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Washing Cloth Menstrual Pads

Washing Cloth Menstrual Pads

Washing cloth menstrual pads is really a lot easier than you would think. The care instructions vary by cloth pad manufacturer, but they are usually similar to these.

Storing Cloth Menstrual Pads

Used pads can be stored in a special crock or jar, in a zippered wet bag, or air dried until wash day.

Wet Pail System

Choose a pretty or practical container with a tight fitting lid. Some women use a special "moon jar." I use a plastic canister. Put a few inches of cold water into the container. Drop your used pads in as needed. Every day, drain and refill the container with fresh water. The drained water is great for plants (the small amount of blood in rinse water will break down very quickly in the garden and is great for plants) or you can just pour it down the drain. On wash day, just pour out the water and dump the wet pads into the washer.

Dry Pail System

Simply allow the pads to dry out in a dry pail between washes. If you use this method be sure you wash often enough to avoid a mildew problem. You will also need to soak the pads longer when you do the initial soak in the washer to get them clean.

Rinse and Dry Method

Rinse out your pads as they are used or at the end of the day. Then allow them to air dry until wash day.

Away From Home

A small waterproof cloth wet bag makes it easy to store your pads when you are away from home. You can find zippered, drawstring, or hook and loop style closures to keep any odors in. Some wet bags have separate storage compartments for wet and clean pads.

Washing your cloth menstrual pads

If your pads are pre-rinsed or lightly soiled, you can simply put them in with the rest of your wash. I prefer to wash mine with darks on cold, but some detergent manufacturers suggest using hot water.

If you prefer to wash them separately, simply put your pads in the washer and allow them to soak in COLD water for 30 minutes. Then spin out the water and wash the pads on COLD. Use a very small amount of detergent, about 1-2 Tablespoons should do. You don't want a detergent build up on your pads. Tumble dry or line dry according to the manufacturer's directions. We recommend using Femme Rock detergent as it is fragrance-free and specifically formulated for washing cloth pads.

More Cloth Menstrual Pad Washing Tips

  • Never use chlorine bleach. It weakens the fibers and may ruin your pads. 
  • Never wash unrinsed pads in hot water, it will set the iron from your blood, making a permanent stain. 
  • Do not use fabric softener. It will make the fabric less absorbent and can lead to leaks. Not to mention that fabric softener is highly toxic and not good for any part of you.
  • If you have bothersome stains, try using sunlight to bleach your pads naturally. If this is not sufficient, or you don't have a place where you can discretely sun your pads, try using a small amount of an oxygen based cleaner such as Oxiclean. We recommend The Secret stain remover. 
  • A FEW drops of tea tree oil in the wash water can help disinfect and deodorize your pads.  
  • Should your pads develop a musty smell from sitting in an enclosed space (like the bottom of your purse if you forget them for a few days....) you can use white vinegar in the wash water followed by an extra rinse to be sure all the vinegar is gone. 
  • If you develop a yeast infection while using your pads it can contaminate the pads. Either tea tree oil or vinegar in some soaking water can help remove any potential stowaways.