A great reusable menstrual pad should be comfortable, affordable and well made. It should stay in place and absorb just as well— if not better— than any disposable sanitary pad. Today’s reusable menstrual pads are like close allies for your body, disappearing underneath your clothes and letting you live your life as you would any other day of the month. Read through for the ten best menstrual pads, and get ready to be wowed by one of the best-kept secrets in personal care.
Why Reusable Pads?
If you’re new to the world of reusable menstrual pads or are in search of a better brand, you’ve come to the right place. Most of us grew up with disposable feminine hygiene products. It seemed that the only option was to go to the drugstore and purchase what was available there: Plastic-backed, bleached out, white cotton disposables, sometimes with a funky perfume. Not only did the cost of buying them month after month quickly add up, but they could be very uncomfortable to wear (chafing, anyone?).
Cloth pads can cost more up front than a pack of disposables, but they last for a very long time. Imagine not having to spend another cent on pads or tampons— for years! In addition to saving you money over the long run, reusable pads are more comfortable and are better for the environment– and did we mention cloth pads come in cute prints, too?
The average American woman uses nearly 17,000 tampons in her lifetime — or as many as 24,000 if she undergoes estrogen replacement therapy. And that’s just tampons. Women also use innumerable sanitary pads in place of, or in addition to, tampons. After giving birth, some women may also use maternity and nursing pads.
The worrisome thing is that sanitary pad manufacturers aren’t required to list all of the chemicals in the pads. Some consumer watchdogs have done testing on them and said they show indications that they may contain dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives. We know a lot these days about the hazardous nature of plastic chemicals, so many women are thinking twice about wearing these plastic products so close to their skin.
More and more stores are carrying reusable pads these days, but now with the Internet, anyone can buy high quality, comfortable, reusable menstrual pads from home.
There are established companies that produce cloth pads and smaller ‘cottage industry’ makers of the pads; many of them are a home-based business of one. There is a wide selection to choose from, so we’ve scoured the market to compare as many reusable pads as we can in order to find the best. We hope to help you to make the right choice for you with this list of the Top 10 Reusable Menstrual Pads.
Tree Hugger cloth pads come in a variety of colors, fabrics, and sizes, all designed to help keep women and girls feeling comfortable while keeping conventional period products out of landfills. They are a small company owned by Crystal Burton, a mom of two. She and her husband Scott started their venture into cloth pads in 2008, after discovering that cloth menstrual pads are an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ones.
This company sets itself apart by using luxurious fabrics in fun colors and prints, plus they partner with WeForest, and plant a tree for every single cloth pantyliner and pad they sell. The company is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and produces other eco-friendly products including cloth diapers and nursing pads.
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Hannahpad has been around since 2005, with the aim of offering women a more comfortable, enjoyable menstrual cycle. Hannahpad reusable cloth pads are environmentally friendly, in line with the company’s goal of providing high-quality products that are healthy for its customers and our planet alike. All hannahpad products are designed and manufactured in Korea. The company relies on real user feedback to make improvement, and they look forward to hearing from their customers. We think this is just one reason why hannahpad has become such a success! To date, Hannapad Global makes this product available to women in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States. Plans for expanding to the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Indonesia are underway.
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Charlie Banana Feminine Pads are an offshoot of the Charlie Banana Cloth diaper brand. The cloth diapers and other baby products are available in major stores including Wal-Mart, so this is no mom-and-pop menstrual pad producer. The pads have a white fleece top layer and a PUL outer layer with wings and a snap to secure the pads in place. PUL stands for polyurethane laminated fabric. PUL provides a waterproof barrier that stands up to multiple washings and is comfortable enough to be worn next to the skin.
GladRags are possibly the best-promoted brand of reusable menstrual pads on the market. They’re handmade in the USA from soft, breathable cotton. It can be mindblowing for women who, up until discovering this product, believed that chafing and irritation from plastic products were just something they just had to put up with.
