Reusable underpads are usually constructed with a vinyl knit barrier on the underside that provides waterproof protection to the sheets, bedding, mattress and other bedding. This waterproof barrier comes in multiple colors for style and or person preference such as blue, green, tan and pink.
The top layer of material for these pads have several fabric choices; 100% Tricot – very soft to the touch but not as long wearing, 80/20 cotton/poly Ibex – the traditional cover long wearing than tricot but not the most durable, 50/50 Cotton/poly twill – more durable for wear with a cotton feel consisting of 100% birdseye cotton. These top layers, almost always are white in color, give a little different feel, texture and length of wear to the bed pad.
The heart of the bed pad is the soaker – this is the part in between the top layer material that is exposed to the patient and the bottom water barrier or the woven vinyl barrier. The middle weight material is the center of the protection and is usually quilted to the top fabric in some kind of reoccurring pattern. The purpose of the soaker is to absorb the moisture, hold and dissipate it, until the pad can be changed and laundered, thus protecting the bedding.
This middle weight material comes in multiple weights with the most common being the 8 ounce soaker weight. A common misconception is that the weight of the soaker (in this case 8 ounce) is the amount of moisture the soaker will hold. The weight does not refer to the amount of moisture it can hold, but rather to the weight of the soaker fabric as measured in the world of fabric materials.
Other choices for soaker weights as used in underpads, are 6 ounce for lighter needs and 10 ounce for heavy duty needs, offering more protection by holding more moisture.
The top layer with the appropriate middle weight material – remember these two layers are stitched together with a pattern sewn all across the face of the material that holds them together without slipping. They are then sewn securely around the perimeter of the pad to the vinyl moisture proof barrier in one of the above 4 colors green, blue, tan or pink.
Knowing a few basic facts about the construction, materials, weights and sizes of bed pads also called underpads will help you in choosing the best products and also what to look for as you make choices to protect your bedding.