Frugal Living

Washable Sanitary Pads

Washable Sanitary Pads


I have been using washable sanitary pads for approximately 10 years now. It all started when I was expecting my third child and I was researching washable nappies. I noticed a section on the website for washable sanitary protection and, feeling a bit grossed out, took a look. After perusing the different options it occurred to be that it really wasn't any more gross than a washable nappy. After all, if I was prepared to see to another persons, albeit a babies, intimate needs then I really shouldn't be freaking out about seeing to my own! With that thought firmly in mind I ordered a starter pack, which consisted of three different sized cotton pads and two different sized waterproofed backed, poppered pouches to hold the pad in place.

I must admit that the first month I wore them it was with trepidation, as I was not convinced as to the security and absorbancy of the pad. There were a few little leaks along the way, but nothing major. Thankfully I used to bleed really lightly at that point in my life. I'm sure that those pads (which I still have and are still wearable) would not stand up to my current flow which has increased dramatically since the birth of my fifth baby, nearly 2 years ago. It is possible that the heavier flow is down to me still breastfeeding, I guess I won't find out until Amelia weans herself off!

The main thing I noticed after I started wearing the washable pads is that all the thrush like symptoms that I used to be plagued with vanished. At first I didn't put two and two together, until one time when I was going to be on holiday during 'that time'. Obviously I didn't want to carry around soiled pads with me whilst out and about or have to wash them on a camp site so I resorted to disposibles again. By the time my period was over I was suffering chronic burning and itching down below, like I had done so many times in the past. After resorting to all the pills and creams to clear up the infection I went back to using the washable pads the month after and no problems. Over the past 10 years there have been several months when using washable pads were not an option, and each time I ended up with a thrush like infection by the time my period was finished. I know other women who have similar problems when using disposible pads too, so I have come to the conclusion that it is not coincidental and quite probably due to the plastics and chemicals they use in these products.

Over the years I made new pads to fit in the pouches but I was still not happy with the design of the pad, wishing rather that I had something similar to a winged Always to wear, an all-in-one if you like. After all, you get all-in-one nappies so why not all-in-one pads? I started looking on the internet for instructions and patterns for making your own pads and none of them were the sort of design that I was after. So I came up with my own, overlocker friendly, easy to do custom design that doesn't require you to follow vast quantities of instructions or buy specialsed fabrics.

My pads are made from one layer of waterproof backing and one layer of fleece (well if it keeps a baby dry and fresh shouldn't I feel dry and fresh too!) with a 4 or 6 layered pad sandwiched between them.

I use a regular machine and an overlocker, plus popper fastenings which are hammered in place. It is quite feasible to use only a regular sewing machine, using a zigzag stitch to bind the edges of the fabric together and hand-stitched poppers instead of hammered studs.

Carewise, once I use the pads I store them dry in a lidded nappy bucket over 24 hours, then wash them on an evening and hang them on the radiators to dry over night. If they are heavily soiled I wash them once in the machine without any laundry detergent, then wash them again with a small amount of detergent and an extra rinse cycle.

I think that just about covers it all, now I just need to tell you how to make them...

Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, September 19, 2010 11:27 AM