Cloth Pads, Period Underwear or Menstrual Cups - What to choose?

Cloth Pads, Period Underwear or Menstrual Cups - What to choose?

Did you know that the first pads and tampons were invented around the late 1800s? There were a few versions released later, but we stuck to their traditional usability for far too long. According to the research, disposable pads and tampons can contain harmful chemicals and aren’t great for our body or the environment. Thanks to the innovation, we now have a slew of ecofriendly choices beyond traditional pads and tampons.  Whether you are looking to do your part for the planet, find a safer alternative for your body, or save a bit of cash in the long run, re-usable menstrual products are an excellent alternative.

Although it’s wonderful to have this variety, there is often confusion over which reusable products to use, and when.  Cloth pads, menstrual cups, and period underwear all have a place in your cycle, and you can incorporate them as you need to suit your flow. Here's everything you should know about each of them. 

Cloth Pads

Reusable-Cloth-Pads-Vitals-NZ

What are they?

Cloth Pads are like traditional winged pads in functionality. Vitals Cloth pads are made from layers of organic Indian cotton, backed with a leakproof layer. They are washable and reusable unlike disposable pads.  

When you need coverage for heavy flow, cloth pads are a brilliant option.  These are best for light bladder leaks, postpartum discharge, or heavy periods, as they can hold up to 40 mls of liquid.

How are they used?

Simply snap the wings of the pad behind your underwear. Cloth pads are often way more absorbent than disposable pads and tampons. Used pads can be rinsed out, placed in a mesh bag, and laundered before your next cycle.

Materials

Unlike the disposable versions, these cloth pads are made from moisture wicking fabrics. Vitals cloth pads are made from soft organic Indian cotton which can absorb up to 40mls of flow. They are easy to use, comfortable and gentle on your skin. There are total 8 layers of fabrics in Vitals cloth pads include a layer of leakproof lining which keeps the moisture intact. 

Cost

A twin pack of Vitals cloth pads are $24.95, and can last up to five years with proper care. Considering that the average woman will spend nearly $15 in disposable products ($30 according to studies) per month, reusables begin to pay for themselves fairly quickly.  Generally you’ll need about 6 pads to get started, working out to a cost savings of over $280 for two years.

Pros

They are wonderful for those who dislike or cannot wear menstrual cups.

Cons

Cloth pads can be a little bulky, don’t work for swimming, and some people aren't comfortable with cloth pads during activies as they tend to move from their position.

Who should consider using these

Best for people who are comfortable with pads and aren't comfortable with cups, discs or tampons. If you prefer cost & longevity over comfort, cloth pads suit you. 

Menstrual Cups

What are they? 

Menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina and create a seal to prevent leaks.  These cups can be left in to collect the vaginal discharge and it can be emptied as you require.

How are they used?

The cup needs to be folded and pushed inside the vagina. There are various folds that one can try to suit their body. Getting the menstrual cup right can be slightly tricky but not impossible.

Cost

A well taken care of cup can last you about 5 years, and costs around $40-$50, saving you upwards of $315 over two years.  Because they are so easily washed, you only need one or two cups to get you through the cycle. 

Materials

Most cups are made from a special kind of rubber called Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), and do not contain any BPAs.  Make sure you research your cup before you purchase, and look at what each cup is made from.

While there are lots of benefits to menstrual cups, some people find that they can be uncomfortable, and just like tampons there is a low risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).  It is worthwhile noting that there has only been one case of TSS associated with use of a menstrual cup.

Pros

Most durable and low maintanence reusable period option. 

Cons

Cups can be quite tricky to get right. A large population of menstruators are uncomfortable with products that need to be inserted. May not be suitable for people who have given birth or have menstrual/urinal conditions.

Who should consider using these

Best for people who are more comfortable using tampons as they are already comfortable with insertion. Cups can be worn for a multitude of activities where a pad might not be a viable option, such as swimming and exercising.

Period Underwear

What are they?

Breathable and absorbent, period underwear can be worn for everything from light discharge to heavy flow. Vitals are a full replacement to pads and tampons as they have a built in gusset that absorbs up to 40 mls of flow keeping you dry.

Vitals period underwear can also be used for bladder leakages and bowel incontinence because they are built to have a leakproof layer all the way back. Some styles have front waist to back waist leakproof protection making it perfect for heavy front bleeders too. Vitals are suitable for light swims too! 

How are they used?

Just put them on like your regular underwear, that's all. After wear, just rinse them until the water runs clear and throw in a mesh bag with your normal laundry for the next cycle or just hand wash otherwise. Air-dry or dry them on a heated towel rack later. Customise your wash routine depending on your comfort.

Cost

Period underwear will last you two years and more depending on the care, and start at $30 – about what you would pay for a month’s supply of pads or tampons and other period care products. It's best to have at least 6 pairs of period underwear for an effortless period, saving you $180 over 2 years.

Materials

95% and more in all Vitals leakproof wear are made from natural and breathable materials. Vitals body is made from bamboo jersey, gussets from cotton jersey and inner core VitalX™ is made from 100% natural materials. Any essential synthetics used in the process are offset through our synthetic neutrality program with the Plastic Bank.

Pros

Most comfortable and multi-use reusable leakproof option for periods, incontinence, postpartum and more. Suitable for all ages because Vitals are well roundedly designed to suit all flows. Size inclusive.

Cons

Needs to be well-maintained and protected against high heat for better durability.

Who should consider using these

Best for people who prefer a full protection from end to end and do not prefer pads for periods and incontinence. Vitals leakproof wear can be used during all activities including swimming, so they are a true all rounder.

 

Winners

Wider Usability and Comfort - Period Underwear 🏆

Most acquainted choice - Cloth Pads 🏆

Durability and Savings - Menstrual Cups 🏆