Cloth Pads are a washable and reusable alternative to disposable menstrual or incontinence pads. Worn in the underpants just like you would a normal disposable pad. With fabrics like ultra soft and luscious velours, or funky printed cottons, Cloth Pads are not only a practical and eco-friendly product, but also more enjoyable to wear than a boring white disposable.
Cloth Pads come in several shapes and sizes, as well as many different fabric options, so you should be able to find something that suits your needs and preferences – from teeny tiny pantyliners to uber sized night pads!
Cloth pads generally have wings that fold around the gusset/crotch of your underpants, which help to provide coverage over the wing to help prevent leaks, and to help keep the pad in place. These wings usually fasten together with “snap” (press-stud).
Unlike disposable pads, which use adhesives on the underside to stick them to your underpants, cloth pads have a fabric backing which doesn’t slide around as much as a plastic backed disposable pad would. With added help from the wings, which should snap tightly around the gusset of your underpants (Some pads offer 2 snap settings to allow you to adjust the width for the best fit). The snug fit of your underpants also helps to keep them in place, so make sure that you have well-fitting underpants on so that the pads are held snugly against your body. You may also like to make sure you have underpants with a sufficiently wide gusset to be able to hold the pads securely.
Made from soft breathable fabrics, cloth pads are said to feel nicer to wear than plastic disposables, and can help eliminate thrush and sweaty irritations. As well as being something fun!
Easy to care for – cloth pads can be rinsed out and then washed with your regular laundry. Just like washing underwear or clothing that has been in contact with blood. You shouldn’t need to use any sanitisers or disinfectants in the wash, your standard washing routine should be enough to keep your pads clean. Please see the Care & Use of pads article for more information.
If you experience stains (which seems to vary from person to person), you can treat these with a stain remover, or choose pads with a darker top fabric or a bold print to mask stains. Synthetic fabrics such as suedecloth, microfleece and minky are stain resistant options you can try if you are concerned with staining.
For urinary incontinence, most cloth pads that include “PUL” waterproofing fabric and have an absorbency of regular or heavy should work for mild incontinence. Obviously the more absorbent the pad is, the more liquid it can hold – so you will need to select pads based on your personal needs. The longer the pad the more fabric it contains, so choosing longer pads as well as heavy absorbency ones will provide more absorbency overall. Synthetic “stay dry” fabric toppers may be suitable to both wick away moisture as well as providing a more durable and colourfast option when pads are frequently used and washed. “Pantyliners”, particularly those with PUL, may offer some protection from mild stress incontinence (when sneezing etc.). Overnight heavy absorbency pads may be suitable for higher amounts of bladder leakage.