Cloth Pads

Cloth menstrual pads are cloth pads worn to absorb the menstrual flow during a woman's period. They are a type of reusable feminine hygiene product, and are an alternative to disposable sanitary napkins or to reusable menstrual cups. They are less expensive than disposable pads, reduce the amount of waste produced and may also have health benefits

Generally they are made from layers of absorbent fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, mircofiber or hemp which are worn by a woman while she is menstruating, for post-birth bleeding or any other situation where it is necessary to absorb the flow of blood from the vagina, or to protect one's underwear from regular discharge of vaginal fluids. After use, they are washed, dried and then reused.

Cloth menstrual pads may be hand or machine washed, and then dried on a clothes line or in a clothes dryer, depending on the instructions from the manufacturer. (Different fabrics require different care methods.) Some women choose to rinse out their pads in cold water before putting them in the wash with their other clothing. Others do not rinse, but put the soiled pads straight into the wash.

When changing cloth menstrual pads away from home, some women place the soiled pads into a waterproof or Ziploc bag to keep them from drying out and to contain or prevent odor and then wash the pads when convenient.

Stains sometimes occur. However, this is limited if the pads are rinsed out or soaked in cold water immediately after use. Causes of staining include allowing the blood to dry on the pad and using hot water when washing the pad. Drying cloth pads in sunlight can help to fade stains.

The fabrics used range from 100% natural fibres to 100% synthetics. Some commonly used fabrics include terrycloth, cotton, minky, suede, hemp, bamboo, and microfiber.

Most of cloth menstrual pad have a polyurethane laminate (PUL) as waterproof layer to help prevent the pad leaking through while other styles of cloth pad may rely on more layers of absorbency and not include waterproofing.


Benefits of Cloth Pads

Cloth menstrual pads are environmentally friendly and do not contribute to landfill as they are reusable and do not come in or contain plastic packaging. When cloth menstrual pads wear out (after years of use), those made from natural materials can be composted whereas disposable sanitary napkins made from synthetic materials cannot be recycled or composted. Fewer chemicals are used in the cloth compared to disposable menstrual products. They create less overall waste compared to disposable menstrual products as they can be made from reused materials, including old pillow cases and towels. In the long term, it is less expensive to buy or make by hand cloth menstrual pads.

While less convenient than disposables, they are still convenient as they can simply be cleaned in the washing machine.

Cloth menstrual pads are less likely to cause rashes, contact dermatitis, as well as helping women afflicted with certain types of vaginitis. Women with sensitive skin and allergies may prefer cloth pads made of undyed organic cotton. They do not use adhesive.

Some users find that they have shorter or lighter periods or fewer cramps when using cloth pads as opposed to disposable products.

Most users find that soiled cloth pads do not have as strong an odor as soiled disposable pads, because fewer chemicals are added to cloth pads.

Cloth menstrual pads, like all menstrual pads, remove the risk of toxic shock syndrome associated with tampons.


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