Underpads are thin, soft sheets of absorbent material with a watertight barrier attached to one side. Designed to prevent mishaps from spilling on surfaces when an incontinence product is being changed, they work incredibly well for collecting bowel and urine voids. Underpads, also known as “chux pads,” vary in size and absorbency and are either disposable or reusable.
How to Choose:
There are three primary factors to consider when choosing an underpad:
- Disposable vs Reusable:
- Disposable underpads are the most popular type, as they’re the most convenient - simply throw them out after each use. Because they have a polymer core (polymers are tiny absorbent beads), they’re often much more absorbent than reusable underpads. Customers with heavy absorbency needs should go for a disposable underpad - or, adding a disposable underpad on top a reusable one.
- Reusable underpads can be washed and used over and over again, making them a much more economical and environmentally friendly way to protect your furniture.
- Size: With underpads, size matters – and there are a variety of sizes to choose from. Choosing the best size for an individual depends on the amount of incontinence, the type of clothing that will be worn over the underpad, and the individual's body size. It also depends on what surface you’re trying to protect. If the underpad is for a bed, you’ll need a larger size. For a wheelchair, recliner, or seat in a car, go for something smaller.
- Absorbency: When deciding on the best chux pad for your needs, be sure to consider absorbency. Available in a variety of absorbencies, from light to heavy, the absorbency that is best for an individual depends on the amount of incontinence, the type of clothing that will be worn over the underpad, the individual's activity level, and personal preferences.
What are underpads for incontinence?
Underpads, often known as "chux," are rectangular fabric sheets covered in two watertight plastic layers. The interior of the plastic is filled with absorbent polymers that act as a barrier against all sorts of fluids, including urine and feces, food, and beverages. Reusable underpads have a semi-absorbent fluff core instead of polymer, so that they can be washed and reused.
Underpads offer practical solutions for incontinence protection. Place them on your loved one’s wheelchair, in the passenger seat of the car, or under the fitted sheet in your loved one’s bed. A good rule of thumb when it comes to changing underpads: change at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
How are absorbent pads used?
Some underpads are designed for specific types of incontinence, such as urinary or fecal. Others are designed to be more universal and can be used for either type.
For individuals with light incontinence, a less absorbent underpad may be sufficient. For those with more severe incontinence, however, a more absorbent underpad will likely be necessary.
Will a reusable underpad be highly absorbent?
In general, disposable underpads are more absorbent than reusable underpads. For added safety, many caretakers prefer to use a reusable underpad underneath a disposable one.
How do you keep underpads in place?
There are a few ways to keep underpads in place:
- Use adhesive strips or tape on the underpad.
- Use a fitted sheet over the underpad.
- Tuck the underpad into the mattress.
Protective Bedding: Underpads vs Mattress Protectors vs Protective Sheets Disposable vs Reusable Underpads Best Way to Choose Reusable Underpads Carewell's Essential Checklist for Bowel Incontinence Care Checklist for Traveling with Urinary Incontinence 8 Diet Tips to Help Manage an Overactive Bladder