Which reusable pads are best?
While menstruation can be a real pain — both figuratively and literally — finding good menstrual products doesn’t have to be. There is an increasing amount of quality menstruation hygiene options these days, including menstrual cups, tampons, and reusable pads. Wearing reusable cloth menstrual pads is a wonderful way to save money, save the environment and protect your vaginal health. The RAEL Organic Reusable Cloth Pads are composed without any irritating additives, are easy to clean and reuse and work well for most flow levels.
What to know before you buy reusable pads
Regular vs. organic cotton pads
Organic cloth pads are composed of fabric grown without any herbicides or pesticides. Less of these harmful chemicals means less damage to the environment and less pollution. It also means less exposure to toxins for people who work on farms where the cotton grows.
Length of time
Most reusable cloth pads last up to five years if you care for them properly and have a rotation of about 10 cloth pads, and some of these pads last even longer.
Most people who menstruate do so for about 35 years in their lifetime, which can add up to thousands of dollars in products. You spend a lot less on menstruation hygiene products when you switch to reusable cloth pads.
What to look for in quality reusable pads
Reusable pads are more breathable and less likely to expose your vagina to harmful and harsh chemicals than disposable pads. Make sure to regularly change your reusable pads, since they can irritate your skin if they become wet and saturated, just like other menstrual products.
Cloth pads usually stay fresher than disposable pads, since the fabric breathes, which lets the moisture evaporate. Less moisture means there are also fewer bacteria to deliver unwanted odors. If you do notice a bad or weird scent, you might have a common bacterial imbalance, which you should consult with a doctor about. Use special techniques, such as adding essential oils, vinegar and laundry boosters like OxiClean when soaking the pads to eliminate bad smells.
The best reusable cloth pads are very comfortable, compared to disposable pads, since disposable pads can feel clammy and bulky or chafe your skin. Reusable cloth pads, on the other hand, are very breathable and soft, and the exchange of air will leave you feeling dry with less irritation and chafing. The breathability of cloth pads makes them cooler than disposable pads, which include plastic parts that trap heat.
How much you can expect to spend on reusable pads
Reusable menstrual pads range in price from about $10-$50 or more, based on the quantity, quality, materials and features of the pads.
Reusable pads FAQ
What’s the difference between reusable pads and disposable pads?
A. There are multiple differences between disposable pads and reusable pads. Disposable pads are thrown away after use, while reusable pads are washed and used again. Disposable pads tend to have an adhesive that attaches to your underwear, while cloth pads include wings that snap into place.
Reusable cloth pads usually breathe better than disposable pads, since they aren’t composed of plastic, but some cloth pads have waterproof breathable linings, which makes them more comfortable than disposable pads. Cloth pads are also more fun than disposable pads since you can buy them in a wide range of different prints and colors to match your style.
Why should you use cloth pads rather than disposable pads?
A. There are multiple benefits of switching to reusable menstrual pads. You can save money by not needing to buy disposable pads each month and keep thousands of disposable pads out of the landfills.
Cloth pads are also softer and more comfortable than synthetic, disposable pads. Cloth pads provide less exposure to possibly unhealthy chemicals, and you don’t need to deal with adhesive swings getting stuck in the incorrect place.
Do menstrual pads shorten your period?
A. There is no reliable research on the subject, but many doctors believe that using pads rather than tampons can shorten the length of your period. Many think that tampons absorb menstrual blood, but also cause a backup in the vagina, while pads let the blood naturally leave the body at a more normal rate, which theoretically leads to shorter periods.
What are the best reusable pads to buy?
Top reusable pads
RAEL Organic Reusable Cloth Pads
What you need to know: These eco-friendly, reusable pads are composed without any irritating additives, are easy to clean and reuse and work well for most flow levels.
What you’ll love: This product is easy to launder and made with a top layer that’s created with 100% organic cotton. The pads don’t contain any harsh chemicals or fragrances, and the five layers control odor and protect against leaks.
What you should consider: This product is expensive for just three pads, and the pads might slide around.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top reusable pads for the money
SIMFAMILY Waterproof Bamboo Charcoal Menstrual Pads
What you need to know: This set comes with a wet bag and seven pads. It is an excellent option for people who want to try reusable menstrual pads without spending too much money.
What you’ll love: This product is affordable, comfortable and soft. It comes with a layer of bamboo and charcoal fabric that resists bad smells. The pack of seven microfiber pads features a discreet wet bag for carrying around soiled pads.
What you should consider: There are some reports of rash or irritation after using these pads.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
THINK ECO Organic Reusable Cotton Pads
What you need to know: These soft cotton reusable pads stand out when it comes to comfort, and they’re worth the price for consumers who like organic materials that don’t include a ton of harsh chemicals.
What you’ll love: These pads feature a waterproof layer that absorbs moisture, and the fit is comfortable for most wearers. The breathable material of this product is unlikely to irritate sensitive skin, and it’s composed of 90% organic cotton.
What you should consider: The fabric of these reusable pads is prone to staining, and the snap closure feels flimsy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.