You've taken the plunge and invested in a stash of cloth pads with the hopes and plans of them lasting you 5-10 years. Here are some tips to help extend their life so you get every dollar of value from them.
Tip #1- More pads in your stash The more pads you have in a rotation, the longer they will last you. If you have only 6 pads for example and wear and wash each pad 3 times a cycle, they are each getting washed 36 times a year. If you have 18 pads and only wear and wash each one once during your cycle, they are only getting washed 12 times a year. Based on the fact that the average Tree Hugger Cloth Pad lasts 100-200 washes, your rotation of 6 will last you 3+ years but a rotation of 18 can last you 9+ years. Some people prefer a smaller stash of pads that they can replace often with fun new prints but others prefer to have more pads and make the investment once to last a decade.
Tip #2- Wash in cold water As with most clothing/fabric, cold water is not as harsh on fabric as hot water which will extend the life of your pads. Yes, Tree Hugger Cloth Pads can be washed in hot water, or warm, or cold, but cold water is just easier on the fabric.
Tip #3- No bleach It's just not needed! Same goes for fabric softener. Regular or eco-friendly laundry detergent is all they need. If you'd like you can also add some white vinegar to the rinse cycle to act as a natural fabric softener. Regular fabric softener is a big no-no when it comes to cloth pads as it coats the fabric and they will lose their absorbency. Vinegar does not work the same way and is cloth pad safe.
Tip #4- No soaking your pads! Some people believe that the best way to handle used pads is to toss them in a pail of water until washing time. Even changing the water daily is not enough. Cloth pads do best when they sit dry, even if it is dirty/dry. The faster they can dry the better. Pads left soaking in water for more than a day will smell and can grow mold. We hear all too often from people who soaked their pads but forgot to change the water one day and now all of their pads have a smell that won't wash out. Soaking is not necessary and your pads will come clean without it. Just don't do it. Instead, keep a wet bag in your bathroom to toss used pads in and then when it is washing time dump them out into the washer.
If you have not yet purchased your pads then another thing to consider before buying is that minky topped pads tend to live longer than bamboo and cotton-topped pads. The fabric itself is sturdier, it holds up better and stays soft over time. Cotton pads tend to get stiff over time (years of use) and bamboo wears thinner and gets stiffer as well. All will last you many uses but it's good to choose your fabric carefully based on your needs: Minky vs Bamboo vs Cotton -Fabric Comparison
If you haven't yet tried our savings calculator, give it a try to see not only how much money you will save by investing in cloth pads but also how many disposable pads you will save from the landfills!