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Best Way to Choose Disposable Underpads

Posted by Brianna Maguire on Dec 17th 2019

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What are disposable underpads?

Protect your furniture from incontinence with disposable underpads! Also called chux or bed pads, disposable underpads are large, rectangular pads that help protect surfaces from incontinence. They typically have a soft top layer, an absorbent core to trap liquid, and a waterproof plastic backing to keep moisture from soaking through the pad. They can be used on floors, bedding, wheelchairs, car seats, or any other surface!

Enjoy less laundry and more time with what matters most: your loved ones.


Who would you recommend these products to?

Disposable bed pads are great for those that:

  • Want incontinence protection for their furniture (couches, beds, wheelchairs, car seats, church pews, or anything else!)
  • Are caregivers for loved ones that don’t like to wear pull-ups or diapers with tabs
  • Are changing feeding tubes
  • Are tending to wounds
  • Are changing ostomy bags
  • Need help repositioning loved ones or patients

Who shouldn't use these products?

These are not a good choice for:

  • Those looking for overall incontinence protection - these are great as a supplemental product, but to protect your sheets and clothes, you should consider also using a pad, pull-up, or diaper with tabs
  • Those that are environmentally conscious - consider a reusable underpad

How do they work?

Place underpads on couches, wheelchairs, beds, car seats, or anything else to protect against moisture and incontinence. Once used, just toss them out - no clean-up necessary. Use them for extra nighttime protection, under loved ones while changing incontinence products, while tending to wounds, or any other time you want protection from moisture.

Need to reposition your loved ones? Most of our underpads can even be used to gently readjust people up to 400 pounds.


What features exist?

Backing material

  • Fabric backing or cloth backing is less likely to slip or move. This is especially important for users who are sleeping on underpads (you don’t want the pad slipping away if you move in your sleep). Cloth-backed underpads are also a little more discreet and comfortable.

  • Plastic back sheets (“poly-backing”) tend to be more affordable but also more likely to slip or move around, unless they come with adhesive strips.

Adhesive strips

Some underpads come with adhesive strips or tabs on the back to prevent the pad from moving.

Ability to reposition loved ones

Some of the heavy duty underpads can be used to gently reposition loved ones of up to 400 pounds. These are typically sturdier fabrics, so they won't rip or tear.

Top sheet texture

Some underpads come with soft top sheets. These are ideal for people who will be laying on top of them, especially for long periods of time.

Range of sizes

Underpads come in various sizes, ranging from 17 x 24 inches all the way up to 40 x 57 inches, almost the size of a twin bed. The size you choose should match up with both the size of the person that will be using it, and the size of the furniture it'll be covering. For example, a large adult looking for protection in their bed will want to go with a larger underpad.

Core material

  • Polymer cores are more absorbent (they trap more leakage), diminish the risk of odors and skin damage, and keep the top sheet feeling dry, even right after voids.
  • Fluff cores tend to be cheaper, but also less absorbent. Since moisture isn’t locked away in the core, the top can still feel wet, leading to less comfort and skin health.

Low air-loss options

Some of our underpads have a completely breathable backing, making them a perfect companion for low air loss beds.


How do I choose?

  • Think about which features are the most important to you. If you’re worried about the pad slipping, look for adhesive backing. Want something more comfortable? Look for a soft top sheet.
  • Decide which size you’d like. The best way to do this is to think of two things:
    • The size of the person that needs incontinence protection
    • The size of the furniture that you're covering
  • Consider what you’ll be using the underpad for. If you’re changing a feeding tube and want some protection, a more affordable pad is probably fine. If you’re looking for overnight incontinence protection, you’ll want a larger pad with a more absorbent core.
  • If you’re going to use the pad to reposition your loved ones, make sure you check product descriptions for weight limits (most of our underpads can reposition up to 350 pounds). We recommend repositioning immobile loved ones at least once every three hours to prevent bed sores and pressure ulcers.
  • Need more guidance? Call us at 855-855-1666 and our friendly, expert Care Team will be happy to help.

Carewell Recommendations

Our customers love disposable underpads from brands like McKesson, Covidien, and Prevail.

We love underpads like:

Highly absorbent and protective, this disposable underpad pulls moisture down into the absorbent core as soon as it happens, leaving the topsheet dry and soft. Low air-loss mattress compatible and able to reposition loved ones of up to 350 pounds, these underpads have all the features you need.

A favorite product of hospitals, these underpads are extremely absorbent and sturdy! Ideal for heavy-duty incontinence protection, repositioning loved ones, and eliminating extra loads of laundry, our caregivers love these underpads.


Brittany's Pro-Tips

  1. It may be tempting to cut underpads into smaller sizes, but doing so will release the polymers or fluff, and they’ll become less absorbent. You can always look for a smaller pad if you need to!
  2. If you used an underpad in the hospital and can't figure out which one it is, try checking the backside. They typically have the brand name printed on them, which can help you narrow your search.

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