Cloth or disposable- It applies to more than just diapers (this is a “girls only” topic)

I came across an interesting topic this morning that I thought I’d share with you, and I’d love to hear your feedback on this one!

It all started while visiting a new blog, and stumbling upon this post. The subject of menstrual pads is not one that is commonly discussed on blogs (let alone in real life!), but I think it’s relevant and worth a good discussion.

This is something that I have been thinking about a bit in the last year or two, although over the course of the past 4 years, I have not had a lot of opportunity to be concerned about this issue (pregnancy, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc.- I know many of you understand this cycle!). I’m still nursing at night, so it’s not a necessary issue for me yet, but it will be soon and it’s one that I wanted to explore in greater depth.

There are many worthwhile issues to think about when considering switching to a non-disposable option. I would say that the environmental issue of non-biodegradable waste would be my biggest reason for considering the use of something like cloth pads. Next to disposable diapers, disposable pads are one of the items that are filling up our landfills at the greatest speed. Secondly for me would be the health issues. Here is a brief excerpt from a company selling these products (whom I don’t necessarily endorse, but thought this quote was helpful):

The plastic and glue backing on disposable pads greatly reduce air circulation,

        creating a stagnant environment in which some bacteria thrive. This can cause odor and exacerbate any pre-existing vaginal irritation. This plastic sheeting also causes perspiration, sometimes rashes and other irritations, and can leave you more susceptible to yeast infections. Many women report allergic reactions to disposable pads, most likely caused by bleaching residues.

Low levels of dioxin have been found in almost every major brand of tampon (except 100% organic cotton). Dioxin is a known carcinogen and has been linked to cervical cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. There is much scientific debate as to whether there is such a thing as a “safe level” of dioxin exposure. For more information on dioxin, please see the Dioxin Fact Sheet, prepared by the scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Most women are aware of the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome with prolonged

tampon use. What many women do not know is that the bacteria that causes TSS is naturally occurring in menstrual blood. When the flow of menstruation is cut off and held in the body, this bacteria has the opportunity to proliferate to toxic levels. TSS can cause serious physical impairment and even death.

As well, here and also here are some links to information about tampon safety. 

And lastly, I think that reusable pads are worth considering for the cost- just like disposable diapers, this is a cost that can add up quickly, and I love to find new ways to save money wherever possible. When an issue touches on three such important areas (environment, health and budget), you can bet that I will strongly consider making a change in what I am doing!

Just for fun (yes, I know it might be strange to consider researching cloth pads to be fun– I have never claimed to be normal!), here are a few sites that I came upon, offering both cloth pads as well as some alternative products:

Baby Dreams Boutique

Glad Rags


Also be sure to check the original post for a great link to Hillbilly Housewife, for a tutorial for making your own cloth pads.

Now here’s my question- is anybody using any of these products? Would you share with us what you use, why and how you like it? Anybody else considering switching, like me?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Beth Ann Schad says:

    Baby Dreams Boutique is under construction right now. March 13, 2013

  2. well i have placed my order for cloth pads and am excited!! I sure hope that it will help with the heavy periods!! 2 weeks ago a friend mentioned that she uses them and it got me thinking…as i used cloth diapers for my wee one and that wasn’t so hard!

  3. cLizzys05 says:

    Hello everyone! I am new at and am looking forward to meeting people here. A tiny bit about myself… I have had a exciting year, I recently moved to Lakeview from my hometown and more importantly I am new mom of a precious baby girl. She is the world to me! As a new mother the expensises add up rather quick. Does anyone have any cost cutting tips that they could pass along to a single mom with not a lot of extra income?

  4. i’m currently nursing my second baby, so i’m not needing anything for the time being. but i know that day will come, and i’m loving reading peoples comments so that i can plan ahead and know what i want to use when i begin my cycle again. i’m also super encouraged that so many women are cool with discussing these things! thank you for being willing to talk to others about something we are taught is “yucky”!!

  5. What a wonderful thread! I switched to cloth pads over 5 yrs ago, just before getting pregnant w/my second child. I had many many issues with the bleaching agents and adhesives in disposable pads & tampons, so I bought one Glad Rag and made my own from there. When my dd (3 next week) is ready for her cycle to start I plan to have a wonderful set made for her so she does not have to ever use disposables w/all of her allergies. I am so encouraged to see so many others who feel the same as I do.