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Today, we’re going to talk about periods and pads. I know, it’s not something you normally talk about with everyone but in this post, I’ll tell you how I switched to cloth pads to have a healthier and greener period.
I first discovered reusable cloth pads when I was considering cloth diapering our newly born fourth child and not-yet-potty-trained toddler. At first, the thought of washing dirty diapers sounded gross but after going through two babies, the idea didn’t seem too far fetched. I mean, I was already washing baby clothes that have been messed on so it couldn’t be much worse, right? But more to the point of this post, if I was going to try cloth for my baby, I wanted to try cloth for myself first.
We were sending upwards of 500 diapers into the landfill each month in addition to roughly 28-30 pads and their packaging. When you look at these numbers, it seems crazy doesn’t it? This wasn’t my main reason for switching to cloth though. My babies had terrible diaper rash no matter what I tried and I absolutely hated the feeling of plastic in my undies. I couldn’t stand the stickiness and I would always end up with a rash myself. Maybe we all just have sensitive skin – but this was reason enough for me to start looking into the switch to cloth.
In the process of switching, I purchased from two different vendors and tried out several different sizes, shapes and absorbancies but I was afraid to jump all in so I made sure to have some disposables as a backup.
I started out with just a couple of liners to use at the beginning and end of my cycle. The next month, I tried adding in a thicker pad for daytime and once I felt more comfortable, I switched to cloth for nighttime as well. By my third month, I was using all cloth and had ditched the disposables.
You’ll need to get used to washing your pads, but once you get over that initial “ew” factor, it’s really not that bad. I mean, this is just your blood, after all.
A quick rinse under cold water is all you really need but sometimes, I’ll soak them for a few hours in my bathroom sink. I like to keep a cute basket in my bathroom to place used pads in until wash day.
(If you’re concerned about the men in your life seeing this, well, they’ll get over it. I have 3 boys, plus my husband, and they just ignore it.)
Yes, I was sticker shocked at first too. The idea of spending between $8-$20 per pad was, well, shocking. But when you consider the longevity of these pads in comparison to disposables, it makes a lot more sense.
Let’s say you spend approximately $150 per year on disposable menstrual products. Now, we’ll use the average cost of $14 for one cloth pad and say you need 10 pads per cycle (this will vary based on your own cycle and how often you wash), you can spend just about the same amount, $140, for 5-7 years worth of cloth pads.
Now before you go rolling your eyes at that last sentence, yes they do really last that long. I have actually had the same cloth pads in a small rotation for 9 years!
How Do They Work?
Cloth pads are actually really easy to use. They are essentially the same as their disposable counterparts but rather than the sticky wings that close over your undies, you’ll use a little snap to secure them.
You’ll select from a range of absorbencies just as you would disposables. The best thing about cloth pads is that the materials they are made from are much healthier for your body than the bleached and toxic material in disposables.
They are machine and hand washable. As mentioned above, I like to rinse mine then I throw them in the washing machine and either dry on low heat or hang dry in the sun.
The number of pads you’ll need will obviously vary based on your own cycle. I have 20 and I do a wash half way into my cycle then again at the end of my 4-5 day cycle. This is just the right amount of pads for me but I could add a few more simply because I like the fun patterns.
After years of using cloth pads, I can honestly say that my periods have been so much easier on me. The terrible cramping I used to have has been reduced enormously and the comfort level is so much greater with cloth. I also don’t have to worry about not having any pads at the house if my period starts unexpectedly because I have my stash clean and ready to grab.
Replacing Your Cloth Pads
The pads I bought 9 years ago still look and work great after all these years but it’s time to start replacing them. Unfortunately, the vendors I purchased my favorite pads from are no longer in business. We’re going to fast forward several years to when my pre-teen daughter is nearing the age that her period will start. I really wanted to get her started on cloth rather than disposables from the beginning. So my brain started thinking and inkies. was soon born.
I now create an organic and 100% USA made cloth pad that I not only use myself, but my daughter uses them and they are also available for purchase through our Etsy shop.
How Do I Decide What Size To Get?
Here are a few tips to help you decide what size cloth pad to choose from but ultimately, you’ll want to try out a variety and see what works best for your cycle.
Choose Liners If:
-you want a backup for a menstrual cup
-you have a very light flow or spotting
-you need extra coverage from every day leaking
Choose Day Pads If:
-you have a medium flow
-you typically use regular disposable pads or tampons
-you leak urine throughout the day
Choose Extra or Moon Pads If:
-you have a very heavy flow
-you have postpartum bleeding
-you need more coverage from front to back, such as overnight
-you need nightly incontinence coverage
I hope this post has helped better guide you on your journey to a healthier and greener period. If you have questions or would like to try inkies. cloth pads, I would love to connect with you. Just fill out the quick form on the contact page and I’ll be in touch!
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