Hands down, when I talk to women about reusable cloth menstrual pads, the number one question I get is: "How do you wash them?" followed closely by the second question: "And there's no staining?!"
I often have one of my own, personal pads to show to women how well cloth pads wear even after years of use and how very little staining occurs with proper care. And now, by the miracle of modern technology, I can show YOU, dear reader, the same wonderful things I've been showing my in-person clients for a while now. :-)
Isn't washing them difficult and fussy???
The first question is all about washing. And so, with the help of daughter #1, I did a little video to show you my own personal care regime for my pads. You can watch that video by clicking the my logo below. It's a very simple, 4 minute tutorial on what I do each month. Please note, that I DO use my own pads in this video, with real menstrual blood, in case you care about such things.
I continue to tell women that a fabulous investment they should consider making, aside from the pads themselves, is to purchase a "diaper wand" aka "hand-held bidet." I bought one for around $50 Cdn several years ago when I was cloth diapering my kids and it's AWESOME! I just never took it off my toilet and it's done everything from clean poopy diapers, to wash off barf-covered blankets, and now my menstrual pads. Money well spent. Google it to find a supplier near you.
Don't they stain?!
The second question has to do with staining. In my collection I have about 25 pads of varying size and absorbency. I have literally only one or two that show any stains at all, and those are mostly white pads. To illustrate this, I snapped these photos today. These pads are fresh from the wash (I use warm water, Borax or oxy booster, laundry soap that doesn't have any harsh chemicals or scents, and I never use fabric softener), and dried on the cotton setting in my dryer. I do use my clothes line whenever I can.
In the first image, you'll see some of my pads. The zig-zag pattern pad is almost 3 years old! One of the first I made, it's actually holding up quite well considering it's not great material like I use now. But, all of those pads are generally stain-free. Even the yellow & blue pad washes up marvelously.
The white pad on the far right of the second image IS stained, however. Being made of a white jersey material, it didn't have a fighting chance. :-) It's not brutal, but it's not snowy white like it once was (my mother would be so ashamed! :-D).
Our friends the "Burley Beavers" below are made with a light grey flannel and are a little more prone to holding a stain. The pad on the left has been used for several months now (maybe 6 or 7?) and the one on the right is brand new, unused. Clearly the grey has discoloured and I have minor stains on the used pad, but nothing that alarms me or offends me. :-) I love the Burley Beavers more than I'm concerned about any staining.
The Amazing Absorb
Also, just as a point of interest, the wrinkling you can see on the used Burley Beaver pad is not a flaw. The 100% cotton Absorb material I use in these heavier pads actually get better with each use. The little "pockets" on the material get deeper with each wash, making it absorb a TON of what you're throwing at it. I reserve this specialized material for my heavy pads because it's just that good.
What else do I need to know?
For a written description of how to do what I was doing in the video, you can read the instructions on this page from my website. These same instructions are also mailed with all orders so there's no confusion once you get your pads home.
I hope this helps with any washing & care concerns you might have. As with all my products, questions, concerns, and suggestions are always welcome.
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