Did You Know?
Health: Using cloth pads can potentially decrease your flow, period discomfort, skin irritation, and risk of yeast infections. Most women report that switching to cloth has made most or all of these changes in their monthly cycle.
Savings: Cloth pads pay for themselves in just 1-2 years from the cost of disposables and last up to 10 years, which means you get 8-9 years of cost free menstrual protection.
Comfort: Cloth pads are far more comfortable and gentle against sensitive skin than scratchy paper disposables, and putting a cloth pad on straight from the dryer while it’s still warm (or leaving it in the sun to warm up) can help ease menstrual cramps.
Environment: The average woman will throw away between 10,000 and 15,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. Compare that to cloth. If a woman purchased 20 to 25 cloth pads every 10 years she would have gone through only 80 to 100 cloth pads total.
How long do New Moon Pads last?
New Moon Pads cloth pad life expectancy is approximately 10 years under normal use in a regular pad rotation estimated using a pad stash of 20 to 25 pads. One New Moon Pad = 150 to 200 disposable pads!
Are cloth menstrual pads hard to care for?
Not at all. Just toss them in with your regular laundry. They don’t need to be washed separately and there’s no need to pre-soak unless you want to.
Do I need to wash the pads before their first use and, if so, how many times?
Yes, pads need to be washed prior to their first use to remove any fabric sizing and maximize their absorbency. One washing should be fine and then they’re good to go.
Will regular laundering get them clean?
Should pads be washed in hot or cold water?
Hot water can set blood stains so cold water for washing cloth pads is recommended. They get just as clean...plus you save energy and money.
I’ve been told not to use fabric softener on cloth menstrual pads. Why is that?
Fabric softener coats fabric and decreases the absorbency factor so it’s not recommended for items such as cloth menstrual pads and cloth diapers.
I travel a lot and worry about metal detectors and privacy. Do you have any suggestions?
New Moon Pads are made with poly resin KAM snaps so there is no metal at all (metal detectors is one of the reasons I went with non metal snaps). For discreetly carrying extra pads, I suggest putting them in pad pouches in a makeup bag. Even if it's opened by the inspector they usually don't dump it out, just look inside, so they should be safe from other prying eyes. And if questioned you can tell them they're makeup application/removal pads. :o)
Comfort is important to me. How comfortable are cloth pads compared to disposable pads?
Cloth pads vs disposable pads is like comparing soft flannel jammies to those awful scratchy paper gowns that doctors’ offices use. I don’t know about you but I’ll take the soft flannel every time. New Moon Pads are so soft and comfortable you’ll hardly even know you’re wearing one.
What about bulk? Are cloth pads bulkier than disposables?
Some brands can be but not New Moon Pads. They’re designed to be highly absorbent while exceptionally trim so they’re actually less bulky than disposable pads and most cloth pads on the market today.
I hate the clammy feel of disposable pads. Do cloth pads feel the same way?
No. Cloth pads absorb the moisture down into the fabric layering and keep you feeling dry and comfortable. Plus flannel, cotton, and fleece (the main fabrics I use) are all breathable fabrics that keep you cool and comfortable without the sweaty, clammy feeling.
Is there much of an odour when using cloth pads?
Very little. You’ll find cloth pads actually have a lot less (and different) odour than disposables. The chemicals and dioxins used in disposables take on an unpleasant odour when used that even perfumed disposables can’t cover. You don’t get this problem when using cloth. With cloth it’s more natural, not unpleasant at all.
Disposable pad manufacturers recommend changing pads every 4 to 6 hours. How long can you wear a cloth pad before you need to change it?
How often to change cloth pads depends on your flow at the time. With light flow you can go hours, panty liners all day, but if your flow is heavy you would need to change them more frequently. You'll get used to being able to tell when a pad needs to be changed. I personally prefer to change them more often as I like the clean soft comfort of a fresh pad and the charm is that it doesn't cost any extra to change them as often as you would like, whereas with disposables each pad you toss in the trash costs both financially and environmentally.
What stops your pads from leaking through?
High absorbency double brushed flannel comprises the inner absorbency layering of my pads. They’re more absorbent than disposables and the fleece backing is a breathable leak-proof layer that keeps moisture locked in the pad. Many cloth pad makers use non breathable PUL (polyurethane laminate) as their leak barrier. I use only breathable Polartec fleece as the leak barrier in my pads, the same quality fleece used in high end sports wear.
No matter what I do, or what pad brand I use, I always tend to leak over the sides. Is there anything you can recommend?
Some women tend to side leak no matter what they try. I would suggest the Ultra Pads. They’re specifically designed for women with this problem. The sherpa fleece backing wraps around to the front on the sides to form leak resistant gussets. They’re a wee bit bulkier than the classic pads but they work wonderfully to prevent side leaks.
