Reusable menstrual pads – why they aren’t scary
Updated 23.12.2020. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links which could result in Many Journeys Blog receiving a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Considering making the switch to reusable menstrual pads but not too sure about practicality and effectiveness? I had some hesitations at first but now I love them!
Why make the switch?
Have you ever considered how may disposable menstrual items you will use in your lifetime? Not just for periods, but also if you have incontinence? Consider all that waste – wrappings, adhesive strip backings, applicators (if you use them, I understand they are very popular in the U.S) and the actual product which all end up in landfill.
National Geographic estimate that between 5,000 – 15,000 pads and tampons are used by an individual in their lifetime!
Even just swapping 50% of your items makes a HUGE difference over your lifetime. For example, you may still want to use disposable items for heavy days and use the reusable for lighter days.
Fabric is better than plastic
Most reusable pads are cotton or bamboo which is much nicer against your lovely private bits than plastic based products that may also be bleached.
Do they feel wet?
Before I started using these pads I thought they would feel wet and wouldn’t draw the moisture away. Whilst I do notice some wetness when they are ready to change, they don’t feel squishy or uncomfortable.
Do they leak?
Leakage has not been an issue for me, but if you have heavy periods you may need to change more frequently. For heavy flows you could use a menstrual cup and liner/pad combo. I suggest having a range of reusable menstrual pads from liners through to heavy to cover different flows.
The pads generally have wings that fasten around the underwear to keep them in place. This reduces the risk of leakage and the pad sliding around.
Isn’t it gross to clean them?
Nope! This was probably my biggest ‘icky’ factor before using the product. But I told myself it couldn’t be worse than when I was cleaning cloth nappies! And it is seriously fine. Give them a rinse and stick them in a bucket to soak (always read the care instructions) then chuck them in the washing machine. Save water by giving them a first rinse while you are in the shower!
I promise you won’t look like this when you clean your reusable pads!
Are they hygienic, don’t they smell?
Follow the care instructions and wash and dry the pads properly and they are completely hygienic and odourless. I have heard from a friend that reusable pads do smell if you use them for incontinence and you need to change them straight away.
So…I just stick a dirty pad in my handbag if I am out?
Reusable pads can be folded into a square and fastened as a cute little bundle. I have 2 zippered pouches, one for clean pads and one for dirty. This works for me and prevents me grabbing a dirty pad. Use a waterproof pouch if you are concerned about leakage, or try and give the pad a rinse before storing it away.
They are too expensive, it won’t be worth it.
If money is going to be defining factor then do your maths before investing. Women can spend anywhere from $50 – $150 per year on disposable pads and tampons depending on choice of brands (cheaper vs organic) and rate of use.
The menstrual pads from adeii range from $13 for liners to $23 for super overnight and I have been using mine for around 12 months and they are in great condition. The reusable pads should last 3-5 years which is definitely going to save you money.
Upfront expenditure for longer term savings.
How can I travel with them?
Provided you have a way to wash the pads you can definitely take them travelling. But keep in mind that you need to be able to dry them properly before storing.
If you are travelling and won’t have access to washing/drying facilities then a menstrual cup may be a better option. Menstrual cups can be used all day and rinsed out before the next use. You sterilise them in boiling water between periods which makes them easy to care for. Be My Travel Muse has an excellent article on the Diva menstrual cup and reviews of using it during active long term travelling.
Feel like you might be embarrassed about washing pads at a hotel/shared laundry? Why not try menstrual underwear? I have not tried these but they look and feel like normal underwear at a cost of around $25-35 each
Not convinced yet?
If you really aren’t ready to move to reusable menstrual pads then try and choose products that are made from natural unbleached fibres. Even swapping to a product in recyclable boxed package is better than plastic packaging. Skip the plastic applicator for tampons!
As mentioned above, even if you can swap some of your products each month it will make a huge difference over your lifetime!
Where to purchase
This review is based on the adeii range which I purchased from a local store, however I can’t seem to find them online anywhere to provide a link. Similar products can also be found at biome (I seriously love this online store!). Health food shops generally stock reusable sanitary items too if you want to try and shop local.
I bought reusable menstrual products and I now have waste-free periods. I bought a pack of 5 regular pads and 3 overnight from a similar company, and then I also have a few pairs of the period underwear. I do wash them a bit more frequently during my period, but they are enough to get me through without having to use a single disposable item. The best thing is that I don’t ever have to think about running out. At the end of my cycle, I do one big wash and put everything away until the next month!
Oh isn’t it so satisfying to have a waste free period! I have started using a menstrual cup now too which is working well. Can’t help but wonder why I didn’t start using these products earlier!!
That is a wonderful article on cloth pads! Thank you for sharing your experience. When I tried cloth pads after the birth of my daughter, they changed my periods forever and also my life – since I went on creating my own pads and starting a cloth pad brand in the USA. If any of your readers are happen to be from the States, I’d love for them to consider our handmade pads brand PlumThyme.
Congratulations on making the switch and starting a brand! All the best for your business 🙂