Washing cloth menstrual pads is a lot easier than you may think! Instructions vary from person to person, and by manufacturer, but here is a fool-proof method that works for me every time!
Prepping Cloth Menstrual Pads
If you have brand new cloth pads, you’re going to want to prep them before use to allow for maximum absorbency. Prepping cloth menstrual pads is a lot like prepping cloth diapers, how you prep them depends greatly on the fabric they are made of.
For pads made of synthetic fibers: Simply wash the product once with hot water and a bit of detergent. Dry on medium heat or line if you prefer.
For pads made of natural fibers: I recommend doing 3 hot wash/dry cycles to prep natural fibers. If you think your pad may need more or less prep washes, you can always test the absorbency by taking the dry pad and running it under a slow stream of warm water. If it absorbs easily, you’re good to go. If it beads up, you need another hot wash.
Tip: If you use cloth diapers, save yourself an extra load of laundry and toss the pads in with your diapers during the hot wash cycle!
Wet Pail & Dry Pail Method
There are two common methods for washing cloth pads, the “wet pail method” and the “dry pail method”. Personally, I prefer the dry pail method, but it requires washing more frequently. I’ll share both methods so you can choose the one that works best for you!
Wet Pail Method: First, you’ll need to choose a container with a tight fitting lid. Some women use a special “moon jar.” I use re-purposed a big plastic that was originally filled with pretzels from Costco. Next, put a few inches of cold water into the container, and simply drop your used pads in as needed. Every day, drain and refill the container with fresh water. You can use the drained water for watering plants, or you can just pour it down the drain. On wash day, pour out the water and dump the wet pads into the washer- easy peasy.
Dry Pail Method: First, you’ll need to choose your “pail” or container. Personally, I prefer using a “wet bag”, which is simply a cloth bag with an inner waterproof lining. Wet bags are most commonly used for cloth diapers, but work great for mama cloth too! I use a medium wet bag from Planetwise and hang it on the bathroom doorknob so it’s there when I need it. If you choose to go with a wet bag, I recommend having two of them so you have one to use while the other is washing.
After you’ve chosen a container, simply toss the pad in after use. I spray my pads with a diaper sprayer after each use to rinse out most of the blood, but it isn’t required. With the dry pail method I recommend washing every other day to avoid mold and mildew, but you could probably stretch it to every 3 days if need be. You’ll also need to give the pads a good overnight soak in cold water before washing which can be done in your washer if settings allow, or in a bucket if you have a front-loader that doesn’t offer a pre-soak option. I have a 5 gallon bucket I put in the bathtub, fill with water and dump the pads in to soak overnight.
Washing Cloth Menstrual Pads
First things first, you’re going to need to choose a good, safe soap or detergent to maintain maximum absorbency, and most importantly, to be careful of what soap or detergent residue comes into contact with your lady bits! As a general rule of thumb, whatever detergents are safe for cloth diapers will most likely be fine to use for cloth pads as well, although I do recommend avoiding detergents like Tide due to the high chemical content.
If you use cloth diapers, you can actually wash your pads and diapers together- which means no extra laundry at all! If you don’t use cloth diapers or simply prefer to do separate washes, I recommend a cold rinse cycle (no soap or detergent) followed by a hot wash (with detergent). It is very important to use as little detergent as possible to avoid build-up, 1 tablespoon for HE washers and 2 tablespoons for non-HE washers is plenty.
Cloth Menstrual Pads Tips & Troubleshooting
- Avoid using chlorine bleach- it weakens fibers and can ruin your pads!
- Never use fabric softener- it leaves behind a residue that makes the fabric less absorbent and can lead to leaks.
- If your pads have staining, you can use sunlight to bleach them naturally! If your pads still need a stain-lifting boost after sunning, try using a small amount of Oxyclean, or any similar oxygen based cleaner.
- Add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the wash to help disinfect and deodorize your pads.
- If your pads need freshening up after storage, or sitting at the bottom of your purse for a while do a white vinegar wash followed by an extra rinse to eliminate “musty” smells.
- If you develop a yeast infection while using your pads soak them in hot water with several drops of Tea Tree Oil after each use.
Rockin’ Green Femme Rock Review & Giveaway
Femme Rock is the first and only detergent designed & formulated specifically for washing cloth menstrual pads.
As a dye-free, fragrance-free, and clean washing formula, Femme Rock doesn’t leave anything to chance. Using the cleaning power of natural enzymes, Femme Rock is gentle on skin, but tough on stains leaving pads looking great, without the use of harmful chemicals.
When I first made the switch from my cloth diaper detergent to Rockin’ Green Femme Rock I was amazed at how great my pads looked. It even lifted out some of the set-in stains I though would never come clean! After several months of exclusively using Femme Rock, I will never trust my mama cloth to anything else. I’ve had absolutely no issues with irritation, odors, or repelling (not absorbing), and continue to be amazed how effective it is at keeping my pads clean.
Femme Rock is also biodegradable and phosphate free, making it an environmentally friendly choice. A 16 oz. bag retails for $11.95, and will easily last through several cycles making it an economical choice as well.
Connect With Rockin’ Green
In addition to Femme Rock, Rockin’ Green offers a full line of regular detergents that are cloth diaper friendly, as well as some fabulous cleaning products. Be sure to visit Rockin’ Green to see all of the great products available, and connect on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on new product releases, promotions, giveaways and more!
Enter To Win!
In honor of Eco-Crazy Mom’s Earth Friendly Period Event, Rockin’ Green has generously offered to giveaway a bag of Femme Rock to one lucky eco-crazy reader! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below, then scroll down to see all of the other Earth Friendly Period Event giveaways & posts.
Disclosure: I received a bag of Femme Rock from Rockin’ Green to facilitate this review. No other form of compensation was received, and all opinions are purely my own.
Check out the other fab Earth Friendly Period Event posts & giveaways…
For more eco-crazy tips follow Eco-Crazy Mom on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow my blog and join my mailing list to be the first to know about new posts, giveaways and the latest eco-crazy news!
Did you find this information interesting or helpful? Please help spread the word! Give this post a +1 or share it on your favorite social media site using the buttons below.