14 September 2016

On the cloth menstrual pads

I did a little bit of maths the other day.

Earthwise medium

Simply because my period came and with it the inevitable use of pads.

I have been using the Earthwise Menstrual Pads and zerowaste.market Cloth menstrual pads and I must admit they are brilliant!

I was afraid they would slip, after all, there is no adhesive of any kind of them, but that has never happened, and with two clips it's easy to adjust them to different widths of lingerie.

Another thing I was worried about was heat. For some reason, cotton seemed warmer to me than plastics used in disposable towels. And again I was wrong. Yes, they are warm, but they are also so much more pleasant to touch it's hard to describe. A friend of mine actually told me that plastic ones always chafed her skin, while cotton doesn't. And frankly the heat turned out to be in line with my body heat, so absolutely normal.

One more fright I had: spillage. The cloth wings lack absorbency. They're there only to keep the pad in place. But again, they work great. It really is very easy to tell when your pad is full, simply because the fluid reaches the wing and you can see it. It will also fill your pad more evenly, not like with plastic pads, where the middle will get soaked, wings wet, but ends completely dry. So again a win.

Of course, I've heard that I have to use detergents which aren't so great, but that's wrong. Pads are small. They hardly put a strain on your normal washing routine. I wash them with anything really. Darks, whites, colours, everything goes. And I don't have to add extra washing powder just to have 3 extra pads washed in addition to the laundry. This is a flawed argument, especially that a lot of plastic pads are filled with chemicals which are dangerous to environment, not to mention plastic itself, which in case of towels isn't really easily recyclable if at all.

Some other person told me they don't like the thought of blood being washed with their clothes. I'm sorry, can't help you there. I sometimes pre-wash them in only cold water, especially if I have to carry them from work to home. Closed tightly with those aforementioned clips they are quite easy and safe to carry, but if it's hours between change and going home, then sure you will want to pre-wash them. That also means that a very small amount of blood goes into a washing machine. Besides who never cut their knee or a hand and didn't have to wash off blood from their clothes. Come on. The
alternative is animals choking on plastic. Check Youtube, there's a lot about that there.

So far so good, right? No. I have also tried another brand of pads, bought from Ebay with really pretty design of birds on top. And it was a mistake. The cover fabric of these towels is simply too stretchy. It's hard to unclip them, they stretch so well that they might actually work as elastic wound covers, but are really bad for not so comfortable menstrual gymnastics. So if you look for something, I strongly advise trying one first.

So what about the maths?

Since everything else works so well, I just needed to be sure I am making a 100% good choice, after all, my wallet isn't bottomless.

And there it is.

I have heavy periods. On a normal month (no extra stress, no exercises like house moving and no very hot weather) I easily use 5 long night pads and 17 normal ones. That's a minimum of 60 long pads and 204 normal ones per year. Again assuming that I will be stress-free and weather is kind.

I used to use one of the most popular brands which I could get for £1.50 for a pack of 12 long ones, and £1.50 for a pack of 14 normal ones unless I could lay my hands on the "silk" ones which were nicer to my body, but more expensive. But for the sake of clarity and simplicity let's assume it's just one type and a cheaper one too.

That means I have to buy 5 packs of long ones and 15 packs of normal ones per year. Which comes down to surprisingly low figure: £30 pounds a year.
But that's not all. Almost every two months one of these plastic contraptions would fail, resulting in at best in a loss of a pair of knickers, at worst a need for a quick wash of pants. That's for me some extra stress and around £15 of loss in underwear, sometimes much more.
So far it has never happened to me with the cloth pads!

I initially had only 3 long ones and 6 normal. Even if I have to dry them indoors because the weather isn't great it takes two days to get that done, so I actually spent on my initial set:
£12 + £21 = £33

Later I got two more long ones from the extra pleasant to touch zerowaste.market brand and 3 normal ones, so my set in total is worth:
£33 + £7 + £9 = £49
and has 5 long pads and 9 normal ones.
Seems to cost more than plastic, right?

Well, counting my lost lingerie (some of which I really liked), and stress that I might get up from that chair with a stain on my bottom it isn't.

Especially that, these will last me for YEARS.
And seeing how well they wash I'm assuming 3-5 years at least.

Which means that I've spent £49 pounds as opposed to £90 (3 years of plastic sanitary towels).
If they last longer then that's even better.

If that's not a win, then I don't know what is.