As a teenager, I chose pads over tampons for a couple of reasons. Ever since I could read, I've been obsessed with parsing the fine print on anything and everything. So when puberty hit and I bought my first box of tampons, I curiously unfolded the pamphlet from the box and started reading, in graphic detail, about the risks involved with tampon use, namely toxic shock syndrome.
Already wary of putting a foreign object into my body, I recoiled at the data and, as a result, I've never been much of a tampon user. Pads just feel better to me.
But growing up in a conservative household, there was a lot of fear of the unknown, particularly when the unknown came off as "crunchy" — like cloth pads. So I stuck it out with disposables even when my conscience (and my sensitive skin) told me it was time to find ways to do better for my health and the health of the earth.
But a couple of months ago, I finally made the switch to cloth pads. After the Kotex pad I had used for years was discontinued — it was part of the line that gave TSS to former model Lauren Wasser — I decided I needed to make a change.
I've spent the last three years blogging about conscious consumerism, so it was about time I extended my ethics to everyday goods like pads. From both a financial and environmental perspective, it was the right choice for me, and I wish I'd made it sooner.
How I Made the Switch to Cloth Pads
After a few days of research, I bought my first set of cloth pads. Cloth pad prices vary by brand, but you can expect to pay around $7 to $15 apiece for a standard maxi pad. Since I didn't know what my needs would be, I bought a starter pack from an Etsy seller for about $35, which included one overnight pad, two maxi pads, one panty liner, and one mini pad.
I recommend reading reviews on cloth pad forums so you can get a sense of what brand, style, and thickness will work best for you. As I waited for my special order to arrive, I noted tips and tricks for cleaning and crossed my fingers that everything would work out.
But when my period arrived that month, I chickened out at first. I decided to opt for a couple of organic disposables the first day instead, but they didn't pan out in the worst way possible (leakage, ugh). And so I finally picked out a cloth maxi pad from my starter pack, put it in place just like I would with a disposable pad, and attached it to my panties with wings that snap together. It was so simple!