I’ve been investigating the use of reusable cloth menstrual pads. After reading that disposable pads have only been around for the last 50 years or so, I wondered what women were doing about their monthly blood flow before that. I’ve grown up with the whole “throw it away” treatment of handling my period and it’s expensive. Like REALLY expensive. I just took it as par for the course and I don’t know why I waited so long to really pay attention to cloth pads, but to each in their own time with realizations right?
Over the past few years I’ve been reading up on sustainability, recycling, re-using, up-cycling and buying local. The use of cloth pads really aligns with this. A lot of women have given me the “EW” response and I didn’t share this or even write this blog post for approval. I guess I wrote it just to share my own experience with it. I am not trying to convert anyone on this topic.
Washing blood out of the pad. There I said it. Blood. So the fuck what. It’s from my body and no one is touching it but me. No I don’t play with/in it (but if people do with their own that’s their business) and as much as blood from injury makes me woozy for some reason my monthly cycle doesn’t freak me out. That’s a good thing considering that fainting every day for a week out of each month would be a major pain in the ass. I’m kinda laughing right now at that thought.
I like that the pads I’ve tried are made by independent mom/pop businesses. I tried a local to me maker in Oregon and then ordered a few more from out of state. Originally I wanted to buy as local as possible but what I tried locally wasn’t comfortable for me. The made close to me pad was too thick for my comfort and while the construction of it was good I didn’t like the width or the way it felt at bit too stiff and didn’t lay well in my underwear. If I feel like I’m two again and carrying a load I just have to say no. No one wants that. Well I don’t anyways.
So instead of going over deeply the brands I don’t like I’m going to focus on the ones that I do like and work for me. First off everything I ordered was for a heavy flow. I don’t think I need it the majority of the time but I’m not trying to be leak-o-matic all over the place ok?
Surprisingly the heavy flow options are available in thin pads from the makers I chose. A lot of review and commentary on them have been that these cloth pads have been out for a while and feed back has lead to a more thin pad. YAY me for getting in on this late *ha*.
The first pad I tried is made by YURTCRAFT on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/yurtcraft?ref=l2-shopheader-name and I really like them. It has a bamboo core which is super absorbent. I read how absorbent bamboo is but I just didn’t believe it till I tried it myself. The top cover is cotton and it’s comfortable and soft. The backing is wind pro polyester fleece and it stays in place with a simple snap. You can check out their stuff with the link I provided.
As far as how it feels, it actually feels more gentle than a disposable pad does to me. I never questioned the feel of disposables. In fact in most of my adult like I’ve used tampons but I am seriously tired of them. Just done. This cloth pad has quickly replaced any want to use a tampon.
The other cloth pads that I’ve tried and like immensely are the pads made by PUNKYPADS1 over on Ebay http://www.ebay.com/usr/punkyspads1?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
This pad also has cotton as the top layer of the pad with a water resistant fleece backing. In addition to the fleece this maker (PUNKYPADS1) uses a layer of PROCARE on the bottom of the interior core (which is made with terrycloth). PROCARE is a waterproof barrier fabric and it adds a level of security for the prevention of leakage.
BOTH pads worked out great for me. Even without PROCARE the YURTCRAFT pads were super absorbent (due in good part I believe by the bamboo absorbancy). Even though many reviews said that the fleece backing is highly water resistant I was still very pleasantly surprised that it worked for keeping everything dry and leak-proof in both the pads.
I had tried two additional pads but my issues with them always came back to the thickness of the pad being a bit too much, so I have to say nay to those ones. Ultimately I think I’d like to try my hand at making my own – they are pretty easy to construct. Both the makers for the pads I like are out of state. I’d like to do some more looking and see if there isn’t someone closer to Seattle that makes them. My whole aim is to move to an alternative that is less costly and more environmentally friendly so I’m trying to stay away from the more commercial reusable pads (which are also pricey) that are out there .
As far as the whole hand washing handling of the pads…if you’ve had a period and have had to wash your own underwear because shit got crazy in your pants, it’s the same thing as that. I couldn’t help laughing with all the EWWW posts because I don’t know of any woman with a period who hasn’t had to deal with the whole wash the chonies thing. I hand wash the pads to keep the staining issue at bay and then toss them in the washing machine and then into the dryer. The care for cloth pads is easy and they last in general for about five years before needing to be replaced.
There are TONS of reviews on line for all types of cloth pads as well as on YOUTUBE. I watched and read many before making my initial investment. I also read up on each maker repeatedly before choosing who to try first. To be “safe” I tried them out at home in the evenings when my cycle came up. So far so good. Next up for me is to slowly build up my supply. The patterns and designs are varied and pretty fun. Some are just flat out funny. I saw some for sale on Ebay that had Disney princesses which cracked me up to no end. LOLS.
*Please note that I bought all the pads that I wrote about in this blog post. I have not been given anything in compensation for my thoughts and opinions on these products. All thoughts and opinions are my own and based off of my own experience.*