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Would You Use Washable Sanitary Pads?

by thriftyfrugalfun (follow)
Thrifty is a mum of 3 who is passionate about living a happy, simple and frugal life. You can read her blog at: thriftyfrugalfun.blogspot.com.
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Have you ever used washable sanitary pads? Is this something you would consider doing?

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Yes, I do. I get mine from www.scarleteve.com.au. They are a whole lot fancier than the old fashioned rags people probably think of when they hear of them. They have wings (you can get them without if you want, they're customisable), come in different sizes/levels of absorbency, have a bamboo liner (naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal), and are pretty. I find them more comfortable than disposables because you don't have to deal with the chemicals they put in disposables to make them more absorbent (lots of women are sensitive to them, and who knows what having that stuff up against your bits might do to you over time). They're also better for the environment and cheaper in the long term (they last for a decade or so instead of buying them every month). The washing part is easy. I just chuck them in a normal colours load then hang them on the line to dry and have no problems with staining.
So all the 'fluid' on the pad goes through your coloured clothes, whilst being washed? Or do you rinse out pads BEFORE putting them in your coloureds' wash?
by donjo
Some people presoak their pads. I don't unless they are light coloured pads or I have to go more than a day without washing them for some reason (rainy weather perhaps). So yes, they are just in with the coloured clothes as is. I have never had any problem with blood getting on any of the other clothes, which seems to be what you are getting at, and the hot water and UV from subsequent line drying kills germs (same as it does when you wash things like underpants).
Like Jennifer I really can't see why people are so grossed out by this, when cloth nappies are considered totally acceptable. We all acknowledge that modern Western society has destroyed our environment so much, yet so many of us aren't prepared to take small steps towards a more sustainable way of living. I started using them a few years ago (when I learnt that they exist) and found the modern ones to be very good. Wemoon is one Australian-based company that I recommend. Their website is: https://www.wemoon.com.au/

If you simply haven't the time to wash your pads or it really does gross you out too much, another eco-friendly alternative is to buy biodegradable ones from your local organic shop.

I use wemoon too! You can get them in Northcote at the Environment Shop. (www.enviroshop.com.au/shop)
I use wemoon too! You can get them in Northcote at the Environment Shop. (www.enviroshop.com.au/shop)
No, never. I firstly can't imagine the family having me throw them in the coloureds wash if the families gear is in there too. Secondly, I wouldn't be pegging them out to dry and I wonder how long you could keep them white. I can't see it being an easy job to introduce them to teenage girls. But most of all, I am having a problem being comfortable with some of the advertisements for sanitary kits on television at the moment, particularly at dinner time and when there is mixed company in the house. I know the monthly thing is very natural but it is only as natural as defaecation, urination, blowing your nose and farting and I don't like those topics on television either. Gross.
Why would it make a difference if the rest of the family's clothes are in there too? Would they be afraid to catch girl germs from them?

I don't use white ones. In fact, I've never even seen white ones. I wouldn't want to have to use bleach on them. There's no reason they'd have to be white, any more than underpants.. They come in all kinds of colours. Mine are mostly tie dyed purple because that's how I roll.

Re introducing them to teenage girls, I wouldn't force them on my daughter if she'd rather use disposables. However, I know women who have given a set of them as a gift to their daughters (sometimes with a nice piece of jewellery or other extra) when they got their first period. It can be part of a menarche party, and the girl can pick whatever pretty fabrics she likes and have them made. Having something pretty to use can actually help change the way you feel about getting your period, make it seem less of a dirty/negative thing, which is kind of the vibe you get from pads you have to throw away.
I'm with you Fran!
by Finy
I use a Mooncup, which is reusable. I've found I occasionally get leakage, so I'd be interested in washable pads to help with that.
Definitely not. I know they used to do this, but this was in the past many, many years ago.
by Finy
Not so far in the past for some! It's only been a few weeks for me.
Well, I live and learn, Jennifer!
by Finy
My immediate response is an automatic 'no', but then seconds later I reconsider and think of how bad pads are for the environment, and that they're an additional cost that I wouldn't have to have if I had re-useable.
This is a really good and confronting question. I will think on it some more.
I didn't even know they existed, but god no! I would definitely not be up for the idea - I think it's safer and better to just use disposable ones and use fresh ones in place of them.

Couldn't imagine anything worse- to me, pads feel like wearing a diaper. Definitely not.
Yucky no, thanks.
That is the last thing I would want to do....washing them.!

