September 7, 2018

Making The Switch To Reusable Cloth Pads

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What are cloth pads?


Cloth pads are reusable menstrual pads made of cloth so you can wash an reuse them each cycle. They are also known as "mama cloth." However, I do not like that term as you do not have to be a mom to use cloth menstrual pads.

I think the term "mama cloth" became popular because a lot of moms will switch over to cloth pads if they are cloth diapering, as they can all be washed together. Plus teens usually aren't as concerned about the environment or would think something like cloth pads would be gross. I know teen me would have wanted nothing to do with cloth pads.

And I think calling it "mama cloth" can detour younger girls more from trying it as they see it as an "old" thing or a "mom" thing and won't even consider it as an option, so I will always refer to them as cloth pads or reusable menstrual pads.



Making the switch to reusable menstrual pads


My main reason for the switch was because it is more environmentally friendly. You can wash and reuse cloth. My only other reason for the switch is like with cloth diapers, there are so many cute and fun prints!

Some women are concerned about the "chemicals" in disposables and switch for that reason. I never really cared enough to look into it, to me, it sounded similar to anti-vax arguments, where there really is no truth to it.

Like a lot of women who decide to use cloth pads, I did so after I became a mom. We already used cloth diapers and that was going well, so I decided now would be the perfect time to try cloth pads as I can wash them with the diapers.

I am also a stay at home mom, which means I hardly go out, so I don't have to worry about dealing with cloth while out and about. I actually still use disposables if I am leaving the house as it is just more convenient and I don't have to worry about carrying around a dirty cloth pad.

The thing I didn't know when I started looking into cloth menstrual pads was just how many different sizes, designs, and absorbancies there were! I decided to start by going with ones that were the similar size of my disposables and I only started with seven as you can see in the image below:


I knew this wouldn't make it through more than a day, but I didn't want to invest in something I wasn't sure I would stick to just yet. I, of course, ended up loving them, and am now working on building my stash!

The cloth is surprisingly more comfortable despite the pads feeling thicker. This could be because they are designed to fit my body better, whereas all disposables are one size fits all, which they really don't in my opinion. Plus the material is softer, whereas disposable pads are so scratchy and itchy.

Where can you buy cloth pads?


If you are just starting, I suggest going the cheap route and buy off of Happy Beehinds as the pads there are all under $3 a piece! Otherwise, Amazon is another great option for finding cloth pads at a cheaper price.

My favorite place to shop, however, is Etsy! There are so many crafters out there that make cloth pads and the best part is most of them will make custom pads for you! As I mentioned before, there are tons of options out there and that is what makes cloth better than disposables as you can have them designed to fit your body shape a lot better.

Here are some of my favorite Etsy shops for cloth pads:

How many do I need?


I have irregular cycles, so finding the right number of pads has been tricky. I currently have 26 total and don't feel it's enough. Some cycles I bleed more than others and find myself running out. Other cycles I have just the right amount. It also depends on how often you wash, I usually do one wash in the middle of my cycle, so if I didn't, I would probably need double the amount I have.

I think the key when making the switch is to start with a few, and just add until you feel you have the perfect number. If you are like me, you would still have some disposables hanging around so you will have a backup if you run out.

I haven't been brave enough to go cloth at night, so I do still use disposables at night, and as stated before, I prefer to use disposables when I'm out of the house. If you, however, want to make a complete switch, a wet bag will also be something you want to have so you have a way to store the pads when you are out of the house.


How do you wash them?


If you already cloth diaper, then you just wash them with your cloth diapers. If you do not cloth diaper, you would first wash them in a normal cold wash or prewash, and then you would want to do a heavy duty cold or hot wash. I prefer to use hot water for the main wash as I personally feel it gets things cleaner, but cold water is fine too. 

A lot of sites will recommend hand rinsing them in cold water first. Even some of the shops I buy from give you care instructions, and they often say to rinse and ring out before washing. I find this isn't necessary as the cold prewash does the rinsing for you.  My pads have come out clean without a problem, even the prints with white on them come out unstained! However,  If you want to rinse before washing, that's totally up to you! Like with cloth diapers, it's all about finding a wash routine that works for you.

For drying, I just throw them in the dryer on medium heat. If you want, you can hang dry them or use low heat.

Have you made the switch? 


Have you used cloth pads? How did it go for you? Let me know in the comments!




22 comments:

  1. I have been thinking of trying cloth pads. I am very environmentally conscious, plus I think about all the wasted money every month by using disposable.

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  2. Wow crazy I’ve never heard of that before !

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  3. I have never heard of these before, what an informative post!

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  4. I have heard and seen them way before they start thinking about saving the environment. It was weird to me when I was growing up. Now, they are colorful, those that my parents used to use were white.

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    1. Yes, I hear a lot about how cloth diapers have changed from the past. The same is true with pads. There are so many options now!

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  5. Wow! I'm into sustainable products but I don't think this is for me, personally. There are tampons and pads made with organic cotton and non-synthetic material like conventional ones and I'm going to switch to those once my current stash is finishes. I need to change in the middle of the day and stuffing a bloody, wet cloth in my bag is a no-no, even with a wet bag lol. Kudos to you for the change. Really.

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    1. There are also the reusable cups too, where you just wash them between each use.

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  6. I've been thinking of making the switch for when I'm home, but I couldn't work out with these!

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  7. I've been wanting to try these! I am SO lazy with laundry though so not sure it'd work for my lifestyle. But I do want to look into more reusable options. We'll see!

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    1. There are more eco friendly disposables that will biodegrade. Also reusable cups that you just rinse after each use.

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  8. This is something that had never really crossed my mind and didn't even think they were a thing. The designs look really cute and my appeal to more teenagers and students if they were to see the designs.

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    1. You can also get plain colors if patterns aren't your thing. I didn't know about cloth pads till after we started cloth diapering. I wish it was more popular as I probably would have started sooner.

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  9. I think i have seen my wife making use of this few years back, i was disgusted. I actually didn't know it name. it looked weird to me but after reading this post i think am cool with it.

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  10. I haven't seen these before, interesting but I'm not sure I'm convinced!

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  11. This is something I have wanted to switch to for a few years now! Like you mention, it's much more environmentally friendly, and I like that it's still external to my body (I was never a huge fan of tampons). My only concern is that sometimes my periods are brutally heavy, and I am not sure they would hold up. But, maybe I should buy a few and just try them out. :)

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    1. I have heavy periods too. Many sellers make heavy options and even postpartum pads. If anything, you may have to change more often. If I wasn't a stay at home mom, I would probably still use disposables outside of the house for that reason

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  12. I'll have to try this! They are definitely sustainable and less expensive in the long run.

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  13. this is really important the amount of trash the plastic pads are creating is affecting the environment so bad. The menstrual cups are also a great option if one is not comfortable with the cloth pads. Great article!

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  14. I am leaning towards making this switch but I am pre-menopausal so not even sure if it will make a difference now.

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    1. You can always use them for bladder leakage too.

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  15. I dony use them but I also dont use pads. It's definitely a great earth conscious choice though!!

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