Re-usable pads question


I read through the previous thread on this subject and didn’t see an answer to my specific question, so here goes: are there any ladies on the boards here who just use cheap washcloths folded up? I have seen that as an option on several websites and right now if I switch to re-usables that is my only option as I am not able to afford any of the pre-made ones out there.
If you use just a cheap washcloth, how does this work for you? Good, bad? Do you still use them or have you purchased or made your own actual pads?
I can sew so I could make my own and may do this in the future, I just wanted to see if there is anyone else out there who started with re-usables the way I’m going to.


I haven’t used any of them :stuck_out_tongue: , but here’s a site that tells you how to sew your own, since you know how to sew. I don’t sew. At all. Even replacing a button. So I don’t know if this is good info or not, but here it is. :shrug:


I use folded washcloths (red or black) in combination with a sea sponge on heavy days, or by itself on light days. You can also put a piece of rubberized flannel between the washcloth folds to prevent a possible leak-through. This works great for me, very easy to wash, no stains, and very inexpensive.


Washcloths don’t work for me. It’s easy to make a flannel bag and stuff it with changeable cotton fill. Make them about one-and-a-half times as long, about ten precent wider and three times as thick as the store-bought cotton ones, and make the snap strips a lot shorter or they will flip over. Velcro works better than a snap and is easier to sew on.
You need five minimum, because they take time to clean and dry. Don’t let them soak too long (ucchhhh), just rinse, soak an hour, rinse, wring, throw in wash and do with laundry. If you weren’t going to do laundry that day, wash with cold water and soap, rinse cold, hang dry and shake out to soften while they dry or they get rough and scratchy.
Don’t use softener; it reduces absorbency.
It’s a big deal. I just use disposables for that reason.


Thank you SO much topaz8! I do have a leftover rubber sheet from many years ago when my boys were still learning to stay dry at night, so I will cut that up and get some washcloths and quit contributing to the landfill problem. I can get 2 dozen washcloths here at the local dollar store for about $4 which is less than what I was spending on pads every month.
I am beginning to go through menopause and my flow is much different that what it used to be, and I needed to find a better alternative than the disposables.
I won’t mind the washing as I was a cloth diaper mom.
Thanks again!


This isn’t exactly what you asked about, but have you considered a menstrual cup? I have a Keeper ( and I love it. I’ve had it for at least ten years and it works great! Very convenient and no waste or washing lots of cloth pads.


What the heck, this is the year 2008. Not 8.

This isn’t that weird granola-natural thing is it?


I will second the recommendation of a menstrual cup. I have been using my Diva Cup for 6 years, although I use reusable pads as well. I have not bought a disposable product in all of that time and it has saved me ALOT of money. When I bought my Diva Cup I think it cost around $30. Menstrual cups are very easy to take care of. I put mine in boiling water every month at the end of my cycle, and wash it with soap and water every time I take it out…easy.
As far as washing reusable pads? Not a big deal at all! I just rinse them out right away and them throw them in the wash later.
Anyone here who has ever experienced irritated skin from throw away pads should consider going this route, it’s good for the environment too…


Nope, just a bunch of us who hate shelling out money each month for this stuff just to throw it out each month, who hate wearing sticky plastic next to our skin, and who hate the fact that all of the mass-market disposables are bleached synthetics that smell weird and leach who knows what kinds of chemicals into our reproductive tracts. I bought pre-made reusables and while they were pricey upfront, I haven’t had to buy disposables in over a year and I haven’t had to deal with the discomfort of disposables either. I also love not having to worry about rushing out first thing in the morning to buy pads because I forgot to stock up. :thumbsup:

I like the idea of making one’s own pads, but I have zero skill with a sewing machine and my skill with a needle and thread extends to replacing buttons and that’s it. :o


I have a Diva Cup and a Keeper, but they give me cramps. A very inexpensive, cramp-free alternative is a silk sea sponge worn internally. You can buy them online for around $12 each or in any art/craft supply store for less than $1 each (this is what I do, it’s the exact same thing). They last 6+ months each with regular use, and you only need 2 per cycle. The absorbency is not 100%, but they provide great backup to a cloth pad or overnight, and they are by far the most natural option. :slight_smile:


I’ve never heard of using washclothes. That’s a great idea! I may consider that when my LunaPads finally wear out.


What’s that supposed to mean?


The Diva cup has cut my cramps to almost nothing. I really like it and it doesn’t leak. I have also used the sea sponge, and they are nice too. Just not enough protection for me.

My friend makes her own cloth pads out of washcloths and flannel. She is really happy with them, I just don’t like the idea of soaking and washing and such. The cup is just so easy, and it never leaks, even on my heaviest days.


The washing thing is actually not as bad as it sounds. Kinda of like CDing :smiley:


I thought about one of those as well, and if you knew how extremely broke I am right now you would understand that I had to make an immediate $5 or less decision (auntie flo coming in the next couple of days).

I went to the dollar store, purchased 18 cotton washcloths for $3, and have washed them and am on my way downstairs to put them in the dryer. I may report back on my experience later!:slight_smile:


I confess, I used a diaper service :blush:




Yes and no. You sir, are a sir and have no idea what we are talking about here. Personally I have been considering going back to using my cotton pads! I am starting to have a reaction to the disposable ones - don’t ask I have no idea what they are putting in those things that i am allergic to because I buy only unscented etc. but my babies couldn’t use disposables either because of allergic reactions (only used them when traveling - once I got to where I was going I went right back to cloth).

I finished reading the thread and see I am not the only one having this problem.

I have another question about cotton re-usables - do you think they would work for that incontinence that comes with age and weight (and hormones - yes, right before my period starts I have to pee a lot more and making it to the bathroom sometimes in time is, well, not always easy :o).

Brenda V.


I see underpants made with that very problem in mind at work. They are regular cotton briefs with a very thick center panel. They don’t seem popular, because they’re bulky, but the principle is the same. You can get them factory-made or make pads. For that purpose, I would assume a foam block in a sheeting cover would do the job.


OP - if you can sew, what you can do is cut up those wash cloths, make a thickness that is comfortable for you, put in the center and use flannel for the outside fabric. Make them wide enough that you can snap or velcro on the underside.

I’m not a big pad user, although I do have a few cloth pads.

I’ve been thinking about the diva cup/keeper or whatever.

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