No one really likes talking about “that time of the month” and no one wants to think about that red haze waiting just around the corner. Thankfully that’s starting to change. Women are becoming more vocal about their menstrual cycle and it's transforming modern culture. Young women can now hear the answers to the questions that we wouldn’t have been able to ask without blushing and maybe even stuttering a bit twenty years ago.
With that brave new world set out before me I want to explore part of that topic. Disposable pads and tampons are a familiar sight in drawers and cabinets across the country. They’re tucked away out of sight so we don’t have to think about them, but really shouldn’t we think about them?
Disposable pads and tampons are full of chemicals and get tossed out every month to take up space in quickly filling landfills. Let’s think about the chemicals first. Tampons actually have enough chemicals in them to require a Toxic Shock Warning. That’s right, tampons can be toxic to your body. Disposable pads aren’t much better, with bleach agents and artificial fragrances. Now the landfills, those things filling up can’t be good for our environment. Really, how long can we go on digging new holes and filling them up with garbage?
That’s where the topic of this article comes in. There are choices beside disposable feminine hygiene products. Cloth menstrual pads. They’re reusable and chemical free.
I understand, you have questions.
Cloth menstrual pads are just what they’re called, pads made out of cloth that you can reuse. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes. If you’re really brave you could even make your own to customize their shape for your personal needs. There are tons of free patterns online. There are also lots of cloth pads for sale online. TreeHugger and MamaBear Pads are two stores. You can also find them on etsy or in some brick and mortal stores. Want to save a little more money? Check out Wish.
Leaks happen. They really do and they are super embarrassing. A cloth pad is just as likely to leak as a disposable pad. Most cloth pads are made with super absorbent cloth in a middle layer and have a leak resistant layer on the bottom. If you make the switch I suggest giving yourself a day or two at home to learn how long a pad is going to last for you. If you can’t do this, no worries. You can carry a wet bag.
Yeah, I know a wet bag doesn’t sound pleasant at all, but it’s not that bad. This leak resistant bag can be tucked into an inside pocket of your purse. If you need to change the cloth pad away from home you just fold it up, snap it closed and tuck it into the wet bag. Once you get home you can take care of cleaning the pad.
They are reusable and they’re going to have to be washed. Let’s be honest. This is why we have disposable menstrual products. Who wants to clean menstrual blood? The thing is we all know how to do it. When we got a leak and had to soak those super comfy panties before they stained, we were cleaning menstrual blood. Cleaning cloth pads is the same thing.
The used pad should be soaked in cold water and then run through a normal or gentle wash cycle. Some pads can be thrown into the dryer as well. If you don’t want to lose the pads in the wash invest in a mesh garment bag. No mess, no fuss.
But I don't use pads...
Don’t like pads? Think they feel like a dipper, disposable or not? Understandable. Lots of women prefer using a tampon to using a pad. Personal preference is important. If you don’t like pads but want to switch to a reusable menstrual product consider a cup. Yep, a menstrual cup is, again, just what it sounds like. These soft cups are inserted just like a tampon and they catch the menstrual flow before it reaches your unddies. And just like cloth pads there are lots of choices out there for you to consider.