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Would you use cloth menstrual pads?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma ~ Eartha Kitt.
Health (523)      Environment (72)      Feminism (56)      Menstruation (2)     

cloth pad, menstruation, period

Many women choose to use reusable cloth menstrual pads rather than use disposable pads or tampons. They do this for environmental, health or other reasons.

Do you use cloth pads already or would you consider trying them? Why or why not?

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I used cloth pads from an Aussie manufacturer called Scarlet Eve. They're a bit fancier than the "rags" of yesteryear. They have a bamboo liner which flips out for washing and quicker drying and the bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. They're very absorbent and I have never had any problems with them leaking. They have wings like a disposable pad which attach to your undies with snaps (though you can get them without wings if you prefer) and they come in different sizes and fabrics.

I find them much more comfortable than disposables. They're also really pretty. Once you have a stash of them they save you money because you don't have to buy them every month and you aren't throwing away all that plastic year after year.

There are a few other people who make them and sell them online, or if you're crafty you can make your own and save even more money.

I know some women swear by menstrual cups, but it's nice to have more options.

No, definitely not. They may be more environmentally friendly, but I would seriously question the hygiene of the reusable pad.
There is this little problem: how often do you need to change this reusable cloth menstrual pad? Somehow I remember that women used a cloth version rather similar to this in old times, but they had to pay attention and limit their activities to avoid "accidents". Despite the environmental and health benefits, I would rather use the modern menstrual pads or tampon. Or if you are really concerned, a menstrual cup might be a more trustworthy choice.
I'm not seeing the problem there. You change them as often as you change a disposable pad, ie. it depends on how heavy your flow is (so... maybe 5 or 6 in a day) and they are no less reliable when it comes to avoiding leakage.
It's not convenient when you work all day, though.
by annep
No, it's fine. You carry a wet bag (waterproof sealable bag, like a makeup case but smaller) to put the dirty one into and chuck it in your handbag when you change.
I'm not sure I like the idea of carrying used pads in my bag around all day, though. Imagine what they would turn into when I get home. And trying to wash them in public toilets is simply gross.
by annep
I've never tried to wash them in a public toilet, and they don't "turn into" anything left in a wetbag all day. I just chuck them in the wash when I get home. No fuss, no stains.
Wow - I've never even heard of them! I knew about and use cloth nappies, but had no idea that there was a modern cloth version of the pad. I am sceptical that they would work well, but would definitely try them as I'd like to reduce my garbage output.
My mum used cloth nappies on me as a baby. However, come to 'that time of the month' I'd rather stick to what I know and with what works - especially as my cycle is so short: only two days at a time. May not work for a super heavy flow (one day only) - even though cloth pads are better for the environment.
No. Don't need them anymore, but I remember the days of using rags and it wasn't a joy.
I would not.
We have come a long way since our grandmothers, and I have to say we just can't go backwards with this issue.
Hygiene for one! has to be a top priority for me, and disposable pads are the only option I see.
Comfort for another...and even the thought of having the mess, if one is a heavy bleeder...and constant changing, smell....yuck.

It is a nice idea, I understand the concept...but 'where do we draw the line'.

Women have so much to put-up-with anyway, so I just would like this one little creature comfort.

Today, we have pads that also help with odours...That's a huge biggie,women
who like me work in a office at times. I need to know I have confidence I will not offend people, and I work in a area with all men.
I'm not that brave, and I hate the idea of pads not being earth friendly, I really do.I hope one day, we can have both....hopefully.
It's funny you should say that since comfort is one of the reasons I prefer cloth pads over disposables. They are soft and breathable and not treated with any chemical nasties. Disposables used to irritate my skin. There doesn't seem to be any problem with odour either as long as you change it as often as you need to (which is not "constant" for me, but your mileage may vary).
The idea of them is a bit gross at first, but it's best to be open minded when it comes to helping the environment. I'll definitely be looking into them :-)
I started using them after the birth of my 3rd child and will never go back. Cloth pads are softer and I don't has "accidents" like I did with disposables. My period is not as heavy or painful as it was and try were so much gentler on my tender area after I birthed my 4th
Yeah, they are a lot comfier post partum!
How sanitary is a cloth? I imagine I'd be too grossed-out, to put it in simple terms, to even consider trying to wash it out. How exactly would you change during your lunch break at work? To fathom washing it, in a public toilet would be too much humiliation.

