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Bed pads are an essential item as a part of the management of incontinence or leakage from catheters. IThey are a square or rectangle of absorbent material placed under the affected person to absorb urine. Pads can be washable or disposable.


Washable bed pads can usually absorb more than disposables. They perform better after a few washes.

Some washable pads have tuck-in flaps which help to hold the pad in place.

It is best to buy at least three – one in use, one in the wash and one ready. The initial expense is more, but if you use them for a long time you will save a lot of money.

You have to be able to wash and dry them. A cool wash and tumble dry is sufficient.

You have nothing to throw away, so they are better for the environment.

Arelle supplies washable bed pads in two sizes, with and without tuck-in flaps.


Disposable incontinence bed pads can work very well, but there is a great variation in quality. It’s worth getting some samples to try first.

Each pad is cheap (about 25p for a good one), but if you are likely to be using them for a long time the cost can mount up.

They are easy to use, but as with any disposable product they fill up your bin and landfill sites.

Arelle supplies deep quilted Abena disposable bed pads. Abena is a Danish company well known for the technical expertise it applies in the design of its products.  Click here to see Arelle disposable bed pads

How do I choose bed pads?

Good quality washable and disposable pads perform equally well. But what is “good quality”?

The first thought of many customers choosing a bed pad might be that “the more it absorbs the better”. This is not necessarily true!

Figures for absorbency come from tests which don’t take account of how the pad is used.  The normal amount of urine excreted by an adult at one time is about a cupful. Most bed pads are able to hold several times this amount. So what is important?

The most important factor is the SPEED that the pad absorbs. The tests that produce absorbency figures take no account of the sudden rush of urine that is the feature of many types of incontinence. However, high quality bed pads will absorb quickly.

Then you need to take into account LEAKAGE from bed pads. Having absorbed the urine, pads should retain it whilst the wearer moves or puts pressure on the pad.

Finally, consider the MATERIALS. A poor bed pad can very uncomfortable to sleep on. As well as being soft, high quality pads wick water away from your skin so you remain comfortable and dry even after the pad has been used. We all move in our sleep, so as well as being leakproof, the lower layer of the pad has to grip the sheet so that the pad stays flat.

A well-designed incontinence bed pad manages to fulfil all these requirements, and at an affordable price.


  • To avoid soreness all bed pads should be changed as soon as possible after they have been soiled.
  • For extra security you can wear absorbent pads or briefs in conjunction with bed pads.
  • If you would like any more information please do contact us on 0800 389 3597

Other bed protection

Other really useful items for bed protection are waterproof mattress protectors, waterproof bedding and duvet covers.  All are available from Arelle. Click here for more details