Why Choose Cloth? Menstrual Pads for the Modern Woman

I wrote this blog post for Top To Bottom Baby Boutique earlier this year, but I’d like to share it with you, too.  I have used cloth menstrual pads for almost 4 years now, and began manufacturing and selling cloth menstrual pads in my Etsy shop three years ago.  This post stems from that.

So you love cloth – diapers, that is. Maybe you’ve switched to cloth kitchen towels, and cloth wipes, too. And now you’ve been thinking: if it’s good enough for my baby, maybe it’s good enough for me?

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth menstrual pads since I started selling Wee Essentials cloth menstrual pads on Etsy in 2008. Women worry a lot about how well they work, if they smell, and how to wash them. Many remember their grandmothers talking about wearing “rags” that leaked and were difficult and embarrassing to wash. And a surprising number confide in me that when their periods are over, they are left raw, red, and irritated in their most sensitive areas.

But there is a reason why most women who try cloth pads never go back: cloth is comfortable, easy, and actually a little fun! (Hey, you need something that will cheer you up when Aunt Flo comes!)

I’d like to answer some of the questions women have asked me, and explain some of the best benefits to using mama cloth!

  • · It’s comfortable. Disposable pads are made of paper and dehydrated cellulose (ie. Wood fibers!) That’s why they chafe and itch. It’s like wearing cardboard! Cloth pads are generally topped with natural fibers like cotton – just like your underwear.
  • · It’s pretty – okay, this probably isn’t the best reason, but I like it! It sounds silly, but it makes me smile a little when I choose a pretty pad. I need that when I get my period. It’s a whole lot better than bleached white paper!
  • · Yes, they are absorbent. And, yes, they will leak – only if you wear them too long. Just like any pad. But I can tell you this – in my memory, I’ve only had a cloth menstrual pad leak on me once, and it was because I didn’t want to get up to change.

Look for pads that contain a bamboo or hemp core – they are some of the most absorbent natural fibers available.     Bamboo and  hemp hold a great deal more than a cotton core, so they are worth the additional cost. You can also buy    menstrual pads with or without a waterproof layer. Wee Essentials pads typically use PUL, which is the same waterproof barrier used in many cloth diapers. I’ve also made my pads with polyester fleece or with no waterproof barrier at all for customers.

  • · No, they don’t usually smell. That menstrual blood smell comes from bacteria from your body multiplying in your pad. I don’t honestly know why cloth pads smell less, but I do theorize that the plastic in the disposable pads raises the temperature of the blood more than cloth pads does and allows the germs to multiply faster.
  • · They are easy to care for: if you don’t like stains, rinse them after you use them with cold water. (Hot water will set the stain – it literally cooks the proteins in your blood and removing that is kind of like removing last night’s burned lasagna from the pan…)

If you are like me and don’t care too much about stains, you can throw them in a dry pail until you are ready to wash.   They wash best when you wash them like diapers – a cold rinse, a hot wash, and another rinse. If you don’t use cloth  diapers, just throw them in with your towels and add a cold rinse beforehand. Most washers allow you to preset that now, so you don’t even have to come back after the rinse! You can tumble dry them on low in the dryer.

  • · They are designed by women, for women. Granted, the disposable pad companies have figured this out, too. Things like wings and easy-to-place designs help make your period a little easier. I also like that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a huge diaper!
  • · They save you money. Yes, the initial cost is much higher. $8 for a pack of disposables sounds a lot better than $8 for one cloth pad! But when you start to think about the cost per disposable, you’ll begin to see what I’m saying.

I went to drugstore.com today and looked at the cost-per-unit for Always and Kotex brand regular maxi pads with  wings. I found that prices ranged from 17 cents to 26 cents a pad. (For reference, that’s about what a brand-name disposable diaper costs!)

When you realize that you can use the same cloth pad several times during a cycle, you can see how quickly the  cloth pads will begin to pay for themselves. And that doesn’t even include the costs spent on medications…

  • · Anecdotal evidence suggests that cloth pads may actually reduce or stop yeast infections, vaginitis, and other irritations of your private areas. On several occasions I’ve had new customers complain of redness, soreness, or even raw skin after a week of using disposable menstrual pads. When they switched to cloth, they no longer had those symptoms – the disposables irritated their sensitive skin. Many people have told me they have had fewer yeast infections since changing to cloth (myself included – I don’t think I’ve had one since I switched, and I used to have one nearly every month!)
  • · Oh, and the most obvious one: Cloth pads are more environmentally friendly than disposables. All but the waterproof or water resistant layer and any plastic snaps can be composted or burned, rather than wrapped in a plastic wrapper, thrown into a plastic trash bag, and then into a landfill. Also, cloth pads don’t require a separate wash, and they are small, so they can be thrown in with any load of laundry – no extra water or soap is required!

 

I would love to answer any other questions you may have about cloth pads. Please feel free to post questions or comments here, or to email me at weeessentials.com or on Etsy with your questions if you aren’t comfortable asking them here. Don’t worry – I am not easily embarrassed!

