Chux pads were first introduced by hospitals in the 1950s-1960s as a solution to absorb body fluids like blood and urine. The name “Chux” pads came from the fact that these thin pads were simply “chucked” in the trash after use. Today, Chux pads and disposable underpads are essentially the same thing, however; the connotation of Chux pad being thin, low absorbency pads that are tossed away still remains.
What is the Difference Between a Chux and an Underpad?
Disposable underpads, also referred to as bed pads, are the evolution of Chux pads. By the 1990s, absorbent product manufacturers began introducing disposable underpads featuring superabsorbent polymers. These new and improved underpads were significantly more absorbent than previous Chux pads while also offering odor control. Today, disposable underpads are primarily used in nursing home and at-home care settings. Nursing homes and other long-term care communities utilize disposable underpads to protect resident skin while also minimizing urine damage to mattresses, clothing and linens. For those living at home, underpads are used by adults and children with incontinence who desire the additional protection of their bed/mattress, furniture, wheelchair or other surface like a car seat or office chair.
Chux pads can still be found in certain settings. While not quite the same as the original Chux pads from the past, they are still used in acute care and other settings where low absorbency underpads are needed, often for economic reasons. Many hospitals continue to use and refer to these items as Chux pads. In surgeries, outpatient clinics, post-childbirth and more, hospitals and healthcare workers use Chux pads to absorb urine and blood. Because they are used in high quantities, for short periods of time, low-absorbency Chux pad work great in these areas. However, for those with incontinence or their caregivers, higher absorbency underpads with additional product features are often preferred and provide better results.
Benefits of Underpads
Disposable underpads from manufacturers like Attends®, Prevail® and Tranquility® offer fantastic benefits for adults and children dealing with incontinence. Underpads are also a favorite of caregivers for those with incontinence. Underpads offer a soft top layer that is gentle against the skin. While we always recommend using an underpad along with a body-worn disposable product (disposable underwear, disposable brief or pad/liner), this soft topsheet may be in direct contact with an individual’s skin from time to time. With superabsorbent cores, many underpads range in fluid absorbency from 3-34 oz. Another critical feature of disposable underpads is the moisture-proof backsheet, which blocks fluid from passing through the backside of the product, minimizing moisture damage to the underlying surface (mattress, furniture, wheelchair, etc.). Disposable underpads also come in multiple sizes to cover various surfaces that needs to be protected.
Finally, there are more advanced underpads that have additional features, like breathability, adhesive strips and extra-strength for boosting, turning and repositioning (in accordance with Safe Patient Handling Guidelines). Certain underpads, like the Tranquility Air-Plus™ Breathable Underpad, feature a 100% breathable backsheet that allows air to circulate while keeping liquid contained. Other underpads feature adhesive tape that allow the pad to be secured to surfaces for minimal sliding or movement. In recent years, there has been a growth in extra-strength underpads that allow patients/residents to be boosted, turned or repositioned without ripping the underpad or damaging the person’s skin.
Underpads from Comfort Plus
At Comfort Plus, we pride ourselves on offering the best incontinence supplies. That’s why we offer disposable underpads ranging from high to moderate absorbency with a plethora of various additional features. We also offer underpads from the top manufacturers.
Tranquility offers several underpads with various levels of absorbency, size and features. Their best-selling Tranquility AIR-Plus™ Extra-Strength Breathable Underpads features a 100% breathable backsheet and extra-strength for boosting, turning and repositioning. This underpad also holds an incredible 34 oz of fluid. That’s over 4 cups! They also offer a standard AIR-Plus Breathable Underpad with the same great benefits, without the extra-strength. Both AIR-Plus Breathable Underpads are designed to be used with low-air-loss bed systems.
For those looking for a little less absorbency and a lower price, the Tranquility Peach Sheet Underpad and Tranquility Essential Underpad – Moderate are great options. The Peach Sheet Underpad features the adhesive tape tabs that can secure the pad to bedding, furniture and more. Tranquility Essential Underpads come in three sizes and three levels of absorbency, ranging from 3-18.5 oz.
We also offer four types of Attends Disposable Underpads. The most popular Attends Underpad is the Premier Overnight Underpad. Sized at 30” x 36”, this extra-large underpad is breathable, strong and absorbent. An alternative underpad is the Attends Dri-Sorb Plus Underpad.
Prevail Underpads provide high performance linen protection for beds, chairs and other surfaces. The Prevail Fluff Disposable Underpads feature an Integra mat or bonded construction that reduces topsheet separation and clumping. They have clothlike topsheets with a flat seal around the pad so there are no plastic edges exposed to the skin.
We also carry underpads from Tena, ReliaMed and Unique Wellness. While most of our underpads are disposable and designed for one-time use, ReliaMed underpads are reusable and are designed to be washed and used multiple times. We typically recommend disposable underpads as they are more hygienic, offer high absorbency and are easier to use.
Chux vs Underpad – Conclusion
In conclusion, Chux and Underpads are essentially the same, with Chux being the early name given to disposable absorbent pads for under the body. Similar to products like Kleenex (tissue), Chapstick (lip balm), Band-Aid (adhesive bandage) and Popsicle (frozen ice treat on a stick), Chux is the “common name” for underpad.