Friday, April 14, 2017

Cloth Pad Cleaning And Care


I just keep my cloth pads in the bottom drawer of my bathroom vanity.

You can store your cloth pads wherever you would normally store your disposable pads.

Soiled Pads:

When you remove a soiled pad fold it in half and use the snap to fasten so that it stays closed.

Do NOT put soiled Pads in a bucket of water. You will have mold and mildew problems.

You need to have a bin, or tub, or bucket, or some type of dry container to collect your soiled pads in until wash day. I use a mop bucket, because it is convenient for me.

A very cute and somewhat discreet option is to use a 'wet bag.'   You could stow it below your sink or hang it on a hook it the bathroom.

The term 'wet bag' comes from the cloth diapering community, I think. It was originally a waterproof cloth bag that you carried in your diaper bag and used to put soiled diapers into while you were away from home.

You can purchase wet bags from companies that market them for cloth pad users like Glad Rags or from companies that are marketing more for cloth diapers like Kelly's Closet. You can find them on Amazon too. Just do a Google search they're everywhere. There are many unique and homemade wet bags on Etsy, like the one below. Click here for link. (NOT an affiliate link)

The afore mentioned businesses also carry small travel size wet bags with two zippered compartments. These are great for carrying in your purse. You can use one zippered compartment for clean pads and one zippered compartment for dirty pads.

Please don't get the idea that when you take a soiled cloth pad off it must be put into some waterproof container because it is so messy and it might drip or something like that. That is just not true. The very center of the pad is usually the only dirty part, and it is not sloppy or oosing all-over the place. Once you fold the pad in half and button it the blood isn't going anywhere. I have been known to put folded and fastened soiled pads straight into my purse just like that to transport home without any trouble.


I have enough pads that I can wait for my period to be over to wash all my pads at one time. If you don't have enough pads to last your entire period you will need to wash them and reuse them.

The washing method I am going to describe is the way that I wash my cloth pads. There are a lot of ways you could go about washing your pads. I have been pretty successful at keeping my pads relatively stain free with this method. After as many cycles as I have used my pads for there is bound to be at least some shadow stains.

Soak #1:

On wash day, I un-snap all my pads and lay them flat in a 2 1/2 gallon bucket. I run COLD water in the bucket until all the pads are submerged. It is important to use COLD water. Hot water will set protein stains, like blood.

I add 1/4 scoop of powdered hydrogen peroxide cleaner (I use Dollar General's generic brand of a product similar to Oxyclean). Mix pads and cleaner around a little bit to dissolve and distribute the powdered hydrogen peroxide.

Let pads soak for a few hours (3-4 hours usually). I am not going to lie, the water gets really dark. You want all of the blood to rinse out of the pads, and this first soak really reminds you that that is what's going on.

Drain the water. Squeeze the water out of the pads. When I squeeze the water out of my pads I never wring them or twist them. I feel like wringing them out will be to tough on the materials. Maybe I feel that way because I made them myself and I would hate to see them fall apart.  :)

If you have a waterproof PUL layer in your pads you definitely don't want to wring them or twist them. That could damage the PUL.


Put them back into the bucket and fill with COLD water. Swish around, drain, squeeze, and repeat until rinse water runs clear. I usually do this twice.

Soak #2:

Before I soak the pads the second time I rub Fels-Naptha soap onto any stubborn stains.

I don't spend much time stain treating. I just rub the soap on there and throw it back in the bucket.

I use a 1/4 scoop of powdered hydrogen peroxide cleaner, again, and fill the bucket with cold water, again.

This second soak only takes 1-2 hours.

Drain, and squeeze the water out of the pads.


You can wash your pads in a regular load of laundry.

I just wash my mine in whatever load of laundry is ready to wash. I don't worry much about the water temperature at this point in the cleaning process.

Do NOT add softener or dryer sheets to loads of laundry containing your cloth pads. Softener can reduce the absorbability of your pads.


You can tumble dry or hang dry your cloth pads.

If you have a waterproof PUL layer in your pads it is best not to dry them on high heat. The heat can damage the PUL.

When your pads are dry store them in their normal place. Don't forget to keep one (or two) in your hand bag: purse, baby bag, back pack, etc...


How many cloth pads do you need? The answer depends on what your periods are like and your personal preference.

I have 22 pads in my stash: 2 very heavy/overnight pads, and 20 medium to heavy absorbency pads in various sizes.

I don't have very heavy periods and I rarely go through all my pads.

Some women find that they use more cloth pads than they would disposable pads because they change them more frequently. With cloth pads you don't have to worry about 'using them up,' 'running out,' or 'wasting' any. You can change them as often as you feel like it.

Some women use less cloth pads than they would disposable pads because their periods lighten up after they switch to cloth. This doesn't happen for everyone, but I have heard of it happening for more then one woman.

The chemicals in disposable pads could play a role in why some women have lighter, less painful, periods when they switch to cloth pads. You have to consider how sensitive the tissues exposed to the bleaching and sanitizing chemicals in disposable feminine products are. They are quite sensitive and may not tolerate all those chemicals very well.

That concludes my series on cloth pads! I hope that it has been informative and educational. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them. :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this series, its been informative! Do you have to be worried about bad odour before you take the time to wash the pads? I started using a menstrual cup a few years ago and love it, it's almost like I'm not having a period at all, I don't think I'd ever switch back. The exception would be postpartum, I'd be interested to try cloth pads then. I am glad to have these instructions in case I want to try making some myself. :-)

Sister in the Mid-west said...

Thank you for your comment!
I do not notice any bad odour from my soiled pads while I wait for wash day. Although, during the first soak they do smell strongly of blood, like any ordinary blood. I don't know if you have every processed any fresh meat, but if you have, you would recognize the smell.