laundry.

Price: $$$ for 3

Buy Rael Organic Cotton Reusable Pads online.

The reviews are in, and it looks good. While some reviewers point out that some organic pads don’t provide the same level of dryness as traditional ones, the payoff is still worth it.

Those who have sensitive skin or are prone to pad rashes seem to be happier bleeders with these pads. Pure cotton also has a softer feel, so organic-pad users should be pretty comfy. Adhesive is still an area that could use some improvement, though (“more stick, please!” vs. “too much stick!”).