This one is definitely for the ladies out there. I’m in my 40s, and this month, for the first time ever, I was looking forward to getting my period. Because of these:
Reusable cloth pads. I’ve been vaguely thinking about trying some sort of sustainable menstrual product, because I don’t like wearing disposable pads for two reasons: I don’t feel they are safe AND they cost money. Money I’d much rather spend on new garden plants or chickens. Disposable pads (and tampons) are made of plastics and unlike almost every other product, the manufacturers are not required to list exactly what chemicals go into the making of them. I’m uncomfortable with that. I don’t trust manufacturers!
I toyed with the idea of some kind of cup, but I’m a pad girl, through and through. If you ARE interested in trying a cup, I do highly recommend watching It’s Just Kelli’s YouTube channel. She tries all kinds of cups and other menstrual products, and is extremely honest and real. And entertaining. Here’s one on the first time she tried a cup:
For me, though, the only thing I was interested in as a replacement to disposable pads was period panties or cloth pads. After doing a ton of shopping and comparing, and requesting info of experts on facebook cloth pad groups, I bought a pair of EvaWear panties, and a small selection of cloth pads. The panties, I bought on It’s Just Kelli’s recommendation (because she’s absolutely right, Thinx panties are WAY overpriced!)
The panties are SO comfortable and actually cute. I would wear them anytime, actually. After testing them on a heavier flow day, I ended up switching out of them after only a short time. They did keep the blood in just fine, but they seemed “wet” and gave me a sensation like I was going to leak through my clothes even though I was actually in no danger of actually leaking. For light days, however, they are heaven – and also for those days when you think your period might be starting, but you’re not sure, and you’re at work, and you don’t want any accidents, and so you end up wearing and wasting a pad when your period doesn’t start? These panties are fantastic for that. I’m going to be getting a few more pairs.
But actual cloth pads? Isn’t that…icky? Wouldn’t it stink? Wouldn’t it be uncomfortable? Because I was so uncertain about this whole thing, I only bought two pads from etsy sellers, and a very inexpensive pack of seven pads from a seller on Amazon. Let’s talk about the Amazon pads first, because those are the first I tried.
They were cute, I’ll give them that. Most cloth pads are.
The print material is waterproof PUL, and the grey fleece material is made of bamboo, and is what lays against you, and soaks up the blood. They are SO COMFORTABLE. I never particularly thought my disposable pads were uncomfortable, but now I realize they were. These cloth pads, wow. It was instant love. And unlike the panties, I never felt “wet” while wearing them. In fact, on my heaviest day, I took them off, looked at them, and thought: Huh. Maybe my heavy day isn’t until tomorrow. I certainly haven’t bled much. And then, folks, I washed it out, and the water turned a very bright, very pretty shade of crimson. My whole period was like that! I felt like I had the lightest period ever…only the evidence otherwise was there in the pad. Astonishing.
And speaking of the washing…wasn’t that gross? No, actually it wasn’t. Your mileage may vary, but I found the process more interesting than anything else. Because I had so few pads, I washed each one after I wore it, rather than washing them altogether at the end, as it seems most cloth pad users do. I simply ran COLD water over it in the bathroom sink, squeezing it periodically until the water ran clear, then handwashed it with soap, and hung it to dry. Took like a minute and half, and by the next morning, it was dry and ready to wear again. I’ve already gone back to Amazon and ordered more of these pads, in heavier overnight ones, and light pantyliners.
I’m glad I tried the Amazon ones first, because I honestly was not a fan of the ones I ordered off Etsy.
This wasn’t the pads’ fault. They are both well made and worked perfectly well…however, they were both made of cotton flannel with a waterproof liner, and I found the cotton flannel to be not nearly so cozy and comfortable, and also much harder to wash the blood out of. The bamboo fleece ones just were so, so easy to wash! And no stains at all. The unicorn one, in particular still has a small stain on it that would not come out, even in cold water. That one will require some sort of soak with a stain removing product, and I’m just not feeling that sort of effort.
The things I really loved about the Amazon cloth pads (in addition to the feel of wearing them and the ease of washing) was how they didn’t slip around at all in my underwear. Some people talk about having slippage and bunching…this didn’t happen to me. I wore snug-fitting cotton underpants, and they did not move at all, even overnight. I’ve definitely had more trouble with disposable pads bunching and moving! I also loved the lack of…well, smell. Disposable pads (unless you change them out VERY often) collect foul odors. These cloth pads didn’t.
I’ve also ready many, many statements that wearing cloth pads can (for some women) reduce their flow, the length of their period, and relieve cramping. I didn’t notice any reduction in the first two, but I did have only a tiny amount of cramping on the first day, and nothing whatever after that. I tend to have a lot of fluctuation as far as how much cramping I get, so I’ll have to see how it goes through a few more months. But I normally always get headaches and general feelings of being not-quite-well during my period, and I had absolutely none of that this month. In fact, if I hadn’t been forced to think constantly about my period because I was evaluating how the cloth pads worked/felt, I wouldn’t have hardly remembered I was having it. That’s a first, for sure!
I’ve also heard that wearing cloth pads can be a wonderful improvement for woman with menstrual issues like endometriosis and PCOS, reducing their symptoms to near-nil in many cases. All-in-all, I found myself walking around this past week, wishing I could tell every woman I met about the wonders of cloth pads. But since that would just be too, too awkward, I’m writing this blog post instead.
If you’re currently wearing disposable pads, try cloth ones. I think you’ll be amazed. If you wear disposable tampons, still consider trying them. It’s healthier for you, and I read a number of blogs/watched YouTube videos by women who had never worn anything but tampons their entire menstrual life…until they tried cloth pads.
Seriously, folks. I’m already looking forward to next month, because I have some new pads to try…and because I know that for the first time in about 35 years, my periods won’t be nasty, uncomfortable, and unpleasant.
Oh- and the cloth pads also fold up into cute little squares to carry in your purse.