I’ve been using reusable sanitary pads for the last 7 months. At first, I wanted to just try it out. This was an attempt at finding alternatives to disposable sanitary pads after learning about the magnitude of wastes generated from feminine products. Then I realized It worked for me and so I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve received so many questions since the first time I shared that I was giving reusable pads a try. In this post, I’ll attempt to answer the most pressing questions I got from this post on Instagram as well as offline. The first part of this post titled why I switched to using reusable sanitary pads was recently published. In that post, I shared the main reasons why I switched to using reusable pads.
Please note that I typically get a light-medium flow and never heavy. There are lots of posts and videos online from women who get heavier flows, so if you’re in that category, check them out. Just type reusable sanitary pads or cloth pads on youtube/google.
*take a sip of tea for every time to you see “reusable sanitary pads” and “sanitary pads” in this post. Phew. haha.
First of all,
What I’ve Learned & Experienced With Reusable Pads
- The reusable sanitary pads have different absorption levels like your typical pad. I bought the light/medium. They have panty liners, heavy pads, light pads etc.
- These reusable pads don’t give you that soaked sensation you get when you are “full”. With disposable pads, you often get that sensation when you’ve had a pad on for a while. We apparently lose 3-5 tablespoon full of blood on average in one cycle. Yet disposable pads make you feel like you’re losing half the blood in your circulation.
- It’s hard to measure absorbency since you don’t “see” and hardly feel how absorbed your pad is. It’s a dark cloth, not a bleached white pad. So you’ll have to go with your gut on when you want to change because these reusable pads won’t show you how soaked you are.
- You need a good underwear for these to feel as flat and as comfortable as possible. I use my eco-friendly bamboo underwears. Pretty much, any period underwear should work to keep it pressed to your body and conceal it when you’re all dressed up. With a good underwear, it doesn’t leave any lines.
- If yeast infection is one of your feminine issues, then switching to reusable sanitary pads may help. I know people who say that they’ve gotten fewer yeast infections since switching to using cups and sanitary pads. Personally, I have never had a yeast infections prior to using these pads and I still haven’t had any infections since using these.
- These reusable pads are just like your underwears, with a purpose. You wear them when you need to, you wash them and you store them the same way.
- Most women recommend the cups- I’ve heard a lot of good things about the cup. I’m just not comfortable having anything up my hoohaa yet, so I’ll wait. Ask me when I’m married. Haha.
- I have also met women who say they have experienced milder cramps and easier cycles since using menstrual cups and reusable pads.
And now to some questions
Are they going to be washed? Like with hands or how?
Yes, they are going to be washed. You could hand wash them or soak them first and then transfer to a washing machine. However way you handle your stained underwear, same way here! Handwashing works, machine washing works.
Wouldn’t it start smelling like dead fish after a while when keeping a bucket or container of them to wash?
But why would you soak anything in a bucket for a while? No. it doesn’t smell like dead fish because there’s no dead fish in your body -__-. You keep it dry until it’s time to wash and then you soak all at once. Compared to disposable pads, I find that the odors in these are contained.
Can I just use organic tampons and towels?
You could. I have tried those. Firstly, I don’t find organic pads to be as absorbent so it’s a waste of money for me. Secondly, using organic tampons only solve one of two main problems on why I switched. It eases your mind knowing you’re reducing your risk of exposure to any potential harmful ingredient in disposable pads. However, there are the environmental aspects. Those pads and tampons are also getting dumped in landfills and oceans and that is a big problem. (Please read Part 1 of this post if you haven’t already).
How do you wash it? Do you throw a pad full of blood in the washing machine?
Here’s a super simple way to wash and care for your reusable pads. Personally, I pre-rinse and soak them with cold water (changing the water as needed) until the water is relatively clear and then I toss them in the washer and then the dryer. Sometimes I just handwash them and then airdry them or again, toss them in the dryer. Feel free to toss them in the wash with your other laundry after pre-rinsing. Saves you time and soap. haha. The point is: once you’ve pre-rinsed most of the stains out, it’s just like any of your dirty laundry. Nothing special there.
Do they “work”?
They absolutely work. In the last 7 cycles since I’ve been using it, I have only had three leaks, all of which occurred at home while I slept and the pads shifted. I don’t know if they absorb more, but they feel dryer when worn longer compared to disposable pads, still. I’ve not felt the need to change more frequently with these like I do with disposable pads. This could be mostly due to that dryer feeling and less about absorbency. They work good enough for me that I don’t have any Intentions of switching back to disposable pads.
Do they smell?
No, they do not smell. I find that any odor from reusable pads was a lot more concealed than disposable pads.
How do you get used to washing off blood?
Honestly, they’re not different than washing off a stained underwear or a poopy clothing if you have kids. I was weirded out at first but as soon as I dipped my hand to give it the first rinse, I didn’t even feel odd anymore. It is your body, there’s nothing gross about it. This is from someone who is so easily grossed out. Trust me, it’s no big deal.
They look so big, are they comfortable to wear?
They look big when folded to keep away but they are quite flat. They’re obviously not as flat as your typical super thin pads, but they’re not as thick as a maxi pad either. They’re not bulky when worn. I have worn them hiking, for runs and for workouts. They stay comfortable with minimal shifting when used with the right tight underwear. I find them slightly uncomfortable when I am running. The pads may shift here and there but nothing significant. You can easily just adjust them by pulling forward or backward to get them in place.
How well does it absorb?
For the purpose of answering this question, I wore one pad for a good 24 hours. I’m not even kidding. And I did not feel soaked at all. Surprisingly, I prefer the absorbency on this to that of disposable pads. It doesn’t feel heavy when soaked either.
As ‘healthy’ as they seem, I think about the storage. Dirt, dust and such can contaminate them anyway, right?
I thought about that too after I washed them before first use, but if you store your underwear openly in a drawer, your underwear still sits in the same spot that these will sit. So you’re still exposed to the same amount of dust particles. So, just fold them up normally and store in your underwear drawer/box. They’re fine there. Basically, they’re no more or less clean than the underwear that you wash and store in a drawer. Disposable pads collect dust too and we still use them based on the assumption that they’re more sterile- they’re not.
What brand are these?
I got these pads on Amazon from Heart Felt. They cost $20/5 pads. I bought 2 sets and that’s what I used for the last six months. I will be buying two more sets, just to have “enough”.
How many Do you need?
I currently have 15 pads. I don’t use all 15 in one cycle. I use 2-3 pads a day (usually two) and it works for me.
My main issue tho is needing to change during the day when you’re out. Do I carry the used one around with me??
The pads come with two small pouches, one for clean pads and another for dirty pads. When you’re out, just fold the dirty pads and place in the pouch. They actually do not have a bad odor. I carry both pouches in my bag when I’m out for extended periods of time.
My Overall Experience
This was quite interesting. I honestly in a million years would’ve never imagined myself making this switch. When I started making more eco-friendly swaps, reusable sanitary pads weren’t even in the picture for me. I have come to find that I genuinely prefer cloth diapers. Yes, they’re thicker than the thin Ultra pads that I used to use, but the thickness isn’t that much of a big deal. I love that the reusable pads are made from natural fibers that aren’t harmful and are sustainable.
If you use tampons and are comfortable with those, you will probably appreciate the menstrual cups. They’re made from safe medical grade silicone and most women who use them seem to prefer them to tampons.
As long as you maintain a healthy hygiene, take care of yourself, keep your body clean, healthy & happy, you can have a healthy? Eco-friendly period experience!
If you have any more questions, Please ask me here in the comments or feel free to send me an email or a DM on my social media accounts.