Everyone’s looking to save money in today’s economy, and cloth menstrual pads can help save you money and protect the environment from non-biodegradable waste. They are comfortable, cost-effective, and come in all kinds of colors and patterns. You can save even more by sewing your own menstrual pads from reclaimed material.
Don’t let the idea of reusing menstrual pads gross you out. After all, you reuse underwear every day, don’t you? Many women find cloth pads more comfortable than reusable pads, as they are softer, align better to the contours of your body, and do not contain irritants that might set off allergic reactions. Even if one style of pad doesn’t suit you, there are many designers and sellers of cloth pads, both professional and amateur, selling pads in hundreds of sizes and shapes. Some sites you can check are Ebay, Etsy, and the Cloth Pad Sales community on LiveJournal.
A well-made pad will generally sell for $4-7, depending on its size, thickness, and materials. You may need 20 or more pads to take you through your entire period, but this is a good investment, as they will last 5-10 years. If you do not want to spend a lot of money because you are not sure if you will like cloth pads, you should look around Etsy and Cloth Pad Sales for “seconds,” pads with small aesthetic flaws such as seams not lining up properly, usually a seller’s first experiments with a new fabric or design. These seconds generally sell for half the price of regular pads, and should give you a good idea of whether cloth pads are comfortable for you.
There are many different fabrics that can be used to make cloth pads. The core, an absorbent inner layer, is generally made from cotton terrycloth, but it might be made from other materials such as layered flannel, bamboo terrycloth, or microfiber cloth, the latter of which makes a pad which is incredibly thin and absorbent but does not have the durability of other types of material. The top layer is usually flannel, which is soft and absorbent, but some women prefer regular cotton cloth. The pad might be backed with PUL (waterproof fabric) or fleece to prevent leaks. Some pads are wingless, but most have wings that fold down and snap. Try a variety of fabrics and styles to see what works best for you, as there is great variety in absorbency.
If you have decided that cloth pads are right for you, you can try your hand at making your own. Copy a style that you like, find one online, or design your own. There are many strategies for sewing pads, so you might want to look around in communities like DIY Menstrual Pads for tutorials and suggestions. Making your own pads can save you lots of money, especially if you use reclaimed fabric. Cut up old towels for your inner layers, and use old flannel pajamas, which come in all kinds of fun prints, for the top. Expect your first few experiments to turn out badly, but after a while you might even want to make some extra money by selling homemade pads yourself!