What do I do with used pads when I’m out and about?
When out and about, put used cloth pads into a wet bag or a regular Ziploc bag. Wet bags can be washed, dried and reused. Ziplocs can be rinsed out and used over and over and then can be recycled when they wear out. Discreetly carry clean ready to use pads in an opaque drawstring bag. If using a Ziploc for used pads, it can be placed inside the cotton bag as well. Nobody but you will know what’s in there. When you get home, just toss the used pads into your pad pot or laundry, reload your carry bag with clean pads, a clean wet bag (I keep two handy...one being washed and one ready to use) and you’re ready for your next excursion.
I'm interested in switching to cloth pads but I'm an avid cyclist and I worry about the discomfort of having snapped wings.
Under normal circumstances you wouldn't even know the snaps are there, though when cycling I recommend the wingless pads to minimize pressure points as with prolonged pressure you may get the "Princess and the Pea" effect (notice small irritations that you normally wouldn't). When going with wingless for cycling, go with a little bit longer pad than you normally would to help keep it in place.
Where are New Moon Pads products manufactured?
All New Moon Pads products are designed and manufactured in house in Comox, British Columbia, Canada using supplies sourced from Canada and the USA. Only new high quality premium fabrics are used in the manufacture of all New Moon Pads products. As a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) run business you will always receive the personal touch.
Why are New Moon Pads only available through New Moon Pads online?
. This way the middle man is bypassed and overhead is kept low so savings can be passed along directly to the customer. Which also means I am able to offer free shipping to all my customers worldwide. And who better to answer any questions than the actual designer?
I have a few pads I purchased from you almost 10 years ago and am starting to consider how to properly dispose of them. Obviously, I want to choose an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of them. Do you have any ideas/suggestions?
When it comes time to dispose of reusable pads the cotton is biodegradable but the leak resistant fleece backing is not (it's made from recycled soda bottles so is already on the "reuse" segment of its life cycle). If the pads still work well for leak resistance you can donate them to a women's shelter (after thorough laundering, of course) or to someone who may be interested in switching to cloth but currently can't afford it. If wanting to completely dispose of them, use scissors to cut through the stitching around the pad and remove the fleece backing so that the cotton tops and centres can be biodegraded. The fleece itself is currently not recyclable at this time (though strides are being made in that area so hopefully in the near future) and will need to be discarded. I recently had a client craigslist a bunch of her older pads for free and she had more takers than she had pads! Warms the cockles of a pad-makers heart. :D
What about traveling? I’m not sure how traveling with cloth pads would work.
New Moon Pads are actually very easy to care for while traveling. If you don’t have access to a laundry facility they can be washed out easily by hand and hung to dry from a shower curtain rod or a hanger using cloth pad drying straps. Just rinse the pads until the water runs clear, wash by hand in the sink with mild soap making sure to rinse them well afterward, ring them out well and hang them to dry. Another really easy way to clean them is put them on the floor of the shower while you take your shower and walk all over them (yup...they can take it), then just a quick hand scrub and rinse and that's it. All you need to bring extra are a few drying straps and/or clothes pins to hang them with and you're good to go. If you're camping, tent lines work great as a clothesline or hang them from small tree limbs using the drying straps (if you're not shy). Most people wouldn't even have a clue anyway as to what they are...just tell them they're pot holders. ;o)
Cloth Padding While Traveling
by Kristin Noreen
Using non-disposable menstrual products while traveling can be difficult until you get used to it. With a bit of thinking ahead, you can make it work, and wonder why you ever settled for disposables on the road. I have done bicycle tours, with all my supplies packed in my pannier bags (with space at a premium), staying in hostel dormitories, and even in campgrounds without laundry facilities. Most travelers and women simply about town have a less restrictive set of options, so everything I learned will be easier for you.
Making it work on the road depends on several factors:
• Carrying supplies
• Coping with changing
• Washing your used items
I will list your choices for reusables, then run down the feasibility of each, considering the factors above. Your choice will depend on your anticipated circumstances, your comfort level with reusables, your personal “ick” factor, and your willingness to expose your use of these products to others. Remember, the more people caught out using these things in public, the more acceptable it’s going to become. If you have the moxie to be a pioneer, go for it! If, like me, you prefer to keep these things rigidly private, you have options too.
