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How To Use Disposable Underpads

How to use disposable underpads

If incontinence issues have been a pain point for you, perhaps you’ve considered trying out disposable underpads to handle this problem for you once and for all. 

They are easy to use, and can offer full leakage protection, allowing you to keep your furniture, bedding, and even car seats in good condition. 

If you decide to select disposable underpads primarily over other types of incontinence products, knowing how to use them properly is of the essence.

Depending on your choice, you may put the pad beneath or over your sheets. When you sit or lie down, be sure that enough of the pad is exposed. To avoid leaks, however, you must guarantee precise placement.

Read along for a step-by-step guide. 

What Are Disposable Underpads?

Disposable underpads are large, square, or rectangular-shaped pads meant to absorb liquid. The underpads primarily comprise three layers:

  • Top layer: It is an ultra-soft and comfortable, non-woven sheet meant to prevent rashes.
  • Middle layer: A relatively thick sheet made to absorb and hold maximum liquid.
  • Bottom layer: A plastic layer that prevents liquid from leaking.

These layers act synergistically to contain urine while you are sitting or lying on your bed. You can use the underpads for car seats, wheelchairs, couches, bedding, and practically any place you sit on for extended periods of time.

Who Should Use Disposable Underpads?

These pads not only save you time and money on washing, but they also allow you to sit and sleep without fear of wetting.

Disposable underpads are ideal for:

  • Individuals wishing to protect their furniture from emergency leakage
  • Men and women who prefer not wearing adult diapers
  • Caregivers with incontinence patients
  • Any caregiver who does not have time for laundry
  • Individuals with physical ailments that prevent them from visiting the bathroom themselves

While most adults experiencing incontinence would find these to be a great option, disposable underpads are not good for some individuals. If you're looking for incontinence protection on the go, adult diapers such as incontinence diapers or medical diapers for adults are better options.

Additionally, individuals who wish to choose eco-friendly options can opt for a reusable bedpad or another diaper for adults. 


Man in wheelchair with dog who uses disposable underpads

How to Use Disposable Underpads – Step-by-Step Guide

While the best adult diapers may offer sufficient protection for some people, they may not be enough for others. Disposable underpads can come to the rescue in these situations. You must, however, guarantee that it is used correctly.

Step 1: Using a pair of scissors, cut open the disposable underpads package from the bottom side. Make sure not to tear the entire pack so you can store the other diapers without any hassle.

Step 2: Place the underpad right at the center of the surface where you will be sitting or lying.

Step 3: Unfold the disposable underpad such that the plastic side faces downward while the non-woven side faces upward.

Step 4: Make sure to place it such that when you sit or lay down, equal parts of the underpad are left uncovered. It will be around 6-8 inches depending upon the pad size.

Step 5: If you’re using it for lying down, position the pad such that it begins under your lower back. It should reach somewhere around your mid-thighs.

Step 6: You must check it periodically and replace the underpad with a fresh pad when it reaches saturation.

Note: Using the same pad for extended time after it reaches its maximum capacity may lead to rashes or leakage.

Step 7: After its use, you must roll the pad and secure it in a plastic or paper bag. Make sure to dispose of it in a garbage can meant for plastics.

What Are the Best Highlights and Features of Different Disposable Underpads?

Similar to adult pampers, different disposable underpads have varying features and highlights. These features differentiate the underpads according to their use, performance, and effectiveness.


Some disposable underpads may have adhesive strips at the bottom, letting you affix the pad to the surface. This function keeps the pad from moving overnight, enabling you to use it for longer periods of time. 

Different Sizes

Disposable underpads come in varying sizes to meet your absorbency level, body type, and area to be covered. These may range anywhere from 17 x 24 inches to 40 x 57 inches. Alternatively, these may range in size from Small through Double Extra Large.


Underpads may have polymer or fluff cores. Polymer has a higher absorbency level and keeps the pad drier over a longer time period. On the contrary, fluff cores have relatively lower absorbency levels, but are also less expensive.

Backsheet Material

The backsheet material of the pad may be plastic or cloth. While plastic or poly backing may slip unless it has an adhesive strip, pads with a cloth backing stay more firmly in place.

 Disposable Underpads

How Do You Choose Which Disposable Underpads To Purchase?

According to a study, hospital-acquired pressure injuries were noticed in only 5% of individuals using disposable underpads1. The study was measured against a control group of individuals using reusable absorptive pads, with 12% developing similar injuries. 

While this shows how effective and safe disposable underpads can be, you must still consider several factors before picking one.

Absorbency level: Most disposable underpads feature a specific absorbency level – low, medium, or heavy. Therefore, it is best if you pick the one that suits your incontinence level.

Topsheet: If your skin is sensitive, try to pick the pad with the softest topsheet. You can choose an alternative option if you need the underpad only for a short while.

