Disposable or Washable Bed Pads? Which Is Better?

overhead view of senior woman sleeping in bed

Many factors cause urinary incontinence, or the inability to control one’s bladder, which is common among the elderly, resulting from diabetes, certain drugs, menopause, or an enlarged prostate. According to the National Association for Continence, more than 25 million individuals in the United States have bladder leakage daily.

Incontinence is a source of shame for many people, yet hundreds of treatments are available to alleviate the discomfort. An excellent example of this is using overnight bed pads to keep you and your sleeping quarters dry and sanitary. It is what you need to know before purchasing a bed pad.

Incontinence: What Is It?

As a medical word, incontinence refers to the involuntary outflow of urine and feces. Incontinence may affect everyone, regardless of gender or age, and it is more common in women and the elderly. Approximately one in four persons have had incontinence at some time (and these are just the folks who are willing to confess it). According to Persistence Market Research, incontinence products are on the rise in popularity, thanks to an older population and more consumer knowledge and acceptance.

lower half of woman with hands over groin to indicate the need to pee

Incontinence: What Causes It?

A wide variety of factors may cause incontinence. However, the following entities are to blame:

  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • People who have Parkinson’s Disease
  • Strokes
  • Injuries to the Back and Neck

Care For Incontinence

Incontinence may cause anxiety, tension, and shame if not adequately addressed. When it’s at its worst, it may leave patients confined to their homes, afraid that they’ll have a mishap if they leave the house. On the other hand, there is no need for incontinence to influence daily life negatively.

Incontinence Management

The main concern for several people with incontinence is being able to sleep well at night. Specialists supply a variety of dependable washable and disposable incontinence sheets to assist you in conquering this problem and getting a good night’s sleep without worrying. These incontinence sheets protect the mattress against leaks with an absorbent, waterproof layer and are suited for a wide range of severity levels, whether at home or on a journey. How do you know which absorbent sheets are best for you?

What Is a Bed Pad?

Bed pads prevent any accidents from occurring. You may protect your bedding or other surfaces by using bed pads, which collect the pee that seeps throughout the night. Additionally, when compared to incontinence underwear, they’re a popular choice.

Washable or disposable incontinence bed pads are available in various sizes and come in a variety of colors.

Woman is putting the bedding cover or mattress pad on the bed

What’s the Purpose of Bed Pads?

A bed pad may help anybody who suffers from urine incontinence or a leaky bladder. You may rest easy at night knowing that your mattress won’t be damaged or your bed linens soiled thanks to these mattress protectors.


Disposable bed pads often have a lower absorption capacity than washable ones. Having been washed a few times, they’re now much more effective.

Several washable pads include tuck-in flaps that aid in keeping the pad in place.

At least three should be purchased: one for usage, one for washing, and one for storage. Although the initial investment is higher, you will save a significant amount of money if you use them for longer durations.

If you can wash and dry your clothes at the house, you’re renting or buying in. You can get a washable bed pad.

They are better for the environment since there is no waste.


The quality of disposable incontinence bed pads varies considerably, although they may be highly effective. Get a few samples to test out first.

If you plan on using the pads for a lengthy period, the cost might quickly escalate.

In the same way that every other throwaway product fills up your garbage bin, so too do these.

Some benefit comparisons are below.

Washable incontinence pads provide several benefits.

These are some of the benefits of using washable incontinence pads:

  • The fabric is soft and cloth-like
  • Friendly to the environment
  • Cost-effective
  • Skin irritation and rashes are less likely to occur
  • Hold more weight, making it easier to adjust your loved one as necessary
  • One of the most versatile tools in the world

Disposable incontinence pads provide many benefits.

There are several benefits to using disposable incontinence pads, some of which are as follows:

  • Clean-up is fast and easy
  • Suitable for extended periods (as long as they remain clean and dry)
  • Control of unpleasant odors has been improved
  • There are many pads in each packet
  • Additional absorption capacity over reusable alternatives

Our Top Picks

Heavy Absorbency 36" x 36" Quilted Bed Pads

by Medline 

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02/18/2024 09:24 am GMT

Medline Heavy Absorbency 36″ x 36″ Quilted Bed Pads

Disposable bed pads for adults measuring 36 x 36 inches from Medline include a substantial absorbency core to offer incontinence protection for bed linens, furniture, and floor surfaces.