Although I am a cloth pad maker and seller, my main goal is to introduce women to cloth – even if you buy elsewhere! (Though, of course, I do hope you will buy the Wee Essentials brand!) I’m delighted to be able to pamper the mamas with cloth just as much as the babies!

Advertisements

Do you spin or knit?

All items at DyeingToSpin are 15% off with the code “TourDeFleece”.  Dyeing to Spin is a hobby for me, but I’m going to be offering the Dyeing to Spin brand in wools appropriate for knitting soakers, including handspun, and with patterns for soakers I am currently testing.  It’s mostly spinning fiber and sock yarn now, but I’m really pleased with the colorways!

Yarny goodness from Storied Yarns!

Okay, I don’t usually do a lot of giveaways, but I couldn’t resist offering up this one. Jess of Storied Yarns is offering a $10 digital gift certificate to her store to help me celebrate 1000 fans.   She’s also having a sale through today – 20% off with the coupon code SUMMERTIME11 at her Artfire shop.  Don’t spin, but you see a batt or roving you just love?  For July only she’ll also spin it  just how you want it for free!

Jess dyes yarn and spinning fiber inspired by books, tv, and movies, and her colorways are just fantastic (I have a couple of them!)  Her pictures really don’t do justice to her items, but I can attest to the quality and beauty of everything she makes.  She’s about to have a knit-along with a very cute “winged” shawl and a shrug to choose from.  I’m knitting up the test shawl, and I think it’s going to be gorgeous.

So here’s one of the items I got from her:

"Finding Nemo" luxury batt by Storied Yarns

Beautiful, right?  On the inside is even more orange, and I can’t wait to spin it up. I bought a BFL braid from her a few months ago and it was so fun to spin.  My five-year-old son saw the beautiful blues and immediately claimed the yarn:

"I Dare You To Move" by Storied Yarns, spun by me

Anyway, sorry, I’m a little obsessed with pretty batts right now. 🙂  Storied Yarns has an artfire shop (you don’t need an account to buy) and an Etsy shop, which I linked above.

How to enter: Check out Jess’s shops, and if you want to win the gift certificate, comment below with what you think you might buy if you win the certificate!  I’ll give you 3 extra entries if you buy something from her shop, too – Just comment three times for your purchase.

Here are the rules:  You must be 18 to enter, you must live in the US and Canada to play.  If you live elsewhere, you can still play, but you will be responsible for shipping and customs duties and taxes if you win.  You must put your email address somewhere in your post (I believe you will have the option to put it in when you comment, and only I will see it.)  If there is no email address, or you do not answer my email saying you are a winner within 48 hours of the email, I will draw another name.

I will use random.org to generate the winning numbers, and I will go down the list of items from top to bottom.  So the first number I generate will win the first item here.  I don’t want to make this complicated. :)

The contest will run as soon as this post is published until Friday, July 22nd, at 11:59:59 PM Central Standard Time.

Good luck!

1000 Fan Celebration!

Now, we all know that if posting on this blog was my job, I’d be fired, but since Facebook has decided to get strict about exactly what you can and cannot do for contests on their site (and commenting on pictures to win is forbidden) we’ll be having the party over here.

I’m very excited that Wee Essentials has gained more than 1000 facebook fans!  I know that I haven’t always been the best business to have to deal with – there were a few months there that I’m still paying for, where life kinda bowled me over.  But I’ve been working really hard to set myself up to manage everything that needs to be done.  And I appreciate all my customers, who have been so understanding, enthusiastic, and just plain wonderful these past three years (three years!  Can you believe it?)
So on to the good stuff!

Here are the rules:  You must be 18 to enter, you must live in the US and Canada to play.  If you live elsewhere, you can still play, but you will be responsible for shipping and customs duties and taxes if you win.  You must put your email address somewhere in your post (I believe you will have the option to put it in when you comment, and only I will see it.)  If there is no email address, or you do not answer my email saying you are a winner within 48 hours of the email, I will draw another name.

All custom items *could* take up to 3 weeks to ship.

I am adding this portion in parentheses on 7/17/2011 at 8:10 CST: (In the event that a winner does not want the prize randomly drawn for them, substitution will be made in the form of a Wee Essentials gift certificate for the value of the prize won.)

And finally, only one entry per person, and each person will win only once.  All you have to do is comment, but if you want to say something you like about Wee Essentials products, I won’t be upset. 😉

I will use random.org to generate the winning numbers, and I will go down the list of items from top to bottom.  So the first number I generate will win the first item here.  I don’t want to make this complicated. 🙂

The contest will run as soon as this post is published until Friday, July 22nd, at 11:59:59 PM Central Standard Time.

