When you are new to cloth menstrual pads, it can be a bit daunting…..where do you begin… what should you buy?
All cloth pads aren’t the same, there is a HUGE range of shapes, styles, absorbencies and fabrics around. Do you go waterproofed or not? But if you’ve never used them before, how can you know what you need?
When buying pads I don’t suggest going out and buying a stack from the one place, or lots of pads in the same style or length. Buy one or two to test out to see if that style fits your body, your lifestyle and your preferences. We are all different, and what one person finds good in a pad may not work for you. Also you might find different pads suit different days of your cycle.
When you make the decision to go cloth it can be exciting and expensive, so buying packs where you save a few dollars is appealing (and combined shipping on a bulk lot is cheaper than buying one pad each from several sellers), but pads you find you don’t like, or don’t suit you, won’t work out to be economical in the end.
Same goes for buying “cheap” pads. If they end up not being suitable for your needs then it’s wasted money. So the most cost effective option will be whatever you get most use from in the long term.
Before you go out looking for cloth pads to buy, it helps to have an idea in mind about what you want and need in a cloth pad. Key points to consider are:
- How heavy your flow is and if you want waterproofing or not
- Whether your flow goes straight down or if you’re a “front bleeder” or “back bleeder”
- How often you would need to keep the pads on for (eg you may have less opportunity to change pads at work/school)
Cloth Pad Buying Guides
Also think about:
Ease of use? – Do you want something you just pop into your underpants like a disposable (These are known as “All-in-One” pads). Or something where you can adjust the level of absorbency by adding more or less inserts into a cover, or other system that involves folding or doing something to the pad before use. (See the pad styles page)
Quick Drying? – Is speed of drying important to you? Most pads shouldn’t take more than a day to dry (on the line or hanging inside – using a dryer is of course quicker), however this may be a factor for you. There are some styles that are faster drying than the kind you simply use like a disposable. Thicker pads with more layers will take longer to dry.
Fabrics? – Do you want a particular fabric? Do you not want a particular fabric? Is organic or natural important to you, or do you focus more on softness or look? Or is stain resistance more important to you?
Lifestyle – Consider your lifestyle (how often you want to be washing) as well as your budget (and how often you would like to, and need to change the pads) when deciding how big or small your stash will be. If you want to wash less often (or perhaps only at the end of your cycle) then you will need a bigger stash than if you want to wash frequently. The more pads you have will also help reduce the wear on each pad if its used only once per cycle rather than 3 or 4 times.