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What Are Adult Plastic Pants?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Adult plastic pants are designed to be worn by adults who suffer from incontinence, which is the inability to control the bladder or bowels. They are typically worn over cloth diapers, but might also be used over disposable adult diapers. These pants typically have elastic around the waist and legs to keep them from leaking. They come in different sizes and designs to accommodate both men and women.

Many people suffer from leaking urine during heavy activity. Others may have trouble controlling their bowels or bladder at night. Individuals could also suffer from this problem on a daily basis due to certain medications or diseases. A patient can wear adult plastic pants as often as needed to help with their condition. Some patients find it necessary to wear one at all times of the day or night, and there is generally no problem with doing so.

Adult plastic pants are worn by slipping them on over a cloth or plastic adult diaper. Some types may have a fastener at the waist or along the sides so they can be taken off easily. There is usually elastic around the waist even if there is a fastener. Elastic can also be found around the garment's legs, as this helps with leak control.

There are usually different types of pants for men and women. Plastic pants for women may resemble panties, while those made for men could be more like boxer shorts. They might be white, colored, or have a print pattern on them.

Adult plastic pants also come in a variety of different sizes. The correct size is usually determined by measuring the waist, legs, and hips of the person they are being purchased for. These garments normally come in extra small through 5X-large, so anyone who needs them is usually able to find pants that fit.

Although plastic diapers are intended to be disposable, adult plastic pants are not. They can sometimes be laundered in a washing machine set on a gentle cycle. Other times, these pants can be washed down with hot water and detergent, then allowed to air dry. Placing these items in a clothes dryer is not recommended, as it could cause them to melt.

Adult plastic pants can be purchased at many medical supply stores or pharmacies. A prescription is not normally needed in order to buy them. People who are embarrassed to purchase these in person can also buy them online.

Are Plastic Pants the Same Thing as Rubber Pants?

Rubber pants, which were sometimes also called rubber bloomers, were an earlier version of adult protective garments. Plastic pants and rubber pants serve the same purpose, but they are not made from the same materials.

While plastic is the preferred material for incontinence wear, rubber pants can still be ordered on some internet sites. However, they largely fell out of favor by the middle of the 20th century.

Rubber pants are molded from latex. Unlike plastic pants with their elastic waist and legs, rubber pants have undersized openings at the legs and waist that stretch when pulled on the wearer. The stretched holes create barriers to moisture escaping.

Plastic offers several benefits over latex.

  • Plastic is more cost-efficient to produce. 
  • Plastic makes less noise when worn. 
  • Plastic is easier to maintain than latex. 

Are Plastic Pants Uncomfortable?

While many people will have no issue wearing plastic pants over adult diapers, finding the right fit in plastic pants can prove to be more challenging for some people. Others report that plastic pants make their body temperature rise or they find them to be generally uncomfortable.

Various Brands and Styles

There are different styles of plastic pants to choose from. Some will be made of thicker materials, while others may have wider leg cuts. They can also be chosen with longer legs than traditional briefs.

There are also different ways to wear plastic pants. If the wearer's incontinence issue isn't too severe, they might choose to wear their plastic pants over regular underwear protected by a pad.

Plastic pants may also come designed for different purposes. While some will be geared for daytime use, you can also find pants designed to provide adequate protection during the night. As well, there are styles created to provide comfort for women, and styles created to provide comfort to men.

If a wearer finds a particular brand of plastic pants to be uncomfortable, they can always try another brand. Some brands of plastic pants make claims that they are more comfortable than others. Researching the different brands is the only way to find the brand or style that brings an acceptable level of comfort.

Adjusting To Wearing Plastic Pants

Of course, wearing diapers will never bring the same level of comfort as simply wearing cloth undergarments. There will be an adjustment phase for anyone who is new to wearing any product meant to keep them dry from incontinence leaking.

The biggest comfort that may come from wearing plastic pants is the peace of mind they bring the wearer. Having the knowledge that they will stay dry during their outing can bring a level of comfort they wouldn't be able to experience without the protection of plastic pants.

Can Adult Plastic Pants Stretch?

Adult plastic pants are usually made from polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC, or they can be made from polyurethane. While both of these materials have some flexibility, they are not meant to stretch in order to fit the wearer.

Any stretch found in plastic pants should come by way of the elastic seams around the legs and waist. If plastic pants are chosen to fit tightly on the wearer, there is a chance the plastic will break.

