Cloth Menstrual Pads are similar to disposable menstrual pads except that they’re reusable! This means that instead of being made with plastic or paper, they’re made of cloth and other natural materials like bamboo and charcoal.
In terms of effectiveness, they are slightly less absorbent than their disposable counterparts. However, most people find that they work well enough and are very happy that they made the switch!
#2: Why use Cloth Pads?
Cloth pads make a better choice than disposable menstrual pads for a few different reasons, including the following:
The average person uses a whole box of pads or tampons during their monthly period. That is a significant amount of plastic waste going into the landfill each and every single day from feminine hygiene products.
Now imagine if even just 5% of people around the world used reusable cloth pads instead of the disposable ones. Reusable pads can last for 5-10 with proper care and cleaning. That’s a whole lot less waste overall! And the world would certainly be a better place.
Disposable pads are largely made from plastic, while reusable cloth pads are made from mostly natural materials. Plastic will still be hanging around the landfill in hundreds of years from now. Reusable cloth pads will biodegrade within a decade.
Great for your Body
Disposable menstrual pads often have lots of harmful chemicals from the pesticides used to grow cotton, as well as chemicals from the manufacturing process. You can get organic disposable pads but they’re quite expensive! Cloth pads, once washed are free of any of these harmful chemicals.
If you have allergies, or sensitive skin, consider making the switch to reusable pads. You’ll probably find that you have a much better period experience!
A box of disposable pads costs around $5. You can get a single cloth pad for around that same price and it can be reused, over and over again for 5 years or even longer.
In the long run, you’ll save money by using cloth pads. Over the course of a lifetime, it can reach into the thousands of dollars.
Frugal Living at its best!
#3: How Long do Cloth Pads Last?
Good news! Cloth menstrual pads will last for at least a few years.
Think about it this way. If you have 7-10 pads, you’ll probably wear each pad 2-3 times a month. Multiply this by 12 and that’s around 30 times a year. 30 x 2 years = 60 times.
You would most certainly wear your favourite t-shirt or jeans more than 60 times and you can do this with your cloth pads as well. 3-5 years is probably a reasonable estimate for how long you’ll be able to use a cloth pad.
#4: Are Cloth Pads Expensive?
Cloth pads are around a few dollars per pad, depending on the size. Pantyliners will be at the low end of that range, while big overnight pads will be at the higher end. You can, however make your own cloth menstrual pads for cheaper.
Compared to disposable menstrual pads at around $0.20 per pad, they could be considered expensive. However, a cloth menstrual pad can last for at least two years and quite possibly double or triple that. Over the medium to long-term, cloth pads are certainly much cheaper than their disposable counterparts.
#5: Is there a Variety of Cloth Pad Sizes?
The panty-liners are cheaper, while the thicker and longer ones are more expensive. You will definitely be able to find a cloth menstrual pad that will work for you.
#6: What do you do with the Dirty Cloth Pads?
If you’re at home, it’s quite easy to deal with the dirty pads. You can simply throw them in with a load of laundry (use warm or cold water only-hot water sets the stains). Or, if you don’t have a load of laundry, many people soak them in a bucket filled with a bit of laundry soap and water. Then throw them in with your next laundry load.
When you’re on the go, it can be a bit harder to deal with these reusable pads. Most people use something like these Dutchess Wet Bags to store them until they get home and they can either throw them in the laundry or soak them. These wet bags are discrete, easy to clean and will keep the pad moist until you get home so that the stains don’t set.
See: Cloth Pad Care FAQs for ALL the details.
#7: How many Cloth Pads do I Need?
Most people find that 6-10 pads work well. You can go for the lower end of that range if you have a very light flow and don’t need to change your pad as often.
As few as six reusable pads will also work well if you have a large family and are doing at least one load of laundry each day.
If you have a very heavy flow, or live alone and don’t do laundry that often, 10 pads are recommended. But, buy 5-6 to get started and see how that works for you.
You can always supplement them with some disposable pads until you figure out how many you need each month.
#8: Do Cloth Pads Stain?
Cloth menstrual pads usually stand up very well and don’t stain too easily. They are made with stain resistant materials. They also have dark-coloured designs on them, so even if they do stain, it won’t be that obvious. In order to prevent staining, remember these tips:
- Always wash in cold or warm water, never hot. Cold water is best!
- Keep your pad moist after use. You can use a wet bag if you’re out and about, or a bucket with water and some laundry soap if you’re at home.
#9: Cloth Pads vs Menstrual Cups: Which One do you Recommend?
Menstrual cups are bell-shaped cups made of medical-grade silicone that are designed to catch menstrual fluid. You have to empty them every 6-12 hours and they generally hold 3-4x the amount of fluid as the biggest jumbo tampon.
Whether or not you use a menstrual cup or a cloth menstrual pad is entirely up to you.
Menstrual cups are easier because you just rinse them out and use them again, without having to launder them. But, some people find it quite difficult to insert them, prevent leakage and then take them out. If this is the case for you, consider cloth pads! They’re extremely easy to use, even for those who are very young.
Another option is to use both. You can use a menstrual cup as your main form of feminine hygiene and then get a thin panty-liner type cloth pad as a back-up in case of leaking. This option is great for the environment and also easy on the laundry, as you can usually wear a panty-liner like this for 12 hours.
#10: What Brands do you Recommend?
There are a lot of different brands of reusable cloth menstrual pads. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, and are good at sewing, you might even consider making your own, Check on Pinterest for patterns, tips and ideas to get you started. It’s easier than you might think!
You can also buy cloth menstrual pads for around $5 each. A great place to start is on Amazon, which has a wide range of styles and sizes. There are an actually an overwhelming number of choices, but some of the more popular ones include the following:
The Wegreeco Bamboo Pad is our #1 choice here at Reusable Menstrual Cups. You can easily get this popular cloth menstrual pad on Amazon:
Bonus Question: What about Interlabial Pads?
We’ve had a few questions lately from people wondering about interlabial pads and whether or not we recommend them.
Basically, interlabial pads are absorbent pads that are worn externally and are held in place by the labia. This is unlike regular cloth pads, or disposable sanitary napkins that are held in place by the underwear.
Because these cloth pads are closer to the vagina, they can help reduce the leakage and mess of regular pads, especially up the bum crack, as when you’re laying on your back with your knees up (have you had that experience before???).
Another reason why you might want to consider interlabial pads is if you have a very, very heavy flow. They could help you make it through the night without having to get up, in conjunction with a menstrual cup, and normal sanitary pad attached the the underwear.
In general, they have a kind of leaf shape on them, and they are kind of hard to find. We could only find one company offering Interlabial Pads on Amazon.
You can, of course, also sew your own inter-labial pads. Check out some patterns on Pinterest.
Have your Say about Cloth Menstrual Pads
Cloth pads: Are they a good feminine hygiene option? Have you used them before? Did you like them? What’s your favourite cloth pad brand? Leave a comment below and let us know all the details.