We’ve talked about our experience with period panties, and we loved them. This time, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of using reusable cloth pads as an alternative to disposable sanitary pads for that time of the month.
What are reusable cloth pads?
The cloth pads that we received from LiveLoveLuna are from the brand Eco Femme. According to the instructional leaflet that came together with the cloth pads, washable cloth pads are made of absorbent flannel cotton and each cloth pad can last approximately 5 years, or 75 washes. They are worn like your usual disposable sanitary pads, except that you secure them to your underwear by fastening a button.
Why are cloth pads a better alternative?
According to the FAQs on LiveLoveLuna’s website, here are a few reasons to make the switch:
- Compared to disposable pads, cloth pads are more comfortable for your vagina as they do not block airflow.
- They do not contain toxic chemicals which may cause cancer and endometriosis. Disposables are bleached to attain the pure white colour we’re used to.
- Although they are more expensive upfront, in the long run they are actually cheaper as they can last for many years!
- The single most important reason – you can reduce the amount of waste you produce! One cloth pad is equivalent to 120 disposable menstrual products being burned or thrown away over a 5-year period.
Review: Eco Femme Reusable Cloth Day Pad, Night Pad and Pantyliner
My menstrual flow is average, with the second day being the heaviest. On the third day, the volume would be about half that of the second day, making it a good day to try something new! So during my last period, I wore the cloth day pad on the third day, and the cloth pantyliner on the fourth.
Prior to trying, I’ve read so many good reviews about cloth pads (with the only downside being the washing) so I was quite excited to try it out. Ever since I’ve started using a menstrual cup, I swore never to wear another pad purely because pads are uncomfortable and causes itch.
However cloth pads are really comfortable. They are made of cloth after all, unlike the plastic with disposable sanitary pads. Although the cloth pad I tried was a little thick/bulky, it is a lot more breathable compared to disposables.
As my flow was a lot lighter on the third day, its absorbency wasn’t that much of a concern to me. The pad was able to hold the day’s worth of blood, although I don’t think one would be enough for me for the second day of my period. Also because the cloth pad cannot be stuck tight on the underwear, it tends to get out of shape after a few hours of wear, which in turn affects how much blood can be absorbed.
Also if you get blood clots, cloth pads won’t be able to absorb them and they would remain on the surface of the pad.
Like what I did with period underwear, I soaked the cloth pads overnight in cold water and detergent, before rinsing it again the next day. It is quite a lot of work but this method worked really well and they looked as good as new after drying. Alternatively you can soak them in cold water for a while before dumping them in the washing machine together with your laundry, if you don’t mind mixing!
What I don’t like about cloth pads:
- Because it was rather long, the ends aren’t secured to my underwear. I was really conscious of the pad shifting and I kept worrying that I would stain my underwear. The cloth pantyliner was alright! It’s shorter so it doesn’t shift as much. One tip to make sure that the pads don’t shift: wear a snug underwear!
- The smell. Although most users reported that there was little to no smell when using a cloth pad, it wasn’t the same for me. It smelled as bad as it would if I were to wear a disposable sanitary pad.
What I like about cloth pads:
- Environmentally-friendly. Not only do cloth pads prevent waste, you save lots of money too!
- Comfortable. They’re not scratchy and they don’t cause any irritation.
I don’t usually have a heavy flow – when I used to wear sanitary pads, I never had to change my pad more than twice a day. This time round, I was given the Eco Femme Night Pad (the most absorbent pad in the series) and Pantyliner to try out! I tried out the Night Pad on my 3rd day where my flow is moderate and I wore it out for the day. For the pantyliner, I wore it on the 4th day of my period where there is usually just light spotting.
The Night Pad is HUGE, and by HUGE I mean it’s 30cm long, which I’m totally not used to at all! Of course, that has more to do with my own flow and habits, and may very well be what girls with heavier flows need. The pad itself is really soft and comfortable but I wasn’t used to the bulk (it is thicker than a disposable pad). I also wasn’t a big fan of how flappy the pad feels as only the middle part is fastened with a button; the pad could still slide to the front and back of my undies and the ends of the pads weren’t adhering to my undies at all! It doesn’t feel as secure as a disposable sanitary pad.
I had no issues with leakage at all! I wasn’t having a heavy flow, but this pad lasted me a good 16 hours out of my house – nothing to worry about!
Of course, the dreaded cleaning up process was my least favourite part of using reusable products. Before showering, I soaked the pad/pantyliner in cold water and detergent, then rinsed it out after showering! I scrubbed at it pretty hard but was still unable to get rid of all the stains – perhaps I should have soaked it overnight like Girl A did! The pad is pretty thick so it took a while to dry, you will need more than one of these pads for your whole cycle!
What I like about cloth pads:
- It’s reusable! I’m all about saving the earth and being able to reduce using a single-use product is great!
- The absorbency was great! I had no leakages at all.
What I don’t like about cloth pads:
- Comfort. While the pad was comfortable, the lack of adhesive was a little bit annoying as my pad shifted around while I was out during the day. I imagine if you were to sleep wearing the pad (as it’s designed to be used for), you could end up leaking and staining your clothes/bed as it’s likely to shift out of position.
- The clean up. Thinking about the clean up ruins an otherwise great experience with cloth pads – I’m pretty lazy and do not appreciate the extra 10 minutes it takes to wash the pads up.
- The usage. If you were to change your cloth pad while out, you would need to carry around your used pad in a wet bag for the rest of the day! I haven’t given this a try but I imagine it could feel unhygienic to bring it around.
I would say that between period underwear and cloth pads, I would go for period underwear without a doubt due to the comfort and security it gives me. However, cloth pads do make for a more affordable option to the period underwear and come in so many beautiful and fun patterns!
Which cloth pad should I use?
Eco Femme has a few type of cloth pads – the pantyliner, day pad, day pad + and night pad. Depending on your flow, you might need one to two pads for each day of your period. If you’re not sure, you can start off with a starter bundle. There’s also a travel pouch for you to keep your soiled pads.
If you’re interested to get some for yourself, head over to LiveLoveLuna to get them now!
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