Why not? I may give them a try next time.
by Vee
Definitely sounds sick.. if this existed then it's one of the most unhygienic practices ever.. People shouldn't reuse things that aren't meant to be reused!
I don't want to sound like a person with strict opinions, but my first and immediate response was a 'No'. Then I thought I ought to find out what others think of this idea and saw Jennifer's response. I think if you have a product (continuously available on the market) which promotes hygiene and ease of use/re-use then may be it's an idea worth considering compared to putting up with synthetic linings with God-Knows-What-Awful chemicals that are used.
After all re-use seems to be the magical word these days!
by Manny
They are available, but they're a bit hard to find at the moment, unfortunately. You have to know they exist and go looking for them. If you google cloth pads there are a few manufacturers around, all small businesses, mostly work at home mums. Scarlet Eve makes the best ones I have seen. Another option that's proving a bit more popular is the Diva cup (that's a brand, there are others), a reusable silicone cup (it can be sterilised) that can be used as a substitute for tampons.

I find it a bit strange that people are so grossed out by the idea of cloth menstrual pads when cloth nappies are relatively uncontroversial. Surely if washing out poo is okay then washing out blood is too.
It's probably just because it is a concept which hasn't been marketed to us yet, so it sounds a bit weird. The more I think about it, the more confrontable the idea of them are.
Just ask aged relations how they managed in their youth, and discover the origin of the expression "on the rag".
by grann
It's something I would try, but have my doubts as to the absorbency of them.
I have never had a problem with absorbancy. You can buy pads with extra material in them for heavy flow if you are worried about that.
The ones I use have bamboo liners which are very absorbent, much ore so than cotton, and a waterproof underside.
Most of my friends are also grossed out by the idea and quite mortified that I use washable pads! Ive been using them regularly for years and I don't think Id ever go back to disposable. I used to get a rash from disposable pads and I never had that problem once I made the change. I also used cloth nappies for my babes and don't see the big fuss about washing pads. I hate the idea of regularly contributing disposable pads to landfill, when this can easily be avoided. They are easy to keep clean & I soak them in a bucket then pop them in the wash and peg out in the sunshine. The pads in the picture are made with bamboo and I got them from http://www.organicarray.com/ however it looks like they no longer stock them. If you are worried about them staying white then you can buy pads in printed patterns also. My 15 yr old daughter uses them also and prefers them to disposable.
i have never used washable sanitary pads and i do not wish to
I didn't know these existed. I use tampons, as I am not very fond of the pads. There's been a lot of leakage in the past, so I don't bother anymore.

I think it's a fantastic idea. It would cut down on garbage drastically, which is great. Just think about how many tampons/pads you personally use each month. Think about the number used in a year, then in your lifetime. Now, multiply that number by the female population of the earth. It's frightening to think just how much unnecessary wastage there is for our monthly flow.

I'll keep a look out for these. Never know, they might be better than tampons for me.

I'm not really sure why people are grossed out. Is it to do with washing them? Recent studies have shown that the average household washing machine is full of faecal matter anyway.

I think my only questions are: Once you've used one, do you simply fold it up (as it appears in the picture above)? How many do you carry with you, in case you need to change? How soon is it recommended to wash them? Can they last a while unwashed (say, if you were camping, or something)?
I just wash mine at the end of the day. I have two kids so there's always a load of washing ready to throw them into. Mine have wings with snap fasteners, which are reversible. Before I chuck them in with the rest of the laundry I fold the wings the other way and snap them shut, which keeps any blood from getting on the other stuff in the wash (though that probably wouldn't be a problem anyway since it's mostly absorbed into the pad). If I'm out I carry a wet bag (there are some really pretty ones available, mine just looks like a purse) and stick the used one in there to take home and wash. As long as the bag is done up it doesn't smell. You carry with you however many pads you would normally use in a day. Personally I wouldn't take them camping. I guess you could if you had to but it's never come up for me.
I keep a bucket of water in the laundry just for my pads. Each time I add a pad to the bucket I swish it a little and drain the water off. Then add fresh water, I do this every day. Then at the end of the week, I drain the water off again and put the pads in the wash. I also add some vinegar in the rinse compartment. Of course soaking them isn't necessary but I find it works for me.
I don't know how tampons are disposed of (by the people that put the magic bins in the female toilets). Disposable pads go into the garbage can, and I guess they go to land fill. But as for the amount of baby disposable nappies that are used now, I guess they go to landfill too…..jeebus there would be enough to make another planet.
by fran.
Just wanted to leave an update, since I recently received a response. I now use a cup instead of tampons. I have found it to be a lot better overall: environmentally speaking, more convenient, and sanitary.
I must admit to having used the old "rags" which were absolutely awful compared to the disposable ones or the nice new reusable pads. If I had still the use for them I don't think I could use them.
I never knew they existed either? How long have they been around. I probably would have given them ago but I don't have my period anymore. But they also sound grose, I get freaked out by any kind of stains or bodilly functions of any kind I must admit.
EEEEEWWWWW!v GEROSS!!! No thanks, but to each their own. I'd never heard of them either even though they've been around for a while by the sounds of it. Surely you would have to at LEAST rinse the blood out of them before you put them in the wash with other clothes. YUK!!! Nappies are different to reusuable pads I believe. You have to wash the poo out of nappies and then soak them at least before washing them in the machine. Mandy E.
No, actually most modern cloth nappy (MCN) users drypail their nappies instead of soaking them (ie. they tip poo off into the toilet then keep the nappies in an empty sealed bucket until the time comes to wash them). No soaking needed. It saves water but they get clean just fine. Cloth pads also don't necessarily need to be rinsed or soaked. Some people soak theirs in a bucket of cold water before washing. I don't. It has never been a problem.

