If you’ve been reading, hearing or learning about cloth menstrual pads and have been looking for that extra push, or many reasons why you should switch to them, here it is. If you’re still not convinced after reading this list, please leave a comment to let us know why! We might be able to debunk some myths for you and pacify your worries.
1. They are made to fit your underwear.
Disposable pads are typically made in one size and shape per flow per brand, and they usually don’t fit any underwear unless you want to wear granny panties the entire time. Nothing’s wrong with those, of course — it’s just that they’re not everyone’s preference, and maybe people feel they can’t wear pretty undergarments whilst they’re on their period.
2. They don’t bulk up, and they feel like your clothes!
Cloth pads are cloth — not tons of chemicals inserted into cotton — so they tend to stay flat with your attire, and no scrunching should happen. If you try/use cloth pads and find yours do scrunch up, make sure you’re getting the right size, and/or try a pad with extra snaps.
In addition to not bulking up on the inside, they also don’t create “pad lines” on the outside of your clothes, depending on what you wear and depending on what absorbency you use, as bad as disposables do.
Obviously, different fabrics will create different textures, but for the most part, they feel like you’re just wearing clothes… they’re soft, and because there’s no bulking up like disposable pads do, you might not even realize they’re there!
3. They may reduce cramps, as well as shorten and/or lighten your period.
A lot of people say cloth pads have done one of all of the above, while others say it’s the same.
I’ve history of ovarian cysts, along with really heavy periods, and switching to RUMPs has actually helped me quite a bit: little to no cramps, as I can get away with taking two Ibuprofen ever so often; two heavy days instead of four; and a shorter time — instead of it being one-to-two weeks, it’s just around one week. My recent one was four days — fourteen days cut down by ten days!
Also, it might be worth saying that I have experienced cramps and flows so bad that I have been stuck in bed before for days — with tears, nausea, too much pain, and more. As I mentioned in my Intimina Lily Cup Compact review, I have tried birth control. I was first prescribed a middle-level dose to suppress ovarian cysts from getting so bad that I needed to go to the Emergency Room, but I stopped taking it, because it felt like I was giving birth to a freaking elephant. Later, I went to a different GYN and was prescribed one of the lowest-level doses, but I stopped taking that, too, because it felt like I was giving birth to a freaking rhinoceros — horns and all — and it was a huge trigger for my PTSD and depression, forced into me the inability to be able to tolerate tampons, and completely knocked me off my feet overall.
Reusable menstrual products have really changed my life, whereas many doctors have looked at merely one option and refused to consider alternative methods for resolving, or at least suppressing, the pain.
4. They pay for themselves.
They’re expensive if you’re just starting out, but you can also start small and go in with a budget, such as spending a maximum of $15/mo. on cloth pads. Or, you can even spend just $5-10.
Considering the recommended number to have is 10-15 pads per cycle, you could approximately spend $50-$75 per year for reusable pads, saving yourself the approximate $10-$20/mo. for disposables, which comes out to around $120-$240/yr. Disposable pads are literally money down the drain. I mean, let’s be frank: you buy them, you bleed, you throw them away.
If you use menstrual cups, you may need only a few cloth pads – pantyliners, perhaps?
It is worth mentioning, however, that it’s best to have more than 10-15 pads in your “stash”, because as with other clothes, the more you wash them, the more worn they may get. It also means you might not have to do laundry often, and/or you will have more choices to pick and choose from, etc.
For example, one Party In My Pants pad will last for approximately 65 washings or 5 years, whichever comes first, as long as you care for it properly. Tell me, do any disposable pad brands sell 65-count pad packages for under $15? Granted, you’ll need to have more than one cloth pad on hand, but that’s literally like using a fifteen-dollar 65-count package of pads until they either run out, or for five years — again, whichever comes first.
5. Speaking of cloth pads paying for themselves, you can buy them online and save yourself the hassle of going out every month!
Forgot to buy pads? So what! You’ve got a drawer (or box, or bag, etc.) full of them!
If you’re one of those people who hates going to the store just for menstrual products, you’re an introvert and hate going out, can’t be bothered to go out — whatever your reason — you might like being able to buy them online. Most companies use discrete shipping, too.
