Caring for your cloth pads
First off – what to do when you take your pad off…
- Put them straight into a laundry basket/bag (keeping them dry) – By far the easiest way to deal with them, however blood left to dry can set and I’ve found its harder (near impossible) to remove the stain through washing alone (you might need to use things like baking soda or even stain remover to shift it)
- Put them in a bucket of plain cold water and leave them to soak – By keeping the pads soaking while soiled the blood can’t dry, which means its less likely to set a stain.
- Put them in a bucket of cold water with disinfectant, soap, Baking Soda, Teatree Oil or something added and leave them to soak – As above but whatever you put in the water can help to prevent smell and might help stop them staining
- Rinse them out, and pop them in your washing basket to go with your next wash – By rinsing them out first they should be less likely to stain (and smell), and this means you won’t need to leave them soaking.
- Rinse them out, then pop them in a bucket to soak – By rinsing them out first they should be less likely to stain, and your soaking bucket won’t get as smelly because there is less blood in there.
Wash them straight away – Either hand wash straight away, or put them straight in the washing machine. The quickest method if you have a small stash and need to use them straight away, but the most time consuming, as its slower washing them separately than all together.
Then….washing your pads
- Wash (hand or machine) the soiled pads without any pre-rinsing – Either straight from the soak bucket, straight off the body or straight from the washing pile.
- Rinse out the pads until mostly clean just before washing, then wash (hand or machine) – More effort but it is preferred by some women, particularly if combining the wash with other (non-menstrual) items.
- Rinse out the pads until mostly clean, then treat any stains, then wash (hand or machine) – Might be most efficient way of removing any stains.
What to wash with….
- You can wash them in normal detergent only – Simply use normal detergent, chances are you won’t catch deadly illnesses off your pads! So just normal washing methods are fine for most people.
- Baking soda – Good for removing stains in a natural way. You can add attle of it to your wash.
- Vinegar – Apparently adding some vinegar in the wash works like fabric softener, (but without the residue that can effect the absorbency of the pad, that fabric softener has). 1/2 to 1 Cup recommended to add to your wash. If your pad has PUL, it potentially is broken down by repeated washes with vinegar so be careful about that.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Works well for removing stains, and is safer than chlorine bleach.
Avoiding Stains….Some people have problems with stains, others don’t… some ideas for avoiding stains or what to do if you get them.
- Cold water rinse – If you rinse them out in cold water straight away, they are less likely to stain (Hot water sets a stain). The longer the blood is left to dry before you rinse them will make them more likely to stain for some people.
- Cold water Soak – Some women find they get less or no staining by keeping the pads soaking until they are washed (eg. always wet), Others find they get staining if they soak, and have better results if they leave them to dry.
- Baking soda – You can take your wet pad (rinsed until no more blood comes out) and sprinkle the baking soda on the stains, rub it with your finger (or rub the pad against itself), and then rinse the Baking Soda off and hopefully the stain will often simply disappear.
Sunlight – Hanging your pads out in the sunlight can help fade any stains
Avoid bleach – while it does work well, your pads will fade and it can degrade the fibres.
Breath Easy knowing that you will find what works for you and your flow!!!