We’ve recently covered one of the more sustainable options for period cycles, the menstrual cup, but there are other options out there. Reusable pads are a great option for periods, post-natal recovery, incontinence, and comfort for all. Disposable pads create a lot of waste, and many of the popular brands use harmful ingredients in their products. To help you get started, we’ve created a guide to help you find the best reusable pads out there.
We also have a section on how to wash reusable feminine pads, as well as some references on how to make cloth pads for periods. That section features a couple of videos, and links to some free patterns that you can download if you are into DIY products!
If you’re like me, and DIY is limited to house projects and around the Yard- never fear. Our first section contains cloth pad reviews of all of our favorite products.
Best Cloth Pads Reviews: Top 10 Reusable Pads
In this section we’ve got our reusable pad reviews featuring all of the best reusable pads on the market. Many of them are available in different sizes, materials, and patterns. We’ve tried to choose a nice variety to feature, so that there’s something for everyone.
Best Cloth Pads Overall
Coming in at our #1 spot is a PNW brand local to EcoKarma called Glad Rags and their reusable day pad. Their 100% cotton pads are well deserving of this ranking because they are customizable to your flow. The pad itself features a pocket where you can either place one or two absorbent inserts to meet your needs.
As a bonus, we’ve linked to Salem Cloth Project. Non-profit organization that uses 10% or more of all store sales to help fund their Free Cloth Diaper Program for Low-Income Families in Salem, OR. If you’ve read our blog, you might connect that one of our former writers started the company. She makes top-quality products, and carries incredible locally-made products in the Salem Cloth Project Store. So your purchase of this pad will help provide cloth diapers to a family! How cool is that?
EcoKarma and it’s current staff receive no commission or ad revenue from any Salem Cloth Project Sales.
This 5 pack of reusable pads are perfect for the eco-friendly woman. The inner layers of these cloth pads are made from Bamboo Activated Charcoal. Not only are the super absorbent, but activated charcoal is actually a great way to neutralize odors naturally. Plus, they are soft and comfortable. Wegreeco makes their printed cloth pads in small, medium, and large lengths. They are also available in two prints and a variety pack. The outer layer is 100% waterproof, and will help keep you dry and stain free.
Wegreeco has a company mission of using environmentally friendly materials, in order to ethically reduce waste. Personal care during periods is changing, and the future is reducing and reusing. Their version of the reusable sanitary pads feature multiple snaps to provide the best fit for all.
Best Organic Reusable Pads
If you’re looking for a more subtle reusable cloth pad, Hesta is one of the best options for you. Coming in a set of 3, Hesta makes their pads in 4 sizes in both white and light brown. They manufacture their organic reusable cotton pads without harmful bleaches or chemical processing. Hasta has a trademarked 6 layer absorption design to help lock in moisture and prevent leaking while keeping you totally comfortable and able to go about your day.
The best part? These organic pads are thinner than typical paper pads but much can soak up a lot more without toxic chemicals or waste. The pads won’t budge because of the elastic straps combined with snaps.
If you’re looking for the best reusable menstrual pads for the money- you’ve found it. Teamoy cloth sanitary pads come in a 10 pack, with 3 different sizes that will work with different menstrual volumes. In one order you’ll receive 3 small, 4 medium, and 3 large cloth pads that will be perfect for nighttime. The inner layers are made from 2-layer microfiber, with a waterproof PUL layer surrounding it.
This pack also comes with a wet bag, so you can keep your reusable cloth pads together and in a sanitary place while awaiting the wash. We highly recommend Teamoy for first time users of reusable pads because you get the most for your money and will be able to try out different sizes for the cost of of two or three higher end reusable pads.
Best Reusable Pads Brand
A newcomer to our list of best pads take over the top spot for Best Reusable Pads Brand! Rael Organic cotton pads are made with 100% Certified Organic Cotton. The top layer, which goes up against your skin is OCS certified organic cotton. The pad design is made with breathable layers that help wick away moisture and keep you cool.
Rael Organic machine washable pads come in a few different sizes, and are easy to care for.
So why are they our pick for best brand? They also make disposable pads and tampons. Their organic tampons are made with a cotton core. Their disposable pads are made with organic cotton covers. For anyone looking for some great options on-the-go they’ve got you taken care of.
Best Reusable Pads for Night
One style we haven’t visited yet is a cloth pad that features a pocket with inserts. The point of a pocket is to help wick away moisture from your skin and leave you more comfortable and dry throughout the night. Handmade made in the USA, you get 1 holder and 2 inserts made of super absorbent terry cloth and flannel to give you the best protection at night.
Aside from use at night, this is one of the best cloth pads for heavier flows and postpartum use. These pads are designed to last so many years, and comes packaged in 100% sustainable boxing. We love that GladRags has gone above and beyond to make a reusable cloth pad that truly is eco-friendly.
A more simple design made with more simple materials. Think eco uses 100% organic cotton that is safe for even the most sensitive of skin. This thinner designed pad is best for used at the end of your period or on lighter days. It’s also a great option to use as a backup for the use of menstrual cups when you’re being active or moving more.
