Your Cloth Pad Questions Answered (From a Former Skeptic)

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Up until two months ago I had a lot of questions about reusable menstrual pads which led to a lot of doubt. I have used a menstrual cup for about six or seven years but using pads just wasn’t on my radar. Not until I was approached to review a brand of cloth pads did I even consider it, but my questions still remained.

If you’re anything like the three-plus-months-ago me then you probably have a lot of questions and doubts as well. I will do my best to answer them as candidly as possible. If you have any additional questions that I didn’t address, please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer it.

I promise mama cloth isn’t nearly as scary as you may think.

Do cloth pads stay put without adhesive?

Yes. They have wings that snap together around your panties. Due to the weight of the cloth pads, they stay where they’re supposed to. There might be some slight shifting that you can adjust when you use the bathroom but they will not move out of place and leave you unprotected.

Are they bulky?

They are thicker than disposable pads but they are very comfortable, you barely even notice them. The minky material makes them seem like they’re not there. Honest.

Are cloth pads as absorbent as disposable pads?

Yes. They have an absorbent core made from bamboo fleece that provides comparable or even superior absorbency than the SAP in disposable pads and without all of the icky chemicals.

Aren’t they inconvenient to use in public?

No. There are plenty of small wet bags available on the market that are small enough to carry in your purse or diaper bag (if you have small children, of course). Instead of putting it in a garbage can you just put it in the bag. No big deal.

Isn’t it messy?

This was my biggest concern when it came to using reusable pads, the ick factor. Honestly, they are less icky than disposable pads. Your flow soaks into the inner core of the pad and there is less on the pad for you to see. Another nice thing is that you don’t have them sitting in a garbage can in your bathroom for a few days. Just put them in a wet bag and deal with it at the end of your cycle.

How do you wash them?

I touched on my wash routine in this post but to simplify things: I wash them with my son’s cloth diapers. If that’s not your cup of tea or you don’t use cloth diapers I still recommend the same wash routine and will continue it when my son is no longer in diapers.

  • warm rinse (or cold if your machine doesn’t give you another option. Mine doesn’t so I actually do a warm hand wash, no spin)
  • wash on hot with the recommended amount of detergent of your choice. I use Tide or Gain, but any commercial detergent will do.
  • extra rinse

I have also washed them with towels after a pre-rinse.

Also see my post on accessories to make your transition to reusable menstrual pads that much easier.


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  1. I wasn’t sure what I would think about cloth pads since I used to only use tampons but I LOVE them! My favorites are by Pink Daisy, especially the stay-dry kind. 🙂

    1. I love them so much! I haven’t tried Pink Daisy but have heard good things about them. The first pads I tried were Pink Lemonade Shop and I haven’t tried anything else since then.

  2. What I really want to know is what exactly keeps them from leaking through? I guess I don’t know enough about the construction to feel confident. There is no plastic liner so it’s just the thickness of the inner material?? So it’s all in the timing of how often you change….

    1. Hi Terry,

      All pads are made differently. Some have PUL which is the same fabric as a diaper cover and honestly, doesn’t sound very comfortable or breathable to me, but works for some people.

      I exclusively use pads from Pink Lemonade Shop which use a top layer of several different fabrics, an inner absorbent core of bamboo fleece, and a bottom layer of windpro fleece. I can’t say why the windpro prevents leaks, but it does. I have a very heavy period and have never had a leak. I change them as often as I would change a disposable pad. They are just as if not more absorbent than disposables.

      These posts talk more about the available top fabrics:

    1. On my heaviest 2 days I also use a cup so I change it every 4 hours or so. If I didn’t use the cup it would be more often but I have a very heavy flow. I would probably have to change it every hour or two while people with a more typical flow could probably go 2-3 hours I would guess.

  3. Just wondering if it is costly to get into and how many you need to get started?

    1. Hi Amber,

      The cost of a single pad may seem like a lot but when you consider that you won’t be throwing it away it ends up being a lot less overall. They pay for themselves in just a couple on months. Keep an eye on sales and free shipping deals which come up pretty often on Pink Lemonade’s Facebook page. I don’t know how often other brands have sales because I am Pink Lemonade exclusive.

      I have about 20 pads in different sizes from pantyliners to overnight pads (with some more on the way) and it’s plenty for my needs although I do have to wash pads in the middle of my cycle, which isn’t a big deal. When I first started I only had about 6 but I also use a cup so having that few was fine for back up, now I use the pads exclusively on lighter days and backup for my cup on heavier days.

  4. Eeek. I can’t get behind this idea. I’m glad it works for people though. Just not something I am comfortable partaking in…

    1. LOL! 3 months ago I had the exact same reaction as you. There was NO WAY I would ever try reusable pads…ever. If it hadn’t have been for the review request I would still be saying no way! 🙂

  5. I’m so glad that you posted this. I was really wondering about the washable pads, looks like it is something I really need to consider. Thanks for the post!

  6. I’m accustomed to cloth diapers so mama cloth is a natural next step for me (once I’m done with this pregnancy). My questions would be if they should be rinsed after use (before storing them in a pail) and if they can be washed with diapers (going through the same initial rinse cycle)

    1. I have both rinsed them prior to putting them in the wet bag and not. It’s a matter of personal preference. I don’t have any stains on mine so I don’t think rinsing prior to putting them in the wet bag is especially necessary.

      I put mine in my cloth diaper wet bag so they go through the initial rinse and wash with my diapers.

  7. I was once a skeptic, in fact, for a few years. I cloth diapered my son and then finally came to the realization before child #2 that I was using cloth diapers for my children in order to keep them away from all of the nasty chemicals in disposables…why shouldn’t I feel the same way about my personal care products?

    Also, I have yet to suffer from a single cramp since I made the switch – HUGE plus!

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