Reusable menstrual pads
July 18, 2014 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm on the market to buy reusable menstrual pads. Please recommend your favorite companies to buy from.

I thought this would be already asked, but I only found a similar question that focused on cups and IUDs or that otherwise deal with this as a side issue.

I want to buy reusable menstrual pads. I want to buy a whole set at once without experimenting first, but the sets are expensive and I want your recommendations first.

In addition to other companies, Etsy has a lot of sellers and if you have experience with one you love that will be great.

Specifications: I'd like something all natural and made of all natural fibers (at least for the part touching my skin). I'm not a big fan of anything that requires inserts, because I can't stand hassles (so it looks like luna pads is out). If there is something perfect that is also more affordable, great, because the prices make me squirm. But if there's nothing to do but choke it up for great quality, I will. I don't need recommendations for how to make them, because I won't make them. I want a nice looking, reliable finished product, and I'm not able to make that.

Bonus question: is there really a reasonable chance that using reusable pads would make my cramps go away? Because I have insane, debilitating pain during my periods.

Thanks in advance!
posted by cacao to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: oh, and will want a mix- mostly medium and heavy pads, but a couple of panty liners. Thanks!
posted by cacao at 2:35 PM on July 18, 2014

New Moon pads. The owner, Renee, is extremely helpful and quick in answering questions. The fabric patterns are fun, they're easy to use and clean, and they come in a variety of sizes. If you sign up for her newsletter, she frequently has specials available for members only.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:37 PM on July 18, 2014

GladRags is great! And they're nearly continuously sending coupons through email.
posted by magdalemon at 2:38 PM on July 18, 2014

Best answer: These are pretty good.

I would be surprised if a reusable pad would do anything to relieve pain, but my doctors have given me tons of options for stopping the pain in the past--and they've all worked, one way or another.
posted by wintersweet at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2014

It's been a few years (since I went the IUD route eventually) so I can't speak to specific brands, but I did want to confirm your suspicion that the inserts are kind of a hassle. I would strongly recommend looking for something with wings, snaps, and no inserts to fuss with. (I just used the Lunapads pantyliners, but if you're looking for something more like a medium/heavy pad I'm thinking they won't do it for you.)
posted by Stacey at 2:45 PM on July 18, 2014

Seconding GladRags, and shunning inserts (the added bulk is just too uncomfortable). As for your bonus question: I use cloth pads as a panty-liner-like backup for a menstrual cup (the Lunette) for part of my cycle, and I think it's the constant, gentle suction of the cup that lessens my cramping somehow (and also shortens the length of my period overall), rather than using cloth.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:53 PM on July 18, 2014

Seconding Party in my Pants - they're ridiculously thin but don't leak at all, and lots of pretty patterns. I started out with New Moon Pads and they're nice, but I found them a bit bulky.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 3:23 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yep, Party In My Pants. I use the overnights because I need a long pad. They're cute and they do the trick.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:27 PM on July 18, 2014

PIMP is the aforementioned insertless - they have wings with snaps. You can get a second pad that attaches to that pad, but I haven't bothered since I use mine as cup backup.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:28 PM on July 18, 2014

Sorry to hijack--but don't the patterns on these stain? I've wanted just plain black reusable pads because I figured anything patterned or lighter would end up a blotchy, stained mess.
posted by Anonymous at 3:58 PM on July 18, 2014

Sorry to hijack--but don't the patterns on these stain? I've wanted just plain black reusable pads because I figured anything patterned or lighter would end up a blotchy, stained mess.

I used PIMP for a couple months as my only way of dealing with my period. They do stain, but the patterns do a good job of camouflaging the stains. They don't stain a lot though - I was surprised at how little there was - if you use the recommended OxoBrite detergent. But, unless they are dry (i.e. you let them sit for a bit), you can't wash them with the rest of a laundry load. I couldn't abide having them sit around (I'm weird), so I switched back to tampons, using the PIMP as pantyliners.
posted by bluefly at 4:30 PM on July 18, 2014

Lunapads are my preferred product. Washes well, lasts forever. Multitude of sizes.
posted by RainyJay at 4:35 PM on July 18, 2014

Yeah, the price is hard to stomach up front but I *love* not having to think about buying pads ever again -- to say nothing of not having to spend the money just to throw away so much plastic.

I use Lunapads. I have some of the ones with inserts but I rarely use the inserts. On heavy days I put the overnight pad inside the panties but don't use the inserts for either of them. (Note that this is also with a Divacup as well -- my heavy days are *heavy*)

You can get them in Organic cotton, which I like (though it makes it even more expensive).

