HOW TO - reusable cloth pads and pants
This is a guide to reusable cloth pads and pants for menstruating humans, and other curious humans.
* If you are more interested in tampon-like method you can use the menstrual cup.
It's a little medical silicon cup that you place in your vagina, lower than you would with an industrial tampon. It's comfortable and easy to use after a few try (persist :) It's a very cheap and safer alternative than tampons. The chemicals used to bleach classic tampons are generally quite nasty and can easily travel into your flesh and blood.
The menstrual cup does not protect your from toxic choc syndrome, because it is caused by keeping blood inside your body for too long. Be carefull and do you research on that very hasardous but rare syndrom. *
I personnaly like to let my blood run out of my body. I used disposable pads before and I'm sharing my experience with reusable period products today. Choose the method that fits your lifestyle and habits. Each their own.
LET'S TALK ABOUT PERIODS NOW.
Disclaimer : I'm on the pill -and I love it, a post on that soon- so I have a medium flow and a 4-5 days long period.
-The night before -
For safety reasons I usally sleep in my thinx pants, because my period is a werewolf and like to arrive at night.
- First day -
First thing in the morning I soak my pant in a salad spinner (important) in 35°C warm water (very important) for 10 to 20 min. The blood will easily come out of the cloth at the same temperature than it came into it #science.
I then have my breakfast, dress myself and wash my cloth period underwear by hand.
If anything it strenghtened the relationship I had with my body. Our body is quite a fantastic thing that enable us to breathe, run, jump, dance and live, so I'm not going to blame it for its fluid just because society absurdly said to do so. -
I wash it by hand, twice or three time until the water is clear. I then wring it by hand, and spin it in the salas spinner to remove all the excess water. Finally I let it dry NOT on a radiator, because it would damage the fabric.
I then use a cloth pad in the morning, change for another one in the afternoon. I'm working away from home so I fold and store my morning pad in a leakfree pouch and wait until the evening to wash both pads.
Folding your cloth pads, is very easy, you simply use the pressure buttons that normally secure the pad in place in between your legs to keep it folded. I never had any leak with this folding method. Your menstrual blood really isn't that liquidy and it is mostly absorbed by the pad (it is it job after all). In case of emergency, I'm pretty sur you could put your folded used pad right into your bag and witness no problem.
When back at home, I soak the day pads, wash, wring, spin and extend on a drying rack.
For night #2 I use a second thinx underwear, because reusable cloth usually take 24 full hours to dry completely. It can be quicker in summer or if you let them dry in a very hot room.
Then I repeat the same scheme. In the morning I wash pants number 2, then I use cloth pads number 3 and 4, wash pads 3 and 4 and DRUMROLLS change for thinx underwear number one #thereturn. And so on until the end of my period.
At the end of your cycle you can wash them in your normal washing machine at 30 or 40°C (read the notice) with soap. Laying the in the direct sun also helps sterilise them.
I find that the perfect kit for my own use is : two pants and four cloth pads, so that if I go out in the night I have enough pads to party.
I actually have a bonus underwear, but I rarely use it.
It's com.for.table. Having cloth touching your skin instead of chemical fabric is really the best thing : It's not irritating you skin,
No perfume, means no mucous allergic reaction.
It does not feel like a nappy at all.
I feel super safe at night, never afraid of leaks and I sleep legs wide open and gymnasting in my bed #legfreedom.
No hair stuck and painfully removed by the scotch.
No need to worry about buying more/ having enough disposable pads. It's especially convenient when travelling and you don't know where or when will open the next supermarket.
Feeling strong, independent, powerful in your own body.
Changing your view on your period, that natural, quite exceptionnal phenomenon.
Producing no waste.
You do not feel "wet" or "dirty", the pads have a better absorbance after a few wash so it can nearly be compared to disposable product's dryness, with a none dried out vulva bonus ! I feel 95% confident in my reusable products. And the confidence is slowly growing to 100.
- As with disposable products, learn to know their limits. I noticed that when the blood moves to the borders of my pants I need to change them soon otherwise I will stain my trousers.
- Take your time. It's not a intuitive transition. At least it was not for me. At the beginning I only try thinx pants at home. And run to the toilets everytime I felt some blood to check that my underwear really was period proof! It's absolutely normal.
I bought my first cloth pads in november 2017 and had my first plastic free cycle in August 2018. In the grand scheme of thing it's quite quick, only 8 cycles, and each of them are quite small. My only advice would be to combine underwear And pads.
PADS are really handy for office/ busy life. You can easily switch them over in public toilets and store them in your bag.
You can sew your own, there are many tutorials on the internet and in books. You can also buy them from local companies. I got mine from Plim, a french brand that produce them in France with organic fabric. I have three PLUS size (medium absorbance) and a MAX (small night absorbance). Another well known french brand is "dans ma culotte".
UNDERWEAR is sooo comfortable, the heaven of period wear. They are a bit trickier to manouver in public toilets as you have to undress to change pants. It may not be a problem for dress or skirt wearer as long as you don't have tights.
You can find many washable period underwear now. I use Hiphugger from Thinx, it's their best-seller pair and I even repurchase one. I really like the large but sexy cut, the pretty lace and the reinforced crutch elastic that secure everything and avoid leaks. I'm a 40 EU and purchase an M size.
French reader there is a 12€ custom fee to pay when shipping from the usa.
*Note : I tried their organic cotton brief and was a little bit disappointed. It's less secure than the hiphugger. The borders are less elastic, and I had one leak accident with a particularly heavy period, you know the surprise waterfall one. It may have been a manufacturing defect. I did not emailed the brand about that accident, although they assure a leak free period. While their are as comfortable I feel slightly less secure with my coton brief.