- Women's Health
Pad Guide Part 2: Washing, Storing, and Changing Your Cloth Pad
Some pads you buy will come with instructions on how to wash but some will not.
Here is a step by step instruction on how to wash your reusable pad, starting from immediate removal. This is my process, there are different versions of this floating around on the internet but this works for me.
1: Rinse and wring
Rinse with cold water (so stains do not set in) and wring out. Keep wringing the pad out until the water runs clear.
2: Pre-Soak/Stain Removal
Follow the instructions on your stain removing product. If choosing to soak your pads know that you cannot soak the pads for too long. It is not good for them to be left wet like that for too long. Sometimes soaking isn’t necessary, especially if you are about to do laundry right away.
Wash in cold water in the washing machine. I know it may seem tempting to wash it in warm water because it got heavily soiled but that will set in stains. You can also use a mesh bag to keep all your pads together but still be able to wash them with other loads. Do not use fabric softener.
Air dry on a rack in the sunlight if possible. If you need to use the pads sooner using the dryer on delicate or low heat should be fine for the pad. Do not use fabric softener.
Change your pad every 4-8 hours. When you take it off and are home use your stain remover as soon as possible. It’s okay if you are out and you change your pad, you obviously can’t soak it right then but as soon as you get home then use that stain remover.
For overnight pads you are going to have to test the waters and find the pad brand that is your favorite with just the right pad for your overnight flow.
Also do not buy light colors. I usually stick to black and purple currently after discovering that light colors and my washing skills don’t go well together.
How to Wash a Cloth Pad by Hand
Detergents and Stain Removers
I have found that my two favorite stain removers are hydrogen peroxide and Resolve Gold. Resolve gold gives instructions on the back. The hydrogen peroxide is simple enough. You simple spray the stain, once it bubbles up you can soak it in cold water. Then simply throw in the wash the next time you do a cycle.
Another famous stain remover is OxyClean
I have no personal preference for detergents but I know that OxyClean has a detergent as well. I say give it a try.
How to Clean Your Cloth Pads (Just Using a Washing Machine)
You can choose to store them flat in your underwear drawer or buy a storage container to have them. I have mine in an old shoe box with them lined up on their sides like a filing system.
Accessories that help you during your period, like I mentioned in part one are wet bags and a bucket to pre-soak them. There is also a third item I use to hold my pad in place.
Here is the store I bought my personal wet dry bag: CLICK ME(It's and Etsy Shop).
It has a pocket that contain PUL material for the dirty pads. Then there is a dry pocket for clean ones. These are great for when you are not going to be home for long periods of time. They are essential for storing pads if you are not home.
If you cannot get a wet bag right now you could use a plastic bag that can hold either all your pads you use in a day or individual bags for each pad you use.
Any bucket will do. If you want some privacy and want to cover up the pads while they pre-soak before you wash, then get one with a lid that has holes. You cannot completely cover up something like that with water.
There are washing kits available on certain cites.
Gladrags washing kit (http://gladrags.com/product/232/Cloth-Pad-Pre-Soak-Kit.html) includes a stain remover, detergent, pads, and a soaking bucket. This is great if you want to spend the money all at once. If not, you can buy what you can afford from the site or visit your nearest wholesale store and get all the things you need cheaper. A simple bucket, your favorite detergent, a stain remover, and mesh bag will do.
I do not use a mesh bag and my pads have been fine so even the mesh bag is optional. You can use a mesh bag to keep all your pads together and keep them from losing shape I guess, I don’t find a need for one.
Spandex, Biking Shorts, or Leggings
You can wear these while they you are on your period. I found this trick out in high school when I wore tights under my skirt. It was magical. Wearing biking shorts or leggings really helps keep your pad in place. If you don’t want to wear long leggings, then buy some that are short or buy long ones and cut of the legs to your preferred length. I recently cut a pair that I had gotten from forever 21.
Changing your pad in public or a friends’ house
When you are at a friends house you can rinse the pad before you put the pad in your wet bag. If you feel self conscious about it then you can just put the pad in your wet bag without rinsing. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t smell.
If you are in a public restroom try and find a bathroom with a sink, if you cannot then you can always just put the pad your wet bag and go through your normal routine when you return home.