Should you try out the cloth sanitary pads that are finally hitting the mainstream market? Have you seen the pretty, button up cloth pads in fuzzy, natural materials? They feel just as awesome as they look, and that is one of the many reasons why women are switching over to cloth pads.
Long before men invented disposable pads and tampons, women wore cloth pads to prevent their blood from staining their clothes. When disposables came onto the market, women were convinced that the throwaways were the only sanitary choice for their monthly friend, but a lot of things have changed since then. For instance, washing machines are now better than they have ever been before and used pads can simply be thrown in with the laundry and cleaned. Hydrogen peroxide is also cheap, readily available, and can be used to remove blood stains, if you are worried about wearing stained cloths.
Even women who use the menstrual cup are getting into the cloth pad action. A cloth panty liner can be worn when using the cup for extra protection in case of any leaks and just for that added feeling of security. Thicker pads can be worn overnight, called nighttime pads, when they aren't wearing a cup, eliminating the need to ever buy a disposable pad or tampon ever again.
We have all had those days. You know the ones where you get your period unexpectedly and you go to find a tampon or pad and discover that you are completely out of them. Then you have to send your partner to the store to get you a pack, and you know how much they love it when you do that. Or worse, you don't have anyone to go to the store for you and you have to make the daring blood run in and out of the closest store you can find. When you switch to cloth pads, those surprise days are over because your cloth pads will always be on hand.
Long before the invention of disposable feminine products, women used cloths durings their menstrual cycle. This is where the term "ragging it" comes from. The wonderful thing about cloth pads is that you don't throw them away after using them. Instead, you wash them and reuse them over and over again. If you are squeamish about your own blood, you will get over it fast when you start using cloth pads because you will quickly see that it really is not a big deal. Just rinse and wash or, as some women mention, you don't even have to prerinse cloth pads. Just throw them in with your laundry and you are done.
Do you find disposable pads uncomfortable against the most sensitive part of your body? Cloth pads are made to be soft, cushiony, and absorbent. The most common natural fabrics used are cotton and bamboo and the fabric textures are varied. You can buy pads made out of t-shirt like material and pads made of flannel or fluffy material. When you put them on, instead of getting that crunchy feeling like you do with disposable pads, you will get soft, cushioning comfort. It is like having another layer of clothes that conforms to your shape.
10 Better for the Environment
On average, a woman will use about 16,000 disposable pads and tampons in her lifetime. That is a lot of material going into the landfills and if you think about all the women in just the United States alone, roughly 157 million women according to the 2010 Census, it becomes easy to see that women are creating an unimaginable amount of waste just by using throw away pads. It is estimated that roughly 20 billion pads or tampons go into the landfills each month. Switching to cloth pads helps reduce the amount of waste created by women during that time of month. Because we reuse the pads over and over again, less waste is hitting the landfills and our cloth pads are lasting for several years before we need to buy or make more.
9 Easy to Make
You don’t have to have a lot of cash to get into wearing cloth pads because you can make them on your own. My first cloth pads 19 years ago were hand sewn by me and lasted for about five years. This was before there were patterns online and, honestly, I don’t think the subject of cloth pads came up as a topic on the majority of websites back then. If you want to try your hand at making your own pads, do a search for cloth pad patterns and buy some nice cotton or bamboo fabric for the project. With a sewing machine, you can easily sew up a full supply of cloth pads in one day.
8 Variety of Shapes to Choose From
We are all shaped differently and the women who make cloth pads realize this. That is why when you go shopping for cloth pads, you will find pads in all kinds of shapes and styles. There are long pads, thick pads, pads with and without wing, and basic pads that just rest on top of your underwear. There are even pad covers with pad inserts so that you can decide how thick you need your pad to be, depending on your flow. In the world of cloth pads, there are far more different options to choose from than in the realm of disposable pads.
7 Easy to Clean
Some women are turned off by the idea of using cloth sanitary pads because they think there is an ick factor involved. They couldn’t be more wrong. If you have ever changed diapers, cleaned up vomit, or cleaned up after a pet mess, then keeping cloth pads clean is nowhere near as gross as all that. Most pads come in patterns and bright or dark colors to help hide blood stains. After you use a cloth pad, you simply rinse it out in cold water and throw it in with the laundry. The washing machine will finish cleaning up the pad. If you have to change the pad while at work, simply put the used pad in a plastic bag or case and rinse it out when you get home.
6 Lets Your Skin Breathe
The first thing that I noticed when I switched to cloth pads was that I was no longer sweaty down there. Summertime with the disposables used to be the worst. The heat and the throwaway pads would give me skin rashes. My skin just could not breathe. Since switching to cloth pads, that is no longer a problem. And it is not just me. Many women who have tried cloth pads have noticed an immediate difference down there. No odors, no sweating, and no rashes all because the cloth pads are made out of natural, breathable, fabrics.
Taking charge of your body is empowering. Taking a step away from products that make you feel like crap, even if you are just giving up one disposable item and replacing it with a reusable item, somehow makes us feel better. There are also online groups of women who are devoted to cloth pads and by joining these groups you come to learn that having a period is not such a bad thing and hating your body is definitely out the window. It's a sisterhood thing that you have to experience to understand.
4 Supports Small Businesses
Nearly all cloth pads are made by women running small businesses. When you go on Etsy, you will find women who make cloth pads as a side business out of their own homes. Larger cloth pad business, such as Tree Hugger Cloth Pads and Lunapads, are woman owned. When you buy cloth pads from any of these small businesses, you are supporting cottage industries that are mostly run by other women. Another thing to think about is that some cloth pad sellers also run charities. Earthwise, for instance, donates one cloth pad to an orphaned girl in Kenya for every three pads sold.
3 No Leaking
Four years ago I went through this phase where I decided I would wear disposable pads when I was out and about with my new boyfriend. I was honestly worried that I would freak him out if he knew I wore cloth pads. During that brief time, I experienced side leaks, so I bought winged pads which would only bunch up and, again, leak out the sides. After ruining a few pairs of underwear, I gave up on disposables again and returned to using my cloth pads. As a side note, it turned out he didn't care what I used down there as long as I was happy with it.
2 Fun Colors
Make your period fun and get yourself some new rags. New cloth pads come in all sorts of colors and patterns, from neon tie dyes to funky animal prints. Some people get a kick out of wearing funky socks or weird underwear, and some of us get a chuckle out of wearing cloth pads with funky prints. Personally, I am an owl person and recently bought a pack of owl print pads for myself because I no longer have the time to sew my own pads up. I absolutely love the new pads.
1 Saves You Money
Cloth pads may seem expensive at first, but when you figure that each pad will last for several years, you will see that you are saving money in the long run. If you sew your own pads, you will save even more money. In estimates on how much a woman spends on pads or tampons in her lifetime, the amount ranges anywhere from $1900 to $3900 over the course of 40 years. When you purchase cloth pads, the amount you spend is cut down to less than half of those amounts, depending on who you buy your pads from or if you make them yourself.