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Eco-Friendly Reusable Pads: My Experience With Switching To Sustainable Menstruation

Posted: May 27, 2021

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Cloth-based reusable pads are a great alternative if you want to move from disposable sanitary napkins to more eco-friendly options. Here’s a quick primer to help you make the switch.

For all these years, like most of the urban Indian female population, I have been using disposable sanitary napkins.

I have been constantly feeling the need to move on to more sustainable products and so, during the 2020 lockdown, I decided that this would be a good time to experiment.

I ordered a menstrual cup, and let me tell you that I have not been able to get used to it at all. There is this feeling that something is hurting me inside and I needed to get it out as soon as possible. I am sure it works wonders for a lot of women out there, but it was not for me. May be if I tried it for some more time, I would get used to it.

Experimenting with alternatives

After the experiment with menstrual cups, I tried the washable cloth pads. I got the type which seemed to be the softest as well as the ones which did not dent my pocket. I got RE-pads and Relief-Pads from Amazon. They are exactly the same type even though the brands are different, priced at about Rs 299 per packet of 3 normal and 1 large overnight pad.

The first night, when I wore the large pad, I was a bit nervous that it would spill over and cause stains, but I was surprised to see that nothing of that sort happened. The large pad was enough to last me through the night. Some of you may not be confident to use it at night, so you may want to stick to your disposable sanitary pads for nighttime use, for the first few times.

I have been using these reusable pads for the past 3 – 4 months, without resorting to the disposable pads. Here are my learnings.

These reusable pads don’t stain

I got the ones with the fleece cover on the inside. I don’t know what technology they have used for these pads, but the blood is completely absorbed, leaving no stain on the outer cloth cover. (My pads are light blue and pink). This is quite surprising because I am sure that there is no plastic in or on the pad. Initially, you will need to change them more frequently because you cannot see any blood on the pads, leading you to believe that they are not full yet.

They don’t feel like a pad

At most, they feel like a thicker underwear. Whenever I wear a disposable pad, I feel the alien material. But this doesn’t feel much at all.

They are pretty absorbent

When I bought them, initially, I had doubts about their absorbency. But I was so pleasantly surprised. Even with a heavy flow, they can last for about 4 -5 hours.

No rashes with reusable pads!

This was my main grouse against the normal pads. They cause horrible rashes, especially towards the end of the period. I didn’t face any such problem with these cloth pads.

Not cumbersome at all to wash and dry

These are easily washable, and even if you don’t soak them and wash them immediately, the blood will run out and you can hang them out to dry. If not, you can soak them and wash them later. But washing them instantly doesn’t take time. If you have to wear them to work, you can carry them back in the pouch provided and wash them at home after soaking them for a bit.

Drying must, preferably, be in the sun and the pads take about 4-5 hours to dry. So I got myself another packet for the rains where I know they will not dry for a bit. In the summer, 1 pack of 3+1 pads has worked fine for me.

They don’t smell

Unlike the disposable pads, these pads do not smell, and feel fresh even after you have used them for a while. Just make sure that you wash them well with a mild detergent and dry them out in the sun.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been using them for a few months now. I carried them with me even when I was travelling. Now, I am totally used to them. I have made an investment of Rs 600 for 2 packets and I think these pads will easily last me for 3 years, minimum. If you do the maths, it is a lot more cheaper than the normal pads. Plus, in a small way, I can do my little bit for our environment.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid plug or review. I am writing from my own experiences and thought it would be useful to you too. I have purchased and have been using these products for the past few months.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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