My experience with cloth pads – just how was it really?

by Paris B on · 52 comments

in Discussions,Health

Ok I know many of you are going “EWW!!!” right about now when you saw the title – admit it. But I hope you’re reading this out of curiosity anyway icon smile My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

clothpads My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

I used to be as well. Everytime I’d read about cloth pads I physically cringe and I thought only those who are seriously into organic or natural or environmentally friendly stuff would actually use cloth pads. The rest of us would still swear by the disposable sanitary pads – use and throw… use and throw… and they sit in the landfills and grow…

But some time last month I felt the urge to try something new and untried by me. What better than cloth pads! I had to try how they felt and whether it was going to be “EWW!!!!”

I headed straight to Tiny Tapir’s store and promptly got lost at the mind boggling choices available! Fortunately, Li of Tiny Tapir was very helpful and a quick session at their new Ampang Park store saw me picking up the Moonbow Small Velour cloth pad (RM40) and Cyclez AIO Regular cloth pads (RM25). I intentionally went for bright colours – I don’t like pinks so yeah – brighter the better!

I learnt some new terms:-

All in One – All in one cloth pads are one piece items like disposable pads that you snap into place and go.

2 Part Snap sets – A waterproof base and a top soaker. You change just the soaker without changing the bottom that stays on your underwear. It snaps together with buttons.

2 part insert sets – 2 part sets except the soaker is inserted into a slot instead of snapping on. More fiddly I find.

Because I’m new to cloth pads and because I found it hard to “trust” cloth pads fully for my whole cycle, I only bought and used cloth pads for the lighter days. I also got the all in ones because I wasn’t sure how I’d like it yet.

I stuck to conventional disposable pads for my heavier days and overnight use. It was unintentional, but it also provided a much needed comparison between disposable sanitary pads and cloth pads in one short time!

Cloth Pads are surprisingly comfortable

I was wary I admit. I’m used to disposable pads and I was used to feeling it there. I use Whisper Ultra (Always in Europe) and I thought that was thin and comfortable enough for me. After trying cloth pads, I’m revising my opinion.

clothpads2 My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

Cloth pads, because they are cloth, feel like you’re wearing nothing. It can be a bit worrying. I kept thinking “Is it doing its job? Am I going to leak?” but nothing untoward happened and I got through the day fine. Do bear in mind it was a light day.

Both the Moonbow Velour pad and the Cyclez AIO microfibre pad kept me feeling dry which was another quite surprising feel. I was used to the slightly clammy feel disposable pads give you so it was another surprise not to feel awful down there. Cool and breathable are the words I’m looking for.

Oh and I don’t know about you but I sometimes feel weird if I hear the slight crackling sound of plastic when I walk or when I stand, wondering if people around me are hearing them too; and cloth pads have solved that problem by not give me that feeling. One more thing – no rash. Yay! icon razz My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

Cloth Pads do not smell

We all know this one. The smell we associate with pads after they are used. I was bracing for the smell but there was none. I’d read that the smell is actually caused by the reaction between the blood and the chemicals in the disposable pad. Now having tried cloth pads, I might have to agree with that.There is a slight smell but nothing super unpleasant.

Cloth pads can be a hassle

I know this is the part most of you are waiting for. Yes, cloth pads are a little bit of a hassle and its not for the squeamish. At the end of the day though, when you think about it, thats your own blood and despite what we have been indoctrinated with, its not dirty. So really, its nothing to get all that squeamish about.

clothpads3 My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

If you’re out and want to change it you can roll it and snap it shut in a neat little package. Then place it in a waterproof bag and that’s it. When you get back home you can clean it.

Here are some questions I asked and which I thought you might want to know the answers to too.

How do you clean a cloth pad?

  • After using, place the cloth pad into a basin or container of COLD tap water. Hot water will cause blood stains to set into the cloth. Soak for a day.
  • Rinse the cloth pad out until clean and wash with your clothes in the washing machine. Line dry.

