Washing Your Cloth Sanitary Pads

Washing Your Cloth Sanitary Pads

February 11, 2020

If you have been using disposable sanitary towels and tampons for some time, and you are considering using washable cloth sanitary pads for the first time, the big question will probably be, how do I wash them? You will need to prewash your new reusable cloth sanitary pads before first use. You can just wash them with your regular clothes, as long as you dont use any fabric softener. Fabric softener coats the cloth fibres and reduces absorbency. 

If you are using bamboo charcoal cloth sanitary pads then you don't need to worry about staining as the upper layer will be black or very dark grey. If you use white topped cloth sanitary pads then staining may be a concern. The best way to prevent staining is to use cold water. Soaking or rinsing your cloth sanitary pad (or CSP) in cold water will help to prevent stains from setting. There are two different options for this. One is to simply rinse your cloth sanitary pad in cold water by hand, and then store it in a small waterproof wet bag until you are ready to put it in the washing machine. Alternatively another method is soaking them in cold water until wash day. 

Washing your cloth sanitary pads

This all sounds very easy so far, but that is assuming that you are at home while you are having your period. The reality of course is we will probably be out and about living our lives, and many of us will be at work when our period arrives. If isn’t practical to soak or rinse your cloth sanitary pads in cold water immediately after use, you can simply fold up the pad and place them in a small waterproof pouch bag called a wetbag and zip it closed. It will not be obvious to anyone that there is a used pad in this zipped closed wetbag. If anyone tried to steal your purse and discovers them while rooting for money, we'll quite frankly, too bad for them! When you get home you can simply rinse the reusable cloth sanitary pads in cold water just before putting in the washing machine. You could consider using a stain remover on any areas that the blood has dried and won't lift with cold water. However, prevention is better than cure so ideally wetting the pad with cold water before any blood dries is always a better option. 

Various washable cloth sanitary pads will have washing guidelines from the manufacturer, but the general rule is to wash at 40 degrees celcius as higher temperatures can set a stain. 
You can use either a powder or a liquid detergent, and biological detergent will clean better than non bio detergent. Remember, don’t use any fabric softener.

Pads can be added to normal household laundry, you can simply do a separate rinse first (either by hand or in the washing machine) and then add the rest of your laundry.  Remember to not use fabric softener. 

You can tumble dry your washable cloth sanitary pads on a cool setting, however you may find the inner layers bunch a little. Air drying your reusable cloth sanitary pads is the preferred drying option. I would always straighten out the pad with a little tig when I take it out of the washing machine and place it on a drying rack to dry. You can also use an octopus style sock dryer for pegging multiple pads up at one time.
Drying your cloth sanitary pads
A little tip for any residual stains that you may encounter: nature's finest stain remover, sunlight, works wonders on lightening stains and making whites white again. Placing your reusable cloth sanitary pads on a sunny window sill can work surprisingly well, even on slightly cloudy days. Give it a try and see! 

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