A disposable bed pad with a delicate diamond quilted top sheet is soothing on sensitive skin.

It rapidly absorbs liquid and eliminates odor due to the fluff and polymer absorbent core. (Source: Medicals)

Because of its extra-large surface area, it is quite suitable for sleeping pads, furniture protection, or puppy pee pads.

This pair of chucks is pre-folded, and you can pack it in a bag for when you’re on the road.

Disposable Underpads | Incontinence Pads
$17.87 ($0.36 / Count)

by Medpride 

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02/18/2024 09:21 am GMT

Medpride Disposable Underpads 23” X 36” (50-Count) Incontinence Pads

These bed pads may help protect mattresses and sheets from uncontrolled bladder or urine issues in men, women, children, and the elderly, allowing them to sleep more soundly and confidently.

Medical-grade polymer layers construct Medpride bed pads, which absorb liquids, urine, and accidents more rapidly, enclosing them to help limit odor and dampness.

The pads they provide are helpful for young children and elderly hospice patients, but pet owners may also use them to assist with housebreaking or train young pups and support aging canines.

Mattresses with incontinence bed pads absorb liquids fast and safely, which is crucial for many reasons, including reducing skin discomfort, preventing animals from trailing urine across the floor, and avoiding puddling.

Our underpad bed covers, which are available in 25- and 50-count packets, may be worn every night when traveling or whenever you need a little more protection while sleeping. They’re also disposable, which makes cleanup a breeze!

Washable Underpads | Pack - of 4 Large Bed Pads
$29.99 ($7.50 / Count)


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02/18/2024 09:13 am GMT

Green Lifestyle Washable Underpads

These huge, thick underpads measure 34 by 36 inches. They are ideal for incontinence-prone individuals and seniors, potty-training toddlers and children, and youngsters who have accidents in the middle of the night.

The soft bed pads keep moisture and leak out of the mattress. Because it has a solid waterproof backing, You may use it to give additional protection to your mattress.

Underpads are available in various sizes and shapes to accommodate a wide range of applications. Puppies and senior dogs benefit from this extra-durable product, which can tolerate enormous amounts of pee.

Because we believe that saving the environment is vital, these reusable pads are constructed of high-quality fabric with reinforced seams to ensure that they survive for a long time and wash after wash.

It is intended for individuals who want a little more protection against the odd leak of pee — whether due to a medical condition or for other reasons. We’ve got your back, believe it or not.

Premium Ultra Plus Waterproof Sheet Protector Bed Pad

by Epica 

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02/18/2024 09:08 am GMT

Premium Quality Bed Pad

Here’s one more choice for an enormous bed pad for incontinence that has been well-reviewed and has a good reputation.

The cushions are 34″ X 52″ in size. In addition to being comfortable, the facing fabric is a 50/50 mix that rapidly wicks sweat away from the skin.

On the other hand, these pads are just three layers thick instead of the four layers of many of my other suggestions. However, the product’s evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive, with many consumers expressing their delight at how soft the face material is.

A single or two-pack of these are available.

Choosing the Most Appropriate Bed Pad

The following are some essential considerations to bear in mind while selecting an incontinence bed pad: The most critical decision is choosing a disposable or washable sleeping pad. In addition, you should consider size, absorbency level, and cost.

Bed Pads Come in a Variety of Styles

Washable incontinence bed pads for seniors are available in two different varieties: washable and disposable. Which one you select will be determined by what is most convenient for you. How much time do you have to do laundry regularly, for example? A disposable sleeping pad may be the best option if this is the case. However, if you’re primarily concerned with saving money, you may want to consider washable bed pads, eliminating the need to purchase new pads regularly.


Washable bed pads, also known as reusable bed pads, are generally considered more protective than disposable bed pads in most cases. These water-resistant cushions are more dependable and do not rip easily. Additionally, they remain in place overnight and are less prone to slide about than other disposable pads are.

