If your question isn’t answered below, take a look at our Care Tips page, where we suggest how to best look after your cloth pads and other Pena products.
Q: How do I use cloth pads?
Cloth pads are designed to be used just as disposable pads are - simply place them in your underwear and go about your day. Once your pad is dirty you simply fold it up with the dirty layer inside, close the wings over the top, and secure it shut with the metal snaps.
If you are away from home, you can discreetly store your used pads in a wet bag until you can soak or wash them. To prevent staining, we recommend before you fold your dirty pad, either rinse out as much blood as possible or dab a bit of cold water on the blood, which will stop it from drying and setting.
Q: How are the pads secured on my underwear?
Our cloth pads are extremely easy to use. Simply place the cloth pad on top of the gusset of your underwear, fold the wings around to the underneath and fasten them shut using the metal snaps. Your pad will be held in place for as long as you need, no adhesives necessary. We do recommend wearing close-fitting underwear as this will help keep your pad from sliding.
After hearing from our testers, we have included two snaps on our wings, instead of one. The snap towards the middle of the pad will give you a closer, snug fit, and the snap toward the edge of the wing is more suited for fastening your used pad shut.
Q: How many cloth pads will I need?
The number of pads you will need depends on the length of your cycle, the level of your flow, and if you use them in conjunction with other period products. We suggest having a core kit of 4-6 small, 6-8 medium, and 2-3 large pads.
To find the number of pads right for you and your body, consider:
- how often you can wash your pads (washing them every second day greatly reduces the amount you need)
- what size you normally wear (try combining different sizes for different times of the day or stages of your period)
- whether you will use pads in combination with another product (tampons or silicone cup)
- the number of pads you normally wear and how often you change them (cloth pads are more absorbent than disposables and may need to be changed less often).
Q: How do I choose which size I need?
We have three sizes of pads, each of which serves a slightly different purpose.
Small Pad (18 cms wide x 20 cms long)
A smaller, lighter pad that has one inner layer of absorbent fabric. Ideal for daily use, spotting, light days, incontinence, or to wear as a ‘back-up’, or in combination with another period product such as a cup or tampon.
Medium Pad (23 cms wide x 25 cms long)
A versatile pad that has two inner layers of absorbent fabric, ideal to wear on regular days, on its own or as a back-up to a tampon or silicone cup.
Large Pad (25 cms wide x 30 cms long)
A larger, thicker, and longer pad with a rounded end for increased back coverage, and three layers of absorbent fabric inside. Ideal for nighttime use, heavy flow, or postpartum, and great for those who find their pads usually leak at the back.
Q: Why should I switch to cloth pads?
Disposable pads contain plastics, synthetic fibres, and chemicals (they are often made from rayon which is then bleached to give them a clean and white appearance). They also include adhesives, artificial fragrances, and chemical gels, all of which contribute to the chafing, irritation, soreness, and general discomfort that often comes from wearing these types of pads. Our cloth pads are made from natural, breathable fibres and don’t use any synthetic chemicals or adhesives.
Cloth pads are kinder to your skin, are more comfortable, and more absorbent than disposables. By using cloth pads you prevent hundreds of disposable period products from ending up in landfills, and you will save hundreds of Euros each year.
While not clinically proven, many menstruators and doctors also believe that using cloth pads leads to shorter periods; that tampons and products inserted in the vagina cause a sort of ‘backup’ of blood, while pads allow your blood to flow freely, leaving your body at a more normal rate.
Click here for a more comprehensive list of the benefits associated with using cloth pads over conventional period products.
Q: Do cloth pads smell?
Our pads don’t include any chemicals or artificial fragrances to mask odours (as disposable pads do), and any odours you do experience should only be natural or blood-related; not caused by your cloth pad. If you do notice an odd smell, it might be a result of common bacterial imbalances and we would recommend consulting your doctor.
We choose to use the textiles lyocell and ZORB Bamboo as the main components of our pads specifically because they are made from natural fibres, have high breathability (allow moisture to evaporate quickly), and are less susceptible to odour-causing bacterial growth. Rinsing or washing your pads as soon as possible after use, and drying them in sunlight, will help keep any odours at bay.
Q: Do cloth pads leak?
Cloth pads are very absorbent and we include an edge-to-edge layer of waterproof PUL (polyurethane laminate) in all of our pads to help stop leaks. PUL is a nylon-based knitted fabric that has a 1mm thick laminated, waterproof backing, bonded by heat. This layer of PUL combined with our ultra-absorbent inner layers of ZORB ensure our pads can handle the heaviest of flows.
Q: What is PUL?
PUL stands for polyurethane laminate and is a nylon-based knitted fabric that has a 1mm thick laminated, waterproof backing, bonded by heat. It is a soft, pliable fabric that withstands a lot of use, is functional and very versatile. It was initially invented to be used for mattresses protectors in hospitals, and today is commonly used in anything that requires waterproofing: picnic blankets, party and wedding tablecloths, chair covers, reusable sandwich and snack bags, baby diapers, pet beds, and zero-waste period products.
Q: I have sensitive skin. Are cloth pads for me?
Pena pads are made from natural, breathable fabrics, and for the part that directly touches your skin, we use lyocell - a fibre that is made from sustainable wood plantations, and which is free from chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides. We also don’t use any artificial fragrances, adhesives, or synthetic chemicals that can irritate the skin, making our pads suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.
As with any other period product, if it becomes saturated and wet, it’s important to change your pad regularly to avoid irritation.
Q: I’m still not sure about cloth pads. How long will they last?
With the right care, and depending on how many pads you have in rotation, most cloth pads will last between five and 10 years. We use top-quality fabrics that are durable and that can withstand many washes. We also turn and topstitch the edges of our pads (instead of just serging them), which will make sure they last that little bit longer as well.
Q: I ordered the wrong size. What can I do?
Unfortunately, we can’t accept any returns on purchased pads or wet bags. We recommend giving or reselling any unused items to a friend, or to someone who you think might use it.