If the wearer needs more stretch in their plastic pants, they should choose a style that offers a wider leg opening, or a lower cut versus a higher cut. There are so many styles to choose from in plastic pants there shouldn't be a reason to need the plastic itself to stretch.

How Long Do Adult Plastic Pants Last?

While plastic pants probably won't last as long as traditional underwear, there's no reason you shouldn't expect them to be durable. The longevity of the plastic pants is dependent on several things.

  1. Proper care provided by the wearer is important to their durability.
  2. As with any product, there will also be differences in quality during the manufacturing process. You may find some brands make better plastic pants than others.
  3. The more often a pair of plastic pants are worn, the shorter the lifespan of the pants will become. It's a good idea to have a good stock of plastic pants so you don't find you have a shortage. 

Plastic pants always come with care instructions that should be followed by the user. Some manufacturers will recommend that their pants be hand-washed while others may recommend their product be machine washed. Plastic pants should never be placed in a dryer as this can cause the plastic to weaken from exposure to heat.

When cared for properly, a good pair of plastic pants should last for many months. If you're concerned about how long the plastic pants will last, always check the manufacturer's website.

Where Can I Buy Adult Plastic Pants?

Adult plastic pants are normally in plentiful supply. You can easily find them at nearly every medical supply store, but don't overlook big-box retailers like Walmart or Target. Finding them online is even easier. Major retailers such as Amazon, AliExpress and Wish usually have them in stock.

If you're having trouble finding adult plastic pants, try online medical suppliers. Before you buy, be sure to check each retailer's shipping policies. You may be subject to minimum purchase requirements or can benefit from free shipping with purchases over a certain amount.

Useful Shopping Tips

You may sometimes see adult plastic pants referred to as "adult diaper covers." Either term is correct. After all, they're meant to be worn over cloth or disposable plastic diapers. So, what should you look for while shopping for plastic pants? You'll want to keep a few factors in mind:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Construction
  • Materials

Like disposable and cloth diapers, adult plastic pants come in pre-measured sizes. You should have your waist and leg circumference measurements ready before you go shopping. Also, consider high-back styles if you need additional leak protection. As mentioned earlier, you can also find adult plastic pants in thicker materials. However, these types may make more noise as you move around.

How To Measure for Plastic Pants

If you or a loved one wear adult diapers, you probably already know what size you need. For those who don't, it's easy to get the appropriate measurements. All you need is a flexible cloth measuring tape plus another person to assist. You can follow some quick steps to measure your waist:

  • Wrap your tape measure around your midsection at the navel. 
  • Keep the tape completely level, making sure that it's straight and not twisted.
  • Pull the measuring tape snugly, but not too tight. Do not hold your breath.
  • Hold the starting end of the tape and let it overlap the point where the tape intersects itself. Have your friend record this measurement.

Getting your leg circumference is a bit trickier, but it's not a difficult process. Wrap your tape measure around your thigh at its widest point, keeping the tape level and straight as you go. Ask your friend to record the measurement where the tape intersects.

Are Adult Plastic Pants Reusable?

Adult plastic diaper covers are designed for repeated use. With durable yet flexible materials, they can withstand long periods of wear. However, plastic or vinyl can break down from lotions or oils you use on your skin. Plastic pants can also develop an unpleasant odor if worn for too long without cleaning.

Fortunately, washing adult plastic pants is a simple task. Never put them in the washer, as this can break down and destroy the materials. Instead, wash them by hand in a small basin filled with mild soapy water. You should also avoid putting adult plastic diaper covers in the dryer — high heat can melt the plastic or even cause a fire. Let them air dry by hanging them on individual hangers or over your showerhead.

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Discussion Comments

By umbra21 — On Jun 15, 2011

This often happens to women after they have had a difficult birth. The muscles down there can stretch or even be damaged. Yes, you should see a doctor, but one of the most important things you can do to fix the problem is the pelvic floor exercises that often get called kegels.

Kegels are usually just clenching your inner muscles in that area for periods of time to strengthen them, like any other muscle.

If you do this often enough, you will eventually tone that area up and may not suffer from this problem anymore.

By croydon — On Jun 12, 2011

If you are suffering from incontinence you should try asking your doctor about it. It's much more common than you might think and in some cases it is completely curable.

It might even be a sign of a bigger problem.

But so many people are embarrassed by it. It is a medical condition, not a sign of weakness, so you shouldn't be embarrassed. Just like you shouldn't be embarrassed by having to wear plastic pants for adults.

I think having this issue can cripple some people emotionally, but they should try to look past it.

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