OPTIONS FOR REUSABLES
• Washable pads
• Menstrual cups
• Sea sponge tampons (referred to simply as "sponges" for the rest of this article)
Always carry at least one more change than you think you will need. No matter which option you choose, carry a wet bag (leak-resistant fleece or oilcloth). Essential for pads, it will be a lifesaver if you encounter an Institutional (see below) washroom and lose your nerve about striding to the sink to rinse your menstrual cup or sponge. A small drawstring bag for spare pads or other items is also handy. If I’m just going shopping and I’m only carrying one spare pad, I put it in a wet bag and swap it out with the used one at changing time.
Underwear specially designed for travel can be less convenient during your moon time. You may have already discovered that the adhesive from disposable pads doesn’t stick to quick-dry travel underpants. Your cloth pads may not have the same traction they have on cotton-crotch underpants and the pads may shift or bunch up. Try wearing your travel underpants at home for one cycle before taking them on the road. You may decide that your slow-drying cotton ones are worth the trouble.
COPING WITH CHANGING
There are several types of washrooms you are likely to encounter while out and about. If you know the type you’re in for, that helps you to plan. Alas, most of us get surprised.
This type is a single washroom with a door, where you have the toilet and sink all to yourself. You get a Private washroom at Starbucks and most local coffee houses, and some restaurants (especially those in converted houses). Any reusable product is easy to use in a Private washroom.
This type has 1 to 3 stalls with a common sink. Semi-private washrooms are typically found at McDonald’s and other fast food chains, and are common in offices. You have a fair chance of not having anyone walk in on you, but there’s no guarantee. Pads are easy to use in a SP washroom; you just put the used one in your wet bag and put on a fresh one. Cups and sponges are more challenging. Ideally, you want to wash it out and put it right back in. This will not always be possible if you’re not willing to carry your used one to the communal sink, and sometimes you might not be able to pop right back into the stall for reinsertion. Also think about having to re-dress for this process; the toilet-paper stuff job required for this temporary lack of protection is a deal breaker for some. You may want to pack along a spare clean cup or sponge and stow the used one in a wet bag. That way you can complete the process right in the same stall and even wash the used one in the sink right then if you want to.
Think back to elementary school with the long row of stalls and one big communal sink. You will probably have individual sinks along the opposite wall, like in movie theaters and on the ferry, but you will have no privacy at the sink and you will almost certainly cross paths with more than one person.
Again, pads are the ideal product for these washrooms. If you are using a cup or sponge, you will have to redress in order to go out and rinse it if you want to reuse the same one right away. You may think you’re willing to publicly rinse it at a long row of sinks, but be prepared to lose your nerve when the time comes. I strongly recommend packing along a clean cup or sponge and a wet bag to stow the used one.
A NOTE ABOUT HOSTELS
Hostels are more common in countries other than the US, but Hosteling International struggles to maintain a small network there too. Most hostels are in buildings converted from some previous use. They usually provide Institutional washrooms and semiprivate shower facilities. However, because they are often converted buildings, you can usually find a Private option somewhere in the building. For example, the hostel in Victoria, BC offers an Institutional washroom and shower on the upper floor, but the majority of the dorm beds are on the lower floor. They provide a single Private washroom in the dorm for use at night. There is also a Private washroom off the kitchen with wheelchair access, and there’s a Private one behind the front desk. Scout out the full washroom scenario where you are and use the Private washrooms when you need one.
LAUNDERING PADS ON THE ROAD
Washing pads on the road is easier than it sounds. Most hostels and campgrounds offer a Laundromat-style setup with coin-operated machines. B&Bs and more private accommodations, ironically, offer less hands-on access to laundry facilities. Often you have to turn over your laundry to another person to do. Some of these people will not welcome menstrual pads in their washing machines. If you are forced to turn over your pads, rinse them well first to reduce your host’s “ick” factor, and mix them in with other things so they won’t be noticed until they’re clean.
Coin-op dryers are typically hotter than the surface of the sun, even on the mild setting. If you must use the dryer, run it for less time than you need and line dry your items for the final finish. This will prevent damage to the fleece moisture barrier used in many washable pads (including New Moon Pads). A too-hot dryer will melt the fibers and destroy the network of air pockets that makes it effective.
Travel clotheslines are available in stores all over. I recommend the Rick Steves braided rubber one; you don’t need any clothespins and you can mount it just about anywhere. I often string my line between the bed posts in hostels and hang my tops near my head to provide a privacy curtain while sleeping.
If you are used to using a pad pot at home and you’re traveling with a suitcase, bring a rubberized container with a tight seal to use as a pad pot on the road. You can use a wet bag for forays away from your hotel or your host’s home, and stow them in the improvised pad pot when you return.
IT CAN BE DONE!
It will be awkward at first, and there will be a fail or two, but you’ll get it down eventually, and you’ll wonder why you ever thought you had to use disposables outside the house.