What are reusable sanitary pads?
Reusable sanitary pads are sanitary pads which do not have to be thrown away after use. They are for reuse. They are made using a special form of cotton fabric, hence are washable and reusable. In terms of absorbency, they are at par with disposable pads. Also, the way they are made ensures there is no staining. Since they are reusable, they do not become a burden for your village or city’s waste management and are an environmentally responsible option.
We call our reusable cotton sanitary pads as “Sugam” pads.
What are Sugam pads made of?
Sugam pads are made using 100% cotton. The top of the pad, which comes in contact with your skin is made of soft super-absorbent cotton fabric. Then, there are 6 or more layers of cotton flannel. The last layer is of a specially treated cotton which makes it leak-proof. Because of all these layers, this pad provides a level of absorbency comparable to any disposable pad. The pads have wings which can be wrapped over the underwear. Wings have snap buttons which ensure it stays in its place.
Are Cloth Pads hygienic?
Cloth pads are completely hygienic when properly cared for. Millions of women have used cloth to manage menstrual flow for generations. If the cloth is not washed and dried properly, it becomes unhygienic. Also, there is nothing unhygienic about handling of used pads. Menstrual blood is a body fluid which our grandmothers (and in many cases mothers) were perfectly comfortable with. When cloth pads are washed well, dried completely and stored properly, they are perfectly hygienic.
Why are you promoting reusable pads?
There are three reasons to promote reusable pads over disposable pads:
- Good for health: Reusable cotton pads are good for your health. They do not contain any chemicals and do not use plastic as the base material.
- Good for environment: Reusable pads do not create waste which is difficult to handle.
- Good for your pocket: Reusable pads save money in the long term.
How do I wear Sugam pads?
You wear them exactly the way you wear disposable pads. You place the soft cotton side facing your body and the leak-proof side facing your underwear. The pads have wings which wrap around your underwear. The wings have snap buttons that you fasten on the outer side of the underwear. Wings and snap buttons make sure the pads stay in place. As with disposable pads, it is recommended that you wear well-fitting underwear to ensure the pad fits snugly against your body.
How do I wash Sugam Pads?
It is very easy to wash your used reusable cloth sanitary pads.
- First, soak the pads in cold water for at least 20 minutes or more in a bucket or a container. Make sure you use only cold water. Cold water ensures that the blood does not get hardened on the cotton cloth.
- After you have soaked them for 20 minutes or more, rinse them as you gently rub the sides of the pad against itself. Rinse till the time the water comes out clear. Make sure you do not use brush. Using brush will decrease the life span of the pad.
- Now wash by hand with very little quantity of detergent / soap. Rub the pad against itself. DO NOT use the brush. Rinse well and make sure there is no residual detergent left.
How do I dry my pad after washing it?
- Wring it to take out as much water as possible
- Pull your wet pad into shape so that it retains its shape better
- Then dry on the washing line in full sunlight or in an airy location if direct sunlight is not an option.
Why is it important to use only cold water/ room temperature water to soak cloth pads?
Blood contains protein. When warm or hot water is used to soak used pad, it causes coagulation. This results in the blood setting into the fabric, causing a stain. While the stain by itself is harmless, for aesthetic purposes, we must try and keep the reusable pad stain free.
How long do Sugam cloth pads last?
If you do not use the brush to wash the pads, they can easily last 3 to 5 years. The lifespan of the pad is governed by the lifespan of the leak-proof layer. The leak-proof layer is designed to last about 75 washes. So if you wash your pad just once a period, we are talking about 6 years or more. If you use a pad twice in a period, we are talking about 3 years or more. Just REMEMBER: do not use a brush to wash the pads, and always soak in room temperature water, not hot water.
Do Sugam Pads leak?
All pads have the capacity to absorb about 5ml to 15ml of menstrual blood depending on the brand and type. When you have bled to its capacity, you usually know and you change your pad. In Sugam pads, the last layer (closest to your underwear) is made of a leak-proof PUL (polyurethane laminate) providing you protection from leakage.
Do Sugam Pads feel wet?
As the gravity works, the blood coming out gets absorbed and reaches the last layer which is leak-proof. Our users have reported that Sugam pads actually feel much less wet as compared to disposable pads. You do not feel wet until it’s time to change the pad. As with any pad, if you start feeling wet, you should change your pad.
How often should I change my Sugam pad?
If you are switching from a disposable pad, you can expect to need a change as frequently as you would change your disposable pads. Each woman is different, and you easily realize when it’s time to change.
How many of these pads do I need each month?
Most of our users have reported that they started out with just 4 pads and then graduated to anywhere between 6 to 16 pads, depending on many factors. Do you have light or heavy flow? What’s your washing routine – do you wash daily or wash them all together at the end of your period? Each one is unique in their needs and there is no fixed number.
I want to try reusable cloth pads but I am not too sure if it will work for me.
We completely understand your hesitation. You are not alone, many women have this same feeling. There is no rule that says you must completely shift to reusable cloth pads and shun disposable pads. However, we strongly suggest that you experience the reusable cloth pads once. You can try them either on the days of light flow or during night to begin with. As you experience the comfort and usefulness of the reusable cloth pads, you will become confident about using them.
How and where do I store used pads if I am out?
You can use the Sugam Carry case to hold your used cloth pads until you are ready to shift them to your soaking bucket. For most women, this is the most difficult change for them to get accustomed to. Because women are used to throwing away the used pad, this moment when instead of throwing away, you keep it back in a case is the most defining moment underlining the shift.
How do I manage using and changing cloth pads when I am out?
The first step is to get comfortable with keeping your used pads in the carry pouch. Once you get over this barrier, it is not very different from managing change of disposable pads. Our carry case allows you to keep unused pads as well as used pads. You can discretely carry it to the bathroom when you need to change. Used pads can be stored by folding the two ends towards the middle, fastening the buttoned flaps and placing them in the carry pouch. This is a clean way to carry them home to be washed at your convenience.
How do I manage using reusable cloth pads while travelling?
Those users who for any reason cannot go back to using disposable pads have devised their own hacks for travel. However, if you haven’t reached that stage yet, we suggest that you use a mix of disposable and reusable pads. You can always switch back to reusables when possible.
I want to volunteer, what do I do?
That’s wonderful! The biggest challenge we face is related to spreading awareness. We encourage you to talk about reusable cloth pads with your friends and relatives. You can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also share your detailed experience with us and we would love to publish it with your permission. If you are into it and want to do more, do right to us at firstname.lastname@example.org