Because I only had 2, I’d soak them for a few hours with some soap powder then rinse and wash them out by hand and line dry so I had enough to use. It dries surprisingly quickly and yes I did get over the squeamish feeling after a while. Its also not THAT bad to rinse it out.

How long can you wear cloth pads for?

You can wear cloth pads for about the same length of time as you wear your normal disposable pads. For a light flow it should hold up for up to 5 hours. I didn’t take it longer than that because I didn’t want to court trouble at the office! icon razz My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really? Because they didn’t get clammy and actually kept me feeling cool and dry, it was quite hard to say when they really needed changing. That’s actually a plus point by the way.

Do cloth pads leak?

Not unless you wear it longer than you should. The pads come with “wings” that snap shut to hold it securely on your underwear. The part against your skin is usually soft absorbent material.

Moonbow uses bamboo/ organic cotton blend velour which is SUPER soft for the top. The part that soaks up the blood is of cotton/ bamboo fleece and the backing is Merino wool jersey. It might surprise you to know that wool is actually a naturally waterproof material.

As for Cyclez AIO the part against the skin is plush microfleece and the soakers are also microfleece. If you do sports, you may be familiar with the use of microfleece in sports wear and winter wear as it wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you feeling dry. They can seriously soak up A LOT! I did an experiment using a basin of water. Yep, they can soak up a lot indeed! The bottom part is a waterproof PUL (Polyurethane Laminate). That is a soft, polyester knit fabric laminated with 1 or 2 mil polyurethane on the back. Also used in cloth diapers – nice to know because babies diapers sure have to hold more fluid than a menstrual pad! icon razz My experience with cloth pads   just how was it really?

Are cloth pads bulky?

They look bulky and I’m used to ultra thin sanitary pads. The Cyclez one did feel a little bulky on when compared to Moonbow which feels like nothing on. Also, I found that the Cyclez one also felt a little warmer than Moonbow which seems to stay cooler.

Am I a cloth pad convert?

Partially so. I may try the more heavy duty ones for heavier flow and overnight use next time. This time, I was just too unsure of what to expect. I’m happy with my little experiment and I can say I’ve “been there done that”. Of the 2 brands I tried, I prefer Moonbow – it was thinner, less bulky, cooler and just more comfortable overall.

I will continue using these cloth pads for my light flow days and gradually add in the ones for heavy flows. It might seem a little pricey up front but when you think of the money you’ll save from buying disposables over the years, it doesn’t work out all that much in the end. After all a cloth pad can last you years with proper care. A worthy investment I must say.

Note: I have not used any inserts e.g. tampons, Mooncup or Ladycup and so cannot compare how it feels.

You can read the first experience with cloth pads of my blog buddy Giddy Tigress over at Kaki Shopping who features some other brands available. She started with cloth pads over a year ago and is still going on strong I think.

Have you tried using cloth pads? Will you try it? Do share your experience or concerns – it’ll be a learning experience for us all.

Stay beautiful,

Paris B

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[ 47 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

geekchic June 16, 2009 at 9:34 am

Dear Lord, you’re a brave woman, I have to give you that. I think I just need to get over my mindset, that’s all.

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ParisB June 16, 2009 at 10:26 am

Hey Geekchic

LOL… it was a bit hurdle to cross for me but well… been there done that… next! ;)

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aichaku June 16, 2009 at 9:47 am

eeeek! hahaha :D i’m still squeeeeeeeeamish!!!! i can’t stand the sight & smell of blood. :p even my own. i can faint. :p

ahhaha u are soooooo brave! thanks for writing this review! it’s good to know that they don’t smell.

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ParisB June 16, 2009 at 10:27 am

Hi Aichaku

Haha…. I was quite squeamish the first time I had to handle it but fortunately it was a light day so nothing too dramatic. Its not easy to get one’s head around this I must admit.

