Earlier this month I made a set of cloth menstrual pads, but I didn't know how well they would perform.  Well, the trial period (no pun intended) is over!  And yes, yes, cloth pads work!

Pros
~ No leakage whatsoever
~ The night pad design worked beautifully, even on a heavy flow
~ Much more comfortable than commercial pads, and feel drier
~ No irritation from crinkly plastic & synthetic materials
~ Totally re-usable & eco-friendly
~ The 'period tea' (water for soaking used pads) is awesome for plants!

Cons
~ You have to soak and wash them
~ They will stain anyway

... I can't think of any other cons!

So yes, 5 stars - cloth pads work just as well as commercial pads, plus they're much more comfortable & earth-loving.  Hooray!

Do you have any questions about cloth pads?  Anything I didn't cover that makes you go 'hmmm' or 'yuck'?  Let me know, we'll talk it out!
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Erica
3/17/2012 05:38:12 pm

I purchased a Diva Cup last year and I use that instead! I quickly made myself some cloth pads one time when I was in a pinch. I think I like the Diva Cup better because it's so much easier to clean and it's easily portable.

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3/17/2012 10:16:00 pm

I got a Diva Cup several years ago too, but I never got it to work for me. Some of my friends rave about them, though! If I were more of a tampon girl, it'd be a great option.

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Sarah
9/10/2012 01:01:43 pm

I have been thinking about making homemade pads and I have been doing my research and have heard good things about them. But the one thing that I am wondering about that hasn't been answered yet is if the pads slip at all. Without adhesive sticking the pad to underwear would the pad move around at all if you move around a lot?

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Anna @ Patchwork Radicals
9/12/2012 06:40:51 am

Good question! In my experience, it's best to wear homemade pads with close-fitting underwear, to help them stay in place.
The pads that fasten underneath with velcro wings stay in place a lot better, especially if you take care to place the wings right in the center of where they'll rest.
I have some light pads that don't have adhesive, and I take care to wear tight jeans those days... I have had wingless pads migrate all the way out, up the back, when I'm bending over a lot for farm work.
Overall, it's not a huge issue - just requires a little bit of adjustment.

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10/27/2012 02:32:40 pm

I've found they work really well, too. And I used to bleed rather heavily. XD

The only time my pads have stained is when there has been a lot of blood that dried on. If a pad is soaked or scrubbed when still wet, it comes clean. But detergent definitely does not work as well as old fashioned saponified oils (a.k.a. soap) does. :P


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10/9/2013 09:24:29 pm

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alex
10/21/2013 04:28:43 pm

im interested in these homemade pads, but my question is how absorbant can they be? is it a towel-like material at the center? i do i have a heavy flow and i would like to know which is the best material ??

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alex
10/21/2013 04:34:26 pm

i am interested in this idea but my question is how absorbant are they really? i do have a heavy flow and i was wondering what material is the main component ? ? ? ...is it a towel-like material -thx

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Kate
12/4/2013 06:19:30 pm

@alex... I used to gush something awful on the first day or two of my period - so much so that if I didn't have a high absorbency pad in, I'd stain not only my underwear but my pants as well.

Am currently on my second month of using cloth and I couldn't be happier with the experience.

As I don't have a sewing machine, I bought some pads from some small "home based business" ladies who make them (there are also mass produced pads, but I prefer to help the cottage industry). The pads are available in varying sizes and absorbencies. They have a fleece or flannel or cotton core and many of the "leakproof" pads also have a layer of PUL fabric in them as well.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyurethane_laminate

Last month, I gushed for one day and while I had a high absorbency pad in place for about 6 hours, I suffered only minor staining of my underwear (pants remained unstained), and I can put this down to two very specific reasons a) I was out for longer than intended and was stupid enough not to bring a second pad with me to change into after the first wave hit and b) I didn't have them placed quite right for my flow (this I chalk up to inexperience with the pads).

I also found that my period was about a day and a half shorter that first time.

I bought the following pads (I live in the UK and I do believe that they ship overseas):

Honour Your Flow's Mega and Night Time pads for the first days and also for overnight.

http://www.honouryourflow.co.uk/

Angelpadz "Long" pads for the middle and end part of my cycle

http://www.angelpadz.co.uk/

I've also (for variety's sake) picked up two pads from Precious Stars "overnight" line, only for the length (I'm almost 6' tall)

http://www.preciousstars.net/

The workmanship on the pads that those ladies make is very good and I recommend them.

This month, I've noticed that a) I didn't have the cramping and associated diarrhea at the start of my period like I used to in the past; b) I didn't have didn't gush at all on the first day - I kept the mega pad in for the day and had a second pad at the ready, but left very little stain on the pad; c) the flow has subsided significantly (I'm on full day two of my cycle and I'm on to the thin pads already... when I was on disposables, I'd still be on the high absorbency pads); d) most of the fluid appears to be coming out when I go to the toilet, and e) NO MORE LEAKS!!! :)

The whole experiment has been a little on the pricey side (the Honour Your Flow pads were the most expensive), but given the benefits I've experienced in these two months so far, it's been worth every penny.

When cleaning them, I have been soaking the pads in a bucket overnight with some Vanish Oxy Action Extra Hygene (I tip the water into the toilet), then make sure that all of the blood residue is out of the pad before putting them into the wash with my coloured load. http://www.vanish.co.uk/products/vanish-oxi-action-extra-hygiene/vanish-oxi-action-extra-hygiene-powder

I haven't had any issues with the pads smelling (which isn't something I can say about the disposables), so they sit (dry) in their soaking bucket a cupboard until the night before I do laundry. It is a bit of a manky chore to have to deal with them, but if dealing with them once a month means that I don't have to soak/treat my street clothes due to leaks, it's something I'm willing to put up with.

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