No need to buy disposables ever again.
6. You’re supporting work-at-home mothers, independent companies, small businesses, and artisan makers.
I haven’t seen a cloth pad company that uses a warehouse to create their pads, so as far as I’m aware, the following is accurate: cloth pads are handmade. That $17 cloth pad covers the cost of the materials and time — time is money — and gets you a pad, all the while supporting someone who is running their own show.
Nevertheless, you’re not shoving your money down the throat of some random company who has more money than they can think of things to do with — you’re supporting someone who cares about the quality of their product and your experience with it.
#SmallBusinessSaturday? How about #SmallBusinessEveryday? (I’m a huge fan of supporting small businesses… I actually prefer it, not only because they tend to be more personal and listen to your feedback, but for the experience as a whole.) Investing in small businesses is just more personal than corporate-buying.
7. Cute patterns!
U by Kotex’s decorative packaging has nothing compared to cloth pads, which tend to have various patterns to pick and choose from! Make it a personal thing — a piece of your wardrobe! I love that I can step away from feeling boring and crappy, and toward feeling cute or badass.
There are so many that I just want to collect them all — like Pokémon!
Alternatively, you can get them in solid colors, including white — we’ll get to those concerns next.
8. They’re easy to clean.
Like, they’re so painless. You can literally throw them in with your regular laundry. It’s not as gross as it seems at first, and if you’re that uncomfortable, wash them separately.
Also, white cloth pads don’t really stain unless you leave them sitting too long — and as long as you don’t use super-hot water, bleach, and/or dryer sheets, none of your pads should stain, and they should last a while.
You can easily give them a pre-soak overnight, using hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil to sanitize them further and help remove stains, and wash them the next day.
Where do you store used cloth pads? A wet bag — also cute!
9. It makes the topic less taboo.
Like, really. There’s a whole community of women who talk about periods, and some of their husbands, boyfriends, brothers, etc. are even in on the conversation. It makes it completely normal to talk about, and it feels like there’s this secret club of people who love sharing tips and trading secrets about these babies.
For me, it’s also a bit empowering. I’ve this deep need to know what’s going into my body, thanks to all my allergies, and I only recently learned disposables are not merely cotton or absorbent material — they us things like chemicals and wood chips.
TL;DR: They change the conversation from an icky-seeming one to one that just isn’t icky-seeming at all. I’ve learned more about the female anatomy using menstrual cups than I ever did in school. It’s kind of sad, but I guess it’s because we were just told what to use, how to use them, and left to ourselves.
10. They’re greener for the environment and healthier for you.
Disposable pads use plastics, which block airflow and can cause painful rashes. Disposables’ “ingredients”, per se, tend to include a combination of plastics, cotton, synthetic fibers (such as rayon) and wood pulp.
Rayon, for example, is super-absorbent, but it will also absorb all moisture in the area, thus increasing your chances of extreme pain and horrendous infections.
Conventionally-produced cotton is one of the most toxic crops grown, using 20 percent of the world’s pesticides and herbicides. Materials are then bleaches with chlorine dioxide, creating polluting and harmful byproducts like dioxin, which remain in our bodies for decades.
Furthermore, those scented disposables contain artificial fragrances – which can oftentimes include anywhere from 1-500+ different ingredients, ranging from nut-related ingredients to who-knows-what. Honestly, you’d probably be better off just spraying some perfume up there and suffering the consequences.
Cloth pads use fabric — there are no chemicals or byproducts in them — and you can choose from an array of various textures, fabrics and materials.
More math mess: Approximately 20 billion pads and tampons are discarded in North America each year alone; the plastics in a pad take hundreds of years to decompose, and the manufacturing process of disposables pollutes our waterways, air, and animal habitats.
Have more reasons to switch? Chime in in the comments!
Still not convinced? Let us know why in the comments!
When I’m not an editor at Crunchy Family, I’m either fictioning out or perpetuating my tree hugger agenda. Kids remember me by my cat stories. I don’t know anything about reality television or sports (except soccer), but nothing tickles my fancy like CW TV and Shondaland.