Here's a link about dry pailing, at least one method. I don't do the bicarb thing.
And here care instructions for cloth pads. You can rinse or soak them, or not.

When I remember the old rags, I felt re-usable yuck no! But after reading the whole discussion, it seems like an interesting idea. Every month I deal with the rashes due to disposable napkins. But if something can be customized its really great idea. Only worry is washing it. I'm not comfortable with the idea of washing it with other clothes.
I used to get rashes as well and that has stopped now by using the cloth pads.
No No No No No
yes sure, women originally managed menstruation in this way. there is no reason why peak hygiene could not be maintained and less demand for synthetic products generally must be a good thing. We are brainwashed to think that disposable is cleaner etc. Not true. The reason why many parents are returning to traditional nappies and ditching the disposable.
That is very true!
No I have never used that.
Yes I have used washable sanitary pads and better yet I made them myself using old towels they worked very well for me.very thrifty.
I have always wanted to try making my own!
I'd rather run up a nice pair of bloomers than run up a few sanitary napkins. Jeebus!
by fran.
How thick were the old towels? Hated pads due their thickness, & chaffing.
by donjo
No never!
Yes have used them,I've even made my own out of old towels.
no way! that's the grossest thing I've heard of in a long time.
Didn't even know they existed! I started with Modess & Kotex pads with elastic waistband with little 'shark teeth' clip-holders for the 'tail' of the pad.
Fortunately my Mother found me 'Sani-Pants'; they were a godsend! They were elasticised, & had a cotton/polyester lining, then plastic middle, followed by another layer, same as first. If leakage occured, the lining would absorb it & no 'telltale marks'. Used them for the years' b4 I used tampons! They were washable & because of materials used, dried over night. I suppose you can still buy them at a pharmacy, but my need of them finished many years' ago, thank goodness for that!
No way, I prefer the ease and disposability of the non reusable.
I also live in a house with 5 males 5, 10, 15, 19 (my partner) and 45 and id rather need not have the little two ask.
I am long past it but I certainly would. What about toilet paper . . . has anyone given that up?
by Rice
PS . . what on earth do all you young whipper snappers think people did before the invention of disposable pads and toilet paper? Women were horrified in 1888 when some nurses made the first disposable pad from wood pulp. I can't see it as going backwards, I can only see it as refusing to cater to people who have figured out how to make money. For thousands of years, millions of people have dealt with menstrual blood without any help from a supermarket. The same with toilet paper. Washing your own cloths with your own clothes in your own washing machine is not going to kill you. Rinse first if you are that paranoid. I bet all the doomsday preppers aren't stocking up on tampons. My need is long past but I would happily have used cloths as those damned things made me suffer. Good on you girls who are using the cloths!!
by Rice
OMG, YES! Do they make washable toilet paper:) I'm willing to save money anywhere possible. I have a son in college.
http://inhabitat.com/family-cloths-gross-or-great/ or http://lunapads.com/blog/2013/05/6-reasons-family-cloth/ but I have to say i prefer to rinse them before i soak them in a bucket, but I am not afraid of urine or faeces, I just prefer to know they have been rinsed.
by Rice
Okay, I'm still buying toilet paper. That's just a little too much for me. I'll have to cut back somewhere else. LOL
by Polly
I never used them but I would love to give them a try.
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