The Benefits Of Cloth Menstrual Pads
For those who are new to the concept of cloth menstrual pads, the thought of using cloth vs disposables can be a little daunting, mainly due to what is perceived as the “ick” factor. In all honesty, using cloth is much less “icky” because they’re more absorbent so moisture is drawn down inside and there’s less pooling on the pad. Using cloth wipes is a great option as well. I’m sure you would be pleasantly surprised at how well they clean, especially if you dampen them with warm water prior to use.
Because disposables are laden with with chemicals and dioxins and, in some cases, synthetic gels for absorbency, they can have a multitude of nasty side effects. Itching, yeast infections, excessive cramping and bleeding, and foul odor to name a few. Using cloth pads can potentially decrease your flow, period discomfort, skin irritation, and risk of yeast infections. Most women report that switching to cloth has made most or all of these changes in their monthly cycle. Also, the chemicals and dioxins in disposables take on an unpleasant odor when used that even the perfumed ones can’t cover. You don’t get this problem when using cloth. With cloth it’s a more natural odor, not unpleasant at all.
Laundering and caring for your pads is really simple. You can soak them prior to laundering if you wish but it’s really not necessary. All you really need to do is just toss them in with your regular laundry and launder as usual, though it’s recommended to wash them in cold water as hot water can set blood stains. Even though staining is fairly unusual if laundered in cold water, if you’re a bit squeamish about stains I would suggest going with darker colors and prints when choosing your pads.
Once you get used to the idea, cloth pads really are the better option. Take the comfort factor for example. Cloth pads vs disposable pads is kind of like comparing soft flannel jammies to those awful scratchy paper gowns that doctors’ offices use. I don’t know about you but I’d take the soft flannel every time. Plus, cloth absorbs down into the core of the pads and keeps you feeling cooler and drier so you don’t end up with that hot clammy feeling you get from disposables. If you tend to suffer from cramps, putting a cloth pad on straight from the dryer can really ease pain and discomfort (or leave them in the sun to warm up prior to use). On the flip side, if you’re postpartum and want a cooling effect just put it in the freezer for a little bit before using.
Savings is also a big consideration. Cloth pads pay for themselves in just one to two years from the cost of disposables and can last up to ten years with proper care and use, which means you get eight to nine years of cost free menstrual protection. You don’t even calculate in laundry costs because the pads just go in with whatever laundry you are currently doing so they piggy back on the cost you would already be putting out for laundry anyway.
Choosing cloth has a huge impact on the environment as well. The average woman will throw away between 10,000 and 15,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. Compare that to cloth. If a woman purchased 20 to 25 cloth pads every ten years she would have gone through only 80 to 100 cloth pads total.
If you’ve chosen to make the switch to cloth, whatever your reasons for choosing to do so (whether for health, environmental, or financial) I’m confident you’re going to be very glad you did.
This guest post was written by Renee McKay
Renee is the WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom) owner of New Moon Pads…committed to quality products at reasonable prices, environmental responsibility, and the comfort and well-being of women worldwide.
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