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Disposable Bed Pads vs. Reusable Underpads

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What is a Bed Pad?

Bed pads are a large pad that can be placed on beds, chairs, sofas, and other surfaces to prevent liquid from getting onto fabrics and other surfaces. Underpads for bed are flat absorbent pads that protect the top of upholstery or sheets in order to reduce time-consuming linen changes and wash loads. Adult bed pads come in disposable and reusable variations and in different sizes.
They are traditionally used with other incontinence products like pull up underwear, adult diapers, incontinence underwear and incontinence briefs to prevent spillage or leaking. People who benefit from using adult bed pads are those searching for an easy incontinence solution that protects and covers a large surface area without a lot of effort.

How Do Bed Pads Work?

Bed underpads are used to put onto a bed, sofa, chair, floor, or another surface in order to protect it from liquids. The purpose of adult bed pads is to absorb liquid and prevent it from seeping onto the surface underneath it. Depending on the type of medical supplies bed pads used, the liquid is absorbed differently.

What Types of Bed Pads Are Available?

Adult bed pads are broken down into two main categories:
Some people prefer reusable bed pads because it allows them to cut down on both cost and waste. Others go with disposable bed pads because they don’t require washing and are more convenient than the reusable bed pads.

Shop for Disposable Bed Pads here.

What is the difference between Reusable Bed Pads and Disposable Bed Pads?

Reusable bed pads are often made up of fabric and vinyl with cotton inside the pad to absorb any liquids. These types of bed pads absorb more liquid than disposable versions and can be washed in a washing machine. Reusable underpads have a vinyl back on the bottom to prevent liquid from coming out. These are durable, reusable, and washable between soiling. If you're looking for the more earth-friendly option and don't mind taking the time to change and wash the reusable bed pads, then this option is great.
Disposable bed pads function in the same way as a regular incontinence pad does, except they have a much larger surface area to protect. There are various sizes available for disposable bed pads that will cover a variety of furniture and bed sizes. The liquid is absorbed into the core of the bed pad and converted to gel due to the polymer beads and cotton fluff inside. Disposable bed pads will also keep the incontinent user dry but require changing quicker than the reusable ones.
Disposable bed pads, often referred to generically as chux, are very popular multipurpose protectors for those who like to have ease of use. On the other hand, washable and reusable underpads are most popular with family caregivers as they stay in place better than disposable pads and save money over time.
Disposable underpads are also extremely popular for pet owners as puppy training pads or for use with senior dogs with incontinence. There are many other uses for disposable underpads for infant cribs and bed-wetting children as well. Our disposable bed pads have many other uses and provide a big savings over buying adult bed pads at retail price.

What Are Bed Pads Made Out of?

The majority of bed pads are constructed with a cotton blend surface that absorbs into the top, a middle made of plant fiber fluff that holds the liquid, and the bottom of the pad made with vinyl or plastic that keeps liquid from leaking out. The surface is generally made of soft, absorbent cotton fabric that is safe for the skin and protects the incontinence user from feeling wet as the liquid turns into a gel within the bed pads. For leak-proof security, the bottom of the adult bed pads are made with layers of polyurethane or plastic that seals the liquid inside.

What Sizes of Bed Pads Are Available?

There are two main sizes of SPC quilted underpads:
Sizes include:
Medium: 30x36" (available in 100 count or in 75 count)
Large: 27x70" (available in 75 count)
The smaller size is typically used on chairs, sofas, recliners, and other furniture. Larger sizes are typically used on a bed and can be tucked underneath the mattress for a non-slip effect.
Savings tip: If you don’t experience heavy incontinence, opt for a smaller pad that you layer if necessary. They are less expensive and you won't need the fuller coverage of a bigger pad.

How Do I Choose a Bed Pad?

There are several types of bed pads found under those two main categories of disposable bed pads and reusable bed pads:

Tuckable Bed Pads

1. Tuckable bed pads are a type of disposable bed pad that is meant to be tucked underneath a mattress to protect the mattress and the sheets. They are very large and are made with an absorbent core to prevent shifting at night. SPC Quilted Tuckable bed pads are generally heavier and more absorbent than other basic disposable underpads available on the market.
Recommended for: Standard beds. All types of incontinence.

Air-permeable bed pads

2. Air-permeable bed pads are another variation of a disposable bed pad. These bed pads allow air to circulate while keeping moisture away from the skin. Your skin stays dry and cool because heat is not allowed to build up and cause irritation. These types of pads are also tear-resistant which makes it easier to turn someone over if needed.
Recommended for: Inactive or bedridden users that require airflow to avoid bed sores.

Airflow underpads

3. Airflow underpads are bed pads that are traditionally used on a low-airflow therapy bed. They absorb liquid while allowing air and heat to circulate throughout the pad, including the back of it. While these pads do promote air circulation, they are still effective as they protect the bed.
Recommended for: Users who utilize a special airflow therapy bed.
The type of bed pad that you choose ultimately depends upon how you want to use it. Smaller bed pads are for furniture while larger ones are reserved for beds. Disposable ones are convenient and easy to change. Reusable bed pads last longer and cut down on waste. Absorbency is another factor. Evaluate what size you prefer and how much liquid the bed pads need to hold to decide what you need.

Layering Techniques for Bed Pads

If you experience light to moderate incontinence, 1-3 bed underpads is typically enough protection while you sleep. Those who experience heavier incontinence may need 3 or more bed pads to get adequate protection. For heavy incontinence, we usually recommend using the 27x70" SPC Quilted Tuckable Bed Pads, which cover the entire bed and can be tucked underneath a mattress for a non-slip sleeping experience.

How to layer bed pads for light/moderate incontinence:

Base layer: waterproof and washable mattress cover.
Second layer: 1-3 bed pads depending on incontinence needs.
Final layer: standard bed cover - we suggest 100% cotton for sensitive skin.

How to layer bed pads for heavy/severe incontinence:

Base layer: waterproof and washable mattress cover.
Second layer: 3 or more pads stacked and arranged next to each other.
Final layer: standard bed cover - we suggest 100% cotton for sensitive skin.
Note: If you prefer to avoid wetting your final layer (standard bed cover), you can place the pad over the final sheet and use the adhesive tape underneath the disposable bed pads to adhere to the mattress and prevent slippage.
Bed pads should always be placed where the protection is needed. Place it with the absorbent side up and cover a large swath of the surface to allow for protection even when the person moves around during sleep.

Traveling with Incontinence

When traveling, stock up on disposable bed pads in a few different sizes to put on chairs, benches, and on the bed. Use them with other types of protection to reduce any accidents from leaks or incontinence during your vacation.
If you have questions about the best adult bed pads that suit your needs, reach out to us to find your perfect bed pad.

Shop for Disposable Bed Pads here.

San Pablo Commercial is a family-owned, small business with a mission to deliver affordable medical supplies to their customers and caregivers. We offer a variety of incontinence products, ranging from SPC underpads, adult diaper briefs, reusable protective underwear, sanitary pads, absorbent liners, and disposable bed pads with adhesive. We ship directly to residential homes, home health care facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and senior living communities within 2 to 3 business days. We care deeply about our customers and want to make ordering incontinence supplies easier so that they can spend more time doing the things they love.

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