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CWI Medical

What is an Underpad or Chux

by Noah Lam, Chief Operating Officer of CWI Medical


All three of my children were wrapped in light blue underpads when they were born before they were swaddled in nice comfy cotton sheets with the words "Property of Hospital" printed on them, but I knew each one was mine as soon as they came out crying. Several years later, we've been using underpads for our little puppy beagle until she is house broken.

Hospitals, nursing homes, and day care centers use underpads to protect mattresses, cribs, chairs, sofas, recliners, wheelchairs and all sorts of products that they don't want to get wet. Basically, anytime a wetness episode becomes prevalent, an underpad can keep the area dry.

Many people are familiar with the blue colored plastic sheet with a white paper sheet on top. Some might even call them Chux, which was a brand name from a very long time ago. These types of underpads are usually disposable. Manufacturers have different levels of absorbency by changing the amount of paper fluff or super absorbent polymer to absorb the wetness. In general, this plastic version is very thin and has the tendency to rustle and move around. Sizes range from 17" x 24" (great for wheelchairs) to 30" x 36".

Another consideration to look for in a disposable underpad is they way the manufacturer layers the materials. For example, Prevail uses a bonded construction that reduces top sheet separation and clumping, and in addition incorporates a soft, yet strong cloth-like top sheet with a flat seal around the pad there are no plastic edges exposed to the skin. With other manufacturers, if you hold the underpad up to a light, you can see the clumping of the paper fluff and other sections have no fluff at all. These inconsistencies may produce leakages.

Some people prefer to use reusable underpads that are made of cotton and/or a polyester blend and attached to a vinyl backing which make them waterproof. This fabric sandwich makes it softer, quieter, and washable. Reusable underpads come in a variety of colors including blue, green and plaid. Some manufacturers continue to produce handmade underpads that can be created in different sizes from a wheelchair seat to larger sizes to protect the bed.

There are many different underpad Brands, such as Prevail, Tranquility, Attends, Griffin, Dynarex, Select, Tena, Salk, CWI Medical, and many more. All have different levels of quality, absorbency, colors, sizes, and cost.


Noah Lam has over 15 years of experience of providing high quality medical supplies and healthcare products from Acute Care Facilities to parents and children. His company, CWI Medical is a leading provider of clinical diabetic nutrition to healthcare facilities, dialysis centers, and for home use. In addition, CWI Medical is an ACHC Accredited organization maintaining standards of excellence in the Healthcare Field. For more information, please visit


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