Cloth Menstrual Pad Or Reusable Pads
The cloth menstrual pad , also called reusable pads, washable menstrual
pads or reusable menstrual pads are making their way back.
They were initially displaced by disposable pads but they seem to be raising their brows high again.
Many women are just shocked when they first hear about cloth pads. They are good alternative to the traditional disposable pads.
In this article, I will review what they are, the reasons they are coming back and some practical issues to consider before using them.
A Brief History
Washable pads are not new. They were there before disposable pads made their way in from as early as 1888. Before then, woman have always used a form of em>pad to absorb menstrual blood. They used fabrics of different types, include grass, animal skins and cloth materials made of cotton, wool etc. When cloth were used, they could be washed and reused again. They were often referred to as rags.
When disposable pads appeared, their convenience rapidly made them popular though many women could not meet the cost of purchasing them until recently. However, from the mid 1970s, there has been a steady going back to the old style for some reasons discussed below
Reusable Pads Today
Generally, the cloth menstrual pad is made from layers of absorbent fabrics which are worn like the disposable pads.They consist of a removable liner which lies on a holder cloth having either clips , buttons or velcro to keep the pad in place. They do not usually have any sticky adhesive that may
attack to your thighs!This means you don’t have to worry about the pad sticking to your leg or pulling your hair when you try to change it.Their distinctive feature is that after they are used, they can be washed, dried and used again. They are really as their names describe them-washable menstrual cloths
They can be hand made at home or purchased from offline stores or through the internet. They vary in shape, sizes, lengths and even the fabrics used to manufacture them to make up for different body sizes or amount of menstrual flow. The flexibility even goes further in that each woman can order a customized design based on the fabric types, dimensions and even the thickness she wants.
Fabrics may be completely natural or synthetic. Most manufacturers use 100% cotton. Common fabrics include cotton, silk, terrycloth and hemp.
To improve absorbency of menstrual blood, some pads are made with multiple layers of the fabric. Still others are made with a layer of waterproof material to avoid leaking of blood.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are some advantages of the cloth menstrual pad that have been largely responsible for their increasing popularitySavings.
- Less expensiveIn
the long run, women spend quite a good amount of money purchasing disposable pads. Reusable pads however are far less expensive, especially if made by hand.
- Environment friendly.
About 12 million disposable pads and 7 million tampons are used by women in the US alone each year. These are not biodegradable and will potentially prove unfriendly to the environment.
- Less risk of skin irritations
causing diseases like contact dermatitis seen with some disposable pads. Also, they do not cause the toxic shock syndrome that could result with tampon use.
- Cloth menstrual pad tend to reduce the odor of menstrual blood more.They
are highly customizable. You either make what you want at home or give
the manufacturer your specific product design instructions!
They are not without some minimal disadvantages also.
- The convenience of disposables is not there! You will have to wash and dry them. That would mean each day.
- The reuse of the cloth may cause some repeat infections with candida for women who have recently been treated, except the cloth is disinfected.
- Initial costis usually higher per pad though they end up costing less over the long run.
- They will have to be washed with a washer and water issues may arise in some cases.
- Menstrual hygiene. Isn’t that dirty?Cloth menstrual pad may mean doing some laundry with blood-stained cloth, which some women will not want to do. Nevertheless, it is your blood and menstrual blood is not “bad blood”. Washing and reusing cloth pads is like washing and reusing your underwear.
- How many do I need? How long do they last?You will need to have a few pads to get through one cycle bleeding, somewhere between 5 to 10. That would depend on your amount of menstrual flow also. You of course cannot work with one! Therefore to begin with, it may cost you higher than what disposable will cost. However, because they will last about 3 to 10 years, they will end up costing far less than disposables. Their duration will depend on how you care for them and the manufacturer.
- Cost for one padThe cloth menstrual pad may vary from about $12 to $30 per cloth pad. And you will need a few to to take you through one cycle bleeding.
- Washing and dryingThat
depends on you. They may hand or machine-washed. They may also be dried using a liner or the drying machine. It is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer. You may also rinse the pad in water before putting into the washer.
- Carrying them around???What do I do with the soiled pad when I have to change the pad out of home? You will have to use what is available to you. You can keep them with a waterproof or ziploc bag( you should have them ready and not ask!) to prevent drying and odor until they can be washed.You may not be able to wash or rinse them immediately.
- Issue of stainsStains may occur especially when the blood is allowed to dry or hot water is used. Washing the cloth pads immediately will help prevent them.
- Unpleasant odorsOdors may result from not changing the pads frequently just as with disposables.
Return From Cloth Menstrual Pad To Sanitary Pad
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