Getting Started With Reusable Menstrual Pads
You’ve probably arrived at this blog post because you want to explore the idea of reusable menstrual pads. Perhaps you have already made the switch but are looking for extra tips and tricks, or maybe you’re wanting to point friends and family in the right direction? Either way, we are glad you’ve decided to join us to think about getting started with reusable cloth pads.
The most important thing, that we can’t stress enough, is that it really is super simple! When you first start out thinking about making the switch to reusable menstrual products, the idea may feel a little overwhelming. You may be thinking “Where do I start?”, ‘How do I keep them clean?”, “Will they smell?”, these are all very common questions. So if you’ve ever thought these – you’re not alone, and we’ve got you covered in this blog!
To menstruate is a natural and healthy biological aspect of life, that should be celebrated by all genders, as a positive representation of physical and mental wellbeing.
“My only regret,
is that I didn’t make the switch
to cloth pads sooner”~ said every woman after switching to cloth
What is a Cloth Pad?
Reusable menstrual products provide a safe, eco-friendly, and comfortable alternative to single use period products. Cloth pads can be washed and re-used many times, making periods more affordable, convenient, and let’s face it, much more pleasant.
Reusable period products have a multitude of benefits. They are better for health, better for people, and better for the planet.
Not only are reusable menstrual pads comfortable and simple to use, they have some considerable health benefits alongside. Single use menstrual products have been found to have some very unpleasant nasties within them, such as; fragrances, pesticides, dioxins and furans, acetones, and bleach. All of which can have negative health complications. These chemicals have also been linked to heavier blood flow, worsening period cramps, and increased clotting.
Conversely, women who make the switch to reusable cloth pads report lighter flow, less clotting, reduced cramps, and increased comfort.
In 2014, the Institution of Environmental Sciences published figures concerning water waste management, and suggested that 700 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons, and 1.4 million sanitary products are flushed down the toilet EVERY SINGLE DAY. On investigation, the main reasons they found for the flushing of sanitary waste was convenience and hygiene. Ultimately, this is having a devastating effect on our environment, and is extremely harmful to our oceans and marine life. Tampon applicators have regularly been found in the stomachs of marine wildlife.
In addition, a report by Zero Waste Europe in 2020 shows 6.2% of beach litter in the UK can be attributed to single use wet wipes, menstrual products and associated debris. This has been estimated to cost 1.1 million annually to remove from Britain’s beaches.
The cost savings will vary from person to person, depending on their blood flow, length of period, and how many pads are required. The average use of a cloth pad is around 5 years, but of course it could be more. That’s a huge amount of single use plastic saved from landfill and the ocean, and a huge amount of savings in your pocket.
The initial outlay can seem a little daunting, so if you don’t have the cash to get a full stash in one go – no problem, just start with a couple at first, then build up with one or two each month. That way you can experiment with what you like the most and build up your supply over time. Every reusable swapped makes a difference.
It really is simple!! Just a few pads to get started and a small wet bag if you don’t have one already. Usually around 10-15 is an adequate amount for most periods.
As mentioned above, you can start your stash will just a couple to try and see what you like and go from there. We have a fantastic range of reusable menstrual products at Babipur – so have a mooch around the Menstrual Cups & Pads section and see what takes your fancy!
It’s a good idea to try a few different shapes and brands to see what suits you best. To be honest, most are very comfortable, but there’s always a bit of personal preference.
What do you currently use?
A good tip when you’re starting out is to measure the length of your current disposable pad. Have a think about what you like, and what you don’t like; would you like it to be longer, shorter, fatter, wider and so on. That can guide the type of pad length you might like to go for.
Most brands have a range of sizes and absorbency, so maybe try a few styles and lengths for different blood flow during your period.
For out and about, wet bags with two sections – dry and a used, work really well for chucking in your bag for work, school, or days out. A slightly bigger wet bag to hang in you bathroom can be handy, the Tickle Tots wet bag has two sections and a removable mesh lining which can be un-popped and placed straight into the washing machine.
Cloth pads come in loads of different fabrics and styles, most of which are down to personal preference. They are usually made up of three layers; a waterproof backing layer to prevent leaks (often PUL or fleece), an absorbent core and a top layer which sits against your skin. You might prefer quick drying synthetic material, all organic natural fibres, or a bit of both. Here’s a run down of some of the most popular fabrics:
- Organic cotton – perfect for those who want only natural fibres close to their skin (Imse Vimse)
- Charcoal – good absorbent core and conceals odours (Baba + Boo)
- Bamboo – super soft and cosy (Bloom of Bloom & Nora)
- Micro-fleece and microfibre – synthetic fabrics which dry really quickly and keep you feeling dry too (Earthwise)
- Bamboo Fleece – absorbent and stain repellant (Fern)
All our brands of reusable menstrual products have a clear description of what fabrics they’re comprised of, making it easier to know which pad might be right for you.
Will they smell?
Years of social conditioning tells us that periods are smelly and dirty. We are here to tell you this is absolutely not the case! Periods are a completely normal biological occurrence, that is natural, healthy, and part of life.
When you change your pad, pop it into a wet bag, zip it up, and wash it at the end of your cycle.
It really is that simple!
Washing & Drying
It’s definitely easier than post people think!
Some people like to rinse with cold water immediately after use, but you really don’t have to.
- Place used cloth pad in a waterproof wet bag or bucket
- Wash all pads together at the end of your cycle – either on their own or with other towels etc
- Rinse on cold setting in washing machine (this helps prevent stains)
- Wash at 40 degrees (always check manufacturers guidelines)
- After washing give a stretch back to shape
- Line / air dry
- Don’t forget that magic sunshine for helping with any stains!
Share with us!
We love hearing about people making the switch to reusable menstrual pads; share your pictures and thoughts with our community! Tag @Babipur on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or share your pictures with the Babipur community in our Facebook group, Babipur Hangout!
We are here to help
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Babipur at firstname.lastname@example.org or give customer services a call on 01766 770644 and their experienced team will be happy to help.