I've stopped updating this blog for such a long time I'm not sure if anyone reads it anymore, but these are such good stuff that I simply have to share 'em online. Maybe someone looking for info on cloth menstrual pads is somehow inspired to decidedly go green in this aspect of her life, then hey! it'd be worth all the effort. :@)
I came upon these pads surfing online one day, and to be honest, the thought of having to clean the blood-stained pads instead of being able to legitimately toss them away as with disposable ones, did for a moment dissuade me from giving them a try. (They're pretty expensive for one-time use, ha...) But nearly everyone who has tried gave the pads a thumbs up for comfort, absorption, health, appearance, cost (after1-2 years), and environmental soundness. And so, after much study, I finally did ordered a starter kit and a self-adjustable kit from Taiwanese seller SweetTouchPads. The seller is a work-at-home mom and personally makes all the pads listed on her website. (Click on the link to check out more the website! The pictures are so pretty, you'd be convinced just by looking at them. :p)
Very Comfy & Healthy
Well, the major reason why I first decided to consider cloth pads wasn't really for the environment (have to be honest here) but for for my own petty comfort (lol). I started using panty-liners daily just recently, and um, I hadn't realized before then how important it is to have enough airflow to stay dry and healthy. So when almost every testimonial I read commented on how wonderful it was to be able to finally have breathable pads, I was super tempted to try.
I did. And not only is the surface that touches the skin extremely soft, the pad's texture made me quite oblivious of its existence. And how do I know that the pads allow enough airflow? I tried using a regular pad once on a non-period day because I needed to get more cloth panty-liners, and it kept me dry throughout the day. AND, no foul smell whatsoever when I took it off. If you've tried using a disposable pad for an entire day without changing, you'd know what I mean. If you are not infected, your discharge shouldn't emit foul smell when adequate airflow is allowed. Cloth pads don't smell even after a day's wear. Absolutely amazing.
The website also sells these bags (they come in small and large; the one in the picture below is small) that have enough compartments (3, to be exact) to keep the clean and used ones apart. So they're easy to use even if you are on the go. Simply store the used ones folded and buttoned up in the bag and wash them when you get home. Oh, and someone's experimented leaving a used pad in the bag for 9 hours straight. The pad turned out to smell slightly only of iron from the blood; it was still easy to wash, and left no stains.
Come in a Variety of Prints
The pads are available in a variety of colors and prints. Obviously, if you can't choose your own prints for the kit-orders, but if you are willing to pay a bit more, there should be enough choice to suite most mainstream taste on the website. For economic reasons I opted kits, but am pretty satisfied with the ones I got. I might decide to order a few with my favorite prints though. They're pleasing to the eye, after all, and it should probably be all right to pamper myself a bit in the discomfort of menstrual periods?!
Flexibility Ensures Full Absorbency
The absorbency issue did worry me a bit, but people have tried SweetTouchPads products and said that they last at least 2-4 hours depending on the menstruation flow. Most of the pads have a breathable waterproof layer, so if you change at regular intervals as you would with the disposable ones, you should be all right. And since the pads are fixed in place with snap buttons, I haven't experienced any shifting problems. Not even when I exercised.
And also, the various pad systems give you a wide selection of combinations. There are the all-in-one pads, the foldable pads which allows you to add additional absorption layers between the folds, and the piece-together pads which allow the greatest flexibility because of the wide range of insertable pad sizes available. I'll just give a brief introduction of the products I have so far. Visit the SweetTouchPads for more info! I don't know if the seller ships internationally, but honestly speaking, I don't think you can get pads as cute as these anywhere else, except perhaps in Japan. And they are a whole lot more expensive there.
The blue one is a 19cm panty liner. The pink, a 24cm regular pad.
All pads by this seller can be folded into little cuties like the one on the left. And with the exception of panty liners, all pads regardless of system come with a layer of pink/white soft absorbent flannel on the side that touches the skin.
A foldable 24cm regular pad. Pads can be fixed onto the underwear with the snap buttons (there are two so that you can adjust the tightness). If the pad isn't ready to be changed yet after use, simply move bottom the flap up for a dry, clean surface. It'd feel like you have a new pad on!
This is the foldable 24cm regular pad extended and placed with absorbent layer facing up.
The print side. It gets folded inside so you don't really see the colorful print when you're using the pad. But you'll know it's pretty and it's there!
The 28cm outer coats for the piece-together pads. The pads are small and hygienic when folded. Totally portable.
The outer coats extended. The white cotton straps help hold the inserted absorbent layers in place. You can add as many layers as needed. The good thing about these separate parts is that you only have to change the absorbent layers if the coat isn't soiled. Absorbent inserts are also much faster to wash and dry.
The inner absorbent layers inserted. Choose to use either the printed or soft white flannel sides of the absorbent pads . On the right is the 24cm regular pad for comparison.
And the absorbent layers come in many sizes, three for the 28cm coats and three for the 36cm coats. They can be used interchangeably as long as you can fit them in and hold them in place.
Cost Saving Choice
The initial spending required to get a set that would last you through a menstrual cycle can be a bit intimidating, but if you calculate the amount of money you spend for disposable sanitary napkins, you'll find that the cloth pads actually pay for themselves in 1-2 year's time, and can last up to 10 years. Sellers in Taiwan seem to be more conservative about the lifespan (2+ years) of their products, but US and Canadian sellers claim up to 10 years of use. But even if you average the two, you'd still have an average of 5 years, and that's pretty good deal already, not counting in the comfort, and health and environmental benefits. I read also on New Moon Pads that if a woman buys 20 cloth pads every 10 years, she would have gone through only 80 pads in her lifetime. Sounds like a good bargain and very eco-friendly!
Oh, and I think Taiwanese buyers are absolutely lucky, because we have such well-designed but reasonably priced cloth pads available. I've checked online, and found SweetTouchPads offering the prettiest ones at a pretty affordable price. I think they also have on-going sales, too. So do check the website out. Unfortunately the website is all in Chinese, but you can always write the seller and I'm sure you'll figure something out. :)
Easy to Clean
The seller that I purchased from recommends soaking used pads in water with a pinch of baking soda to deodorize and to make cleaning easier. Just let it sit for 10 minutes before washing with neutral detergent. I haven't experimented with cleaning menstruation blood off the pads yet, but washing daily discharges hasn't been a problem at all. Sometimes rinsing is all it takes. Testimonials I've read also find cleaning simple. The seller doesn't recommend soap or softener though, as these can undermine absorption. The pads are washing-machine friendly. So you can also pre-wash them with hand, and then throw them into the wash using laundry bag.
Some facts you may like to know about why you should consider switching to cloth pads: (Source: New Moon Pads)
--Slim paper pads consist of synthetic gelling crystals for better absorbency, the safety of which still under hot debate.
--The plastic layer on paper pads that prevent leaking can potentially cause/aggravate yeast infection.
--It takes around 500 years for one disposable menstrual pad to just partially biodegrade.
--One individual woman can dispose of as much as 15,000 tampon or paper pads in her lifetime.
So that's it for now....
I'll be back with more to share on the pads when I get my new order and explore some more. Ciao!