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May 08, 2020 6 min read

"INFO: The team previously at hannahpad Canada launched their own new brand, illum! These blog posts have been written when we used to run hannahpad Canada. All information is still relevant and everything is the same! We simply changed the brand that we offer. :slightly_smiling_face: "


Whether it’s the Jerry Springer Show, WWE, or Hell’s Kitchen, everybody loves a good face-off. In this article, we’ll be exploring yet another interesting (and informative) kind of face-off—one that involves the size of illum's Cloth Pads vs. the size of disposable pads.

 This comprehensive guide is great for anyone who is thinking about making the life-changing shift to hannahpads and/or anybody who is using our online store for the first time. By the way, since you’re most likely new to using hannahpads, welcome aboard! Even if you’re just considering this positive change, we’d like to congratulate you on being a few steps closer to making a really great investment for yourself and for the planet!

So, why is size so important for menstrual pads anyway? The answer… safety.

Appropriately sized menstrual pads help us women feel a whole lot safer during this special time of the month. This is why we at illum have designed a variety of pads to give you that feeling of protection regardless of what you’re wearing, what you’re doing, how long you’re sitting, and so on.

But size isn’t really the only thing that keeps those leaks at bay. After all, what good is a well-sized pad if it cannot stay on properly? What good is a well-sized pad if it cannot absorb enough? So as a bonus, we’ll also compare the absorbency and staying-on power of cloth pads vs. disposable pads.

Round 1: Sizes

Let’s start by comparing the sizes of the different cloth pads with their disposable pad counterparts. We’re going to start with the smallest size and then work our way up.

Note: If you want to check out what’s available in our store for the following sizes, simply click on the size and it will take you directly to our catalogue.


The Thongliner is perfect for everyday use as well as for days with a light flow. For heavy days, these can be paired with a menstrual cup for added protection. Thanks to the shape of this cotton pad and its soft and flexible texture, it is super comfortable to wear with any thong underwear.

This one’s going to be great—let’s get ready to rumble!

  • illum Thongliner dimensions: 5.3 inches for the wings and 7.3 inches for its length.
  • Dimensions of disposable thong liners: around 5 inches for the wings and around 7 inches in length.

The extra half an inch that you get with a cloth pad goes a long way!

Additionally, did you know that the absorption capacity of the illum's Thongliners doesn’t just exceed that of disposable thong liners - but also rivals that of most regular sanitary pads? We’ll talk more about this in the next section.


The absorbency of the illum Pantyliner with its 2 internal layers is perfect for everyday use, spotting, and light menstruation. These can be used as a backup if you choose to wear a menstrual cup during heavy days.

  • illum Pantyliner dimensions: 6.9 inches for the wings and 8.5 inches for its length.
  • Dimensions of disposable pantyliners: commonly without wings and around 7.5 inches in length.

You get the added benefit of wings on your illum Pantyliner and more coverage compared to its disposable counterparts.


The illum Longliner provides extended coverage and a higher absorption capacity compared to the illum Pantyliner. It also has 2 internal layers.

This illum cloth pad is great for everyday use, spotting, and light menstruation. It can also be used as a back up if you’re using a menstrual cup during heavy days.

  • illum Longliner dimensions: 7 inches for the wings and 10.7 inches for its length.
  • Dimensions of disposable long pantyliners: commonly without wings and around 8.5 inches in length.

The additional inches of coverage that you get with illum cloth pads equates to added comfort and more freshness.

Regular Pad

Regular Pad, with its 4 internal layers, is the pad of choice for light to medium flows.

It is the counterparts of regular disposable sanitary pads in terms of size.

Regular Pad dimensions: 7 inches for the wings and 10.7 inches for its length.

Dimensions of the counterpart (regular disposable pads): 6 inches for the wings and 9 inches for the length.

If you are comfortable with the size of regular sanitary pads, your best choice would be the Regular Pad. This reusable cloth pad offers an exponentially higher absorption capacity (and comfort) compared to their disposable counterparts.

Large & Overnight

Soft, comfortable, and ultra-absorbent with its 4 internal layers, the Large Pad gives you the complete coverage that you need for you to sleep soundly, without worrying about leaks.

