Reusable menstrual products are a comfortable, sustainable option for many people - but what on earth do you do with them once they are used?! This is actually a very common question - it can be tricky to envision exactly how to store used pads if you've never seen it done.
It isn't complicated! Read on for all my favorite tips and tricks.
What to do:
Once a reusable cloth pad has been used, it can easily be stored for several days before it is washed. I recommend dry storage – no rinsing, no soaking. Just place the used pad in a bag until wash day.
How to fold:
I like to fold a used pad up so that the backer is facing out and any soiled areas are contained inside the fold… kinda like folding up a used diaper. Fold the two long, used sides in toward the center, then pull the wings closed over top of them. Viola! A little pad wrap.
Where to put it?
Confusingly, the most used product used to store dry, used pads is called a wet bag. They are usually made of waterproof fabric (most commonly polyurethane laminate/PUL) to keep any liquids inside while keeping the outside dry. Many medium-sized wet bags have a strap so that they can be hung on a towel bar or hook until they are ready to be washed.
If you don't have a wet bag, you could use a plastic bag (grocery or Ziplock), a bucket, or a box. Basically any small storage unit that can close up until it's wash day will work.
Why not store wet?!
While some pad users like to use a “wet pail” or fully rinse their pads and then store them wet, I caution against this! There’s no need to use standing water for storing pads. This can encourage bacterial growth and can cause fabrics to break down more rapidly than dry storage.
If you are very attached to the idea of rinsing before storing, I recommend you rinse them and then hang them to dry before storing them for washing. Personally, I feel this sounds like way too much work. They come clean using my pre-wash, wash, dry sequence, so why add unnecessary steps? Keep it simple, sunshine.
How long to store?
I recommend washing your pads within 3-4 days of use. That said, I *have* gone almost two weeks without washing and everything was fine. So, aim for 3 days, but don't panic if once in a while you forget and they go a little longer!
Once you are ready to wash your pads, I recommend following the wash routine found in one of these posts:
Washing Cloth Menstrual Pads
Washing Cloth Incontinence Pads
See!? There's nothing to it! If you've got more questions on this issue, or additional topics that you'd like to see us cover, please feel free to leave a comment or send us a message using the blue circle to the right! Happy reusing!!!