Washable Menstrual Pads: Reusable and DIY Menstrual Pads

Until the end of World War II, American women mostly wore washable menstrual pads. Over 60 years later, this economical solution to the monthly menses is an unusual choice, but in the event of an apocalyptic occurrence, availability of paper and plastic products is going to be an issue.

Commercial Pads

You have choices of night pads and day pads similar to the choices that you have with the non-renewal products that are so common, but many vendors offer colors as well. Some of the sellers that offer the cloth alternative to the disposable pads to which so many women have accepted include:

  • GladRags - A happy name to provide assistance with a natural process that some call the curse, the Gladrags pads come in various colors but according to the reviews you are sent the colors that the company has in stock and cannot choose the colors. Some reviews indicate that after washing the pads they sometimes twist and do not lay flat.
  • Sckoon Organic Cotton Washable Pads - Sckoon offers a variety of washable menstrual pads, including starter kits with day and night pads. Some reviews complain about the bulkiness of the pads, as well as some problems with the pads sliding and shifting. 
  • Imse Vimse Sanitary Pads - As with many of the menstrual pads, some reviewers complain about bulkiness, but most reviews do praise the absorbency of these pads. 

The commercial brands of washable menstrual pads offer a green solution to caring for menses. The current users of the pads recommend trying a few of the products that are available, as preferences for a particular product are as individual as the women who use them.

Make Your Own Washable Menstrual Pads

You will find many patterns to make your own reusable menstrual pads on the Internet and you might be surprised how easy they are to make. You can make the reusable pad for a fraction of the cost of the commercial products with the following:

  • Absorbent material, such as flannel 
  • Thread
  • Safety pin
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle or sewing machine, if available and practical

Most patterns call for creating an outer cover with a pocket to hold the cloth pad and construction follows the design of the commercial paper and plastic pad. If civilization is no longer as you know it now, knowing how to make your own menstrual pads will be a valuable skill. During a catastrophic event that continues for years, the ability to make your own pads will be a useful skill for yourself and perhaps even a bartering item for things you do not have.

Cleaning

Most women who use washable menstrual pads have a container of cold water in which to place the soiled pads. Change the water daily if you are unable to wash them the same day. You will find using a plunger solely for churning the water to clean the pads is very effective. 

Vinegar or tea tree oil will disinfect the pads if you have a yeast infection. Chlorine bleach is not recommended, as it will weaken the fibers and use only a little soap, as any kind of build up will decrease the absorbency. Although it is unlikely that you would be using fabric softener in a survival situation, do not use it if available, as it too decreases the ability of the fabric to soak up the fluid.

Containers to hold the soiled pads until you can put them in the bucket may be needed if you are away from home or the base camp. You can use plastic bags or bags with plastic linings. Planet Wise has a selection of Wet/Dry diaper bags, which would make carrying clean and soiled pads easy and discreet. Available in small and medium sizes, they could easily fit in a backpack or tote bag.

If you begin using washable menstrual pads now, you not only will be prepared for a catastrophic event you will be seeing an economic as well as ecological benefit. Remember, most women who use the cloth pads do not intend to ever use the disposable ones again. Preparation for a long-term apocalyptic event requires planning for all aspects of human life, and menses is one reality for which women, and male preppers who hope to have a wife and family someday, must plan.





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