How to clean Cloth Period Pads
We've been stocking and selling our eco friendly cloth sanitary pads since 2014 so we know a thing or two about how to wear them, wash them and store them.
Since then, our daughters have grown up and have all started their periods and we really proud that they are using reusable cloth pads and pants.
Now, you'd think that being the offspring of team Cheeky and having been at home for a couple of years in those formative, period beginnings that they would have seen how to clean reusable pads, how we help our customers get the best out of them and how to KEEP THEM IN GOOD SHAPE!
Apparently not....Exhibit A below is my 15yr old daughter's "stack" of used pads that I stumbled upon when collecting 10 million cups and plates from her room and Exhibit B is what I found when I opened them up as well as a lovely surprise in the strucket!
How do you clean smelly cloth pads?
To clean smelly cloth pads, ideally, rinsing in cold water immediately is the best start. This gets rid of all the blood and it is so satisfying to see it running down the sink. This also serves to show you how much they can absorb!
These reusable sanitary pads had been on the shelf for 3 days...I know! The water has to be cold as blood is a protein stain, so putting hot water anywhere near it will set the stain.
If you can't rinse immediately if you are at work, school or out and about, then folding them closed with their poppers is a great way to store your soiled menstrual products.
Pop them in a wet bag until you get home.
"Having already used the period pads, my daughter wanted to try the pants too. There was no problem exchanging for a larger size, and the pants arrived quickly. (Great fit this time!) Cheeky Wipes products give excellent quality and value for money. Reusable period protection is so much easier to deal with than I expected; my daughters tell me they are far more comfortable, and no bother at all to wash. I'd urge everyone to give it a go." Via Trustpilot
How do you get dried blood out of reusable pads?
To get dried blood out of reusable pads:
- Rinse the pads thoroughly in cold water
- Soak them overnight in a sink, mucky box or mini strucket (shown in pic) in cold water with a scoop of oxy stain remover powder
- Leave them there until you are next putting a wash on (no longer than a day or so!)
- Machine wash at 30c or lower on a long wash cycle
What's the best detergent for reusable pads?
The best detergent for reusable pads is whichever washing powder or laundry detergent you normally use, but avoid eco washing products such as soap nuts or ecoeggs as they don't tend to have the stain removing power necessary.
The most important thing when washing cloth pads is to wash reusable pads at 30c or lower as 40c or above will 'set' the bloodstain. I tend to squirt them with a bit of oxy stain spray to prevent staining.
Then just put them in the machine with everything else. Most of our pads are colourful so we wash them on 30 degrees with our colourful clothes.
The plain pads you can see in the pictures are my original ones from 2014 so they are still going strong and I WILL get them back to their pristine state!
I put them on a good long wash with regular non bio liquid, and another scoop of stain remover but that is mainly because I am also washing my 12 yr old son's t-shirts!
NO fabric softener for reusable menstrual pads or pants. Fabric softener will coat the layers of the pad and pretty much render their absorbency useless.
A long wash will work hard to get through all the layers of the pads so removing all traces of blood. A rapid wash won't do this.
Washing your pads at a higher temperature will set blood stains and can cause shrinkage on our cotton pads, so is not recommended.
How do you dry reusable pads?
To dry reusable pads, on a sunny day, the washing line outside is the best option. If there are any lingering faint stains, the sun will also act as a natural bleach.
When they are out of the machine and satisfyingly clean, gather the aforementioned teenager to marvel at the cleanliness of her pads and ask her to hang them out for thorough air drying!
On 99% of British days, this may not be an option so hanging them on an airer is the best option or use a socktopus. Avoid direct heat such as a radiator and AVOID the tumble dryer for your pads. The heat could damage the waterproof layer and there is no point wearing a pad that isn't leakproof.
As a team, we have all been using and washing our pads and pants for a number of years so are always happy to chat and advise on anything from how to stop pads moving around in your underwear, which pads are best for your flow and of course, how to wash them.
Check out our other blogs that may be of interest.
About the author: Jo van Huet is a mum of 2 and has been working with Helen, Cheeky founder, for over 20 years. She has been Head of Customer Journey at Cheeky Wipes for almost 8 years following a stint “helping out at some Baby shows” since 2008! Jo has used all the products from our wipes on her kids (now 12 & 15) to our period pants and pads. She is passionate about making sure our customers are happy, informed and feel listened too when they get in touch. Her team pride themselves on providing relatable friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long!