So Long Disposables, Hello Cloth Pads {Interviews with 3 Bloggers}

Saturday we introduced you to cloth pads, AKA “mama cloth”. Today we’re back to talk with Jessica Telian of Something Simple,   Stacy of Stacy Makes Cents and  Virginia of GeorgeTown, MN about their experiences with cloth pads. Each of our approaches is a little different but that’s what is great, it gives you a wider perspective on switching from disposable pads to cloth. 
1. How did you first become interested in cloth pads?
Jessica- I was interested in cloth pads for a long time, but never ended up using them until after the birth of my first little one.  We were starting using cloth diapers and it made sense to switch to cloth pads as well. I used them for the postpartum bleeding from that birth and two more and for all my cycles since then.

Stacy- I was using cloth diapers and saw them featured on Etsy. I figured if I was doing the diapers, I might as well use cloth myself.

Virginia- I was sewing my own cloth diapers and it came up on a diaper sewing e-mail list I was on.  A woman had posted a testimonial about how her periods changed when she started using cloth vs disposable menstrual care products.  It was for this reason she chose to cloth diaper her baby.
2. What brand(s) do you prefer? Or do you make your own?

Jessica-I don’t make my own, but I have several friends who do.  I prefer the Heavenly Cloth brand.  There are several reasons I like them better than other designs: 1) the shape of the pad and the inserts seems a lot less bulky than other pads, specifically those with extra stitching on top; 2) I really prefer the hemp fleece as opposed to the typical flannel as the damp flannel ended up chafing my skin a lot more; and 3) due to their insert/pad design, I was able to use the insert-less pad as a pantyliner, thus eliminating the need to get a bunch of different types of pads.

Stacy-I purchased WAHM cloth pads from Etsy – the shop isn’t functioning any more.

Virginia- I have some home-sewn ones and haven’t ventured into any others yet as I use a menstrual cup as well and mostly use pads as overnight backup and for spotting. 

3. What is your favorite thing about cloth pads?

Jessica-They’re so much more comfortable than disposable pads!  Plus I love the fact that I’m not exposing my more sensitive areas to chemicals every month.  And I also love the money saved.

Stacy-They are very comfortable and they save me money each month. J And they’re pretty. 

Virginia- They’re just so much more comfortable than disposables.
4. What is your least favorite thing about cloth pad?

Jessica-Not much…if I had to come up with something, sometimes the pad will move around a little bit, especially if I’m doing a lot of walking.  But that’s very minimal and definitely not a huge deal.
Stacy-Sometimes it’s not fun to use them if you’re on vacation. Laundry mats give me the freak out. 

Virginia- I don’t think I have a least favorite.

5. How did you get over the gross factor?Jessica-To me there’s really not a gross factor at all…it’s just blood! 

Stacy-It never seemed gross to me  – then again, I also use hankies. 😉

Virginia- There really wasn’t a gross factor.  Whether you use disposable pads or tampons you’re still handling everything.  It does get a little more “up close and personal” when you’re washing your own pads, but I feel like knowing my body and taking care of my personal care products in this way kind of connects me to it all a little more.


6. Do you use cloth pads when traveling or when you are out all day?
Stacy-When out all day, yes. When traveling, no. 

Virginia- Kind of, yes.  As I said, I use a menstrual cup for the majority of my cycle so pads are kind of a backup.  I would use them while traveling or out if I didn’t have the cup.
7. How do you wash your cloth pads?

Jessica-If they’re pretty messy, I wash them with our cloth diapers.  Those get washed once on cold without soap and then on hot with soap.  If I’ve just used them as pantyliners, they often get tossed in with the normal laundry.

Stacy-I wash them in with my cloth diapers. Cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse, hang to dry.

Virginia- Since I have a babe in diapers I just wash them with those.  If I didn’t I would probably have a small bucket with water and peroxide in the cabinet and throw the pads in there until I was ready to wash.

8. What do you keep your used pads in?Jessica-They’re stored in the cloth diaper pail which is a lidded trash can lined with a cloth laundry bag.
Stacy-I keep them in a clear tote in my closet – about the size of a large shoe box.

Virginia- Diaper bucket 

9. How many pads should you start with?

Jessica-This honestly depends on how often you do laundry.  For me, between regular laundry and cloth diapers, I do laundry at least every other day, so I was able to get away with six (12″) pads, even for postpartum bleeding.  Also, when I’m having a regular cycle, I use a Diva Cup along with my pads which cuts down on how many I need to wash.

Stacy-18-24 unless you want to wash more often or have a light period. 

Virginia- It’s going to depend on your cycle and your use.  Ideally you would want some heavier pads for the first few days and overnights, and then lighter pads for the end of your cycle.  Because I don’t use them exclusively, I think I have 6 and it’s plenty.
10. What kind of detergent has worked best for you?

Jessica-For the pads washed with the cloth diapers, I use Nellie’s Laundry Soda, and for those with regular laundry, Biokleen.  Both have worked great!
Stacy-I use liquid Soap Nuts.

Virginia- Whatever I have on hand, nothing specific to my pads.
11. How much on average do you think you saved buying cloth over disposables?

Jessica-Honestly, it’s been so long since I bought disposable pads that I really have no idea!
Stacy-I have never counted! Ha, ha! Funny coming from the Queen of Frugal.

Virginia-I figured out on a post I did on my blog that you could expect to conservatively spend $1,168.20 on tampons in your lifetime.  I have a hard time thinking anyone would spend close to that on cloth pads.

12. Have you noticed a change in your flow/length of your cycle since switching to cloth pads?

Jessica-I haven’t, but I have friends who have noticed a decrease in their flow since switching to cloth.
Stacy-Yes, my cycle was cut by at least a day, maybe two.

Virginia- It’s difficult to say for sure because I switched to more “natural” menstrual care products the first cycle after my oldest was born so I don’t have a “pre-baby” baseline to compare it with, but I feel like my cycles are more pleasant.  I think I have less cramping and discomfort, and they are a bit shorter.
13. How long have you been using cloth pads for?

Jessica-Three and a half years.

Stacy-About 3 years.

Virginia- 7.5 years, but I’ve spent a lot of that in breastfeeding amenorrhea.
What additional advice do you have to give to woman and girls wanting to use cloth pads?

Jessica-Get a Diva Cup!  I’ve used one (not the same one as I needed to change sizes after I gave birth) for almost ten years now and am so thankful for it!

Stacy-Don’t let the “gross factor” turn you off. It’s perfectly natural. It’s good for your body and it’s good for the environment. Do you really want those chemicals from disposable pads nestled up all near your girly parts?

Virginia- It seems like a strange concept in our disposable society, doesn’t it? As I said before I feel like it connects me a bit to my cycle, which is part of womanhood.  I’d like for women to begin to see their period as a part of being a woman, as a beautiful thing that sets us apart.  It’s not always fun, it’s inconvenient and can be uncomfortable, but it really is miraculous.  And the more we embrace how our bodies are made, the less of an inconvenience our period has to be.

As for actually using cloth pads, it’s not that gross.  It’s a little “weird” by society’s standards, but if you’re considering using them you’re probably already a little “weird”.  It’s not that difficult or annoying to launder them, and they don’t take up much space.  Give it a try.  You might be surprised that you don’t hate it!


If you missed the first weeks of this serises be sure to go back and read about cloth napkins, cloth bags, cloth diapers and cloth pads. Don’t miss out on our giveaways 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+.

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