We can all agree that periods aren’t our favorite time of the month. Not only do we have to deal with cramps and headaches, but we also throw out tons of money on massive amounts of disposable sanitary products that pollute our planet.
However, if you’ve ever wondered whether there could be a more eco-friendly and economical alternative to make your time-of-the-month an easier one, I’ve got just the right thing for you!
Reusable menstrual pads are an excellent substitute for one-time-use pads. They are way more sustainable, comfortable, unique AND economical (correct, your budget won’t have to suffer either!).
This is why I’ve decided to make a list of the best reusable pads for women in 2021
To my mind (and body), GladRags the winner of this roundup.
So, what makes GladRags so special? Gladrags fill every criterion for a good cloth pad.
They are incredibly sustainable and extremely comfy. Both the pantyliners and the pads are made of 100% organic cotton, and it is sooo soft! The liners even come with inserters - just like the pads - and are great for a bit of light flow, if one day you don’t trust your period to behave. They’re perfect if you’re wearing a menstrual cup as well, and don’t want any unexpected leaking to ruin your panties.
They’ve also got pads for heavier flows, and I especially love the GladRags nighttime pads. Not something you’d wear during the day, but ideal if you expect your period to come overnight. And did I mention how comfortable they are? You really get something for the money while saving the earth.
Cotton Mermaid Cloth Menstrual Pads are the perfect choice if you want to feel comfortable at a lower price. They’re made out of hemp and organic bamboo cotton, making them environmental and incredibly comfy (even if you’re sensitive).
These cloth pads come in a variety of sizes: small, medium, large and XL. And - if your flow likes to change (just like my mood swings) - they even give you the choice of buying a Mermaid’s Pad Deluxe Kit. All of the sizes are included - you even get a couple of wet bags for when you’re on the go and need to store your used pad.
The starter pack is a bit cheaper and contains a pad of each size. So you might want to go with that if you’re not quite sure which one would fit you and if wet bags aren’t a necessity.
If you’re sure about what you need, buying different sizes is also an option!
UPDATE - Cotton Mermaid doesn't sell this item anymore - they now sell Period Panties! I'm certainly curious to try them out.
Lunapads Cloth Pads come in different sizes and bright colors - the purple ones look particularly cute.
I particularly love the removable inserts that make LunaPads capable of staying on the whole day without changing it. The removable inserts make it easier to regulate the absorbance level, which is handy when you’re away from home because they are smaller than the pad itself. However, some reviews claim that the pads aren’t suitable for hefty flows, so I’d advise using them for daily activities rather than overly busy days.
Lunapads aren’t the most varied pads when it comes to sizes - so if you have trouble finding a specific fit, these might not be for you - but they have the most common sizes for lighter and heavier flows.
These are the pads that I’ve found fit me the best. Party In My Pants has pads of all sizes, but also panty liners that are perfect to use with a menstrual cup. That way you can feel completely secure all day.
I love the unique colors and the distinct shapes. Some of the pads have the same absorbance level, but come in different shapes, which means that you can get the one that fits your body the best. However, the smaller pads aren’t as absorbent as the bigger ones, and all pads only have one snap, which makes them less adjustable.
And as I said before, they don’t only have pads, but also panty liners. It’s a great option if you’re a bit tired of wearing your period underwear, or if you miss wearing tight pants whenever you like.
They also offer different materials for the pads, such as cotton, flannel and organic cotton. Depending on which material you choose, the pad you order will consist entirely of your chosen fabric.
PIMP (Party In My Pants) pads aren’t the most affordable on this list, but you definitely get something special for your money.
If you like a bit of quirkiness while feeling safe, no matter how much your period is acting up, these will be the pads for you.
Emilla pads come in 5 different sizes: S-XXL. These pads are surprisingly absorbent, considering they’re some of the thinnest cloth pads out there! They’re perfect for a heavy flow because of their waterproof lining. However, the panty liners are also ideal for everyday discharge, or if you’re using a menstrual cup.
Emilla pads are made of Oekotex fabric, making them very eco-friendly and comfortable, as it feels very snug against your skin. The last thing you’d want to agitate you during that time of the month is the very thing that’s supposed to protect you!