Taking it a step up, the Overnight Pad, with a larger size and 5 internal layers, is perfect for those who have heavier flows or those who move a lot during sleep.

  • Large Pad dimensions: 7.3 inches for the wings and 12.2 inches for its length.
  • Overnight Pad dimensions: 7.3 inches for the wings and 13.7 inches for its length.
  • Dimensions of the counterpart (overnight pads or large-sized pads): 7 inches for the wings by 11 inches in length.

illum Cloth Pads don’t only have a major advantage in terms of size but also in absorbency - as you will see in the next section.

Overnight Plus

The largest of all these cotton reusable pads is this behemoth called the Overnight Plus Pads. Equipped with 5 internal layers, this pad has the highest absorption capacity. It is a perfect choice for particularly heavy flows on the heaviest days and can also be used for your postpartums needs.

woman holding up an overnight plus pad

  • Overnight Plus dimensions: 7.5 inches for the wings and 16.2 inches for its length.
  • Dimensions of the counterpart (maternity pads): 7 inches for the wings and 13 inches in length.

Overnight Plus Pad is not just a winner in terms of size and coverage but also in its breathability and comfort - two very important things if you are going to use this for the postpartum period.

Round 2: Absorbency

So let’s talk about the absorbency of the different sizes of illum cloth pads. It was fairly easy to compare the size of illum cloth pads to disposable pads because most disposable pads gave that kind of information. However, most disposable pads don’t promise any maximum number of millilitres that it can absorb so we’ll need to work with average figures for select sizes.

We know for a fact that even the smallest-sized illum cloth pad (the Thongliner variant) can hold more ml of blood than most regular-sized disposable sanitary napkins.

A soaked regular-sized sanitary napkin generally holds just 5ml of blood. Meanwhile, the illum cloth pad Thongliner can hold a maximum of 11ml of blood.

In terms of size, the illum cloth pad counterparts of the regular-sized sanitary napkin (which is 9 inches long) is the Regular Pad (which is 10.7 inches long). This reusable cloth pad hold a maximum of  25ml and 35 ml respectively - an exponential difference!

Now, let’s compare larger pads. The illum cloth pad counterpart of the overnight or large-sized pads (which are usually 11 inches long) is the Large Pad (which is 12.2 inches long.) Overnight or large-sized disposable pads can generally hold 10-15mlwhen fully soaked. Meanwhile, the Large illum cloth pad can hold a maximum of (*drumroll*) - 45ml of blood. That’s more than 4 times the absorption power of its disposable counterpart!

To put these above numbers further into perspective, the average amount of blood that a woman can lose during her period totals to around 20 - 80 ml. During the first few days of the period, when bleeding is the heaviest, women, on average, lose 5-15 ml of blood each day.

We’ve got a wide range of illum cloth pads that you can choose from to match your unique needs - including the kind of flow you’re having. Here are the absorption capacities per illum cloth pads size:

  • Thongliner = 11 ml
  • Pantyliner = 15 ml
  • Longliner = 20 ml
  • Regular = 35 ml
  • Large Pad = 45 ml
  • Overnight Pad = 55 ml
  • Overnight Plus = 70 ml

Round 3: “Staying-On” Power

In terms of preventing leaks, yet another tangent factor with the size is how the pad stays on. As we all know, disposable pads have a layer of adhesive under the pad and on its wings (if it has wings).

No matter what size these disposable pads are, the adhesive can weaken as the pad twists and bends while you’re sleeping or while you’re carrying on with day-to-day activities. illum cloth pads are yet at an advantage since these reusable cotton pads have wings that clip or lock together to stay on the underwear. This means that whatever sleeping position you take or whatever you do within the course of the day, the pad stays where it should be.

Ready for Worry-Free Periods?

In this article, we’ve only scratched the surface of the practical benefits of switching over to illum cloth pads. Now you know that the size, absorbency, and staying-on power of these pads are exponentially better than that of disposable ones—and these attributes synergize to give you comfortable, worry-free periods. illum cloth pads can also help you save money while also contributing to your health and to the health of the planet. 

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