The most common style of cloth pad is the “AIO” – however we do have other styles of pad available. This gives a brief explanation of what these more common types of pad are, and what they might be useful for.
These are generally smaller cloth pads, with lighter absorbency. These might be used for discharge, spotting, very light flow, backup for a Menstrual cup or tampon, after sex/pelvic exams etc. They may have waterproofing, or they may not. The absorbency may be equal to or less than a “light” pad.
An “All-in-One” (AIO) pad is a cloth pad that is used as-is. There are no extra inserts/boosters that need to be added, you do not need to fold them or do anything to them. These are “non-waterproofed” – meaning they do not have a leakproof barrier at all, only absorbent layers. Generally speaking a non-waterproofed pad will offer a more “breathable” pad, but it may be bulkier than a “waterproofed” pad, and may not last as long before needing to be changed. These pads are more suitable for women whose flow spreads out more over the pad (rather than seeping through in the one spot). They are classified in 3 absorbency/size categories, however some pads may be listed in this main category and not in the sub categories.
These are a “waterproofed”* AIO pad – meaning they have some form of leakproof/leak resistant barrier. This may be in the form of “PUL” (fabric with a thin plastic layer designed to be almost completely waterproof), fleece (synthetic fabric which offers leak-resistance but is not completely waterproof), wool (a natural fibre that offers leak-resistance), or other form of “waterproofing”. Generally speaking a “waterproofed” pad can hold more than a non-waterproofed pad of the same composition, as the waterproofing acts as a barrier to stop leakage, and helps the pad core to soak up more of the flow. These pads may be more suitable for women who have a more “gushy” flow, or who tend to soak through one spot of the pad rather than the flow spreading out across the pad more. They are classified in 3 absorbency/size categories, however some pads may be listed in this main category and not in the sub categories.
Base & Insert / Ai2
A “base + Insert” pad is a style of pad where the pad base is designed to hold the absorbent inserts/boosters on top. Often the pad base is non-absorbent, and may be waterproof. The inserts may snap on, be held in place by straps across the pad, or may slot into pocket ends on the pad base. Some base+insert styles will allow more than one insert to be worn at once, to give the option of greater absorbency when needed, some will work with one insert at a time.
A “boostable” pad is one that is designed to be worn with an extra absorbent “booster”. It may be like a regular non-waterproofed pad with a booster that sits underneath it, or it may be another form of pad (other than a pocket pad) which requires a booster for additional absorbency. The booster may snap onto the base of the pad, or there may be another way to secure it to the pad. As with the Pocket pads, these styles of pad can allow for adjustable absorbency, through the use of different boosters.
Custom Made Pads
A “Custom” is a product that will be made specifically for you by the store. Usually a custom product will have options you can choose, to allow you to have the product made to any specifications you have.
Foldable / Foldup
These pads feature an absorbent section on the top or bottom, that is folded up to create the absorbency for the pad. The folded section can unfold for easier washing and faster drying.
The standard “pocket” pad is a pad style a little bit similar to how a pillow case works. The pad is like the empty pillow case, and you put the absorbent inserts inside, like putting in a pillow. This allows you to change the absorbency inside the pad as you need it (using higher absorbency inserts for heavy days and lighter ones for lighter days) and to remove the inserts for easier washing and faster drying. Some pocket pads have the opening for the inserts on the under-side of the pad, some may have it at the end of the pad, or have some other way to open the pad. The absorbency in a pocket pad is adjustable, allowing you to add more absorbency or less absorbency as you need it.
* (please note that while the term may imply a pad is completely leakproof, there is no guarantee a pad will not leak, and they should be changed regularly to avoid becoming over-full).