Disposable menstrual products contribute a staggering amount of waste to landfills each year. As menstruating people become more aware of the waste problem facing the world today, many of us are switching to reusable menstrual products, which, in addition to being less wasteful, are often better for our bodies and lighter on our pocketbooks in the long run.
Switching to reusables can be a tough thing to get your head around if you've been using disposables all your life. It may seem strange at first, but with a little practical information and practice, you'll get the hang of it in no time and never go back to disposables again.
If you're a tampon user, menstrual cups can be a great alternative. Check out this blog post if you're curious about them. Today, however, we're addressing your concerns around reusable cloth menstrual pads.
Are reusable pads sanitary?
Yes. In fact, because they’re made of breathable natural fabrics, they tend to harbor less bacteria than their disposable counterparts. So long as you launder them after every use, they’re perfectly sanitary.
Won’t they stain?
There may be some light staining, but that doesn’t mean your pads aren’t clean. To avoid stains, soak your pads in cold water immediately after use, then run them under the tap and squeeze out excess water until it runs clear. Machine wash them in cold or warm water. White pads benefit from line drying in the sun, which helps to bleach out any remaining stains.
Can I wash them with the rest of my laundry?
Yes. Soaking and rinsing them beforehand ensures that no blood will migrate onto the rest of your laundry.
Are they comfortable?
Yes, in fact they can be much more comfortable than disposables. Our pads are made of organic cotton - nothing sticky or synthetic against your skin, and no rogue wings getting stuck to your leg.
How often should I change a cloth pad?
When moisture starts to come through the underside, it’s time to change your pad. Depending on your flow this could be anywhere from once a day to several times a day.
What if I have to change my pad when I’m away from home?
The wings on our pads have snaps, making it easy to fold them up into a neat little bundle and stash them in your purse. You may want to bring a small bag to put them in to provide a barrier between your pads and the rest of your belongings. Don’t forget to soak them and rinse them out when you get home.
Won’t my partner or family be grossed out?
Hopefully, no. But if they are, this could be a good opportunity to educate them. Periods are a perfectly normal, healthy thing that happen to half of all adults for most of their lives. There’s nothing gross about them. They’re a fact of life, and people who menstruate shouldn’t have to sneak around once a month to avoid reminding others that they menstruate.
In fact, I would argue that it’s much grosser to send dozens of blood-soaked disposable pads to decay in a landfill for the next 100 years (where they’ll release methane into the atmosphere and leachate into the groundwater), than it is to throw some reusable pads into the washing machine once a month.
Have you tried reusable pads? Would you ever go back to disposables? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!