How cloth pads (aka Mama Cloth) changed my life…
After becoming a mother, I thought I lost all squeamishness (and I kind of did), with the exception of washing poopy cloth diapers. As a crunchy/green mom, I felt a lot of guilt using disposable diapers (at least I found a brand that I felt alright with). I still use cloth often, but only when I know that a code brown is not likely.
My avoidance of really soiled diapers meant that I was surprised with myself when I wanted to try cloth pads for menstruation. I think it probably stemmed from some strange sensation during/after birth. I had been a tampon user before pregnancy, and for some reason just did not have any interest in having anything un-natural up in there again (sorry, TMI). And the idea of disposable pads never sat well with me—the smell, the feeling, the waste, the ingredients—it just never felt like a good option.
Watch what happens when you light a disposable pad on fire in this video by Naturally Savvy!
Love this Women’s Voice’s Detox the Box spoof music video used to highlight the issue of toxins in feminine products…
This graphic paints the disturbing picture of what’s in one conventional feminine care product:
Click here for full test results.
So in the few glorious months after birth, while I did not have to worry about my period, I looked into my options. Some of the more responsible, eco-friendly companies out there had created better alternatives, such as unbleached and/or organic cotton pads and such. But the issue of waste still stuck with me.
Then someone in a mom’s group mentioned mama cloth, and I looked up all the options for cloth pads out there. So many styles, patterns and sizes—it’s just like shopping for cloth diapers, except you get to enjoy them!
After reading lots of reviews and advice, I ordered two different kinds, and then an additional third later. The right pad is really different for each person, so you really need to try a few different ones to find out what’s right for you.
Ultimately, my favorite ended up being the overnight, organic set from Pink Daisy. The regular, organic ones from Imse Vimse were okay to start, but they get pills quickly, and the snaps melted in my dryer. Sckoon organic pads are very pretty, but the ones I tried are not one-piece, which for me meant more bulk and I only used them twice.
Cloth Pad Benefits
Aside from less chemicals and less waste, what benefits do you really see from cloth pads? First, for me, the switch made for zero, yes zero, cramps! I used to spend one or two days in agony, popping Midol and/or Advil like candy. Now, I barely remember what cramps feel like—I seriously have not had a cramp since giving birth. I also don’t remember what PMS is like, I don’t get cranky, sore, or have cravings.
Plus, a shorter/lighter cycle. I don’t think I need to say more about this, so I will just reiterate the cost savings of only buying cloth pads once or twice in your life, and then using them forever.
Cloth Pads How-To
Most people that I talk to about cloth pads make a strange face at me, and then end up asking how it is to use them. Honestly, it’s amazing. They don’t bulk up and get gelatinous like some disposables. They don’t smell, and no—there are no solids.
You can store them dry, or you can use a wet pail/soak. I store them dry, and wash them on hot with my towels. Hot water washing means possibly more stains, but if you prefer a wet pail, you just need to make sure you don’t forget them—otherwise you’ll end up with a stinky, mildew mess. If you use a wet pail, rinse or soak, then you can wash them on cold (and you’ll probably have less staining issues).
I use Celadon Road laundry detergent, as it’s been the best for my cloth diapers, and so it just made sense to keep using it (I now use it for all of my laundry). Never, ever, ever use fabric softener. If you’re a cloth diaper mom, you already know this. Just use vinegar and essential oils if you need more freshness and/or softness.
Bottom line—whether you have awful cramps, hate the ick-factor of disposables, are trying to avoid the chemicals, or just trying to be more green—give cloth pads (or a cup) a try! They just might change your life like they did mine!
Click here to tell Always to list all ingredients!
Listen to this past Green Divas Radio Show featuring Cassidy Randall of Women’s Voices for Earth about their Detox the Box campaign that’s helping raise awareness about the toxic chemicals that most feminine hygiene product manufacturers use.
Listen to the latest Green Divas Health & Beauty podcast for more great ways to detox your personal care products…
Images via Shutterstock.