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We often get the question from new creators: What is the best fabric combination for cloth menstrual pads? It can be tough to navigate all the fabric options we provide! Sometimes too much of a good thing is just TOO MUCH! In this blog I will go over the top four fabrics we suggest for this project. One is an absorbent & waterproof combo fabric that keeps the process of creating a cloth pad as simple as possible by using two layers. The other is the more "traditional” route in your making process that opts for three separate layers.
Let's get started.
The basic construction of an optimal cloth pad breaks down into three layers:
1. The top moisture wicking layer
2. The absorbent core inner or second layer
3. The third waterproof or bottom layer
For the three layer approach the function is as follows: the top layer is used to wick moisture away from delicate skin as it allows it to simultaneously pass through to the inner absorbent core layer. This second layer sucks up the liquid & in our fabric the construction causes the fluid to disperse so that it does not pool up. The portion of the liquid not caught by the absorbent core flows down to the third & final layer which has a waterproof film barrier that prevents the liquid from seeping out of the pad & interacting with your garment. Think of it like a shield.
In three layers you have a kind of miraculous construction that allows you to function freely without the fear of embarrassing & messy leaks. All the promises that are made to us in a Carefree ad - they are still possible when opting for this eco-friendly option.
Lets quickly touch on the benefits of a cloth pad versus a “conventional” mass produced pad before we jump into the best fabric options to construct yours. Just in case you are on the fence about the value of this project.
Reusable cloth pads are environmentally friendly. The average American woman will use between 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, tampons, and panty-liners in her lifetime. That's INSANE. Think about all of those pieces ending up in our landfills & polluting our planet. It's almost impossible to fully wrap your mind around. Compared to reusable pads which last an average of 5 years when made from quality fabrics & cared for properly. The difference is staggering.
Cloth pads are far superior when it comes to your health. Think about it, you are putting chemical laden synthetic fibers & plastics directly against your skin. It's not rocket science ladies, this act can lead to allergic reactions, hormone disruption, reproductive disorders, and some studies have pointed to this action as a factor for getting cancer.
Finally, let's just be frank - it's cheaper. Like, WAY cheaper. The typical female will menstruate for 40 years of her life. The average cost for a box of panty liners is $8 (full disclosure this stat comes from a few years ago & with the rate of inflation, it sounds a little low.) If she’s using a pack a month, that’s $3,840. Nearly 4 grand! Where else could you choose to spend that money? It's so expensive to be female. But it doesn't have to be as crazy as 4 thousand of your dollars being spent on literal garbage.
Ok enough preaching! I think you hear me & you are here right now, so you are most likely on the bandwagon for cloth pads already. But this is interesting food for thought. The next time someone questions why you are opting for the cloth pad path - throw out some of these stats. Not only will it silence the other person, but it may inspire them to change their own behaviors.
Back to the fabric. We have a lot of fabric. A LOT of fabric. Our website can be a little daunting - so here's a bit of a cheat sheet for you.
For the top moisture wicking layer, we suggest our wonderfully breathable & super soft TransWICK Supima Cotton Jersey. This is a part of our ProCool line of fabrics. ProCool does exactly what its name suggests - it cools you by wicking moisture away from your skin in one direction to the outer layer of the fabric where it hits the air & quickly evaporates leaving your skin dry & comfortable.
The inner absorbent core calls for a heavy lifter in absorption - our Zorb 3D Stay Dry Dimple is perfect! This line of fabrics disperses the liquid in its proprietary hills & valleys construction, preventing it from pooling up on the fabrics surface. Our Zorb fabrics soak up 20 times faster than other material and absorb 10 times its weight in under 2 seconds.
Finally, the third waterproof layer. We suggest our Cotton Jersey Stretch-FIT Eco-PUL. This fabric has a supple & soft outer layer of stretch-FIT cotton jersey with an opposing side of waterproof polyurethane film. We use a process to bond the two layers that uses the moisture in the air instead of heat. This results in a silent waterproof fabric. The two layers move together as one, preventing that atypical crunching, crinkling, loud result you normally get in a waterproof fabric. Our PUL fabric withstands 300+ washings, is CPSIA certified and 100% free of lead, phthalates, PFOS, PFOA and all other harmful chemicals and finishes.
Not in the mood to sew three layers together? No problem. We have a two layer alternative for you.
In this instance you will still use that same TransWICK Supima Cotton Jersey for the top layer to wick away moisture. But you pair it with our 4D Zorb Stay Dry Dimple CORE Eco-PUL. I know - that's quite the mouthful! What it means is you get the incredible absorption of our Zorb for the core as well as the silent, soft & supple waterproof PUL outer layer - in one amazing fabric.
Now that you know which fabrics are ideal for making your cloth pad, head to our fabric finder menstrual pad page by using the link below to see all the other fabric options we provide for the three or two layer approach & decide for yourself which one is the right fit for you. If you have any questions - contact us or emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we are here to help you & happy to do it. Never hesitate to ask questions or get advice for the best ways to use our fabrics. And last - but most importantly - have FUN making!