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Why I switched to cloth menstrual pads

I’ve been dealing with my menstrual cycle since a month after I turned twelve. I still remember when I first got my period — where I was, what I was wearing, what I had for dinner that evening, my mother’s reaction, etc. My mom gave me some of her pads to use, and bought me my own stash to keep around. A year or so later I gave tampons a try, and from that point on I’ve used a mixture of tampons and pads (I’d say 60% tampons/40% pads) to take care of my period. Then I started hearing about Lunapads. And since I have used pre-folds from Ryan’s cloth diaper stash on occasion (during a few instances where I didn’t have any pads left) and found them to be super-comfortable and a nice alternative, I figured I might as well make the official switch to cloth that is specifically designed for menstrual use.

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Why I switched to cloth menstrual pads

Comfort
Cloth menstrual pads are infinitely more comfortable than disposable pads. There’s none of the rippling, rolling or curling that disposable pads sometimes do. And you know how disposable menstrual pads sometimes stick, or even fold/bunch up in the middle? There’s none of that. There’s no adhesive to struggle with (drying out, not adhering to certain materials, sticking to itself, or worse yet, sticking to you and causing discomfort), and no wings to worry about lining up properly. Plus they just feel good — so soft!

 

Price
Just as cloth diapers and cloth pet pads cost more up front but quickly pay for themselves, so do cloth menstrual pads:
Here’s what the entire stash above cost me: $149.00.
Cost of a box of disposable menstrual pads (which I’ll use up during just one period): $8
Cost of a year’s worth of disposable menstrual pads (based on 13 periods in one calendar year): $104

In a year and a half’s time my supply of cloth menstrual pads will have paid for themselves, because while I’d continue to buy, use and dispose of disposable pads, cloth menstrual pads, when cared for properly, can last five years or more. And then there’s the comfort, eco-friendly and cute factors, which are all worth something!

 

Eco-friendly
I’m by no means a sandal-wearing, if-it’s-yellow-let-it-mellow hippie, but I do care about the environment, and I do change up how I do things in order to make my own contribution to the landfills be a little less. Six to eight disposable pads a day (give or take a few tampons), for six days, thirteen times a year, is a lot of pads to be adding to a landfill. Using and then washing (I have enough pads to get through about half of a period, so I do run my washer two additional times during those weeks) is a much more eco-friendly alternative. (I hang the pads to dry, so there’s no electricity usage from the dryer to factor in; and if I did dry them, they’re small enough to dry with other clothing.)

 

Cute!
C’mon… tell me that most cloth menstrual pads aren’t cute! With so many colors and patterns and the option for custom colors and patterns available, there’s no reason why you can’t have fashion-friendly cloth pads in your drawer (and panties, heh).

 

For those who are curious, handling and laundering cloth menstrual pads aren’t a big deal. I cloth diapered Alyssa (from 22 months until she potty-trained at 33 months) and Ryan (from 1 month until he potty-trained at 44 months), and when Leah is sick or the weather is cold or atrocious I use cloth pads for her, and laundering is no big deal whatsoever: hot water and a bit of detergent (I use bleach for Leah’s pads, and I used a small amount of bleach for Ryan’s prefolds and diaper covers/AIOs), and then hang to dry over the shower curtain. Prior to laundering, I store used pads and liners in a mesh bag that I keep next to the toilet. And since I go through pads so quickly (sorry for the TMI), they don’t sit around long enough to create an odor or become an eyesore.

 

The cloth pads pictured are as followed:
Pink paisley – Menstrual Mama Pads

Earth Girl pads (yellow w/ flowers) – Etsy: Allidigator

Organic Bamboo pads (blobby figures) – Etsy: Allidigator

Lunapads (large set of varying sizes + liners) – Lunapads

 

Besides the ever-popular Lunapads and the pads I linked to, you can find plenty of styles of cloth menstrual pads on both eBay and Etsy. The Cloth Pad List is also a great resource for all things related to cloth menstrual pads.


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27 replies to “Why I switched to cloth menstrual pads” - Go to comment form

  1. Sara

    #

    Have you found that they help with cramps at all? They did wonders for mine. I can’t believe you like Lunapads, to be perfectly honest. Once I discovered velour I don’t know if my life will ever be the same.

    http://homesteademporium.com/
    These are the best I’ve found and I’ve tried a lot of different brands.

    You won’t regret trying them out!! Love. Just, absolute love.

    • Ooh, those look insanely comfortable! If you don’t mind sharing, do you have a heavy flow? If so, do the Homestead Emporium pads work well for that? Which one would you recommend?

      • Sara

        #

        What I have is pretty light except the first two days. I did find her ultimate and ultimate II pads are better coverage, comfier, and last longer than lunapads for those days. Her regular pads are more for lighter days, and tiny liners for everyday or super light/spotting.

        They look huge but I promise they’re wonderful.

  2. I would love, love, loooove to try cloth pads. It’s definitely something I’m going to invest in when I get income again :)

    I’m glad you enjoy them and super yay for advocating for them by blogging :)

  3. I’ve made the switch as well due to comfort. My girly bits are sensitive so disposables left me chaffed and feeling unfresh. TMI? No such thing at Jenn.nu, lol.