Some of them I've had for years -- like ten plus -- and they are still in great condition.
posted by librarina at 5:07 PM on July 18, 2014

Well, I kneejerked on the GladRags rec -- looking in the bureau drawer, I see mine are actually from Pandora Pads. (In organic cotton, cream and maroon, never a problem with staining but then again they're rinsed and pre-treated with laundry soap at the end of the day. I often use OxyClean in the washing machine).
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:11 PM on July 18, 2014

I actually dislike the Party in my Pants pads. The backing is a waterproof nylon which makes them thin but also kind of slippery. They slide around and bunch up, whereas other brands have a flannel backing (with waterproof nylon or PUL) sandwiched between other layers and don't slip as much.
posted by barnone at 8:40 AM on July 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the recs! If anyone has an etsy shop they'd recommend I'd really appreciate it. The pricing looks better, I'm still afraid of the cost of PIMP and gladrags...
posted by cacao at 8:46 AM on July 19, 2014

I bought mine on etsy from a shop called Emmastar. Looks like she's on holiday though. I definitely recommend the kind with snaps -- no inserts or nylon, just 100% cotton flannel.
posted by quixotictic at 10:12 AM on July 19, 2014

I buy all mine from an Etsy shop called Mimi's Dreams. They have all been really high quality and her fabric choices are adorable. I've been really happy with every pad I've bought from her. I adore these pads.
posted by whatideserve at 8:45 PM on July 19, 2014

I bought a bunch from yurtcraft's Etsy shop. The backing is fleece. They come in a variety of sizes and weights. I particularly like that the snap-fastened wings on her pads are so much less bulky than some others.
posted by tangerine at 12:16 AM on July 20, 2014

I've also tried the PIMPs and Mimi's Dreams.

PIMPs: expensive, but very nice.
Mimi's Dreams: nice, but took FOREVER to get here. Like two months.

I really just prefer the New Moon pads, even though they're bulky. They do the job.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:32 AM on July 20, 2014

I've just ordered a few from Moonpads on Etsy. My friend really likes them and they looked like they hit my own personal needs. They will be here this week, and I'll update with my review.

But I really recommend trying out a selection from different folks. Buy 1-2 a month and see which ones you like. I'm glad I didn't buy a whole set from someone because I wouldn't have known how to gauge my own requirements before trying them.
posted by barnone at 12:52 PM on July 20, 2014

Best answer: If you're looking for Etsy shops, I bought a lot of reusable pads and pantiliners from a place called Lohan. I really like the fact they have a plain cottony texture instead of the flannel and weird blend fabrics that I've found everywhere else. Even though they ship from Korea, the rates were actually about the same as domestic and not bad.
posted by Kimmalah at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2014

I bought mine from Caroline's Creations four years ago, and they're comfortable and still in excellent shape despite dozens of washing.
posted by snakeling at 5:37 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok, just ordered all of my pads. I decided to go ahead and spend enough money so that I would have enough to meet my needs, but to buy from a few different vendors so that "all my eggs aren't in one basket," and that I'll know how the lower end stuff compares to the higher end.

Even though I ended up spending $116, I have enough supply to meet my full cycle now.

I bought:

-PIMP's deluxe kit and the mini liner that you can get for free as a new customer. From what I saw this is what I dubbed the "premium" product that seemed like the higher price might be worth it. These 4 pads (including the free one) came to $37.23 including shipping. All 4 are different sizes so if I ever buy from them again I'll know what I like.

Lohanstore's crazy kit of everything which includes 12 pads in different sizes. I love the print and the price is hard to beat at $62.60 including shipping. You can get these from Etsy, Amazon, and other sellers.

Finally, I got 3 heavy pads from Aliexpress for $16.17 including shipping, and if you get normal flow pads they're even cheaper. They have ridiculously low prices since it's wholesale orders from China.

I have no idea why I took this so seriously. I spent way too long looking at the options y'all sent me, and checking out others too. Feel free to remind me in a couple of months if I forget to report back on whether the super pricy ones were worth it over the super cheap ones.

Thanks for your advice everyone!
posted by cacao at 4:06 PM on August 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm just starting to look into these myself. It may be too late to jump into this thread now, but I'll ask the questions I have anyway, just in case someone happens to see this...

Do the snap wings really hold these things in place, or will they end up shifting forward and backward and bunching up?

For those of you with crazy-heavy periods, which pads have worked out the best for you? Are leaks still occasionally a problem?

If the pads don't get washed right away (say you only do laundry once a week), will there be odor or staining problems?
posted by MsVader at 9:22 PM on August 14, 2014

Do the snap wings really hold these things in place, or will they end up shifting forward and backward and bunching up?
Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I suspect the bigger sizes are easier to keep in place. I only use pantyliners to supplement my menstrual cup, and they are both short and thin, so likely to move.

That said, they don't move when I'm walking, for example. Mostly I get problems because I forget to slide them in place when I'm on the loo, then I pull up my trousers and the pantyliners aren't in the right position.

A couple of times I've had the very top of the pantyliner fold back, which means 1) less coverage, 2) more thickness on an area that's at most two centimeters long. But that really hasn't happened often.
posted by snakeling at 7:30 AM on August 25, 2014

Response by poster: My results are in. The PIMPS were awesome, but I just feel really sad about it because now I'm totally in love with them but it would be way too expensive to get enough for my whole period. Their main advantage over the runner up was the cute patterns that are fun to use, and that camouflage a bit the blood.

So for a person who can't afford to spend what I feel is an unreasonable amount for the PIMPS, the Lohanstore ones were pretty amazing. They are really affordable and they send you a couple more as free gifts- so I got enough for my whole period for $62.60. The only think I don't like is that the pattern faces down so you don't get to look at it, you don't pick out a bunch of different patterns, and since they're white you see all the bloody mess. But actually besides that they're awesome.

The cheap ones from Alibaba were ok but a lot thicker and with synthetic patterned fabric (but bamboo for the part facing your skin which is nice). I wouldn't get them again.
posted by cacao at 4:15 PM on September 2, 2014

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