We know that making the jump to reusable pads isn’t easy for everyone. Our resident blogger, Cat Sims, definitely wasn’t keen at first. Now though, she writes of her own experience using Wear ‘Em Out’s reusable pads.
My switch to reusable pads
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t keen when I first heard about reusable pads. I’m concerned about the environment and was interested in the idea of reusable pads, but I had questions. Aren’t they a massive faff? Do I really want another thing to put through the laundry? Will they smell? Stain? The questions were endless and, like many women, my anxiety about leakage is high.
Sidenote: For so long we’ve been taught to be embarrassed about our period. We’ve been taught to hide it. Be discreet. We’ve been taught to be ashamed of the blood. We’ve been told we can’t use symptoms of our period as an ‘excuse’ and that we should just ‘get on with it’. I’m not here for that and I love that people like Lauren, the founder of Wear ‘Em Out are doing all they can to undermine that narrative.
So, with that said, shall I get on with it?
Initial thoughts & feelings
I’m lazy. Or maybe I’m just very busy. Or maybe both things are true. Either way, reusable pads made me feel a bit like reusable nappies made me feel. Uncertain. When we had our first baby, I started weighing up the pros and the cons of cloth nappies and inevitably chose the path of least resistance. I started to do the same thing with reusable pads. I realised though that there was a difference. While I hadn’t had the strength of mind as a new mum to take on cloth nappies (rightly or wrongly), I knew it wasn’t a valid excuse when it came to reusable pads.
So, with some trepidation and a healthy resistance to relying on them completely, I decided to give them a try. I wasn’t ready to give up my disposable products entirely but I was interested to know whether reusable pads would stand up to a test drive.
I started with Wear Em Out’s Heavier Starter Pack. My period is often only 3 days but I have very heavy flow on the second day and normally require a Super Tampon and a pad to catch any overflow. So, I figured I’d replace my back-up pad with a reusable one to see how it went.
The Heavier Starter Pack costs £59.99 which may seem expensive. It’s the same as 25 packs of 20 disposable pads. Assuming we use about a pack of pads a period (if you’re using them exclusively) 25 packs will last you just over 2 years. Wear ‘Em Out suggest their reusable pads can be used for 3-4 years so you’re not just saving the planet, you’re also saving money.
When the first arrived, I noticed how soft they were. I loved the design – two press-studs attach the pad around the gusset of your knickers. The bag they came with was cleverly designed too. You can keep clean pads in one half and used pads in the other.
Also, the dark fabric meant that staining wasn’t going to be an issue either. Now I just needed to know whether they were comfortable and, more importantly, actually any good!
Reusable Pads: The First Try…
Ok, it was at this point that I started to fall a little bit in love with reusable pads. I have used a disposable pad since my period started but in the last two years, I’ve started to have some real discomfort with them. I don’t know why or how, but I get soreness after wearing them. Now that I’ve done the research, I can only imagine that the chemicals irritate me in some way. Seeing as I’m pretty protective of my lady garden, I wasn’t happy about it.
I got no soreness or discomfort from Wear ‘Em Out’s reusable pads. None at all. In fact, it felt a bit like a soft cushion sent to protect my vulva. And, because there are no sticky flaps (ahem!) there’s no irritation when they get stuck places they shouldn’t.
I initially used Wear ‘Em Out’s pads as a safety guard against a leaky tampon. It didn’t take long until I was fully converted.
Fast-forward four months…
Four months after trying my first Wear ‘Em Out reusable pad, I’m almost free of disposable period products. I use the occasional tampon on my very heaviest days but other than that, I rely on reusable pads. When I’ve used them, I simply pop them in the washing machine (no fabric conditioner because it affects absorbency) and leave them to dry on the radiator. My kids have been known to play with them and pretend they’re eye masks. It’s led to some cool conversations about periods, sustainability and the environment.
Here’s the thing: switching to reusable pads wasn’t just a good idea. It also gave me a desire to learn more. I have a greater awareness of the damage disposable products do to our environment and water systems. I used to flush a tampon down the toilet without a thought. Now, I know that’s a bad idea and not just because my husband will have to be outside unblocking the drains every three months.