With just a little time and care, your cloth pads and menstrual cups can give you a hassle-free and waste-free period for years to come...
Cloth Pad Use and Care
Washing soiled cloth pads is of utmost importance. And the beauty is that you can toss the pad in with your other laundry. If you don’t like the idea of mixing menstrual blood with your dirty clothes, you can hand wash them, or give the pads a good soaking before tossing them in the washing machine. You may also run them through the washing machine on their own.
You can use normal detergent, baking soda or vinegar in washing machines. Baking soda acts as a natural stain remover, and vinegar acts like a fabric softener without leaving residue that can affect the absorbency of the cloth.
To avoid stains, rinse or soak the pad in cold water immediately after taking it off. As blood dries, the chance of the cloth staining becomes greater. If there are stains even after rinsing or soaking, sprinkle baking soda or hydrogen peroxide on the pad, rub and then rinse once more. One way to dull stains is to leave the pad in the sun, however the fabric itself may fade, too.
When drying cloth pads, you can put them in a dryer or let them hang dry. If you choose the dryer option, do not set the cycle on a high heat or use dryer sheets.
Tips, tricks and pointers:
- Wear cloth pads with properly fitted underwear. This will help keep the pad from shifting, bunching or leaking.
Cloth pads are often more absorbent than disposable, but should still be changed regularly.
Carry a wet bag with you to hold any soiled pads you remove throughout the day.
- Pads should be thoroughly sanitized after a yeast infection in a solution of one tablespoon bleach per gallon of cold water. Soak for 30 minutes.
Menstrual Cup Use and Care
Boil/Sanitize your cup before first use and after a yeast infection. Five minutes in boiling water is all it needs. Follow any specific sanitizing direction included with your cup.
Rinse cup well before insertion with water and a mild, fragrance-free soap or cup specific wash.
Over time, your cup may become stained by blood. For complete stain removal, soak in a solution of approximately 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and a cup of water. Allow to soak until stains are gone!
Get a proper seal upon insertion in order to prevent leaking. Fold the cup to insert, then gently run your finger around the cup to work out any folds/creases until it completely opens and seals.
Cups can be easily inserted and removed while in the shower and is often a great place to do it when just starting out.
There are many different cup brands available in varying firmness, size and style. If one cup doesn't work for you, there is a good chance another style will. For some help in finding the right cup, visit the Buyers Guide.
Cups can be worn:
- up to 12 hours including overnight, however, you may need to empty more frequently on heavier flow days,
- during any type of physical activity, including swimming,
- by teenagers and virgins.
Cups should not be worn:
- postpartum. Only pads are safe to wear to collect postpartum blood and fluid. It is, however, safe to continue cup usage at your first period after baby,
- if you have an active yeast infection. Switch to pads until your infection is completely cleared up.