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Reese June 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

I got 2 from Li as well, hoping to test them before introducing to my 11 year old sister who might be having her period any time soon. They are very comfortable especially the ones with the organic hemp (not sure of the name) but definately I will be buying extra to convert myself totally to using cloth pads instead of the commercial ones. Have been feeling so guilty when I advocate friends to go eco friendly but I have been using disposable pads!

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ParisB June 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

Hi Reese

For a woman, I think this is the biggest step one can takes towards eco friendliness. Its a huge step though and one that not many will take or particularly choose. Good for your sister to start young though.

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Reese June 16, 2009 at 10:37 am

I am not giving my sister a chance to get use to disaposable pads….LOL

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prettybeautiful June 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

i have been contemplating and so wanting to try!!! i fear of the process of washing. now i am 75% feel like trying after reading yr post. (it was 50%)

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

Hey prettybeautiful

Nothing to fear – may just be a tad messy but you’ll get over it ;)

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Michelle June 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

Great review. Three cheers for you (for trying) and for Tiny Tapir (for bringing such wonderfully eco- and body-friendly products into Malaysia). I think I will finally stop procrastinating and get it!

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

Hey Michelle

Do try – its easier than I thought… and a lot more comfy too

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Nikki June 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

I am using these DAILY! I bought them for daily use instead of my pantyliners! I find it super comfortable, I think I’ve used it for months? 2 or more? definitely no smell as compared to pantyliners and I save so much on pantyliners!!! I swear, it just takes a lot of getting used to, I still am squeamish on using them for heavy days! :)

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

Hey Nikki

I can see myself using my stock of disposables for the heavy days too. I can’t quite stomach cleaning those out yet hehe… So yay! You save money and the earth by using cloth liners!

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sesame June 16, 2009 at 11:26 am

I’ll use if I don’t have to wash – not cos I feel squeamish – but I’m lazy. It sounds great eco wise but I’m not compelled to try them. I’m a disposable diaper mommy type!

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

Hiya Sesame

LOL… not having to wash means disposable ;) I hear cloth diapers are good for kids but am no judge ;)

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Eli June 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

Thanks for this! I always wanted to give them a go (I am not squeemish about blood) but could never find a decent review.

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am

Hi Eli

Glad it was of help to you!

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Indira June 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Yes I would try them on my lighter days, if I could find it in Jakarta :)

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am

Hi Indira

I think many online stores ship these internationally so you can just buy online ;)

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plue June 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm

i cannot use this for heavy days, i think i’ll faint! maybe i’ll try the pantyliner or the ones for light days, those are easier to deal with!

heavy days i will go back to dear whisper :P

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

Hey plue

LOL… for now, because I have stockpiled my disposables, I’ll stick to them for heavy days but who knows once I get used to the cloth pads

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iraz June 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Great review & post.

I always read about sanitary pads — abt how unhealthy they are and how we get chemicals through contact with them. And there is this allergy thing with sanitary pads. I’m allergic to those and my each period becomes a pain when using them.

These cloth pads should be healthier and will definitely solve my allergy problem. I wish they were available here in Turkey. Do you know an online shop selling these with international shipping? *sighs*

thanks a lot for the review again!

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:35 am

Hi Iraz

If you are allergic then cloth pads may be your answer. I know rash can be a real pain, no pun intended!

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Shuu June 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Great review PB!
I seriously don’t mind with all the blood, but sometimes I still prever the good ol sanitary pads during the heavy days. Just for the sake of convenience lol

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

Hi Shuu

Yeah its the convenience factor that gets us all though many people I’ve spoken to who use cloth pads tell me the inconvenience is over exaggerated. I’ll try a heavy day and see ;)

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Connie June 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I’m very curious! but I’d bee too lazy to keep washing. Sometimes my underwear terkena I just throw them away -_-

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hey Connie

Aiyoyo… you’d need a stockpile of undies too! LOL…

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rinnah June 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I am slightly swayed by this review of yours, but… I’m still squeamish! LOL.

