THOUGHTS ON REUSABLE PADS
Potentially helpful for anyone who menstruates, or who knows/loves someone who does!
- •I have always used pads.I tried tampons as a teen, but find them irritating (physically) and prefer pads. I also find menstrual cups irritating which was sad to discover.
- •I started using reusable pads a year ago.
- •First off, they are a not-insignificant investment.Each pad is about $15-20. That said, they are supposed to last 1-5 years. I got a GladRags "starter pack" (around $150) and slowly added to my collection. At this point I'm using reusable for 50-85% of my period, so I have still not gone all the way over.
- •They are comfy...The feeling is more like underwear than a pad. I used to get chafed every period by disposables but now that I use them half the time or less, no more chafing! 😍
- •...but bulky.Not gonna lie, they are larger than your average slim pad. The small/liner ones are not too much bulkier than a regular liner though. This does vary by brand (see below) - Party in My Pants is the thinnest I have (and still effective).
- •Cleaning them isn't for the squeamish, but you get used to it.I started off soaking them and changing the water daily, but even with a pleasant smelling anti-microbial they could get stinky. Now I store them dry, then soak for 15 minutes before washing. It suits my laziness and I don't have a big staining problem (but to be clear some of them are indeed stained). I do air dry them. Also I only do one wash per month.
- •They make me feel better about my environmental impact.You do have to consider the impacts of production and shipping - but so too for disposables. There is also the environmental impact of the added washing - but since I air dry and wash them with my undies it seems not so much. And at least I have decreased how many disposables I'm putting in landfills by a lot!
- •They may save you money.It all depends on how long you are able to use them. Mine are still going strong and basically like new after a year. My output on pads has definitely decreased - if I'm not mistaken I have gotten maybe only one or two of the Costco bulk Always containers (without reusables I'd go through one every 2 or 3 months). I haven't done the math but I feel pretty good about the investment.
- •They may not work for you if your flow is extremely heavy.I have an acquaintance who had this problem. I range from light to moderately heavy and haven't had any leakage issues. Also some brands like Party in My Pants have a nylon "leak-proof" shield rather than all-cotton.
- •Fun colors/patterns!If you are a pad user, white pads are boring. Why not bleed onto unicorns instead?
- •You can start with a partial collection.If you aren't sure, you can easily start with one or a few and see how you like them. Then you can slowly or quickly increase your collection. I plan to buy more soon.
- •Fold in on themselves for easy transport.I have a carry bag, but I don't use it much unless I'm traveling. I just fold the used ones in on themselves, snap it up and throw it in my purse to take home. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- •Purchase options: some that I know about are GladRags, Party in My Pants, Luna Pads, New Moon Pads, Tree Hugger Pads, and various Etsy sellers.My review below of GladRags and PiMP.
- •Review: GladRagsThe pads are comfy, with solid snaps. They fit my underwear well. They don't slide around much. But they are pretty bulky (the regular pads have an insert). I really like the Pantyliner Plus for early or late period because it's longer than the Pantyliner (which I also like) and a little more absorbent. Cute color/pattern selection. Made in Portland! A friend of mine worked at their factory. The starter soak kit is $120, pads $13-20.
- •Review: Party in my PantsMuch thinner design, but to me a little less comfortable. Probably because they are made for less wide underwear (I need to get the wing extender!). Be aware that the mini liner is really quite small. Overall I like them (the nylon layer is a good add for peace of mind) and they make them in Wisconsin. Their patterns are excellent! OMG they have a new periodic table one! And cheaper ($10-20). But I have a slight preference for GR. May change if I get the extender.
- •I am overall really happy with my decision to switch.I feel like it was a good decision for me. I was fine with the idea of a menstrual cup but it didn't work for me. So this was the next best option. I hope to try out a couple new brands soon!