Sanitary products are no joking matter.

Did you know that, in a lifetime, an average menstruating individual will use 12,000-15,000 disposable sanitary products.

These products don’t compose easily (or at all), are responsible for 70-75% of all UK drain blockage issues and leech dangerous chemicals in to both our bodies and then the environment when disposed of.

A single sanitary pad can be made from up to 90% plastic and be the equivalent in plastic of 4 plastic shopping bags.

The environmental impact is intense.

More than this, many sanitary towels are awkward, irritating, hurt the skin, and have fragrances or other chemicals used in their creation which just doesn’t mesh well with the body.

Our vaginas and vulvas are pretty smart cookies: they self regulate to a large extent but when they’re met with inhospitable materials (especially during prolonged use) they just don’t get a chance to recover and to work to the fullest extent.

That is where cloth pads come in to the picture.

The Orethic Organic Cloth Pads

Orethic is one of many companies that offers sustainable cloth pad options, but they’re one of my favourites. This is because I had the great pleasure of meeting the lady who runs Orethic and her approach to cloth pads, eco-friendly menstruation, and being kind to ourselves and the environment in general was absolutely top notch.

The benefits of cloth pads are innumerate but here are just a few that I personally find to be significant.

Cloth pads can be used time and time again. All you need to do after each use is soak them, wash them, and then use them again. Sure, this means you have a larger initial investment (and you need to factor in water bills and pad cycling) but in the long run you are saving a small fortune in terms of the amount you would spend on disposable pads in a lifetime. In comparison these pads will go for many cycles, given the right care.

Because they lack any chemical component, plastic lining, or added fragrance, these pads are also incredibly kind to the body and brilliant for those with sensitive skin. I remember I used to be itchy, irritated and generally unable to cope when I used to use disposable pads. I’d get a rash every single cycle and I’d feel like I was just locked in a spiral of many distressing months to come. This was especially hard in my teenage years, where the discomfort and physical distress that my pads caused me actually meant I couldn’t fully focus on what I was being taught.

This is something that a lot of younger ladies might struggle with too but, thankfully, it’s something that I didn’t struggle with at all when using the Orethic Organic Cloth Pads. Not only are these pads made from organic cotton but they actually feel like they’re made from exceptionally high quality and well-treated material. Soft as a rash-free booty, these pads almost caressed my skin with each use and were just so amazingly comfortable and snug. No chemicals meant no irritation to my sensitive skin and I noticed much less sweat and dampness too. Just a pleasant wear all around.

Flow can sometimes be an issue for me but this is where cloth pads can come in handy too. You can pretty easily select the pad size that you require from your flow and go from there. What’s really good about the Orethic Organic Cloth Pad range is that they involve several internal layers of fabric, including a non-polyester inner layer, for even more additional security and flow protection. The measurements for each pad size are easily identified and there is an option to buy a multipack for those who vary with their flow (which I do massively at times). Sure, you may not have the convenience of being able to remove their pads and then chuck them away but the comfort, security, and savings really do make it worth it in my mind.

The Orethic Organic Cloth Pads come in a variety of different colours, but I’m a big fan of the Tierra ones. This is because they are lacking in any extensive dying, so you can see the processed cotton just as it’s intended to be.

For those who do like a bit of colour in their lives, though, it might interest you to know that the Dragonfly design offered up by Orethics was actually drawn by a young family member of hers. The tiny little lad decided that dragonflies would be a lovely thing to put on to cloth and the owner firmly agreed and made it so.

Such is the wonderfully intimate, open, and normalizing nature of these Cloth Pads, which help to make periods less taboo and less terrible in general.

It’s also a great testament to all the little quirks, charms, and caring little details that you can get when investing your money in small or indie creators and suppliers. Sure, larger companies have their place, but I quite like the idea of having cloth pads with dragonflies on then conjured from the whimsical and innocent mind of a happy child.

Final Thoughts

Cloth pads will not be for everyone.

Many people still find them to be bulky, irritating, or generally a bit too much of a faff.

A lot of people will say you should opt for a menstrual cup or sponge instead.

But, here’s the deal (and fair trigger warning here) I have known women who have had miscarriages, a history of sexual assault, some form of personal trauma, or just internal sensitivities that make it so that cups and other insertibles are just not an option for them.

Heck, when I had Vaginismus there would have been absolutely no way that I could have used a cup.

For people like this Cloth Pads offer the option of a period better enjoyed and better for the planet without having to worry about being forced to do something they cannot or wear items that hurt them.

The Orethic Organic Cloth Pads are a great option for any people in such circumstances, or for those who simply prefer pads over tampons and the like.  I highly recommend them and think that this company deserves a big shout out in general for their menstrual and nappy range.

Recommend to:

  • People looking for sustainable period products.
  • People who dislike inserting sanitary products.
  • People who prefer pads.

Do Not Recommend to:

  • People who dislike pads.
  • People who avoid cotton (due to the plant’s water-consumption levels).
  • People who cannot access cloth pads at the moment due to living circumstances.