LadyPad Pantyliners are 100% organic - being made of organic bamboo and cotton - and are fantastic when you’re using a menstrual cup, or expecting your period to hit but are not sure when. These Pantyliners are for daytime use and for very light flow. When you just want to be on the safe side. Definitely get some more oversized and absorbent pads for heavier flows.
These pantyliners are one-sized, but have a very nice size. However, they do not have adjustable snaps - only having one snap - but should still fit most underwear just fine.
Just like most cloth pads, LadyPad liners can also be thrown in the washer and dryer. So they’re just as effortless and straightforward to clean as every other cloth pad and cloth liner on this list.
It’s no surprise, given the name, that TreeHugger pads are super sustainable. They come in three different fabrics: polyester, bamboo and cotton. Polyester is sustainable but not very eco-friendly. So, if you want to be a full environmentalist, you should try either bamboo or cotton topped pads.
However, all of the fabrics - other than the polyester - are super sustainable and comfy. Bamboo is a bit softer than cotton, and has a higher absorbency level, whereas polyester is fluffier. It is also worth mentioning that Treehugger plants a tree for each pad that they sell. How’s that for environmentalism?
When it comes to sizes, TreeHugger has pretty much everything. Liners, pads for lighter flow, heavy flow. Bamboo is ideal for heavier flows, though it has fewer patterns and prints as it is a natural fiber. But if you aren’t all about looks but effect then they should be just perfect!
This is the key difference between cloth pads and disposable pads.
It may sound strange in the beginning but don’t you worry! It is actually very easy and once you’ve gone through with it a couple of times you won’t even remember why you were worried in the first place.
The great thing about washing reusable pads is that you can choose to wash them by hand, or just throw them in the washer. I choose to use the washing machine, as it’s quicker, easier and more environmental if you just toss it in with your wash.
After you’ve washed your pads, you can either use the dryer or simply put your pads out in the sun and let them air-dry.
This is just the quicker version of the full guide on how to wash your reusable pads. If you want to read the full version, check out my article here.
Reusable pads are as easy to fit as disposable pads. The only difference is that you don’t throw them out after one use! (Here’s a full guide on how to use reusable pads).
When you attach the disposable pad to your underwear, the pad is held in place by plastic wings located on the sides of the pad, whereas on cloth pads the wings - and the pad itself - are made out of organic materials (such as cotton), and have a small metallic snap, button or velcro sewn onto them.
When changing, just undo your button, snap or velcro, put a new pad on, discard the other one to the laundry basket or simply wash it immediately.
Reusable pads - with the proper care - can last for five years or more! That beats the pants off of single-use pads.
Aside from being sustainable, reusable pads had an incredibly noticeable positive impact on my economy. I no longer had to buy new, plastic-filled products every month. Instead, I now have a couple of unique, printed, eco-friendly pads, that I absolutely wouldn’t dream of getting rid of.
If you’ve been lacking a hobby in your life, or can’t find the right print that fits you, making DIY reusable pads is also an option. You’ll know exactly what your pad is made of, and that it doesn’t contain any chemicals that might be harmful to you.
It’s an easy process, and this way, you can make sure to have the pads that are right for you. I’ve made quite a few since I switched to reusable pads and was amazed by how simple the process actually is.
Even if you aren’t a pro when it comes to a sewing machine, after a couple of goes, you’ll be surprised by how enjoyable it actually is to create your own, personalized pads.
I’ve made a small tutorial to guide you through making your very own cloth pads. Just follow the link here and release your creativity.
Not only did the switch to cloth pads from disposable pads make my period more sustainable and less pricey, but I have never felt more comfortable during that time of the month. They really did wonders.
And, of course, there are many different reusable sanitary pads out there, but on this list of best reusable pads, GladRags is the definite winner - as they are economical, sustainable and comfortable. Basically, they fit all the basic criteria for cloth pads, so what’s not to like?
Reusable menstrual pads are an obvious choice if you’re planning on living a more zero-waste lifestyle, but they’re also healthier than regular pads. They’re softer and aren’t induced with chemicals that could be harmful to both you and our planet.
When all is said, I really hope you enjoyed this article! Check out my other articles where I explain how to use, wash and make your own reusable pads.