Yet, like most of us, I really hated the discomfort of disposable pads. They were itchy, I felt like I couldn't breathe, and they felt really bunchy. I decided a few months ago as soon as my disposable pad supply ran out I was going to buy some cloth menstrual pads.
My god, the comfort! I could feel the difference immediately. They were so soft and cozy (not sure if this will be annoying in the warmer months but this winter they've been so nice). They didn't irritate me in anyway. The next day I just rinsed them under cold water and they were pretty much good as new in case I needed to reuse before a proper wash.
I mostly only use pads when I sleep, and liners during the day either on a lighter day or with a tampon, but I really noticed the decrease of waste I produced, too. And it's really nice to not need to buy a bunch of pads every other month. I don't think I will be able to go as far as using the Diva Cup or the Sponge (I get the feeling that with my being "small" and ability to shift oddly these may end up hurting me somehow) but I think that we all use pads, at least when we sleep, so these are a wise investment.
All of the pads in this post, as well as the ones I use for myself, came from Tamarack on Etsy, has some of these same points and more in her shop polices:
Cloth is more cost effective. Upfront cost of about $100 for a sizable stash of cloth pads that will last five years vs. $60-75 per year for disposables—more if you have heavy flow or short, more frequent cycles.
Cloth is more responsible. Your cloth pads will be used over and over again—no more adding to the landfills every month.
Cloth is more healthful. Disposable pads and tampons are bleached, and the by-product of bleaching, dioxin, is very unhealthful
Cloth is way more comfortable! Paper and plastic are no match for the cozy comfort of cloth.
Cloth is more pleasant. A breathable pad virtually eliminates the sweaty, smelly aspect of your period, not to mention that all that putrid garbage that needs to be dealt with.
Cloth is more fun! Why wear plain white paper pads when you can wear colorful, unique pads that make you smile.
Her shop is great because she has a variety of patterns and sizes, and has pads with holders so you can just switch them out. I got some for the minipads, and while they bunch a bit more than I like during the day as a liner (since it's twice the cloth) I still wear them at night and these would also be great if you wore thicker pads during the day and could switch them out that way. There are also a lot more shops on Etsy that sell cloth pads, so take a look around!
My advice from experience:
• Before you buy, during your next period see how often you wear pads and what thickness you tend to need more of. This helps you to buy enough of the ones you use the most and keeps you from overbuying ones you might not wear more than one or two times.
• Rinse immediately with cold water and squeeze it through thoroughly. This gets the stains off before they set, and they dry faster this way. I used to try handwashing in warm water with soap and everything before doing this and the stains would set and take much, much longer to dry. If you are squeamish about reusing after just a rinse you could hand wash after the cold rinse. Otherwise you can just toss them in the wash/dry with your towels (no fabric softener!).
• For wear-during-the-day pads, I would recommend lighter colours since you never know when you'd be wearing them, unless you tend to only wear jeans/dark bottoms on your period. Then again, I don't know how many of you would wear a white skirt on your flow!
Good luck, readers! I hope you all try this comfortable, eco-friendly alternative and it works out for you as well as it has for me. Happy menstruating!