Different pads come in different absorbencies, different styles and different fabrics. The absorbencies and fabrics one brand uses may be different to that which another brand uses.
To help make it easier for you while shopping on Cloth Pad Shop, we have an agreed absorbency standard among our vendors and we have absorbency-based product categories to help you find the pads you are looking for. However you will need to check the details of each listing to make sure you know what fabrics are used, so you know what you are buying.
The absorbency ratings (“Light bleeding” etc.) are based on the Mansfield-Voda-Jorgensen Scale, which is detailed at the bottom of the page. Our core rating system is also found at the bottom of the page.
Pantyliners / Liners
There is no industry standard for a “pantyliner” and they are generally considered to be a short pad with a light or very light absorbency. These may be anything from 2 layers fabric to a pad with a regular absorbency core. Check the listing information to see what absorbency each pantyliner has. Pantyliners often do not contain waterproofing.
Pantyliners with no core or less than a “light” absorbency core may be suitable for spotting, very light bleeding, everyday discharge, cup backup, after pelvic exams or sexual activity. Pantyliners with a “light” absorbency core may be suitable for light menstrual flow or very mild stress incontinence.
These are “light” or “low” absorbency pads. Often shorter in length than a regular pad. May or may not have waterproofing. Suitable for light menstrual flow or mild stress incontinence. May be suitable for regular menstrual flow if changed regularly or if the pad contains PUL waterproofing.
These are “medium” or “regular” absorbency pads. Suitable for use through most of the menstrual cycle, though they may need to be changed more regularly for those with a heavy flow, especially if the pad does not have PUL. May also be used for mild incontinence.
Please note – we do not have a separate category for “Moderate” pads on Cloth Pad Shop, as some vendors and customers use the term “Moderate” to mean the same as regular, and some use the term to mean an absorbency level between regular and heavy.
These are “heavy” or “super” absorbency pads, and may be a longer than average sized pad. Suitable for use by those with “heavy bleeding” or “very heavy bleeding”, on heavier days, incontinence, overnight or post partum (after childbirth). Some of these are longer than average, to suit lying down at night or for those who need the extra coverage of a longer pad.
Measuring Your Flow
The Mansfield-Voda-Jorgensen Menstrual Bleeding Scale, rates the amount of flow you have, and can be used as a guide to which level of flow you have, and (using the list above) which cloth pads can be used for which types of flow. (please note this scale is using standard disposable products, cloth pads may be more absorbent). According to that scale, menstrual flow can be categorised with the following definitions:
“Spotting” – A drop or two of blood, you may wish to wear a pantyliner to protect your underpants.
“Very Light Bleeding” – Needing to change a low-absorbency tampon or pad 1-2 times per day.
“Light Bleeding” – Needing to change a low- or regular-absorbency tampon or pad 2-3 times per day.
“Moderate Bleeding” – Needing to change a regular-absorbency tampon or pad every 3-4 hours.
“Heavy Bleeding” – Needing to change a high-absorbency tampon or pad every 3-4 hours.
“Very Heavy Bleeding or Gushing” – Needing to change the highest absorbency tampon or pad every 1-2 hours.
Pads with a more textured fabric top (such as velour, sherpa, minky) will generally absorb a “gushing” flow more quickly than a flatter fabric (such as cotton, silk). Pads with PUL or leak-resistant fleece or wool will be able to hold more than a pad of the same composition without the waterproofing/resistance.
Our Cloth Pad Shop absorbency standards for cloth pad cores are based on what has been an industry standard level of absorbency for many years, while giving our vendors flexibility to make pads from the materials they want to work with.
Our pad core standards are:
- Light = 1 layer bamboo fleece or equivalent to around 350gsm worth of absorbent core.
- Regular = 2 layer bamboo fleece or equivalent to around 700gsm worth of absorbent core.
- Heavy = 3 layer bamboo fleece or equivalent to around 1050gsm worth of absorbent core.
Please be aware that different fabrics have different absorbency properties, so the number of layers and the gsm (which relates to the weight of the fabric) is to be used as a guide only.