Spacerpad is a reusable sanitary pad inspired by the menstrual cup. Spacerpad is developed to act as a container for the menstrual fluid, and therefore it is easy to clean and quick to dry. These qualities are important to get a sanitary pad that quickly can be reused in a hygienic way.
The main idea behind Spacerpad was the desire for an affordable and reusable sanitary pad that was easy to rinse, wash and quick to dry. These are qualities important for women with inadequate opportunities to manage their washing and drying in privacy. Having a clean, dry sanitary pad is both hygienic and comfortable.
Spacerpad mimics the menstrual cup by being a container for the menstrual fluid. Instead of traditional absorption in fibers, the liquid-holding principle consists of a porous structure of 100% hydrophobic polyester filaments. Such filaments are very durable and thus the product gets a long life (we estimate up to ten years).
We have exposed Spacerpad for a number of laboratory tests that we partly had to develop together with RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), as standards for testing reusable menstrual pads are lacking. Absorbency and leakage refer to the liquid holding capacity, and is tested by dosing a specific amount of liquid repeatedly while recording how much of the liquid that can be absorbed or ”disappear” without leaking. Wicking concerns the liquid permeability time in relation to the top sheet, and is a measure of the speed at which liquid is absorbed by the product. Rewetting concerns the degree to which fluid can penetrate backwards, from the product and to the skin, after absorption, when pressure is applied to the product. The tests show that the liquid holding capacity is:
– Thin pad 20ml
– Medium pad 30-35ml
– Thick pad 40-45ml
– Night pad 50-60 ml
We have conducted user tests in Sweden and Kenya and the product is currently being tested by women in Tanzania and in Nepal. It appears that Spacerpad feels comfortable in the sense of feeling dry and light, and is safe against leakage. As it is easy to clean and quick-drying, a woman can manage her period on a small number of pads, 4-5 depending on the fluid.
As Spacerpad is designed as a container, it cannot be sewn on the sewing machine – a needle would have punctured it. Instead, we work with other manufacturing techniques.
For a product to be useful, it must end up in the hands of those who need it most. Initially, we focused on developing a product that could contribute to a solution to the problem of menstrual poverty. An adequate menstrual hygiene management is a human right and of great importance for all women/menstruaters. We still have that focus, but today we see also other incentives to use reusable high quality products. Environmental considerations mean that many people today are thinking about how they can reduce their consumption, from disposable ones to reusable.
The ultimate goal is that all menstruators should have a dignified management of their periods.