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“Was I Wrong for Telling My Niece I Don’t Want Her Soaking Her Pads in the Sink?”

Gone are the days when women and girls have to hide their periods like some kind of dirty little secret. These days we also have more options than simply tampons and pads to deal with them, with more environmentally friendly options such as reusable pads, menstrual cups and period underwear becoming ever popular. These options do require a little extra work to keep them hygienic though such as soaking, handwashing or sterilising, but are relatively easy to maintain. However, some people rightly or wrongly, still get weirded out by this and have very particular ideas on where this should be done, others see it as a natural bodily function and aren’t fazed about leaving their sanitary products in full view, used or not!

One woman has taken to Reddit to complain that her teenage niece was soaking her reusable cloth pads in the sink of the shared bathroom at her home and ask if she was wrong to think it was inappropriate.

My brother, his wife and their two kids are on vacation with me and my family.

My niece started her period a couple days in, unfortunately, and she uses cloth pads. This is fine, I’ve heard that its better for skin and such.

However the issue comes that she’s soaking her pads in the shared bathroom every day. She soaks them as and when they need cleaning before tossing them in her wet bag.

So she’ll go to the bathroom, change, toss it in the sink, and then leave while its soaking and go and do other things. Several times now I’ve gone into the bathroom to see her pads floating around in a bloody bath and itsl nauseating. I also hate the fact that we’re washing our hands and brushing our teeth in a sink that has had her period blood in.

I spoke to my brother about it but he seemed unbothered. Once he, himself, came into the bathroom and cleaned it for her because I was, in his words, “bitching about it”. He seems happy to indulge this behaviour.

I was getting nowhere speaking to him, so I spoke to my niece directly. I first asked her not to, to which her reply was “Use the other sink,” and when I told her it really wasn’t appropriate, she told me she didn’t care and that I was letting my “internalised misogyny” shine through.


I stopped the conversation but she told her parents that I was making her feel ashamed and they have both taken her side. I’ve decided to let it go but the tension is still thick.

Am I really that much of an asshole?

The majority of people agreed with the woman and dint think the niece should be soaking her sanitary items in a shared space.

They are wrong if they are expecting you to accept this in a shared space. While the niece should not feel ashamed for her choice in re-usable sanitary devices, she is crossing boundaries when she expects that others exposed to that in a shared space to have no emotion or response to it.

You are correct. It is not sanitary. It is off-putting and being “grossed out” by that does not make you sexist or a misogynist. It makes you a normal human reacting to a normal stimuli that would be normal to elicit a response of disgust.




This is not a hygienic practice. It’s also gross for the others who have to share the living space, whether or not they menstruate. Would she like to see underwear coated with feces soaking in a shared sink? If not, WHY not? Everyone poops, after all.

Buy the niece a covered bucket and hope she learns to be considerate of others somewhere along the way. (pooppaysthebills)


NTA – I use cloth pads. My routine is to rinse out the blood in the shower and then put them in my laundry. I don’t really see why they need to soak, especially in a shared space. (Catboy-mew)


I do this with my period underwear too. Just wash it out with cold water and soap before tossing it into the washing machine. TMI but considering I have heavy ass periods, I don’t understand the need to soak. Rinsing in running water gets it out waaaay easier, then the fabric isn’t sitting in filthy water. Hand soap and cold water, and a quick scrub takes out any fresh blood stains too. Giving the sink or tub a quick bleach spray/wipe after only takes a few minutes, and is just considerate for other people (but also myself, I don’t want to brush my teeth in a bio-hazard).

If she feels more comfortable soaking it, maybe using a specific bucket for soaking would be preferable. The sink is a shared space, and people kinda need it for other things. This would just be a super easy compromise too. Plus the bucket can be kept out of the way, and easily bleached out/cleaned.

Her family is accommodating, but she may find that having roommates for example, it would not be tolerated. Learning to live with different people, and to respect shared spaces is important, and will set her up for success when she is living out of her parents home.

NTA, nothing shameful about periods, but it’s important for her to learn to be considerate of shared living spaces! A compromise on this is easy, and isn’t misogynistic at all. (Suspicious-Call-9291)


NTA – Not only is it gross to leave used menstrual products in a shared space, it is also unhygienic. Being exposed to other people’s blood is quite literally a bio-hazard. (ultimateweather)


There’s nothing “misogynistic ” about not wanting to have menstrual soup in a shared sink. Your brother and his wife are doing their daughter a great disservice by not teaching her how to handle her menstrual supplies in a hygienic manner and a manner that is considerate of others. Your family shouldn’t have to deal with this. Sharing space successfully means minimizing your impact on others and just by rendering the sink unavailable to others, she’s failing at that. She needs to be soaking her pads in a covered container that doesn’t deny others full use of the shared facilities. (rapt2right)

Is there another place she can soak them? You mentioned another sink. Does the have a small Tupperware container? Obviously her parents are into this too. They sound like they’re all rather self righteous about this. I understand that cloth pads are probably better for the environment and have health benefits, etc. I support that. I don’t support making others put up with your bloody mess. Find a middle ground, rather than attacking someone for supposed misogyny. No, you’re NTA. Her parents are. (Melvinironfist)

Some people questioned whether OP had dealt with the situation sensitively.

Did you ask your niece if she cleans the sink afterwards? And maybe kindly talk to her about the hygiene points and teach her to clean the sink? Nicely. Like you would your own child or like you would like people to talk to you.

Or did you just embarrass a teenager who’s just started an uncomfortable and painful part of her life, when she needs all the support she can get.


Others agreed with the niece and her parents and thought that OP was being an assehole.

YTA – Although there may be some compromise that doesn’t involve her leaving these quite personal items to soak over a long duration in a shared sink, there is nothing inherently nauseating, disgusting, or inappropriate about washing reusable pads.

You projected your hang ups about this on your niece and got a totally predictable response. Don’t know how you asked this, but your niece probably heard it like this: “Hey, gross cooch-bleeding hippy – keep your disgusting pads out of my sight because it’s inappropriate.”

If you instead had reserved your comments about disgust and appropriateness and said, “Hey, could we find a different place to soak your pads so that others can use the communal sink?”

Periods are normal and may be messy (neutral assessment of fact). This is different from saying they’re gross and inappropriate (negative subjective judgment).

If you’re a woman, which I think you are, you should already know this and be more supportive. (therandolorian)

Some thought that as a woman she should have been much more understanding of the situation.

YTA. No one is indulging her behavior if her father has no problem also cleaning it up. Bleach wipes solves your “unsanitary” problem (it’s blood it washes off with cold water calm down.) or buying her a basin since you have a stick up your ass. Damn. It is hard enough as a female to exist as a female, stop harassing a fellow woman for having her period. (Kind_kaleidoscope_89)


YTA. Especially if you’re a woman. If it really bugs you, get a bucket that can stay in the bathroom. Otherwise, suck it up for a week. (doom_crayons94)

What do you think? Was it perfectly normal for the niece to soak her reusable menstrual cloths in the sink or was her auntie right to be annoyed and grossed out by it?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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