The snaps are adjustable, to help fit any style of underwear or outfit comfortably. You can use these reusable cloth pads daily without irritation, and washing is extremely easy. Think eco also makes these cloth pads in 3 colors, and an extra slimmer style.
Best Cloth Pads for Light Flow
Heart Felt makes our pick for the best reusable sanitary pads for light flow periods and days. Heart Felts their cloth pads to be extra soft, and the reviews verify this! It’s also one of the top reviewed cloth pads on the market. The bamboo activated charcoal neutralizes odors while being hypoallergenic. The dark color also makes stains less noticeable even after years of use.
The light flow cloth pad is compact and thin, but can still be absorbent enough to be worn overnight. Designed to be leakproof, Heart Felts also backs their project with 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Best Reusable Pads/Panties Combo
Another great option is to skip the extra step of the reusable cloth pads, you can try menstrual panties! They are the all-in-one option that are leak proof and will make you never want to go back to tampons and paper pads. LunaCup offers their menstrual panties in a set with 3 pairs of underwear and 2 of their best reusable menstrual pads. You can pair them together for heavier days. We even love bamboo cloth pads on their own.
Their panties and cloth pads for periods are 100% antibacterial, and breathable. The pads have two layers of bamboo cloth, and an inner layer of microfiber for added absorbency. The panties are of 95% cotton and 5% spandex for added comfort.
Best Cloth Pads for the Day
Just like our suggestion for cloth pads for night, the Glad Rags reusable cotton day pad is a pocket liner with two terry cloth inserts to help with absorbency. The cotton flannel is soft, and fitted with a snap that will keep things in place and prevent leaking. Glad Rags does no animal testing, make their products in the USA, and come with a doctor recommendation.
They are also un-dyed and plain, so you don’t need to worry about them showing through anything or irritating your skin. This also makes them easier to wash, and you can bleach them if you are concerned about staining over time. Overall they were a close runner up as best organic reusable menstrual pads.
Why Make the Switch to Reusable Cloth Pads?
Pads and other common feminine hygiene products cause so much waste, and are not at all sustainable. The number of disposable tampons and pads used in just one year by a woman is extremely high. Do the quick math- you’ll probably be surprised at what you spend on average. Not only is it expensive, but the amount of plastic waste and packaging that these products produce is egregious. If you switch to reusable cloth pads, you can make a huge dent in your monthly and yearly expenses.
End the Cycle (of Waste)
On top of that, you’ll help end the cycle of disposable dependence. Many non-profits that focus on women’s health are begging for donations of reusable pads to give away because they do more long term good for impoverished women and teens. It gives everyone a more practical solution to being able to manage our monthlies.
If you want to learn more about the waste that tampons and pads cause, you can read more on our page featuring menstrual cups. We also briefly discuss the harmful chemicals and processes that go into the creation of most disposable pads and tampons. Be mindful of what you’re using around the sensitive parts of your body! Switch to something with transparency in the manufacturing process, and clean materials. We strongly encourage you to give reusable period pads a try.
How to Make Reusable Pads
We love our DIYers! And DIY reusable pads aren’t overly challenging to make if you want to take a crack at it. Here are some of our favorite resources for how to make reusable feminine pads.
Cloth Pad Pattern Options:
- A resource we love for all things menstrual: Put a Cup in It! also provides some free reusable sanitary pads patterns here: https://putacupinit.com/free-cloth-menstrual-pad-patterns/
- UK Blogger Luna Wolf also has some free cloth pad patterns available, here http://lunawolf.co.uk/wordpress/ and you can buy her a cuppa if you love what she offers!
- Blue Dinosaurs Blog also has a cloth pad pattern available, as well as a full page tutorial on how to sew reusable menstrual pads, so you can feel comfortable making your own! http://blog.bluedinosaurs.com/p/cloth-pad-tutorial.html
Videos: How to Make Reusable Pads
Here are a couple of DIY Reusable Pads videos to help you out on your journey to an eco-friendly cycle!
The first video we have is a DIY Reusable cloth menstrual pads & wet bag how to from YouTuber: Angie.
The second option is a video that demonstrates how to make the best cloth pads from materials you might already have! Amy Nix on Youtube shows you how to DIY Upcycled Cloth Pads.
How to Wash Reusable Menstrual Pads
You might be wondering if learning how to wash reusable pads is going to be difficult, and outweigh some of the benefits of switching from disposables. However, we think you’ll be pretty surprised.
Some of the brands have specific instructions on how to wash reusable pads made of their specific materials. For the most part, you can do the following:
- Rinse pad in cold water, or run it through a pre-rinse in the washer. Cold water helps prevent staining, and you’ll want to do this ASAP.
- Hand Wash or Machine Wash with normal detergent on warm.
- Air dry to get the most life out of your cloth pads.
- If you’re on the go, we highly recommend investing in a wet bag to keep your cloth pads in after use and before you have the chance to wash them.