Warning! This post is about “feminine issues” and may contain too much information for some people. Proceed at your own risk.
M: “You women are gross.”
Me: “Prolly – why?”
M: “Cotton pads.”
Me: “What about them? They’re comfy.”
M: “You use them for two years?!”
Me: “Yeah, but you wash them in between.”
M: I still think it’s gross.”
Me: Maybe, but I like them.
To be fair I can’t blame him; the first time I read about cloth menstrual pads I thought they were pretty gross too. Working with kids I deal with some pretty nasty stuff like poop, puke and boogers, so not much grosses me out except blood and loose teeth. And those humongous centipedes with so many legs they look furry. *shudder*
So how did I end up falling in love with cloth pads?
It all started when Z-Man was a baby and I was reading everything I could find about cloth diapers. I was browsing a natural living forum and stumbled into the cloth pad area. My first reaction was “Oh gross!” but the number of women raving about cloth pads intrigued me so much I couldn’t stop reading.
Right about the same time Z-Man gave up his before-bed nursing sessions. After almost a two-year absence “Aunt Flo” returned. I’m one of the lucky mamas who doesn’t menstruate while breastfeeding – even when we cut back to just once a day. “Bummer!” I thought, “But no big deal.” I grabbed my trusty box of Tampax and went on with my life.
At least I tried to go on with my life but I had a problem: I could feel them. Trust me when I say that a tampon is not something you want to be feeling. “Bummer!” I thought, “But no big deal.” I grabbed my trusty package of Kotex pads and went on with my life.
At least I tried to go on with my life but I had another problem: all the moisture caused something similar to a baby’s diaper rash on my girly bits. Now I know why babies are so fussy when they’ve got diaper rash – owwwwwwww!
Now I didn’t know what to do. Aunt Flo was showing no signs of leaving any time soon, and neither of my usual options were working. In desperation I grabbed some scraps of fabric leftover from diaper-making, downloaded a free cloth pad pattern, and threw together a couple of cloth pads. They weren’t pretty, but they were really, really, really comfy. Partly cuz they were velour on top Best of all, the rash disappeared within a day!
I was hooked! I started building my own stash; downloading and purchasing patterns to make my own, and trading with other WAHMs to try their cloth pad styles. By the time Aunt Flo came around again I was ready! Not only was her visit more enjoyable because I had pretty and comfy pads to use, she didn’t hang around as long as usual.
I soon discovered that I had another problem; I didn’t know how to wash the cloth pads. I went back to the forum where I’d first discovered cloth pads and was grossed out again. Some women described soaking their used pads in water-filled “pad pots” under their bathroom sink. They said the water needs to be changed daily, but is good for watering houseplants so it won’t go to waste.
Yeah, right. I am SO not soaking bloody pads under my sink and watering my plants with the water. With my luck one of the kids would dump the whole thing out all over the floor, then I’d have a nasty mess to clean up on top of the awkward questions to answer.
I kept reading.
Several other posters recommended rinsing the pads with cool water in the sink after each use.
Ummm… no. That’s just too close to hand-washing for me. Besides, who’s got time to do that?
I kept reading.
Finally I one woman said she just washed her pads with her baby’s diapers. Since cloth pads are pretty much made of the same fabrics as cloth diapers this made a lot of sense to me. Finally – a system I could actually use.
Now that my Z-Man and Little Guy are out of diapers I wash my cloth pads with our towels. I still run a cold water rinse first, then wash on hot, but don’t generally do an extra rinse at the end like I did with diapers. So far it seems to be working well.
I’m the kind of girl who likes variety so I collected lots of different patterns to try, and even drafted one of my own. I briefly considered adding cloth pads to my product line, and stocked several at Lily Pad Landing, but I didn’t like making them as much as I liked making cloth diapers.
This is one of the cloth pads I stocked at Lily Pad Landing- it got rave reviews. At the time I was the only WAHM I knew of who added a heart or other design to the topstitching, but since then I’ve seen it other places.
I also started purchasing different types of cloth pads and doing trades with cloth pad WAHMs. Pietra of Homestead Emporium (which used to be Homemade Mama) has long been one of my very favorites. Not only does she make a luxurious pad, she’s a wonderful person too.
I did a trade with Sue of Pink Lemonade Shop for all these gorgeous pads. They’re not all mine; I got some to introduce Princess and Angel Face to cloth pads too.
Sue’s pads are fun because she often uses printed flannels and cottons on the back instead of just plain fleece.
I’ve heard great things about Anna and Go with the Flo for a long time but hadn’t gotten any to try until recently. I won these pads at the Fluff Factory charity auctions this year and am in love with them!
I guess that’s it then, I really have nothing more to say on the subject of cloth pads. I use them, I make them, I love them. They’re comfy, they’re fun, and they’re easy to care for.
Oh! I just remembered one more thing…
If you’re considering trying cloth pads I highly recommend you get the ones with wings; unless fishing a used pad out of the toilet is your idea of fun.
Thank you for the information. Initially I thought there were enough web sites about cloth menstrual pads but when I see the negative reaction of individuals I realise not … The thing I noticed first when started using cloth pads was that it was liberating not being dependent on some giant co-operation for my fiminine needs; but before that all the irritations I have had for years are now gone! Oh happy day! Some people also have problems with dyes in the fabric of cloth pads, I keep the top of mine orgaganic undyed but have fun with the bottom layer. Keep on doing what you are doing.
You’ve got a good point about some people being sensitive to dyes, luckily I’m not one of them. I did have a shock once when I used a remnant of dark blue dyed fabric to make myself a pad – apparently I hadn’t rinsed the fabric enough because it turned my skin blue the first time I used it! It eventually faded, but there’s nothing like blue girly bits to freak you out!
Thanks for commenting!
Hey, I’m reading this is 2013 lol and just made the switch. Thanks for sharing your washing technique. If you’re interested, here is a 10% coupon code for “Go with the Flo”: AF13CT
Thanks for the coupon! Go with the Flo” is one of my favorites too, and Anna is so great to work with.
Have you ever tried a menstrual cup? I think it’s an even better option than cloth pads, or you can use them in combination on really heavy days.
Menstrual cups are better alternatives. You don’t need to wash them every time because it takes awhile before you need to take them out, either for changing or cleaning and putting back again. This saves you time and money. It’s even safer and 100% hygienic.
Thanks for sharing! I’ve looked into menstrual cups but am too squeamish about blood. I think they’re a great idea though and wish I would like them more.