Do you know how to take care of your reusable pad the right way?
It’s very important to take proper care of reusable pads in order to maintain their safety, as well as their long-term condition for years to come. Two of the main reasons why someone might buy a cloth menstrual pad are to save money, and also reduce waste. By looking after them correctly, you can maximize these two things.
There are several health benefits to choosing reusable pads over the traditional route.
So, if you are debating the why and the how of other options, look no further. It’s easy peasy once you get the hang of it.
Read on to learn more about the basics of reusable cotton pads for your next period.
Reusable Pad Basics
The basic premise of a reusable pad is the same as any disposable one. The key difference in the design is that these have an insert and a holder. You simply put the insert into the holder, snap it around your underwear, and use it as you normally would.
There are also some cloth pads that are one piece, and have the snaps attached to the wings. You just have to attach them around your regular underwear, and you’re good to go.
Then, after the regular 2 to 6-hour window you would either soak it or place it in a laundry basket.
The fun part of reusable pads is that you can choose your favorite pattern to wear every month.
Choosing the Right Reusable Pad
Then, for your period you would usually choose a day pad or night pad; you can find both of them options in the cloth version. This is based on your overall flow.
A day pad is usually best for those who have a moderate flow, and would normally use a standard pad. A night pad is good for those with a heavier flow, either normally or post-partum.
The total number of pads you need will also depend on your cycle. Consider how many days you will be on your period. Then, think about how many you need a day based on how often you’ll be changing it.
The number usually ranges from 6-12 pads.
Benefits of Use
The main benefits are to your health and the health of the planet. Tampons have been linked with Toxic Shock Syndrome, a dangerous condition caused by bacteria accumulating in them.
In addition, companies are not required to put ingredient labels on pads or tampons. From chemicals to fragrances, women aren’t able to access what’s in these products.
Reusable pads also save the planet with every cycle, preventing more trash from ending up in landfills. It can also be more affordable than the traditional route.
Simple Cleaning Tips for Cloth Menstrual Pads
Here are a few tips for getting started with washing your cloth pads.
1. It’s no big deal to clean reusable pads.
Seriously, there truly isn’t anything gross about periods. It’s all culturally constructed.
Cleaning reusable pads or other reusable options is very empowering, and it gets easier with time. I’d personally rather be informed about what’s happening with my body, than not.
2. Use a pre-rinse solution.
For heavy days, use a pre-soak and rinse for your pads. Simply rinse them in cold water prior to throwing them in the laundry. A pre-soak with water and natural detergent can also help prevent stains.
3. Lightly soiled pads can go straight in the washing machine.
On light days, there’s no need to soak them first. It’s generally still good to rinse them but this is in no way a necessary step.
4. Always have a small wet bag with you.
In the event that you’re out and about, carry a small bag to place used pads in to clean when you get home.This can also be helpful if you are worried about company seeing your pads at home. We recommend the Dutchess Wet Bag for this very purpose.
5. Consider the colour of your reusable pads
We prefer either white, or very dark cloth pads. The white ones can be washed with bleach in order to reduce stains. The dark ones don’t show stains. The worst ones are the in-betweens! You can’t bleach them, but they also are light in colour and everything shows up on them.
Learn more about How to Clean Cloth Pads
What’s the Best Detergent for Cloth Pads?
If you’re looking to wash your cloth pads, you probably want to know what the best detergent is. Most companies recommend a mild, natural laundry soap.
However, in practical experience, most people just throw their menstrual pads in with their regular laundry and use their normal laundry soap. You’ll probably have a very good experience doing the same thing.
Although doing things like washing cloth pads by hand, using only mild soap and only hanging to dry can make them last slightly longer, who really has time for all this stuff?
Not me! Just use normal laundry detergent and you’ll be fine.
Of course, if you find that your cloth pads are irritating your lady bits, you should suspect the detergent you’re using and switch to something a bit milder.
Should I Wash Cloth Menstrual Pads by Hand?
Okay, so you’ve just spent some money on your new cloth pads, and you’re wondering how to make them last as long as possible.
One idea is to wash them by hand, like you would with delicate underwear or bras. It certainly is an option, and you can check out the video below for advice on doing that.
However, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, it’s not really necessary. You may get a few extra months of use out of them if you wash them by hand every single time instead of the washing machine.
But when cloth pads last for 5+ years, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. Our preference is that they actually get clean, and throwing them in the washing machine is the easiest way to ensure this. It’ll also ensure that you get all the soap residue off, leading to less allergies and irritation on your skin.
Learn more about Washing Reusable Pads by Hand
How to Disinfect Cloth Pads?
Soiled cloth pads contain bacteria in them from your menstrual fluid. It’s important to keep these things clean by washing them after use, and also disinfecting and sanitizing them regularly.
Here are a few things you can do to disinfect cloth pads:
- Hang them to dry in the sun which kills many types of bacteria
- Wash them in hot water
- Use laundry detergent
- Boil them in a pot of water for a few minutes after washing them (don’t do this before because it may set the stains)
That said nobody really sanitizes or disinfects their underwear. They just throw them in with their regular laundry and don’t have a second thought about it.
Reusable cloths are much the same. Although there are bacteria that can live on them, you wouldn’t boil underwear that got some menstrual fluid on them, and you probably don’t have to do the same with your cloth pads.
Learn how to Disinfect Reusable Cloth Pads
Make the Switch to Reusable Cloth Pads Today
It’s very empowering to switch to reusable pads, and there is too much misinformation out there for more sustainable periods.
In addition to reusable pads, there is the option of a menstrual cup. These are growing in popularity among women because of their ease of use and comfort.
Check out this post all about menstrual cups, and why you should make the switch today for a better future, for you and Mother Earth.
For more details, check out: 10 Quick Facts about Reusable Cloth Pantyliners.
Have your Say about how to Clean a Reusable Pad
Any quick tips for cleaning reusable cloth pads? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Jackie Bolen has been obsessed with eco-friendly period products for years and is the chief tester and expert here at Reusable Menstrual Cups. She thinks she might know more about menstrual cups than just about anyone in Canada!