Do you want to use reusable menstrual pads?, What to expect- My experience

Sharing is caring!


When I was about 24 years old, I realized that after each period, my skin always ended up being very irritated. In addition to the fact that sanitary pads have always made me  uncomfortable, not to mention those are not much ecological.  My mom told me that when she was young she used old bed sheets.  Recent sanitary pads are not the best, now I think those sheets were better. For her it was normal in those times and I assume that humanity for thousands of years used something similar, what else could they use?
My discomfort was getting bigger and bigger, as in addition to irritation, I started having frequent infections. About 12 years later I realized that these symptoms were associated with celiac disease, (I will make a post about this eventually as I think it can help other people). But in the inter I didn’t know what to do with my discomfort and I always blamed the regular pads from the supermarket, so I remembered my mother’s words and bought the flannel that was used (and apparently still is used,  for baby cloth diapers). I folded the fabric into several parts and stitched it up, made myself a few towels without wings,  but I honestly didn’t dare to use them at first.
I started researching in order to feel more secure, to see what options I had and if commercial towels could really be the cause of my discomfort (the cause was celiac disease but pads surely aggravated my discomfort). I will not talk about tampons because I have only used them a couple of times in my life and just to go swimming or to the beach, they are not part of my  routine, however everyone knows that they are associated with toxic shock syndrome.
I started looking for medical studies, and found that the use of sanitary pads is associated with contact dermatitis (1) and that they can also have chemicals that affect the endocrine system, such as carcinogens or allergens (2). 

On the other hand, I started looking for information, to see what other options were available besides the regular pads. One day a girl mentioned in a meeting that none of her friends used sanitary pads, that they all used the menstrual cup and that they will not change it for anything. I had no idea what she was talking about, but when I needed options I began to investigate on the internet. I found a YouTube page of a girl in England, Bryony, who talked about menstrual cups,  and reusable products with  comparisons and reviews. In her vlog, she talks about various alternative menstrual products, of course also cloth towels, of various materials and brands. It has tutorials on how to make them and also sells them.(I leave the link

hereto her youtube channel).

I found testimonials from other girls on the internet and various tutorials on how to make towels. I also saw that you can buy the pads  online.
I love to sew and decided that I was going to do them myself. For me the material from which the towels are made is of utmost importance, I do not like synthetic fabrics because they make you sweat, and sweat is a perfect culture for bacteria and fungi, and it also irritates. I decided to go for cotton fabrics. Cotton underwear is preferred by doctors. Cotton makes towels not only breathable and absorbent, but a cool fabric in hot weather and warm in cold weather.
Making the pads was practically free for me, since I used scraps of cloth that were at home, as well as old pajamas and old cotton blouses that, although not in the worst state, were not in an optimal state to donate. I tested the fabrics with water, the ones that immediately absorbed the water I used those  on the front part of the towel. The fabrics that when put into the water, repel it, I used those on the back to avoid runoff (fabrics such as poplin). I did not want plastic, or synthetic fabrics to avoid runoff, because they are the materials that I was precisely avoiding, since, according to me, they were the cause of my ills. For the filling I used the flannel that I already had. For sure you can use other absorbent fabrics like cotton towels.
Everyone knows their body and how many towels they need and what type. I made two patterns to cut the pads, one normal size (for abundant and light flow of daily use) and another long one for the night pads, using the commercial towels that I had. I also did 2 absorption levels, one abundant and the other light. For the high flow towels I used 5 layers of flannel, plus the front fabric and the back fabric (7 layers total). For light flow only 3 layers of flannel, and the front fabric and back fabric (5 layers total). I used my sewing machine and voila.
The best thing with cloth towels is that you can have the designs that you like the most and they are beautiful compared to the store bougth ones. For the wings I simply put a snap clip and with that , I do not need more.

 At first I decided to use them at home to see how absorbent they are. A heavy flow towel lasts me for 4 hours approximately in the first 2 days of my period, which are the heaviest. The light flow lasts from 6 hours to all day depending on the flow, but  for hygiene reasons I change them at around every 6 hours. Just like with store pads you realize when the pad is already soaked and it is time to change it.  I have stained my clothes less than with pharmacy pads. Once understood how  the cloth pads worked for me I have not stopped using them and I have not bought regular pads again, except for one time that I had no other option. 

Not buying back pads or other feminine hygiene products is a good way to save money at home. If you want to buy them, they are apparently more expensive than pharmacy or supermarket towels, however it is a long-term savings and they still have super beautiful designs.
To transport the fabric pads in the bag, most  people use a cloth bag with a plastic coating or made of synthetic fabric known as a “wet bag”. These bags are both to transport and for after use. There are people who have a wet bag in the closet to deposit dirty cloth sanitary pads. Once the period is over, to wash them, I put them to soak in a bucket with oxiclean, or the product of your choice, for several hours.  I never use bleach because these products (oxiclean) work very well and are usually really friendly to the environment . Later  I wash them in the washing machine with the soap that I normally use. I put them in a cycle of soaking or prewash in addition to the normal cycle and to the dryer, or simply to hang them outside. 
What I like most about these pads is that they are ecological since they are reusable and being made of cotton, surely much more biodegradable than the store bought ones. The fabric pads can be almost free if you use materials that already are in your home. The only thing that is required is your  time to make them, but in my case I had a lot of fun.
Users of this type of pads, at least on the internet, report that they would never return to store bought pads, because they are much, more comfortable, and for some reason the amount of bleeding and the days of their period decrease as well as their symptoms.  Something that I noticed, is that my periods were more comfortable, with a  less symptoms and  one less day of bleeding. My initial symptoms, improved significantly. Once I stopped eating wheat completely, the symptoms completely disappeared. 
I leave you with the link to Precious stars,  the British girl, Bryony, through whom I learned about products such as towels and cups. She on her YouTube channel, has many reviews of many reusable menstrual products. On her site she sells cloth pads and you can also see various brands of menstrual cups. https://preciousstars.co.uk

Sharing is caring!

Skip to content