Homemade Cloth Pads
Stop! I see you there trying to run away from this post! Before you go in terror at least hear me out.
Several years ago I first heard about cloth pads. My first reaction was, YUCK! Why would you want to have to deal with such a thing? But the idea still fascinated me so I still looked into it and was amazed at the info that I found. As I wrote about in the article, Naturalizing Your Feminine Hygiene Routine, here are some of the things I discovered about cloth pads:
- Cloth pads are made with no chemicals and you can even get some with no dyes.
- Cloth pads remove the risk of TSS(Toxic Shock Syndrome) since you aren’t putting any chemicals into your body.
- Some women find reduction in length or heaviness of periods, or reduced cramps, clotting, ect while using cloth vs regular pads. (I personally can testify to this one!)
- Since fabric is more breathable than plastic, using cloth reduces your risk of rashes or infections.
Those reasons were too good for me not to give it a try. So I started out by buying Glad Rags. They were expensive but my co-op carried them and they claimed to last 5 years when taken care of so that was worth the expense. The first wash I put them through they shrunk like crazy and got all twisted up. They are still usable but are not in very good shape. I then went to Lunapads. They were a little more expensive but if I had to pick a store bought pad that I liked the best it would be these. They did not shrink and I liked the fabric they were made out of.
But then I got really brave and decided it was time to make my own. And I’m here to show you how you can do it too! If you have some scrap flannel and some ok skills with a sewing machine (you could also sew these by hand) you can make a simple cloth pad.
Supplies you need:
- Flannel (not very much, at least ¼ yard in 2 colors will make you a couple pads, I get mine from Fabric.com)
- Sewing machine
- Measuring Tape
- Cloth Pad Liner Pattern (scroll to the bottom of post for link)
First you will need to trace around your pattern on the fabric. You can use a pen or a fabric pencil or whatever you have on hand.
Cut out two of each of the patterns.
Turn the fabric inside out and sew the liner around the edges. Go around the entire thing leaving no openings. Do the same for the wings of the pad.
Snip a hole in one side of both the wings and the pad.
Use this to turn the fabric right side out. Do this for both wings and pad then iron each of them.
Make sure to put the sides with the holes together so you won’t be able to see them in the finished pad.
Sew the pad onto the wings.
Now for a closure…if you don’t want to invest much in the pads or you don’t plan on making many of them you can just use Velcro or a button. Otherwise invest in a snapper tool and put snaps on the pad to keep it attached. (I used plastic snaps like the ones they make for homemade cloth diapers)
That’s all there is to it! It takes me only about 20 minutes from start to finish to make a pad so it’s hardly any time spent on something that will save you a lot of money!
A few tips on making cloth pads:
- The cheaper flannel that you buy the shorter life of the pad. Sometimes it worth spending a little more on a quality fabric so you get more use out of it. I have found plenty of great flannels in the remnants bin at fabric stores!
- MAKE SURE your flannel is 100% cotton! Artificial fabrics will cause sweating. Gross.
- Make sure to wash the fabric first to avoid shrinkage in the final product.
- To care for your cloth pads, make sure to wash them right away after use. They can be rinsed off first and then washed right in with your regular load of clothes. Do not use scented laundry detergent on cloth pads or it will irritate your skin.
If you have trouble with your monthly cycle you might also be interested in making one of these Homemade Heating Pads. They are simple to do and can be a real life saver!
Have you ever tried homemade cloth pads? Do you think you will try making them?
This tutorial for Homemade Cloth Pads was originally published on Little House Living in January 2013. It has been updated as of December 2018.