Choosing reusable period pads can help you save money on pads, and it will also improve the environment. Learn which ones are the best to buy.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
While in a landfill, disposable pads are estimated to take 500 to 800 years to break down, and materials such as plastic never truly biodegrade. This is of major concern given that each menstruator will use and dispose of 5,000-15,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime. That’s why many individuals are choosing reusable pads and menstrual cups for their cycle to be more eco-friendly.
In addition to the environment, there are costs to consider as well. The average menstruator spends about $20 on feminine hygiene products per cycle, up to about $18,000 over her lifetime. If that’s not a reason to switch to reusable period products, I don’t know what is.
Like our paper towels, it was time to change to something reusable.
Did you know the FDA tried regulating reusable period pads?
In December 2014, the Food & Drug Association decided to enforce registration of these items, even those made by work-at-home moms, if they intended to sell them.
It’s 2023, and the FDA insists these items must be registered, but they don’t seem to be working hard to enforce it.
This registration costs the maker thousands of dollars each year. While those prices may be a drop in the bucket for large manufacturing companies, the small mom-and-pop can’t afford the price tag and are being forced to stop making reusable period pads. Since most women purchase their mama cloth from small mom-and-pop stores or WAHMs, they are angry. They have every right to be.
There has been a lot of talk about you on the internet lately. Your enforcement of the regulation stating that reusable period pads are a medical device really has a lot of ladies with their panties in a twist. You see, you’ve had this regulation on the books for a while now, updating it to include mama cloth, and reusable cloth pads, back in April of this year. Now all of a sudden you are telling work-at-home moms to fork over the fees and putting small business owners out of business.
I’m sure you must have a very good reason for your actions. You always do. It must be that you want to protect the users of these products. There must be all sorts of terms that must be met in the name of safety. Oh, you don’t? Okay, so they can be made in any fashion with any materials and that’s fine. So what is your reason for this regulation? Why do the makers have to pay out almost $4,000 a year to make and sell reusable period pads?
In the event of a National Crisis, we need to be able to locate these devices.
For the record, FDA, we menstruators are pretty savvy. If there were a national crisis, I’m sure we could come up with some pretty nifty ways to keep Aunt Flo at bay. An unregulated tee shirt would probably do the trick. Or, as we’ve all had to do at some time in our menstrual lives, toilet paper comes in handy. No one is lining up at the menstrual pad tent when FEMA comes. We tend to be a bit more focused on food and shelter.
Well, maybe you are cracking the whip with all things that could be deemed medical devices. I’m sure you are strictly regulating the manufacturing and sales of things like anesthesiology devices, cardiovascular devices, and surgical devices. These are things that actually go inside our bodies. No? So let me just get this straight: You have absolutely no good reason to be putting hardworking individuals out of work. You have no justification for crushing the little guy. You are so busy regulating things that don’t need to be regulated that you don’t give a damn about products that should be regulated. Shame on you FDA. Maybe you should just stay out of our underpants.Signed, The Menstruators
The Regulations for Menstrual Products
I want everyone to take a look at the regulations for these products. Section 5 is especially interesting. To sum it up, they don’t tell you what is required. They recommend you tell people what your product consists of and what it will do. Do you know what I feel is the real kicker here? Small business owners and WAHMs rarely have anything to hide. They tend to be pretty transparent regarding the materials and engineering of their products. It’s the big-name corporations that hide the fact that their tampons contain harmful chemicals like pyridine (a carcinogen) and their pads contain chloroform (a carcinogen, reproductive toxicant, and neurotoxin).
The Best Reusable Menstrual Pads to Buy
Because of the FDA issues, you will not find large corporations on this list. Our focus is on supporting small businesses.
An eco-friendly alternative to disposable period pads, they are suitable as reusable panty liners, for light flow, or as a backup to a menstrual cup. Each set includes three soft, comfortable pads.
These pads are made with 100% cotton topper, organic toweling, and brushed cotton core and backed with a soft polar fleece. They are super absorbent and comfy to wear. Sold individually.
The Naturally Lady Starter Set consists of all-black reusable washable sanitary cloth pads for lovers of black and offers extra discretion because of the dark color. The set includes nine pads.
AYRAcreations has a wide variety of cloth pads in many patterns, styles, colors, and absorbancies. No matter your shape, preferences, or budget, they have the reusable sanitary products you need. Many customizable packs are available.
PADSbyCCO is a non-profit that wants everyone to have access to healthy, money-saving reusable period products. They offer reusable period pads at a low price to help raise funds to keep their Period Poverty Programs running and to help more people build up their stash.
These pads are made from high-quality materials (including bamboo charcoal) and are safe. For confidence day and night. They are very soft and gentle on your skin. Their starter set includes 5 pads and a wet bag.
Enjoy a wonderful experience of 100% certified organic cotton. Available in 17 sizes/absorbencies and two stunning fabric patterns, Princess& Pea has you covered (literally). The set includes eight pads.
Reusable Sanitary Pads You Can Make Yourself
You can make reusable period pads if you’re even remotely handy. Here are some great tutorials to get you started.
If you have some scrap flannel and some okay skills with a sewing machine (you could also sew these by hand), you can make this simple cloth pad from Little House Living.
These pads from The Eco-Friendly Family are soft, absorbent, and easy to make.
For low-flow period days or as a backup to the menstrual cup, check out these panty liner pads from Permacrafters.
Caring for Reusable Period Pads
Wash your pads by hand before first use. Leave your pads to hang dry. Washing your pads before first use will eliminate any residue or contaminants on the pads from the manufacturing process and increase absorbency.
Toss the used pads in with your other laundry and wash with cold water. If you don’t like mixing menstrual blood with your dirty clothes, you can hand wash them in cold water or give the pads a good soaking before tossing them in the washing machine.
You can use normal detergent, baking soda, or vinegar in washing machines. Baking soda acts as a natural stain remover, and vinegar acts like a fabric softener without leaving residue that can affect the absorbency of the cloth.
When drying cloth pads, you can put them in a dryer or let them hang dry. Do not set the cycle on high heat if you choose the dryer option.
Never use fabric softener or fabric sheets – this will cause the pad to become less absorbent. If your cotton pad is bunching, iron them on medium heat.
You may also want to try making your reusable bags as more and more states begin prohibiting or charging for one-time-use bags.