Women of the world, please listen to me. It's time to get real about our periods. It's past time for us to stop thinking they're gross, embarrassing, or shameful. One way to do that is to make our collective menstrual experiences, if you will, a little more pleasant. Now, this isn't going to be a commercial about joyfully skipping around a beach while wearing white pants, but that 'time of the month' doesn't have to be outright drudgery either. Using cloth pads can start you on the path to feeling a little better about your period.
Cloth pads are comfortable to wear. They're made of soft fabrics like flannel and cotton and come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, including styles good for daily protection, light-flow use, and pads that can be worn for heavy or overnight use.
Reusable pads require a little extra care but not so much that you will be inconvenienced. Used liners and/or pads get soaked in cold water, which should be switched out twice a day. (You can let them soak for days if you'd like, but keep the water fresh to prevent the pads from taking on a mildewed smell.) After pads are finished soaking, run them through your washing machine with a 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar. Be kind to the environment and hang pads to dry (which can be a fun sight given the pretty fabrics and designs that they come in).
Several companies make cloth menstrual pads, including Lunapads, GladRags, New Moon Pads (who has a sister company called Sweet Cheeks Diapers for moms looking for cloth diapers), and a number of sellers on Etsy. You can also make your own.
Using cloth pads means you'll always have a pad available rather than you or your partner having to make an emergency run to the drugstore in the middle of the night.
Rather than overburdening landfills with disposable pads, switch to cloth. Cloth pads get rewashed and used for years at a time, bringing their cost down to just pennies. You can always build your collection slowly and phase out your use of disposable pads to make the adjustment easier.
Though disputed by some as being a contaminant, you can pour the blood water from soaking your pads on your plants.
Store-bought pads contain polyethylene, whose production contributes to global warming. Save your body the exposure to harmful chemicals and choose cloth!
Types of uses
Cloth pads can be used for:
- Postpartum care (also known as "momma pads")
- Incontinence protection
Cloth pads are made to wick away moisture just like their store-bought counterparts and can really come in handy when your flow is heavy (or heavier than normal) and your need is higher than normal.
Again, it can take some time to get used to using cloth pads or you might be an instant convert. As my mother told me when I was a kid, I had to try something before I could honestly say I didn't like it. Use cloth pads because you want to live greener, you prefer pretty fabrics to a throwaway pad in a fluorescent pink package, or because you want to start saving money; whatever the reason, the planet will appreciate your help.
About the author
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys DIY projects and is learning how to sew so she can make her own cloth pads. Read her work at EatBreatheBlog.com