Cloth pads are not as bad as you think.

Cloth pads are not as bad as you think. People can be very squeamish about the idea, but hopefully this post might make them seem less scary.

It has to be said, that we were using cloth products well before they were trendy and hipster. My tween, when she was a baby and toddler wore cloth nappies. We discovered early on that she was badly allergic to disposable nappies and our health visitor suggested using cloth nappies as an option. Initially, I resisted and thought they would be hard work, but we tried them and never looked back. You can read our why and how in a bit more detail here .

I also use cloth products, and started to use them well before they became a thing people were accepting of, again. I opted to use reusable sanitary pads shortly after converting to using cloth nappies on the baby. Partly for physical reasons and partly for environmental reasons after reading some articles on how disposable sanitary products really are not good for our planet and the harm and also the chemicals in them concerned me.

I have tried a few makes over the years. They are an initial cost, but once you have bought what you need, you shouldn’t have to spend too much regularly. You do have to wash them, of course, but that is easily done, and because you are only using them for a few days a month, it’s not really that much extra work. You will need to try a few to see which work for you, in terms of shape and size and absorbency. You may want to purchase from a bigger company that makes them, or a home-based business (I have done both and found both good and bad from each option.

They are better for the environment because you are not throwing away disposable pads, and even if you are doing an extra wash or two, it is far less harmful to the environment than the chemicals and plastic in disposable pads.

They do take getting used to. Disposable sanitary towels contain absorbent gel, washable pads don’t. Depending on your cycle and how heavy it is you will need to work out how often to change them. Some people prefer bamboo material which is very absorbent, and soft, and some prefer hemp, or a mix of both, with cotton.

Buying from a company or brand means you will probably get a more uniform product that is machine-made. I find I prefer these, to be honest, but I have used some hand made pads from smaller, at home businesses that have worked well too.

What works for me, what I use, and how it works.

I find I need 2-3 heavier pads for night time.

9-12 pads for daytime for the whole cycle.

I use a small lined zip bag, with a waterproof lining, to store the used pads when I am out and about, and I pop them all in a net bag, in a bucket in the bathroom. I soak them in cold water and salt, and then run them through the washing machine on a moderate hot wash, and then I rinse them through with a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender. If the weather is sunny I will let them dry on a rack outside. This helps with staining too. They can be tumble dried but I find just popping them on a drying rack or radiator works fine.

I also only buy winged ones, that fasten securely.

I find a set of pads lasts me 3 years or so, depending on usage and quality.

It sounds old fashioned, to be wearing something you have to wash when there are disposable items available, but for me, they are comfortable, manageable, and work just as well as the disposable kind and I feel that I am at least doing a tiny thing to be more green.

cloth pads

Yes, the tub is plastic, but it keeps them dry and stored in the bathroom, and will be very much repurposed for something else at some point. 

Cloth pads are not for everyone, but they can be an alternative if you don’t want to use disposable pads or can’t. They are not as bad as you think, I promise.

Posted in Eco-Friendly Family Life, Health and tagged Cheeky wipes, cloth sanitary pads, have a greener period, Plastic free july, reusable sanitary pads.


  1. I’ve been researching reusable period options there are some good tips here I hadn’t really thought about the practicalities. Feels like there is no escaping plastic!

  2. funnily enough I have just started using these, after a recommendation from a friend, but would love to try the ones from Cheeky Wipes.

  3. I’m a convert, too! They are so comfy and I feel much better using them that I did with the disposable ones.

  4. I’m looking at ways to reduce my waste as much as possible so would love to give these a try!

  5. I would like to try reusable pads as I often get rashes or sore points when using sanitary towels. There are so many choices available. As well as being better for the environment i think it would work out cheaper using reusable pads

  6. I have been using CSP since my youngest was born almost 4 years ago. It was a switch I made after deciding to use cloth nappies for her and I’ve never looked back. My eldest daughter has also used thems since her periods started. We use mainly WAHM made pads and are lucky enough to have a friend who makes them for us x

  7. Myself and my daughter use WAHM made CSP but cheeky wipes are the wipes we use for our youngest so would love to try their pads

  8. I’ve never tried reusable pads before but as someone who suffers terribly with her periods, I think the extra absorbency would be very useful. Mich x

  9. I have a few homemade pads which are good for the lighter days but as they aren’t waterproof so no good for heavier days. But every little helps!

  10. I converted to cloth pads 2 years ago, after having my first baby. An episiotomy scar made disposables almost unbearable to use anymore. I love Cheeky Mama pads, but would also love to try their period pants!

  11. I’d love to try CSP so I can feel confident to spend more money and stop using disposable sanitary towels.

  12. I would love to start using this because I am concerned about the ipact of single use products. I think this is much more eco friendly

  13. Cloth pads are much more eco friendly than single use products and I am really trying to make my life much more eco friendly!

  14. I hate the waste especially the plastic in the pads, the individual wrappers etc. I just want to be more environmentally friendly.

  15. I would like to try these for my daughter she will soon be starting her periods at any point and feel this would be a nice way for her to experience her periods they sound really good and are reusable too! Which helps the planet

  16. I switched to cloth pads after finding out about them while cloth nappying – still using some of the first ones I bought 12 years later though not sure they’ll last much longer! Never thought there would be anything “bad” about them – just not something I had heard of before browing nappy sites. Definitely wish I had known about them sooner.

  17. I’ve wanted to try cloth for so long now, i have a lot of skin allergies and reactions from disposable sanitary products and I also want to be more “green” as i’m currently teaching my children how we take care of our planet.

  18. Before I had my son I used a menstrual cup, but I want to move onto CSP when it’s time πŸ™‚

  19. I am looking to move to either cloth or biodegradable when my current stash runs out – I’ve never tried either before but can’t tolerate the impact anymore, friends are waiting until I report back with results but I dont mind being the guinea pig lol.

  20. I have wanted to try cloth pads for awhile now but didnt know where to buy from/where to start. I’m sure they are much more comfortable as well as the environmental factor!

  21. I’ve been using cloth pads for many years, but now I need to replace the old ones, so it would be great to win these!

  22. I switched a year ago, loving it , bin in the bathroom doesnt get full , I made my own pads so this is extra achievement

  23. I feel like I’m finally getting used to them! I still have some homework to do though because they seem to shift around a lot for me.

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