There are 3 main ways to deal with washing pads, and you may need to experiment with a method that works for you. Some people find they get staining from some methods more than others.
How you like to deal with your laundry, as well as your lifestyle, might affect how you wash your pads. If you are using pads away from home, and have to bring them home in a wetbag – then you may find you need to treat them for stains more than if you are able to rinse the pads out as soon as you take them off. You may be fine with throwing bloody pads into the washing machine with your clothing, or you may not be. It is completely up to you.
- Drypail – You can leave them to dry out before washing (I personally find the dried blood is more likely to stain).
- Rinse – You can rinse the pads first until they are clean, then let them dry out or soak before washing them properly.
- Soak – You can leave them to soak straight away (this method requires frequent water changing though).
- Shower Stomp – This is a great way to rinse your pads without using as much water – Lay the pads down on the floor of your shower, and while you are showering, stand/stomp on the pads to get them all rinsed out. Don’t get conditioner on them though – as this could affect their absorbency.
When washing them, any normal load of washing should be fine. If you are worried about the blood going through your wash, you can rinse the pads out before you put them in the wash. Any rinse/soaking water will be great on the garden.
Follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions – Your pads should come with washing instructions which may be different to other methods listed here, as this is just a general guide. Do not use fabric softener on your pads as it can make them repel liquid.
You can wash them in normal detergent only – Simply use normal detergent, chances are you won’t catch deadly illnesses off your pads! So just normal washing methods are fine for most people.
Baking soda – Good for removing stains in a natural way. You can add a little of it to your wash. or sprinkle some over any stains on the pads and rub it in as a stain remover.
Vinegar – Apparently adding some vinegar in the wash works like fabric softener, (but without the residue that can effect the absorbency of the pad, that fabric softener has). Half to 1 cup is recommended to add to your wash. PUL is apparently broken down by repeated washes with vinegar so be careful about that.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Apparently this works well for removing stains, and is safer than chlorine bleach. I’m not sure how much is needed and some people dispute the idea
Pads with PUL and Resin snaps can be put in the tumble/clothes dryer for up to 15 mins to dry them (be careful touching the snaps until cooled.) – though I recommend only doing this if the manufacturer approves it, not too hot a setting, and only occasionally as it can break down the PUL. Be careful using a dryer on pads containing synthetic fabrics (Microfleece, suedecloth, PUL etc.) as you don’t want these fabrics to melt. Don’t use any dryer sheets or anything designed as a fabric softener
Sunlight is reported to be a great method for stain removal, and it’s certainly more eco-friendly. So hanging pads out to dry in the sunshine can be the best thing for drying your pads. To save space you can purchase “drying straps” or “pad hangers” that allow you to snap your pads together in a chain. Hanging them over a clothes airer/indoor washing line is fine too.