Interested in trying reusable menstrual pads, but not sure where to begin? This simple guide will help you find the pads that are just right for you!
Since each person's needs are unique, it's always a good idea to try out a couple different pads before investing in a full collection.
Choose your size.
The best way to determine your perfect cloth pad size is to measure the length of one of the disposable pads you currently use. If this pad has provided just the right amount of coverage for you, choose a cloth pad of a similar length. If you've noticed that you would actually prefer a bit more or less coverage, adjust your cloth pad size accordingly. Most people like to have multiple sizes available for different coverage during the day, at night, when their flow is heavy, or when wearing pantyliners.
If you haven't used disposable pads before, here are some guidelines:Petite adults & teens 6" pantyliners
, 8" pads
for regular use, 10" pads
for heavy/overnightMedium adults8" pantyliners
, 10" pads
for regular use, 12" pads
for heavy/overnight Plus Size adults10" pantyliners
, 12" pads
for regular use, 14" pads
for heavy/overnightPostpartum mothers12" pads
or 14" pads
Choose your absorbency.
For the lightest days of your period, everyday discharge, mild stress incontinence, or as backup for a menstrual cup. Pantyliners have an absorbent core of one layer flannel and are designed to be extra thin. After washing, they'll dry very quickly.
Available in 6, 8, and 10 inch sizes.
For most average days of your period - and heavy days too if changed frequently. Moderate pads have an absorbent core of one layer bamboo fleece & one layer flannel. After washing, they'll dry about as quickly as your other laundry.
Available in 8, 10, and 12 inch sizes.
Choose your top fabric.
Flannel is perhaps the most popular fabric used in many brands of reusable menstrual pads: it’s natural (100% cotton), thin, breathable, and fuzzy like pajamas. Just like flannel clothing, the colors may fade a little over time after multiple trips through the washing machine, but this won't affect the pad's functionality. If you’re looking for a simple, comfortable pad, flannel is a great choice.
Jersey is a synthetic fabric primarily used for athletic apparel. It's extremely thin, lightweight, and breathable, making it perfect for warm summer days. Jersey's special wicking fibers quickly move moisture down into the absorbent layers, keeping you dry and comfortable. If you're looking for a modern, low-maintenance pad, give jersey a try.
Minky is a synthetic fabric designed to resemble mink fur, so it's incredibly soft! It's also stain-resistant and stays looking like new after many uses. Minky is slightly thicker & warmer than flannel or jersey, so it might not be ideal if you live in a hot climate - though it's still much more breathable than disposables. If you're looking for a pad that will pamper you with silky softness, you'll love minky.
Decide how many pads you need.
Most people like to have enough cloth pads so that they can wear each pad just once per cycle, then wash them all in one laundry load at the end of their period. This number will depend on the length and heaviness of your unique cycle, but it's usually between 10 - 20 pads. You can estimate by counting the number of disposable pads/tampons you currently use each period.
If you're planning to wash your pads by hand, or if you do laundry frequently anyway, you don't necessarily need this many pads. Just get enough to last a day or two, then wash & reuse them right away! This is also a great way to get started with cloth pads on a budget, or if you're not sure which sizes will work best for you. If you find that you're running out of clean pads in the middle of your period, you can always add more to your collection later!
If you're still not sure where to begin, check out these starter sets