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:41 am

Hey rinnah

Hehe… yeah its certainly not for the squeamish!

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Nobiko June 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Hi Paris..Have you or Anyone heard of Momiji Natural cloth pads? :(

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hi Nobiko

I haven’t sorry! And I think Li has answered your other question.

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Nobiko June 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Hi Paris, Tiny Tapir sells Wemoon or not?

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Kaoru June 17, 2009 at 5:16 am

I have been using my cloth pads for 4-5 years now, and the ones that I bought originally are still going strong. They really do make up for their cost quickly. Over the many years that I have been using mine, I have not had a single leak. Not one. This includes being unable to change my pad an entire day that happened to be my heaviest (yeah, that was not a fun day).

It does take a little getting used to (one cycle, hehe), and you have to get over the sight of your own blood (I never had a problem with blood, but my mom does), but it is so worth it in the end. Plus, what feels better; fleece, or plastic? (The ones I use are Luna Pads, btw).

As for the Mooncups (and all things like that) they work okay, and I do recommend them, just really pay attention to the material. I got the Diva cup, and even though it says that the material (silicone) is safe, I still had an allergic reaction to it. Just a word of warning. As for how well it worked; I loved it! One of those, plus a panty liner, and you are good to go for a really long time.

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ParisB June 17, 2009 at 9:43 am

Hi Kaoru

Thank you for sharing your experience! 4-5 years = a lot of money saved hehe… I’m glad to know there were no leaks – makes me more comfortable trying them for heavier days.

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Li June 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

Hi Paris, glad you got some use out of them and “took the plunge”. I really hope the use of cloth pads is normalized in the future, rather than seen as some sort of weird crunchy thing – because it’s so much more comfortable and really mentally much more fun than disposable pads…

@Nobiko, We looked at Momiji and Wemoon before, the shape is the same as the Cyclez, except Momiji is an insert (pocket) pad. It looks like a good pad, but that pad shape tends to feel bulkier than the shaped pads like Moonbows, although they give better coverage if you have a heavy flow (because of the increased wing coverage)

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Li June 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

@iraz, we ship internationally, ;)

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Tine June 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm

You know what, after reading a number of reviews on this, I think I wanna give this a go. I’ve no problems with Whisper’s Ultra Thins for night use (I don’t use pads during the day, only nights), but since you said this is more comfortable, I wanna try it out.

Gonna order it from Tiny Tapir. Eeeeeppppss here goes nothing :D

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ParisB June 21, 2009 at 10:07 am

Woot Tine!

How brave of you! :D I’ve never worn them at night yet for fear of leaking hehe

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halina zairi June 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

hi there,
i’ve converted to cloth too :)
love the moonbow & cyclez.

for the heavy days, i’d prefer cyclez. besides, they have cute prints too :D

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giddy tigress June 24, 2009 at 2:11 am

Woohoo! So happy for you and glad you finally experienced it. I know I used to go Ewwww too…
Anyway, my cloth pads are right now just sitting there because breastfeeding delays the onset of my menstrual cycle. So it’s just cloth diapers for Hannah now! :)

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erin July 10, 2009 at 7:26 pm

OMG I SO WAN TO TRYYYYYYY!!!

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NADNYE August 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I had tried it .. and love it… it just like the old days.. our mother previously used cloth pad (aka kain batik)…
I’m into eco friendly stuff nowadyas.. cloth pad.. cloth diaper for my kids and still searching the eco friendly beauty products

p/s: love your blog and product reviews

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Indira November 18, 2009 at 11:20 am

Hi Paris. Please update your experience about pads on your heavier days :)

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ParisB November 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Hi Indira

I’m still using disposables at night on heavy days but I get by with the cloth pads in the day although I have to change them halfway through the day. On lighter days, I’m on cloth pads throughout :)

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