What are the health benefits of using reusable menstrual pads?
Unlike reusable menstrual pads, disposable feminine hygiene products contain a myriad of chemicals and additives which serve to increase their absorbency and keep them looking white and bright. Dioxins released during chlorine bleaching and plastics manufacture have been shown to cause cancer, miscarriages and damage to the immune system.
As well as being soft and comfortable to wear, natural 100% organic cotton pads are a healthy choice for your body. Cotton allows your skin to breathe, reducing the likelihood of Thrush, other fungal infections, vaginal rashes and allergies. In contrast, the synthetics and plastics that disposable feminine hygiene products contain create a humid microclimate in which germs and fungal infections such as Thrush can easily breed.
Many women have also reported their periods have become ‘easier’ and in some cases lighter since switching to cotton reusable menstrual pads. Reusable menstrual pads have also been linked to shorter periods and reduced PMS.
Will using washable sanitary pads benefit the environment?
The quantity of precious resources used in the production and packaging of disposable feminine hygiene products, the magnitude of the resulting waste, and the threat to the environment of the chemicals used in the industry are a major concern.
An average woman throws away 10–15,000 tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these are sent to landfills, or pass through sewage treatment plants and end up in the oceans, choking fish and washing up on beaches. In the UK alone, every single day, approximately 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million sanitary towels and 0.7 million panty liners are flushed down the toilet.
Switching to reusable menstrual pads is a very positive step in caring for our planet. You will no longer be contributing to these statistics but playing your part in reducing the pollution of our planet.
How long will the reusable menstrual pads last?
The pads will last at least three to five years if properly cared for and may last as long as ten years. It depends on whether each pad is used once or washed several times during a cycle.
Will I save money by using reusable menstrual pads?
In an average year a woman spends around £90 on sanitary towels or tampons so over the course of less than a year of menstrual cycles, washable pads will have proved more economical than disposables and they will go on to last you up to 10 years.
To ease the initial investment, you may wish to start by wearing washable pads only at night. Just by doing this you will cut the amount of sanitary waste you produce and money you spend by about one-third. You can then continue to add to your collection over time.
Do the reusable menstrual pads and panty liners leak?
All the reusable menstrual pads are reinforced with a thin layer of polyurethane laminated polyester to make them leak-proof. The whole pad is changed at roughly the same time intervals as you would change your usual disposable pads.
How bulky are the reusable menstrual pads and panty liners?
The reusable menstrual pads and panty liners are roughly equivalent in size to their disposable equivalents.
The following chart gives the sizes of the reusable menstrual pads:
Do the reusable menstrual pads smell?
Reusable menstrual pads are made of breathable cotton and allow more air to circulate than the plastic-backed ‘disposables’. Most women find that the smell they usually associate with their periods reduces or disappears completely when they switch to washable pads.
How do I wash the reusable menstrual pads and panty liners?
Rinsing your pads to get most of the blood off and then soaking them straight away in cold water will help to prevent stains. Since the proteins of blood don’t adhere to the fabric when it is wet, soaking works very well. I recommend using a large glass jar for this purpose, and you may wish to cover it with a drawstring fabric bag. Many women like to add something to the water to keep it smelling fresh. Eucalyptus Oil is a good choice since it is a natural stain remover. Imse Vimse recommend soaking the pads in salted water and scrubbing them with a stain-removing soap before washing. Do not try to use bleach on your pads as this will decrease their life expectancy.
I suggest that you change the cold water in the soaking jar at least once a day. You may like to store your pads in a mesh laundry bag inside the jar to make it easier to change the water daily. This can then be easily transferred to the washing machine at the end of your cycle where it will help keep your pads together in the machine. Your pads should be washed at 60°C – 90°C. Your usual detergent will work just fine but I prefer to use soap nuts to keep things that extra bit more natural. If you prefer to wash your pads separately from your main wash, just wash them first on the pre-wash cycle before adding your other clothes. Your pads can then be line-dried or tumble-dried at a low temperature.
If you are thinking of buying the Mooncup and some panty liners, you probably won’t need to soak your pads at all as the Mooncup works so well that there’s hardly any leaking and your panty liners can go straight in the wash just like your normal panties.
How will I manage when I’m out and about?
The pads and panty liners can be folded and secured, allowing them to be carried easily and discreetly in your bag. Fold the top and bottom of the pad into the middle, bring the wings over the top and fasten the popper.