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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Reusable Menstrual Pads

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Author Topic: Reusable Menstrual Pads
CatsRock^_^
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I am considering switching to reusable menstrual pads, but I have some questions about their practicality in my living situation, how they work in reality. I know all the wonderful health and environmental benefits which are my reasons for considering the change.

One of the biggest questions I have is what do you do with your used pads before your period is over? It seems counterproductive to do a load of laundry every day. I thought that maybe they could be soaked in a bucket of water or something, but my problem with that is I'm an RA and live in a very public residence hall with 25 other people and don't have access to my own washing machine, bathroom, or even my own sink.
So I guess what I really want to know is how they're used on a day to day basis and how practical they would be in my situation, or if I'm better off waiting a year until I've graduated and in my own place.

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bluejumprope
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I live in my own place and have my own washer/bathroom, which does make it a lot easier, but when I'm back in a dorm, I think I'll continue to use them.

I have a big tupperware container that I fill with water and throw the used pads in there. I've found they're fine resting for many days that way. I'm oblivious to it, but my partner says that when the water isn't changed daily though, it smells pretty rotten. You don't have to wash the pads, but just dumping out the bucket, maybe giving the pads a squeeze, and refilling it makes a difference. (As a side note, I've sometimes put a used pad in my bag and forgotten about it for weeks, and then after washing it, it miraculously felt brand new still.) I dump the bloody water out in our yard and feel very commune-y with the earth [Smile] but that probably isn't practical on campus.

In a dorm I think what I'd do is empty the water out in a toilet and then maybe take them in with me into the shower or just refill at the sink.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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atm1
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You also have the option of washing them in sink at the end of the day, too.

I know you might wig some of your residents out, but... I don't know... the few times one of my hallmates has walked in on me washing out my diva cup, I've explained what it is and no one's ever told me to not wash it in the sink. My former roommate even got one of her very own!

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wobblyheadedjane
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I used to keep my menstrual pads in a bucket of water, like bluejumprope said, but between having to rinse out and refill it daily, and curious kitties, I stopped doing it that way. I usually just take the day's worth of pads with me to the shower and rinse them while I'm letting my conditioner sink in. Then I hang them up to dry, and throw them in with the next load of laundry I'm doing.

Many companies, like Hag Rags and Lunapads sell bags that you can use to tote your used pads to and from the washrooms.

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Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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smokey
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Given the sorts of bacteria and fungus that can easily grow given the conditions reusable pads are left in once used, I wouldn't really think leaving them lying around without proper rinsing for more than a day or two would be a good idea. Even being left in a tub of water. Especially considering that the pads will be in contact with a sensitive part of your body later on.

In my opinion the best and most private method, short of doing laundry everyday, would be to take them to the shower with you and rinse them out until you get a chance to throw them in the laundry.

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Beckylein
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It's similar to different cloth diaper systems. You can use a "wet pail" system or a "dry pail" system, and both are okay and work just fine! [Smile]

With a "wet pail" system, it's not recommended to leave them to soak without changing the water daily (mold and mildew will grow on/in them very happily that way). From my understanding, the rinsing and wet pail system is to prevent staining, more than bacteria growth. I don't really care if my pads stain, since they're FOR catching menstrual fluid in the first place, but some people really do. If you really care about staining, then you want to rinse and soak in cold water, not warm or hot, as may be instinct.

If you do a "dry system," which seems to work well for dorms, and worked well for me in the dorms, you just need a bit of a longer rinse cycle (even then, our washers didn't have a long rinse cycle, so I just threw them in with regular laundry during the part of the month when I wasn't using them). I switched back and forth between the wet and dry systems and I think I prefer the dry system. It's less work, and I didn't see any real difference in staining or cleanliness. I do laundry once a week and it's never caused me problems! [Smile] Like I said, both systems work well, though, and it really just depends on what works for you!

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"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain

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CatsRock^_^
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Thanks for all the feedback. I'm happy that this is looking more and more like something I can do.
My next question is, how many do I need to start with? I've been looking at different places on the internet, and I'm really like the Luna Pads because of the liners that can be added or taken off the pad. I'm just not sure where to start.

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Beckylein
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When I started out with cloth pads, I got an intro kit from Lunapads (plus a diva cup), and after I figured out what worked and didn't work for me, I sewed my own [Smile] If you're handy with that sort of thing, or if you have a sewing machine available to you, they're super easy to make! Lots of patterns online, or you can create your own. I made my first ones out of cut up old t-shirts and then lined them with fleece. Very soft and comfortable and totally recycled!

Another couple of places that I know of that have pads, which are cheaper than Lunapads (I love those ladies, though...GREAT customer service and awesome, speedy shipping - I totally understand that their prices have to be a little higher as a business who pays its employees fairly, and I will always support that) are hyenacart.com and etsy.com.

My collection right now consists of about 8 pads with...probably 16 liners? Between 14 and 16 for sure [Smile] Again, I also use a diva cup during my period, too, and, depending on how heavy your flow is and how long it lasts, you may need more or less. If you're on Facebook, you should join their group because they occasionally offer free testers. I'd also recommend signing up for their monthly email, which outlines their sales for the month [Smile]

Hope that helps! I'm sure you'll LOVE the switch. I would never, ever, ever go back to disposables.

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"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain

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bluejumprope
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I use GladRags, which I love. They're really beautiful and are designed really well. I have six of them (twelve inserts), and I sometimes wish I had one more.

I tend to use tampons when I sleep, so if you're going to be using them all the time you may want to factor that in to how many you need.

[ 02-28-2009, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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-Lauren-
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I gotta bump this with my favorite seller, Fussybutt (haha, yes, you'll love them if you have one [Wink] ):

http://www.fussybutt.com/category.php?category_id=27

Her pads. Are freaking. AMAZING. She uses bamboo velour (a velvety finish and texture) or bamboo fleece on the top of the pad, and it feels unbelievable. If you haven't discovered the softness of bamboo, you've gotta. Makes cotton pads feel like sandpaper!

They're breathable and completely organic throughout, unlike some pads that contain synthetic waterproof barriers. But the merino wool she uses as a backer is waay adequately waterproof. [Smile]

Anyway, I know I seem like a raving lunatic, but I really want to get the word out. I don't think there's a better reuseable pad on the market for the price, and she doesn't charge more for organic like some companies -- it's just how it is period!

Oh, and just to add a necessary ick per disposables.. just look what two regular disposable pads turn into when they're outdoors during heavy rainfall.. scary! What the heck is in these things?!

http://tinytapir.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/whats-in-that-disposable-menstrual-pad-diaper-of-yours/

[ 06-23-2009, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: -Lauren- ]

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Heather
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Those are so cute! And for sure, bamboo is an awesome fiber. It's also apparently anti-microbial, so I'd imagine bamboo pads or liners could be of some help to women who find they get BV with periods.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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FYI, just got linked to this piece about bamboo per why another pad-making company does NOT use bamboo: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=bamboo-boom

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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