Why I Switched To Cloth Pads

First of all . . . GUYS – you might want to skip over this post.  It’s a girly topic that you probably don’t want to know ANYTHING about!

Second of all . . . I know that cloth pads seem like the extreme end of natural living.  Stick with me here while I explain.

DISCLAIMER:  This is a personal subject – if hearing about my experience with cloth pads is TMI then you might want to skip this post too.  🙂

Cloth padsWhen I first heard about cloth pads, I was kind of weirded out.  It seemed like it would be a messy (maybe even gross?) process to deal with every month.  Even the term “mama cloth” brought unbidden, vague thoughts of wads of cloth – circa 1450.  *shudder*  I determined that it definitely wasn’t for me.

No thank you, I’m sticking with my convenient disposables.

Fast forward a couple of years to this past summer.  I don’t remember what I was researching but somehow I came across an article about cloth pads that included a picture.  It shocked me because it looked just like what I was already using.  Don’t ask me why but somehow, the familiar contoured shape suddenly made me feel more at ease with the idea of reusable pads.  Then, the more I read, the more intrigued I became with the concept.

There’s the green factor:  By using a reusable pad, you aren’t throwing thousands of plastic products away.  The average woman is estimated to use around 15,000 disposable feminine products over her lifetime.  It takes disposable pads hundreds of years to even begin decomposing.

Cost:  Here’s where I really began to get interested.  It seemed like I had to run to the store to grab more products every month.  Even if I just spent ~$8/month on pads, liners, tampons, etc. that still comes out to about $100/year!

Comfort:  Cloth pads BREATHE.  I made mine out of cotton, flannel and natural quilt batting and they are so much more comfortable than disposables!  Also, I no longer worry about an indiscreet “rustle” with my cloth pads.

Health:  While there are some small companies out there that are changing how their commercial products are made, by and large, the vast majority contain chemicals that aren’t good for you.  The bleaching process that these products undergo (not for sanitation purposes but for whitening) is shown to leave behind a dangerous chemical called dioxin.  Dioxin is a carcinogen that just happens to be easily absorbed through mucus membranes.  Just think about where we’re putting these products.

Do you want to know what was the clincher for me to want to at least try cloth pads???

Many women have reported that their period was shortened by 1-3 days after switching to cloth pads.

Apparently, those irritating chemicals found on pads and tampons tend to make us bleed longer than we should.  Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking – “conspiracy theory”!  That was my first thought too.  But . . . what if?  What if it wasn’t a mass delusion?  What if there was something to it?  Although I was highly skeptical, it didn’t seem too far fetched to imagine a big corporation wanting to make some extra millions on all the extra products we buy because said products extend our need for them.  Have we become a society of women dependent on convenient paper products?

Well, aren’t you glad I’m willing to test this stuff out and let you know?

I sat down, whipped up 12 cloth pads and began using them in July.  I have used them every month for the last 8 months and I LOVE them.  Love.  Love, love, LOVE them.  Get it?  Apparently, women who switch to cloth pads almost never go back to disposables.  I believe it.

The cons:

-Yes, there’s a little more effort involved than tossing one in the garbage after use but it’s surprisingly minimal.  I just rinse or wipe the surface and then throw them into my hamper to be washed like all the other clothes.  You can soak them instead of putting them in the hamper if you prefer.  They wash easily and can be put in the dryer – low maintenance, huh?  Unlike what I’d envisioned, it’s neither messy nor a hassle.

The pros:

-I haven’t had to go down the feminine products aisle in 8 months.  Score.

-They don’t leak.

-They fold and secure easily for changing on-the-go.

– I used to get a yeast infection a couple of times a year.  Usually after my period.  I haven’t had one for at least 8 months.

Cloth Pads
Here’s a view of the back (the side that faces towards the underwear).

-I think they’re more comfortable.

-I had fun picking out a colorful outer layer and have even embellished a few with a pearl snap.  I think they’re kind of cute!

-And you know what?  My period is down from 5 days to 3 DAYS!  I consider myself to be an average woman with neither extremely heavy periods but never extremely light either.  I am very regular and never varied from the 5-day cycle.  Until now.  *NOTE* I didn’t notice lighter cycles right away.  It was a gradual thing at first but the last couple months have been much shorter than when I started.  Two heavy days.  One day of spotting.  Done.  Amazing.

This ended up being so long that I ended up writing a whole other post:  Making Your Own Cloth Pads.  There are many great businesses that make cloth pads these days if you’d rather buy too!

  1. i experienced a decrease in the duration of my period immediately. the first time i used cloth pads my period lasted 3 days. amazing. my horrible cramps disappeared too. i use to take celebrex for cramps. i feel like this is a miracle for me. i even used menstrual cups but still had cramps. i was searching online to see if cloth pads made anyone else have 3 day periods and found your post. now i don’t feel like a freak. i am so so happy right now. all my problems solved. i always used tampons before but will not go back to them ever again.

  2. I have been using cloth for years. Just remember when you feel the pads you always like wearing aren’t working for you they have probably been through enough to warrant being thrown out and replaced – lush comfort is priority at that time, no matter how pretty the pad (pretty helps mood but).
    I am allergic to adhesive. When they no longer sold belted pads and just stick on ones in the 80’s I always got a rash on the insides of my legs. Then the pad bunches and leaks (and plenty say that, although ‘sposies are thinner now, that hasn’t changed).
    Cloth pads have improved too, no longer the old rag of old.

  3. I second that about the reduction in length of cycle, I thought the same thing as you – it did not seem to make sense that cloth could shorten your cycle. But I have found this to be the case – who knows if this is something to do with age or the cloth pads, but I have gone from 2 heavy 3 steady days to 1 light day, 2 heavier days then spotting a couple.

    Kellycable you can download patterns off a good site called ecomenses, it has lots of tips and information about cloth pads.

  4. Awesome! Thank u So much! My little sis was sitting next to me and said,”wow so everyone hates their periods….I really want to grow up now” (Sarcasm)

  5. I always thought the same that there would be a gross factor in cloth pads, but now you’ve convinced me and I totally want my own set. I have heavy periods that last for the whole week so I would be so thrilled if it was shortened by a few days, 4 would be ideal!

  6. I find this really interesting. The cost thing isn’t a big deal for me (I don’t go through a package of pads or tampons a month), yet you are not the only one who has said that they take a long time to decompose. The issue with me is health. I believe that I have estrogen dominance so I have been trying to eliminate the unnatural estrogen (or xenoestrogen) around me, and I tell you what, Xenoestrogens are everywhere (from drier sheets and laundry detergent to hormone fed cows). Besides the chemicals in the cotton, the chemicals in the adhesive of tampons and pads are absorbed through your skin and, in simple terms, act as estrogen to your body. Just when I think I have thought of most of the ways I am impacted, I find another, so thank you for your experience. With all of the major problems I have, the thought of a shorter period – even the possibility, is enough to make me try it. I want to know how you made them 🙂

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