Not for me, I'm afraid.
Why would they be unsanitary? They're not sterile, but neither are underpants. The ones I like have a bamboo liner, which is naturally antibacterial and antifungal.

You don't have to wash them in a public toilet. I'm not sure why people assume that. Here are the care instructions for the kind I use.


If I'm out and about I stick mine in a sealed wet bag (a small waterproof bag, fits in a handbag or purse) and wash them when I get home. It's really not at all difficult to get them clean. You can soak them overnight in a bucket of cold water but I don't bother and haven't had any problems with staining. I just throw them in normal load of washing then hang them on the line.
You deserve a medal for sticking to it. I just couldn't.
Deserve a medal for refusing to put up with itchy, nasty disposable pads? Hardly!
Never have and I can't imagine that I would, though I don't need them now. My mum used to use what they called back then "rags". Healthy discussion though and great question, as I wasn't even aware of such an item. I'll discuss this with my daughters, one in particular is more environmentally conscious.

I do use them, mostly for overnight, as I use the Diva cup during the day. I understand the "ick" factor, but it really is not an issue after you've tried it out on once cycle and see it's easy and tossing them in the wash. I also cloth diapered my children, so I researched how to clean them in an environmentally and baby skin friendly way and use the same principles with my cloth pads. Save money, save the environment, plus I never have to run to the store.
Why would you have to 'run to the store'? Don't you keep a 'supply' of needed products at home?
by donjo
Tampons, anyone?
Wore 'Super Heavy' pads overnight, due fear of TSS & advised to do so by OG.

Cloth pads, never heard of them in my day, would've been a nuisance. Imagine going to toilet at work, having to carry 'little purse' or 'handbag'. EVERYONE would then 'know' of your situation, INCLUDING the blokes!
My sport was horse-riding. 'Pads' of ANY description don't meld well with tight-fitting Jodhpurs!
To each her own, but definitely not for me, back in the day!
I used them and went to the toilet at work. Carrying one's purse or handbag to leave the store was not unusual (people would often do other things outside the store, such as going to get change at the bank or items like furniture polish from the supermarket) so it was no big deal. Why would blokes knowing be any worse anyway. They need to deal with the fact that women have vaginas and bleed out of them. It's no more something to freak out about than blowing your nose.
THAT maybe the case now, Jennifer, but 45 years' ago, things were VERY different in 'the office'!
Also, it was MY choice, which didn't need to be derided!
by donjo
I didn't deride your choice. I just gave my perspective. Cloth pads aren't for everyone, and nobody has to use them if they don't want to (well, not in Australia anyway, women in the developing world don't have the same options). I can't see why carrying reusables would be much different from carrying disposables though. Presumably you have to take whatever you're using from your work station to the toilet somehow either way. If disposables could go in your pocket so could reusables. A wet bag doesn't have to be huge. Ah well. Hopefully we are gradually moving towards a future when women and girls aren't shamed for their natural bodily processes.
You can take whatever you are using TO the toilet in your pocket, but as for carting back the used reusables FROM the toilet to wherever your storage area is……I don't think so.
Like neither male nor female co-workers are going to appreciate that too much.
I mean winter might be more accommodating than summer but even so, no. Keep them for use at home only.
by fran.
I've never had an issue with them smelling in any season, so I'll keep on using them when and wherever I need to, thanks.
Yes, I have been using cloth. I have many friends who use a cup.
Maybe. I've never tried them.
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