Caring for cloth pads is very simple. Perhaps as simple as throwing away a disposable. It just requires you to follow a new set of do’s and don’ts.
Washing the stain off of cloth pads is one of more frequently expressed concerns. But, if you soak used pads in cold water and rinse them properly before washing in hot water, you will get a clean pad in about an hour’s time.
How to take care of your pads
Taking care of cotton pads begins much before you start using them. Since cloth pads are made of layers of cotton and bamboo, you should wash new pads prior to using them. This will prime them to absorb more as the absorbency of cotton increases after the first few washes. Washing pads two to three times before using is also highly recommended. You can also soak them overnight before washing.
Your pad can shrink or lose shape after washing. Just pull your new pads into shape before hanging them out to dry in the sun.
Easy-to-follow washing tips for cloth pads
- Reusable pads can be washed either immediately after use or after your period. Here’s the correct way to wash them to prevent staining:
- Soaking- Soak your used pads in cold water for about 40 minutes before washing them in hot water. Use a rust-proof container for soaking. The soak will ensure that the menstrual blood drains out completely. If the pad is extremely stained you can rinse the stained water and soak the pad again in fresh water.
- Rinse used pads completely to remove blood before actually washing them with soap or detergent. The secret of stain-free cloth pad washing is to keep rinsing till the water comes out clean and clear.
- We recommend that you soak used pads for no more than two-three hours. But, if you want to soak them overnight, do remember to change the water every day otherwise it will begin to stink. And we don’t want that.
- You can tumble dry or line dry in direct sun. We recommend drying them in direct sunlight as the UV rays in sunlight are an excellent natural disinfectant.
- After drying, store them flat so that they don’t lose their shape. After this, it’s time to store them in clean ‘wet bags’ till you need them next month. But do remember, they should be totally dry before reuse or storage.
Things to avoid while washing cloth pads
- Avoid using too much detergent as, if not properly rinsed, it can build-up and affect the absorbency of your pad.
- Also keep away from fabric softeners or whiteners as these too can inhibit the absorbency of your cloth pads.
- Similarly, avoid the use of any other soap except those recommended for textile washing.
- Bleach is also a no-no for washing cloth pads. Why? Because bleach wears your fabrics down.
- Vinegar is to be avoided too, as just like bleach, it can also break down fibres and shorten your pad’s lifespan.
- Fabric softener- This coat your pads leaving a film/residue and often fragrance.
- Ironing should be avoided as the high-temperature damages the fleece lining used for making cloth pads.
When cloth pads are washed well, dried in direct sunlight and stored properly, they are perfectly hygienic and long-lasting.
After drying, store them flat so that they don’t lose their shape. But do remember, they should be totally dry before reuse or storage.
You can use a small clean wet bag to carry around individual unused pads in your handbag. This also allows you to use the wet bag to store your used pad once changed over, until rinsing at the end of the day.
- Wash pads with detergent and cold water before first use.
- After use, rinse pads with cold or warm water to prevent staining. Then place into pail or wet bag.
- A great option is washing whilst you shower and wring out well and storing until regular wash day.
- Wash in a warm (maximum 40 degrees) long wash.
- Do not use bleach or vinegar they can break down fabric and reduce the life expectancy of your pad
- Do not use fabric softener as it leaves a coating and oils on the pad that can prevent absorption.
- Line dry in mild sun to naturally kill bacteria.
- When you’re away from home, place pad into wet bag and cold rinse when you return home.
- For public hygiene DO NOT wash the pads in public bathrooms.