Unlike some other reusable menstrual pads, GladRags don’t have a plastic backing, which means less irritation. And they’re designed to last at least five years if taken care of properly.
Lunapads have two parts: a pad base with wings that fastens around the underwear and a removable insert made from absorbent fleece. The Pad Base is designed to be leak-resistant. Lunapads recommends that users keep the Pad Base in place all day and then change out the insert as needed. In fact, this is given as one of the main factors that makes Lunapads different from other cloth pad brands. With most other brands, you have to change out both the base and the inserts. Changing all of that would require you to carry more with you, to do more laundry and to potentially have to purchase more items. With Lunapads, you just wear the one base all day and adjust the absorption levels with the removable inserts.
If you like lots of choices, Sckoon might be the reusable menstrual pad makers for you. Founded in 2002, Sckoon produces a menstrual cup that’s available in a rainbow of colors. They also offer loads of colorful options for their organic cloth pads. First, decide if you want waterproof or breathable pads. Then you get to choose your size. Finally, you’ve made it to the fun part: selecting your favorite print! Sckoon offers a wide selection of lovely, girly prints that you can choose from. There’s also an assortment of value sets available on their website where you can get a discount off the individual prices of the pads.
These natural, reusable cloth pads are compatible with many of PantyProp’s existing products. Whether you’re considering these period underwear or already have some on hand, the pads make a useful addition, particularly on those days when your flow is too heavy for the underwear’s built-in liner to handle. You can use them as a backup for a cup or tampon, or you can wear them on their own.
When worn with PantyProp garments, these double-sided pads provide protection from front, back, and side stains and leaks. The design is meant to offer maximum discretion and comfort, so it’s as if you’re not wearing a pad at all.
PantyProp’s reusable double-sided pads are made with a combination of soft cotton and super-absorbent cashmere wool. They are eco-friendly, machine washable, and affordable, and they are made in the USA.
These “far-out” pads with tie-dyed fabrics are thoughtfully designed. Featuring bamboo blend materials and black edging to minimize staining, these are probably one of the more high-end reusable pads on the market.
Domino Pads are made from high-quality fabrics such as Windpro fleece. In addition to the patterned pads, which are hand-dyed, they also offer pads that are undyed (called natural). Domino Pads are available in seven different sizes and five absorbency levels and come with wings that snap closed. Keep in mind, when you order direct from the site, every pad is handmade to order. This requires a seven-day or less turnaround time for most orders to ship. To get the pads faster, you can buy ready-made Domino Pads on Amazon.com.
Whimsically named Bububibi is a maker of cloth diapers as well as reusable menstrual pads. Their website ‘about us’ information hasn’t been updated in a while, but the pads and baby products are still selling both on their official site and on Amazon.
Heart Felt is an eco-friendly company that produces household goods in addition to cloth menstrual pads. They also distribute the Cerene Menstrual Cup.
To Sum It All Up
We’ve put together this list in an order that makes sense to us and would work for most people who are shopping for reusable menstrual pads. However, your own list could be different depending on what is most important to you.
Is eco-friendliness more important than the lowest price? Do you prefer to have handmade products with some variability or the consistency offered by mass-produced items? A beautiful design may rank higher for you than where the pad was made. Your preference also might differ depending on whether you want to have pads to cover your entire menstrual cycle or just as a backup for a menstrual cup.
We tried to rank these pads in order of comfort, absorbency, durability and design. We hope this list will be of great help for finding the best reusable menstrual pad for your needs!
Party In My Pants (also known as PIMPS) are not your mother’s reusable menstrual pads. In fact, this sister-run business generates more of a hipster buzz than a hippie vibe. One sister is a sewing whiz and the other an art school graduate, and it shows. They offer their pads in a thrilling-to-the-fashionista assortment of trendy, quirky prints, including the much-coveted galaxy print and an unexpected line of dinosaur themed pads (at the time of this writing). The pads come in 11 different sizes to cover all phases of the menstrual cycle.