  4. I would so switch to those if my body actually bothered to give me my period on a regular basis. Stupid PCOS. :P They look completely awesome. :D

  5. Tanya

    #

    They look so pretty and comfortable. I’ve actually been considering changing over for some time now and you may have given me the final nudge I needed. You’ve inspired me to do some more research and find a supplier here in the UK. Thank you! I hope you’ll give us an update on how you’re finding them in the future.

  6. Sarah

    #

    Have you ever looked into the diva cup?
    I switched from tampons to the diva cup about a year ago and I’ll never go back. It’s amazingly comfortable, and if you have alight flow you only have to check it once a day. And no more buying tampons! You should look into it

    • I bought a Diva Cup back in September, actually! I haven’t used it yet, because I’m worried that my flow is too heavy for one. I tried out Insteads Soft Cups, and the cups runneth over… literally. :/

  7. I love love love menstrual pads. I got into them a few years ago and it was amazing to not have plastic all up in my business during that already uncomfortable time. I also use a menstrual cup too which I love!

  8. Sara

    #

    I’m back to give you more unsolicited advice! Haha. As someone who has dealt with a lot of periods with limited nutrition, I’ve found that months when I have been under-eating and not getting the right vitamins lead to HORRENDOUS cramps and uterus-eating pain.

    What I do is up my iron dosage the week before my period starts (I just take a daily GNC multivitamin), and then try to get a couple days of HARD exercise in during that week before my period starts. I find this “tricks” my body into thinking a) we need to be using blood and energy for exercise and not baby-making, and b) my body has enough vitamins stored up to handle it.

    You might also talk to your nutritionist about taking fish oil, which is supposed to balance out your hormones. I’m just not sure how it affects someone with a gastric bypass.

    • Thank you for the advice and info. After the pain I’ve dealt with during this period, I am seriously going to be focusing on the right nutrition for the next few weeks (well, permanently, hopefully lol) and see if it makes a difference!

  9. I have really been considering getting some lunapads. However, I have been a bit hesitant. First of all, when I buy pantyliners and pads I have to get them in longs which I know lunapads carries, but I’m also curious about the wings/snaps. I am not a fan of wings on liners or pads at all. How well do the wings or snaps work? Does it really hold the liners/pads in place? What about the ones without them, do they stay in place?

    • Lunapads longs are insanely long — they’re seriously great for HEAVY bleeding, overnights, and postpartum as well. The wings simply wrap around the undies and snap together. In my experience they do not shift, bunch, fold or crease at all. And yes, the design holds the pad itself in place perfectly, as well as liners if you use them with the pads.

  10. I have been on the reusable menstrual product bandwagon for …umm.. 7 years now? I use the DivaCup mainly because it is so damn awesome. I have two of them actually as I had to go out and buy a second one because I thought I lost my 1st one. The main reason why I go this route is the environmental factor. I do not want to contribute to the landfills.

  11. What is the thickness of the cloth pads? Also, do they stain?

    They seem interesting and something I’d consider especially since it saves money in the long run.

    • I haven’t measured, but they’re not any thicker than standard disposable pads. And no staining that I’ve noticed — washing them in hot water with a bit of detergent gets the blood out just fine.

    • I’ve never used reuseable pads, but I know that if I get blood on my panties on accident that peroxide gets it out like it was never there. =]hth!

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  13. The cloth pads look and sound fab – I actually never knew they existed, although I did know cloth nappies existed, so it makes sense that they also do!
    They look like they’d be comfy, I’m actually quite inclined to make the switch! It make sense to. I hate anything disposable – Razors etc, bleh…
    Thanks Jenn! you’ve opened my eyes to the exiting new world of cloth menstrual pads! :P

  14. Pingback: Bethibella.com » A big switch

  15. Pardon my ignorance, but I didn’t even realise that cloth pads were making a comeback.
    It certainly makes sense, though, especially if they are comfortable to wear and the wash no problem.

    I know it is not the same thing, but I was only talking to a friend last week about how we used cloth diapers when our children were babies…. the amount of landfill that gets filled with disposable diapers must be enormous now.

    My main interest is in helping relieve cramp – menstrual cramp being very important – and I am interested in what Sarah said (first comment) about helping with cramp.
    How does that work?

    Thank you for letting me comment on a woman’s topic. I appreciate it.

    • Hi Dave!

      Cloth pads & cloth diapers are making a real comeback in recent years. I cloth diapered both of my children (they’re 5 & 7 now), so it only made sense for me to switch to cloth menstrual pads, which of course I did in the early fall of 2010.

      I noticed a reduction in the severity of cramps while using cloth menstrual pads, and I believe that is due to the fact that cloth pads generally do not contain any chemicals, whereas disposable ones contain all sorts of chemicals to aid with durability, absorption, odor masking, etc. Remove those chemicals and leave just the cloth, and it makes sense that periods might not be quite as painful. :)

 

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