Note: Male readers can feel free to skip this post if the subject matter is too icky. But if you contribute to your household income and live with any women of reproductive age, you might want to suck it up and keep reading, because this project can save $35 to $60 a year or more. That’s a lot of beer money going in the trash. You’re welcome.
Let’s face it: Maxi-pads suck. They’re expensive, contain petroleum products, are made in ginormous factories, have to be shipped hundreds of miles, aren’t really recyclable or compostable, contain weird chemicals, and may or may not increase your risk of yeast infections, depending on how often and how long you wear them. Applicator-free tampons are marginally better, but they have their own drawbacks.
Fortunately, an alternative exists: reusable cloth pads.
I’m not going to go out on a limb and say I’d trust the average cloth pad under, say, a wedding gown. And hippie though I am, I’m not willing to keep used pads in my purse all day until I can throw them in the laundry. But they’re great for backup with a tampon, easing your mind if your cycle is a bit wacky, or using while you putter around the house.
Several companies sell prefabbed cloth pads that are pretty well-designed and hold up pretty well. The down side? They cost about $10 to $15 each. If you hate sewing enough to pay someone else to do it for you, I can recommend Gladrags.
If you’re broke (or just cheap) and have access to a sewing machine, however, you can crank out eight regular-absorbency cloth pads for about 50 cents apiece. Directions are below the fold.