Dutchess offers a reusable menstrual pad that is the perfect complement to their reusable menstrual cups, and it seems that is their intended purpose: backup for the Dutchess Cup. The pads come in one size that is designed for light-to-medium flow. They also appear to be made in only one pattern. These pads have wings that snap into place and are about 1/3 of an inch thick. According to Dutchess, their pads contain no bleaching agents or harsh chemicals, and they offer a 12-month warranty on their products against defects or poor workmanship.
Picture retro-style deer, owls, flowers and mushrooms in one print, and peace signs, paisley and colorful flowers on other prints. Earth Girl Pads are very nicely designed, and many of their pads feature a distinctive wing shape that resembles a leaf.
These reusable menstrual pads are made primarily from environmentally friendly, sustainable cotton. Earth Girl Pads says that their pads should last between three to five years in a rotation of at least 10 pads. These pads are available in a broad range of cute patterns and colors. Additionally, there are several packages to choose from when purchasing Earth Girl Pads.
Niki reusable pads are another pad that’s offered by a maker of cloth baby diapers and other baby products. It does seem like a natural progression for cloth diaper manufacturers also to provide for the moms, but even if you aren’t a mom, you might like these cloth menstrual pads. This is a basic brand of pads that are made in only one color. Since they come from a large manufacturer, you can expect consistency in the product.
WillowPads may be last on this list; however, they’ve made this list because their product is good, they have a vision for a better planet, and they’re customer-satisfaction oriented. Willow Pads come to us from the Willow Store, a family-owned company guided by a vision of a better future for our planet. Their pads are made from high-quality organic fabrics that they’ve chosen for softness and comfort. WillowPads are a menstrual pad system, not an all-in-one like some other brands. They come with an organic cotton base layer with wings and an organic hemp fabric insert; this way you can adjust the absorbency level to match your flow. The pads with inserts come in two color choices: natural and black. They also offer a line of leak-proof pads that come in a collection of solid colors.
New Moon Pads didn’t make our top 10 list of reusable pads because there are very few customer reviews available for them, pretty much only the testimonials on their official website. But that said, almost all of the reviews I could find are raving (in a good way) about these pads. These pads come to us from British Columbia, Canada, by a work-at-home mom who describes herself as a cloth pad artisan. New Moon Pad’s motto is, “Simple…easy…back to basics.” Although the concept of cloth pads may be simple and back to basics, New Moon Pads offers a staggering array of colors, patterns and options for customization. With over 80 prints in stock, you’re bound to find something you love.
Cheeky Mama Reusable Pads come from a company called Cheeky Wipes that makes cloth diapers and reusable baby wipes. They have a super cute logo, “Making a bum job better.” They sell their pads individually and also in full kits that contain liners, day pads, night/maternity pads and even a box to soak the pads in (called a mucky box).
Earth Conscious pads are brought to us by two work-at-home moms with seven children between the two of them. They’re fulfilling their dreams of pursuing a business that can make the world a better place. They say they aim to keep things simple by not overwhelming us with too many choices in color, shape and size.
The Lohan Store got its name from the initials of the phrase Lifestyle of Health and Nature. As you can probably guess, they have a real environmental bent. These reusable pads with pretty, dainty patterns use organic cotton and none of the chemicals that can cause rashes, irritation or itching.
Named after a French term of endearment, Ma Petite Chou is a U.K.-based maker of cloth menstrual pads.
How to Choose?
With so many reusable pads to choose from, where should a girl begin? After reading the reviews, looking at pictures and watching some videos, a few brands of pads are probably catching your interest. Many companies will offer free samples or at least, samples where you pay for shipping only, as a way to try out their brand. Some women like to check out a new cloth pad brand by ordering an inexpensive pantyliner. That can give you a good idea of the type of materials being used to see if it’s something you’d like to wear for your entire cycle. Whatever reusable pads you choose, We wish you luck; and as always, have fun with it!