Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Feminine Hygiene Products

Women frequently find blood on feminine hygiene products or seek to use them during the clean days. In this article, we review the relevant halachic principles and examine how they apply to various products.

Becoming Niddah


A woman who experiences a flow of blood, or who feels a distinct hargashah just prior to finding niddah-colored discharge, becomes niddah without regard to the surface on which blood is observed.

Blood found on an object inserted into the vagina (e.g., a bedikah cloth) is treated stringently, akin to a flow.

Stain vs. Flow

Sometimes, a woman has no hargashah, but is unsure if her discharge amounts halachically to a flow. There is no clearly defined halachic boundary between “staining” and a “flow.” As a rule of thumb, bleeding that is too heavy to be contained by pantyliners, and would require a pad or tampon, is probably a flow that makes a woman niddah.


According to Rabbinic decree, a bloodstain found on clothing or another object can make a woman niddah or invalidate the clean days. However, this is the case only if the stain is found on a white surface that is susceptible to ritual impurity (tumah).

Menstrual Cups

Tampon or Menstrual Cup

Blood found on an object inserted into the vagina is treated stringently. Therefore, if a woman finds blood of a niddah color (i.e., with a reddish, pinkish, or black tint) on a tampon or menstrual cup that was inserted, it generally makes her niddah.

Pantyliners and pads

A stain found on a black or colored pad or pantyliner does not render a woman niddah. This leniency applies to both disposable and reusable products.

We follow the halachic ruling that disposable pantyliners and pads (including disposable pads or undergarments for urinary incontinence) are not susceptible to ritual impurity, so a stain found on one does not make a woman niddah even if it is white. However, with more absorbent products, like pads, if the amount of bloody discharge is clearly more than could be contained by a liner, this might be considered a flow.

On the other hand, reusable cloth pads and pantyliners are susceptible to ritual impurity. Therefore, if a cloth pad or liner is white, a stain found on it can make a woman niddah (depending on the factors discussed here). Off-white (e.g., undyed cotton) counts as white for this purpose.

Period underwear

This type of underwear is more absorbent than a usual pantyliner, so in determining whether she has a stain or flow, a woman should make an effort to estimate if bloody discharge that she finds on it is of a quantity that could be contained by a liner.

A stain found on any black or colored garment, including undergarments designed to absorb menstrual flow, does not make a woman niddah.

Some authorities treat stains on synthetic fabrics leniently, even if they are white, because synthetics arguably are not susceptible to ritual impurity.

If period underwear includes natural fabrics or threads and is white, then a stain found on it may make a woman niddah (again, depending on the factors discussed here).

Practical Precautions

A woman who wishes to avoid becoming niddah from staining should wear disposable pantyliners, colored reusable pantyliners, or colored underwear (including period underwear). She should refrain from inserting a tampon or menstrual cup unless she is certain that her menses have begun.

Shivah Neki'im (Seven Clean Days)

During the shivah neki’im, a woman wears clean white undergarments specifically to confirm the absence of bleeding. Under ordinary circumstances, it is preferable to avoid wearing disposable pantyliners during the clean days, so as to allow any stains to be evaluated.

Pantyliners for comfort

Reusable white cloth pantyliners are fully permissible during the clean days, and are halachically similar to white underwear. Disposable pantyliners are a matter of debate. Our site’s halachic supervisor permits them when a woman wears them throughout her cycle for comfort, and in some cases when staining might interfere with counting the clean days.

Disposable pads or undergarments for urinary incontinence are permissible during the clean days.

Staining during the clean days

If a woman has difficulty completing the clean days due to staining, she should consult with a halachic authority about possible leniencies. In some cases, some authorities may recommend that she use disposable pantyliners, and others may recommend colored underwear.

When a woman finds a stain of a niddah color, larger than a gris, on a white disposable pad or pantyliner during the clean days, there is dispute as to how she should conduct herself. Some authorities require her to perform a bedikah to check for bleeding. We follow the position that a woman need not perform a bedikah in this situation.

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All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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