When I made a slow transition from disposable diapers (or nappies as we call it in South Africa) IN 2014, I also started trying out Feminine cloth pads. I was so elated to be able to get this stunning gift from Hannahpad recently in the mail.
I received the Take 5 pack of pads which includes a pretty bag, Ziploc bags to keep your used pads in, and some Boerseep. The soap is good at stain removal but is unfortunately not Vegan-Friendly. HannahPad is the first company who manufactured organic cotton pads internationally since 2005. These pads are made up of layers of 100% Organic Cotton and waterproof fabric at the back to prevent leakage. They come with wings that snap underneath your underwear to keep them in place. HannahPad also comes in different sizes, aiding in absorption. Hannahpads are beautiful, neatly sewn and soft against the skin. I am a big fan of the fact that I no longer feel the chaffing, and sweaty feeling of regular pads. I love the little bag and I use it all the time when on the go. I admittedly am not a full-time Cloth pad user. I alternate between disposable and reusable, thus saving quite a bit of money and also reducing my ecological footprint a little.
What are Cloth pads?
Cloth pads are reusable sanitary pads made of layers of natural and absorbent fabric including a layer of waterproof fabric and a layer of pretty fabric. There are also wings with snaps or some pads have velcro, in order to attach the pad to your undergarments.
Why use washable cloth pads?
Here I discuss my top 3 reasons why I started using cloth pads and why you should seriously consider switching over to cloth pads too:
1. It is healthier and more comfortable for your body:
Reusable cloth pads are made from natural fabrics like Cotton, Linen and Hemp. They create a healthy environment for your skin and it is breathable, so it won’t harbour bacteria and fungi. The breathability also makes one less prone to skin rashes and itching and allergies often caused by synthetics. Natural fibres absorb quickly and wash out clean, preventing a build-up in the pads which could cause leakage and smell. Cloth pads are extra soft, especially when dealing with Post Partum sutures which are extremely sensitive.
Disposable pads contain harmful plastic chemicals like
- BPA and BPS,
- Chlorine and Dioxins.
The skin is the largest organ and any chemicals put against the skin, are absorbed straight into the bloodstream, to make matters worse, the skin around the private parts is even more permeable. All these chemicals can pose a myriad of health risks including:
- Yeast and Bacterial infections,
- Disruption of embryonic development including risk of heart disease and cancer,
- Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and Reproductive organs,
- Abnormal cell growth throughout the body,
- Immune system suppression,
- Hormonal and endocrine system disruption,
- Cervical, Ovarian and Breast cancer.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome
Read more about what Dr. Mercola says about the contents of disposable Sanitary Pads here.
Women who use cloth pads have reported less period pain and shorter, lighter periods.
2. Healthier for the environment:
In a lifetime, one woman will throw away roughly 8000 – 10000 pads. That is about 135 kg of menstrual product full of chemicals, wood pulp and petroleum-based plastic and these are not biodegradable and will not decompose even in the life of your great great grandchildren! Also tampons and pads clog plumbing, sewage overflows and pollutes the beaches. The excess chemical from these products which are dumped in landfills pollute the ground and thus can possibly affect drinking water.
They are very economical:
One woman CAN use about 25 -30 disposable pads in a month, costing roughly $0.5 per disposable pad depending on the size, absorbency, length and brand.
That is approximately $15 per MONTH.
That is about $180 per YEAR.
Using disposable pads for 5 years would cost you $720.
If she menstruates till age 40. That is approximately $5400 in her LIFETIME.
This is excluding when she has post – Partum bleeding. If a woman bleeds for 30 days after each birth, that is an additional $420 per BIRTH.
This also excludes pantyliners used for light discharge between periods and postpartum bleeding. If she buys a pack of 60 disposable pantyliners once a month till age 40, she would spend about $1 200.
All this money goes into the bin.
If you buy 7 night time cloth pads for the week, and 25daytime pads (to allow 5 changes in the day), it will cost you roughly $284 and you can wash twice weekly. Or you could buy 10 night time pads to allow for possible mishaps and rainy days, and 35 daytime pads, and only wash once per week for a once – off $395.
For $284 – $395 ONCE – OFF you will not have to spend another cent on pads for at LEAST 5 years, and these can be used for discharge between bleeding and can be used for post – partum bleeding as well AND for incontinence issues after birth and in old age. Also, the more pads you buy, the longer they will last, as you rotate them less.
Disposable expenditure: A lady who menstruates till 40 and has 4 kids and buys a pack of 60 disposable pantyliners once a month as well would spend over $8280.
TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR DISPOSABLES: $8280
Cloth Pad expenditure: The same lady who menstruates till 40. Even if she buys a new set of cloth pads every 5 years, due to wear and tear ($395×6(when she is 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35) =$2370) and she buys an extra 18 super-sized postpartum pads for the first 3 weeks of heavy bleeding, for an extra $200. That is a TOTAL of only $2570 for her whole lifetime and she can use any of those pads in place of pantyliners too!!! SHE WILL SAVE A TOTAL OF $5710 as opposed to if she had used disposable!!
TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR CLOTH: $2750
Read some more in-depth information about the overall benefits of using cloth pads here.
Different sizes the Hannahpads come in:
Super Ultra: 42 cm
Ultra Overnight: 36 cm x 19.7 cm Ideal for post-partum, very heavy bleeding or bigger – built women
Large / overnight: 33cm x 18.5 cm
Medium: 27 cm 17 cm
Small: 21 cm x 18 cm
Pantiliner: 21cm x 18 cm
How to use cloth pads
The pads should be washed before wearing, for sanitation purposes and because natural fibres become more absorbant by prepping with washing a few times. The trick is to use very snug fitting undergarments to avoid your pads shifting, as there is no adhesive, but rather just wings with snaps which fasten underneath your underwear. Experiment with different undergarments, different brands, sizes, fits and materials. Change pads as often as you like, as you will not be spending extra money the more pads you change, as you would be doing with disposables! Store your clean pads in a pretty bag for on the go, and keep a little wetbag or plastic bag in there too for your used pads. Check out this link for some more info. Read another review of Hannahpads by For the Beauty of it here.
How to clean cloth pads
You can store them in a dry bucket or cold water bucket (with a few drops of Melaleuca (tea – Tree Essential oil) till wash day and wash in the washing machine, I prefer to rinse immediately in cold water and store wet in a bucket till wash day and wash in the washing machine. You should try not to use harsh chemicals like bleach or vinegar, as it weakens the waterproof material. Here is some more info on how to clean your pads.
Have you tried Reusable Cloth pads before? What was your experience like? If not, what is stopping you? Let me know in the comments below!