You can wash fabric bed pads, and they are generally considered fairly comfy. They have many layers built in most cases, including a top layer that dries quickly and keeps you dry while you’re lying down.

A reusable bed pad from Royal Care should go on top of or below your sheets and can absorb up to 7 ounces of fluid. It is non-slip and crinkle-free, so it should not interfere with your sleep.

They are cost-effective since you can wash and reuse them repeatedly. In addition to saving you money, they are beneficial to the environment since they reduce the amount of garbage you generate at home. For example, it is possible to wash pads from Royal Care more than 300 times.


Disposable bed pads are intended for one-time usage only, and you should not reuse them. Even though they tend to be more costly over time than washable bed pads, if you want an incontinence bed pad for a short length of time, for example, for a few weeks after surgery, this kind may be the most cost-effective option.

The majority of disposable pads have three or four layers of protection, which you may read about on the box of different goods. The most common top layer is composed of a soft, quilted material that wicks fluid away from the skin, while the next layer is an absorbent gel that retains urine. The bottom layer is plastic or vinyl, and it is responsible for preventing fluids from escaping and sinking into the bed.

Many individuals find the bottom plastic layer irritating since it may make a lot of noise while you’re sleeping on it, which can be distracting.


The size of your bed pad is vital to consider. In some instances, you may be able to get a pad that is 18 inches by 24 inches, which will be sufficient for your needs. Perhaps a pad that is 34 inches by 36 inches would be the most appropriate for your mattress size and shape.

The price of a bed pad tends to rise as the size of the pad increases.

Exceptional Characteristics

When assessing bed pads, pay close attention to the following factors:

  • Absorbency – Examine the bed pad’s package to ascertain the degree of absorbency. These goods usually hold between 1,200 and 1,500 milliliters of liquid. Consider using a more absorbent bed pad if you’re someone who leaks excessively at night.
  • Controlling odors – Look for products that have built-in odor control if you are concerned about the aroma of a product. It markets as a unique characteristic in many items.
  • Comfort – When you’re using a product night after night, it’s critical to feel comfortable with it. Washable bed pads are often softer than disposable bed pads, and many of them include a quilted top that won’t irritate your skin.


Bed pads are in packages, and you may purchase them from the comfort of your own home.

Purchasing a pack of 50 heavy-absorbency, 36-inch-by-36-inch disposable pads from Amazon would cost you $41.14 (USD). Meanwhile, a bag of 100 disposable pads measuring 17 inches by 24 inches costs $21.79.

It costs $26.99 for a pack of four reusable pads that measure 34 by 36 inches and $21.25 for a bundle of four 18 by 24-inch reusable pads.

senior man sleeping with slight smile on face

The Most Important Takeaways

Pads of high quality, both washable and disposable, operate equally effectively. But what is “high quality”?

When selecting a bed pad, many consumers’ initial assumption may be that “the more it absorbs, the better.” It is probably true. It isn’t always the case, however!

The figures for absorbency use tests that do not consider the use of the pad. The usual quantity of urine discharged by an adult in a single sitting is around one cup. The majority of bed pads have a capacity many times more than this. So, what is an essential thing?

The speed at which the pad absorbs is an essential component. The tests used to calculate absorbency values do not consider the abrupt rush of pee, which is a characteristic of many forms of incontinence (e.g., stress incontinence). High-quality bed pads, on the other hand, will absorb rapidly.

Then there’s the issue of leakage from the bed pads. After absorbing the pee, the pads should be able to hold it in place as the user moves or applies pressure to the pad.

Finally, have a look at the materials. A low-quality bed pad may make sleeping quite unpleasant. High-quality pads include wicking properties. Because we all move as we sleep, the bottom layer of the pad must be able to hold the sheet for the pad to remain flat and leakproof.

These goals may be met with a well-designed incontinence bed pad while staying within price limits.

What’s the bottom line?

There is no such thing as the best when selecting bed pads. It all depends on what makes you comfortable.

Washable pads are typically more absorbent, have a more attractive look, cost less peruse, and are healthier for the environment. They are also more affordable. While disposable incontinence pads may be more uncomplicated and more comfortable to use, they may also be noisier and more time-consuming to dispose of after each use. 

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