Size: Disposable underpads may come with a specified weight limit. So you must choose one accordingly. Besides, the size may differ according to the surface you want to use the pad for. Pick a smaller size for a chair, and a relatively larger size for bedding.

Backsheet strength: In case you use the underpad to shift or move your loved ones, you will need a pad with a strong backsheet.

What is the Best Disposable Underpad?

Picking the most suitable option requires a thorough consideration of your requirements and the features of the pad. Here are the five best disposable underpads according to different absorbency levels:

1.    Attends Dri-Sorb Underpads – Light absorbency

Attends Dri-Sorb Underpads, Light absorbency, Leak-proof backing

The Attends Dri-Sorb Underpad is one of the best options for individuals with light incontinence. Its size is 30 x 30 inches, suitable for bedding and furniture.

Key Features

  • Non-woven fabric for the top layer
  • Cellulose fiber in the core for maximum dryness
  • Breathable material
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Leakproof back sheet 

2.    Attends Disposable Polymer Underpads – Moderate absorbency 

Attends Disposable Polymer Underpads, Moderate absorbency, Leak-proof backing

The Attends Disposable Polymer Underpads is designed for individuals with moderate continence levels. It is a 30 x 36 inches premium product made with high-grade materials so you can stay dry for a prolonged period.

Key Features

  • Breathable coversheet ensures airflow
  • The soft top sheet prevents skin irritation
  • Leakproof poly back sheet
  • Premium quality materials for maximum comfort

3.    Tranquility Air-Plus Extra Strength Disposable Underpad – Heavy absorbency

Tranquility Air-Plus Extra Strength Disposable Underpad, Heavy absorbency

If you are looking for a strong disposable underpad, the Tranquility Air-Plus is the best option. It is a 30 x 36 inches underpad, ideal for individuals who need to be shifted or require bariatric care.

Key Features

  • Highly breathable, with moisture-wicking properties
  • The soft material is ideal for sensitive skin
  • Extra-high absorbing capacity of up to 34 ounces of liquid
  • Clothlike back sheet for slip-free discreet usage 

4.    Prevail Super Absorbent Disposable Underpads – Maximum absorbency

Prevail Super Absorbent Disposable Underpads, Maximum absorbency, Latex-free

The Prevail Super Absorbent Disposable Underpads are great for individuals with heavy incontinence. These are extra-large pads with a size of 30 x 36 inches.

Key Features

  • Clothlike top sheet prevents discomfit and skin irritation
  • Unique Maxsorb gel technology allows maximum absorbency
  • Does not contain chemicals or dyes, proving to be completely safe
  • Breathable materials ensure dryness over a prolonged period 

5.    Attends Premier Underpad – Overnight

Attends Premier Underpad, Overnight, Low-airflow mattress protection

The Attends Premier Underpads are ideal for adults with heavy incontinence levels. With these extra-large pads featuring a size of 30 x 36 inches, you may not need overnight diapers for adults.

Key Features

  • Low-airflow mattress protection
  • Non-woven clothlike top sheet
  • Dry-lock technology locks moisture
  • Can reposition adults weighing up to 350 pounds


What are underpads made of?

Most underpads are composed of one of three materials: vinyl, urethane, or spunbond. Vinyl is most frequently seen on reusable underpads, where it serves as a waterproof backing that keeps moisture away from furniture.

What are booster pads used for?

Booster pads' main function is to increase absorbency to another absorbent product, thus prolonging the wear duration. Boosters usually have a capacity of 5-27 ounces, providing you with as much extra protection as you need.

Which foods are helpful with bowel incontinence?

Every day, include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in your diet. These foods have a lot of fiber. Also be sure to consume lots of fluids. If you have renal, heart, or liver problems and must restrict your fluid intake, see your doctor before increasing your fluid intake.

How many bottles of water should I drink per day?

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that an appropriate daily fluid consumption for males is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day, while women should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids each day.

Drinking water incontinence hydration levels


While getting leakproof diapers for adults is an excellent option for incontinence patients, it may not suit everyone. In some cases, adult diapers may not be your first choice, may make it difficult to track the saturation level, or you may simply want extra protection.

You can use disposable underpads along with adult diapers with tabs to rule out any chances of wetting. Besides, they help keep bedding, furniture, and car seats clean, reducing the need for laundry.

For the best results, choose a disposable diaper that meets your absorbency level and is soft to the skin.


  1. Francis K, Pang SM, Cohen B, Salter H, Homel P. Disposable Versus Reusable Absorbent Underpads for Prevention of Hospital-Acquired Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis and Pressure Injuries. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2017 Jul/Aug;44(4):374-379. DOI: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000337. PMID: 28549048.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is purely for educational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your doctor or physician.