How to Care & Wash Reusable Sanitary Pads

How to Care & Wash Reusable Sanitary Pads

What is the best Way to Wash Cloth Sanitary Pads?


For those who are use to using disposable pads, the idea of moving to cloth pads and washing pads can make you feel a bit uneasy and we often get asked "what about the blood?"

Taking care of your cloth pads is really easy and for most of us, washing menstrual blood stains from underwear or bed linen is not a new concept.


How To Prewash Your Reusable Cloth Pads

Always prewash your reusable sanitary pads before first use. Due to the nature of the fabrics, the new pads will increase in absorbency with washing and will reach their maximum absorbency around 5 washes (10 for hemp). I always liken this to a new tea-towel: it needs some prewashing to fluff up the fibres and make it more effective at drying up those dishes!

How To Store And Prevent Staining

There are two main ways to prevent stains from setting into your cloth pad while you store your used pads between use and washing.

Method One- Rinse on Removal

The best methods to prevent stains from setting in to your cloth sanitary pads are to rinse your reusable pad in cold water once you have removed then. Then you can store your used pads in a small waterproof wet bag ready for wash day.

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Fern Wet Bag
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Nora Storage Wet Bag

Medthod Two- Soaking Process

Alternatively you can soak reusable pads in cold water until wash day; the Mini Strucket is perfect for this. You might find that stubborn areas of bloody wont come off that easily this way.

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Strucket Mini Bucket

If this isn’t practical, you can rinse in cold water before putting in the washing machine and you could consider using a stain remover on any areas that the blood has dried. However, prevention is better than cure so ideally wetting the cloth pad with cold water before any blood dries is preferential.

Read our article on removing any stubborn stains.

Washing Cloth Sanitary Pads

All reusable pads have care labels but generally the rule is to

  • machine wash at 40 degress as highter temperature or hot water can “set” a stain.
  • Use powder rather than liquid detergent.
  • Don’t use any fabric softener.


Cloth Sanitary Pads can be added to normal household laundry and other clothes: do a separate rinse first and then add the rest of your laundry. Make note you should NOT use laundry softener as this will decrease the absorbency over time by leaving a residue on the fabrics.


How To Dry Reusable Sanitary Pads

Ideally air dry your cloth sanitary pads and avoid using a tumble dryer. This helps to keep your reusable pads in better condition and is more environmentally friendly. A “sock” airer is ideal for drying them and can be hung inside in winter for quick drying. Most pads will easily dry overnight. Some pads can be tumble-dried, but this should be done on low and is best avoided as tumble drying can shrink some fabrics and remove fibres (that’s what the fluff is in the filter.)


15 February 2022  |  21:37

Can Castile soap be used to handwash pads if no access to a washing machine?

23 February 2022  |  16:26

It's not ideal as castile soap can be quite soapy and can coat the fibres. Regular detergent would be preferable.

07 September 2022  |  9:10

Can they be washed with reusable nappies/wipes (rinse cycle + long 40 degree wash)?

07 September 2022  |  13:16

Yes as long as this doesn't go against the manufacturer guidelines then it's absolutely fine to do.