I started using cloth pads about a year ago and this is one of the choices for which I pat myself on the back. I save a lot of money on my menstrual needs now and at the same time, I don’t add to the unmanaged pile of hazardous waste. My skin thanks me for having saved it from allergic reactions or rashes caused by disposable pads earlier and I don’t wake up in the middle of the night scared that I might have stained the sheets again
Let me tell you that you will hardly ever find a cloth pad user who regrets making the green switch. However, concerns about using them are fairly understandable. I had my fair share of doubts myself. So, I am here to help with the common misconceptions that menstruators have about cloth pads.
Myth #1 : Cloth pads are not hygienic
Whoever says that, has clearly not used cloth pads. Cloth pads are hygienic enough. As long as you’re changing the pads every 4 to 6 hours, washing them well, preferably sun drying and storing in a clean dry place --which would be a basic ritual, it’s all good! Hygiene is more about using, frequency of change, maintaining and storing the product and has less to do with the product itself.
Myth #2 : Cloth pads don’t absorb well and could cause leakage
If I am using a folded piece of saree as a menstrual cloth, it is likely to leak but NOT A CLOTH PAD. Such misconceptions stem from the marketing gimmicks where a cloth is often pitched against sanitary napkins to show absorbency levels. In my entire one year of using cloth pads, not once did I have any leaks. In fact, cloth pads are so much more absorbent than the disposable plastic pads. A cloth pad is also comparatively thicker. The sides won’t fold, nor would it lead to annoying stains. Enter cloth pads for the win!
Myth #3 : Stains on cloth won't wash off properly
It is actually not that tough to wash stains off the cloth pads. One can wash it under running water or soak in cold / room temperature water for about 20-30 mins, then hand wash or toss in the washing machine. The stains will wash off. The only precaution is to avoid hot water while washing because it sets the stains.
One may see very light stains on the cloth in the course of time, which is natural and doesn’t mean that the pad is dirty. It is only a reminder of the fact that we bleed.
Myth #4 : You can’t wear a cloth pad during physical activities like exercise, hill climbing
I had a massive fear that this was true until I tried doing it. Cloth pads come in different lengths. One can use a longer pad so it covers most of the underwear. The chances of folds, leaks or anything close to uncomfortable is really negligible. You can literally jump puddles, do splits and climb mountains, all with a cloth pad on.
Myth #5 : You can’t wash used cloth pads with the daily laundry
That could only be true if one thinks menstrual blood is dirty or impure (which it is NOT) and practises segregation because of that. One can let the used pad sit in running water or soak it for less than half an hour, then toss in the machine with other regular laundry. Even if one decides to wash it in the daily laundry without soaking or pre-wash, it won’t be a bloodbath! If it happens otherwise, I promise to replace the clothes in your wardrobe!
Myth #6 : Cloth pads are way too expensive
Again, untrue. One could very conveniently opt for stitching cloth pads at home using old cotton clothes. What could be more cost-effective than that?
The other option of buying cloth pads may seem expensive upfront but in reality it is not. One cloth pad generally lasts upto 3 years or more and buying a kit with sufficient number of pads could only mean your period products are sorted for the next couple of years or longer.
In fact a reusable cloth pad would pay out for itself in 3-4 cycles and start saving you money thereafter!
Moreover, you can skip the hassle of buying and storing a bulk of products every now and then!
There are more pros than cons to using cloth pads that one can think of, before they switch. Just a quick fact to end with : A cloth pad user prevents as many as 100 throwaway pads and/or tampons from adding up to the biochemical waste every year!
Cloth pads can be a win-win situation for you, your skin and the environment. Period.
Originally Written for TheHappyTurtle.