Prizes:

1. 1 WeeEssentials Wee Baby Bamboo/Organic Cotton winged prefold with cotton knit outer. Winner’s choice of fabrics.  Retail: $12

2. Set of 4 flannel/baby terry (100% cotton) wipes. 8″ by 8″  In the winner’s choice of prints. Retail: $4

3. Set of three custom Ultrathin pantyliners/thongliners in winners choice of prints (or choose from my instock items) Retail: $12


4. 1 winner will receive one large jar of soap bits in the winner’s choice of scents! Retail: $12

5. 2 winners will receive a MINI soap bit sampler with WeeEssentials soap bits in my 5 best selling scents! Retail: $14.50 each

6. 1 skein of One-of-a-Kind DyeingToSpin hand painted worsted weight wool yarn – perfect for knitting a pair of longies or shorties.
220 yards (100g) Retail: $16.50

7. Two light flow menstrual pads in the print “Autumn Leaves”  (Picture to come) Retail: $11.00

8. One heavy flow and one medium flow menstrual pad in the print “Ice Cream Sundae” (picture to come.) Retail: $18

9. 2 winners, $25 to spend at my Etsy shop or at my WeeEssentials.com site. The $25 may include shipping, and if you don’t spend the whole amount, the balance will carry over to your next purchase. Shipping is included up to $25 total – anything spent over $25 is the responsibility of the purchaser.Just leave a comment to enter!  And Good luck!

Winner of the 300 Facebook Fans Giveaway

 

We have a winner!


Congratulations Rebecca!  I’ve sent you an email!

* If you are wondering about the discrepancy in the numbers, there were 8 entries that were posted after the 11:59:59 Central Standard Time cutoff.  Sorry, guys!

 

And, wow!  My facebook fans did a wonderful job of promoting this giveaway – I think I jumped about 80 fans in just a couple of days.  We have about 130 people to go for my 500 fan giveaway, which will be bigger and better!

Time to give something away!

Yes, we’ve finally made it to 300 facebook followers, so it’s time for a giveaway!  Thank you to our cloth diapering retailer in Nebraska, Top to Bottom Baby Boutique for putting us over – well over!

Okay, so I’m giving away a $15 gift certificate good for anything at WeeEssentials.com or at my Wee Essentials Etsy shop.  In stock items, customs, shipping – anything.

Rules:

You MUST be 18 to play, and a citizen of either the United States or Canada.

Entries are free – there is no purchase required to enter or participate.

The contest will end Friday, December 17, 2010 at 11:59:59 CST.

I will pick the winner using random.org – the winner will be chosen by matching the number from random.org with your comment number.   I will announce the winner on this blog and contact the winner by email on Saturday, December 18, 2010.   The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if I don’t receive a response, I will pick a new winner.

To Enter:

Comment below to enter (I’d love to know how you started using cloth or other “green” items, but any type of comment will do.)
You can get additional entries for some or all of the following:

Leave one comment below for EACH entry

Follow WeeEssentials on Facebook (one entry)

Follow WeeEssentials on Twitter (please comment with your Twitter user name) (one entry)

Blog about this giveaway and comment with the link (three entries)

Tweet the giveaway once a day for the duration of the contest and make sure to use @WeeEssentials so I see it! (one entry/tweet; up to three entries)

Thanks, and good luck!

 

We have a winner!


Congratulations Rebecca!  I’ve sent you an email!

* If you are wondering about the discrepancy in the numbers, there were 8 entries that were posted after the 11:59:59 Central Standard Time cutoff.  Sorry, guys!

Ewwww?

Just over four years ago, I discovered cloth.  We were broke with an 18 month old, and I was trying to save money.  It wasn’t too long after that, I discovered cloth menstrual pads and nursing pads.  But if you had told me four years ago that most of the disposable paper products in my life would be gone I would have looked at you sideways!  And here I am, not only using them, but selling them!

Set of 4 Light Flow Pads by Wee Essentials

Set of 4 Light Flow Pads by Wee Essentials

I get to talk to a lot of people about my business.  When people ask what I do, the reaction is pretty fascinating when I say, “I make reusable menstrual pads!”  Most of the time, women (and men, too) listen enthusiastically and ask me lots of questions.

It’s a little disarming when it’s the men asking these questions.

Regardless of their gender, I explain flows, absorbency levels, comfort, and – most often – how I wash my pads.  Washing them has a particular level of intrigue.

Occasionally, though, I run into people, who, for one reason or another find the idea of mama cloth fantastically gross.  Often, these women are not comfortable with their bodies or their flow, or don’t have any problem putting poop or vomit or greasy clothes in their washer, but don’t understand how something with blood could ever get clean.  I don’t mean it to sound like I’m criticizing them; these are genuine arguments I heard from two women from my mom’s group.

Obviously, these women were not ready to switch, and not really even ready to try cloth.  And that’s okay.  We win them over one-by-one!  But it got me thinking again about the different arguments people have against cloth, and how to respond to those anti-cloth arguments. I know if I could get them to try cloth, they would switch!  After all, someone convinced me, and look where I am now!

%d bloggers like this: