So Long Diaposable, Hello Cloth Pads {A Natural Approcah To Menstruation}



Ok ladies today is for you! You use cloth diapers, you might even have some cloth napkins around the house you  think you are pretty “crunchy”. We’re getting down to the nitty gritty now, today we are talking about cloth pads, cloth menstrual pads to be exact. You might also know them as “mama cloth” 

“Yew, yuck, seriously? I would NEVER.DO.THAT!!!” Might be floating through your head right now but stay with me. It’s really not as bad as think. Trust me. If you can do cloth diapers then you can do cloth menstruation pads.

It all started about six years ago when I was curled up on the couch talking to a good friend who was pregnant with her first child (Hey there Britt!). Naturally we were talking about babies, which lead to the cloth diapers. Then she asked, “Have you ever thought about cloth pads?” I’ll be honest here the first thought that ran through my brain was YUCK! There is no stinking way I will EVER do that. Not a chance. She assured me that it was no big deal, that the washed up fine just like cloth diapers. Still the thought of blood soaked cloth grossed me out. 

I put it on the back burner for a while. I’d think about it. Then one day I was reading an article on Passtionate Homemaking, what do you know cloth pads were brought up. So I took the plunge. I bought my first set from a small company that is now out of business. I loved them! I was hooked. At the same time I bought a Diva Cup, to use instead of tampons.

A few months later I started making my own, wouldn’t you know that was the day I had the most friends stop by. Each time I would get the question:

“What are you making?”

“You really don’t want to know.” 

“No really, I do.” 

Pause for a moment and look them straight in the eye. “Cloth pads.”

Puzzled look, then the reality of what I said sinks in. “Oh, yum,ok, that’s_____(fill in the blank, gross, cool, weird, ect.). For yourself?”

Not missing a beat, “Yup, it’s a great way to save money, better for your body and the environment.” 

Awkward pause. “Yum, that’s great….”

Yes, nothing like letting the whole world know right off the bat, wait that’s what I’m doing right now. Hi, my name is Katie and I use cloth pads. 


First Impressions

I have to admit I was right there with you. When I first thought of cloth mensuration pads I was grossed out. Immediately I thought of women in Bible times or pioneers rinsing bloody scraps of scratchy cloth out in a stream. I remember years ago thinking about how grateful I was to live in a day where we can buy disposable pads and tampons that you can just fold up and throw away. Who in their right mind would ever want to go back to those days? Cloth pads are going to be like wearing a diaper, big, bulky and uncomfortable. 

The Real Deal

The truth is choosing to use cloth menstruation pads is not going back to those days. Just like cloth diapers have evolved into easy to use products so has cloth for women. Cloth pads are made to closely resemble their disposable counter part. They are relatively thin, rarely leak, have wings, made in all sizes and easy to use. 

Depending on your flow you may want to use a menstruation cup (such as the Diva Cup from my partner Amazon) for the first couple days/nights with your pad just like you would with a tampon. Or you may want to just buy a few pads and liners to use the cup the whole time. 

The Wash

When you need to change it you have two options you can throw it straight in a wet bag/bucket or you can rinse it out. Many people I’ve talked to/ read about, don’t rinse their pads out, I do. I rinse them out and them give them a little dash of hydrogen peroxide to clean them. Then I toss them in a bucket till I am ready to wash. If you are cloth diapering them you can wash your pads with your diapers.

Since I have no babies of my own I wash my pads with my towels. Many people wash their pads in cold and them warm or hot water. Living in Mexico I don’t have that option, I simply wash them in cold, use my homemade detergent or soap nuts, add white vinegar and let the sun continue the cleaning/bleaching process while they dry on the line. 

You can use whatever type of soap you choose, I use soap nuts or homemade powdered laundry detergent. Both have worked fine. Occasionally in the winter I have put the pads in the dryer to speed up the drying process. 

I have never had a problem with infections *down there* despite the fact that I wash in cold water, I think that part of that is due to the fact that I rinse them and pour hydrogen and peroxide over them before washing. They only time they haven’t come out of the wash smelling fresh and clean is when I didn’t rinse them properly. Part of that will depend on your machine, like I said many women choice not to rinse their pads out first. 

Chosing The Pads That Are Right For You

Like I stated before I started off buying some from a small home run company. Later I made my own. This year of my awesome friends gave me one of the best gifts ever, three pads from Glad Rags (from my partner Amazon). A few months ago I was sent a pad from The Willow Store to review. (Stay tuned for a giveaway to win your own next week!)

All four different types had different aspects about them that liked. Here is my ranking:

  1. Willow Pads
  2. Glad Rags
  3. Homemade
  4.  Small Company

The great thing about making your own is that you can costume trailer them to your needs. If you are going to buy cloth pads, I would encourage you to peruse etsy or Amazon a buy one or two from a few different companies to decide which you like the best. 

The Cost

Please do not let the cost deter you. Yes up front you will have to spend between $100-$150 for a supply that will meet all of your needs (including a menstruation cup). In the grander sceem of things you will save money. Think of it like you would cloth diapers. I have already saved a few hundred dollars in four years I have been using them. Because I made some of my own (and was given a some as a gift or to review) I have spent around $75. When you buy or make a good quality pad they will last you for years.

Your Health

There is nothing safe or healthy about have toxic plastics and chemically around one of your most sensitive and delicate organ. Disposable leaks chemicals and don’t allow your lady parts to breath. It is more likely for you to get and infection from using disposable products over cloth.

Sure cloth is better for the environment but main reason for switching was my own health. I wrote an article awhile back about the effects disposables can have on your health and the environment, you can read that here.

Well there you have it ladies! I hope this helps you weigh your decision on disposable verses cloth. Be sure to stop by in this next week for an interview with three bloggers about cloth pads and a giveaway. Don’t forget about the giveaway for the eBook Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert



About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


  1. The only time I use disposables anymore is if we are on a trip away from home. Then I have to go buy some. (I do have a little “vinyl fabric” lined bag to hold the used cloth ones, but that is just not something I want to deal with away from home.) I love my glad rags and the one bamboo velour panty liner I purchased on etsy. I am certain my cycles are lighter since I switched to cloth, my skin down there is much happier and I think there is less odor. I just stick mine in a soak bucket until I have a load of towels or clothes ready to wash. I do need to get or make a few more since I have just 6 regulars and one overnight. I can sometimes make it through without washing on just that but if I do happen to have a heavier day or two like I did when using disposables, I need to get them washed quick. Fortunately, those days are few and far between, especially when I am more careful what I eat and being mindful of things that disrupt my hormones.

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