How big are pads, panty liners and night time pads?
All measurements are approximate as pads are hand made and can vary slightly!
Panty Liners measure 18cm in length and 6cm wide (not including the wings!)
Pocket and Incontinence Pads are 23cm and 7-8cm wide (not including the wings!)
Night Time/ Post partum belted pads 33-35cm and 8-9cm wide
How do I wash and care for my Moon Times® pads?
Taking care of your pads is really easy!
1. Remove the inserts from your pocket pad and soak in a bucket of cold water (nappy buckets are good as they have a lid, although some women like to make a moon bowl for soaking their pads or buy a special holder- a pretty vase or decorated bowl can work well!)
2. Rise out the water daily (until you are ready to pop them in the wash)Use the water to feed your garden, plants love it!
3. Wash pads by hand or in with your usual laundry. If you prefer to wash pads separate from your main wash- just wash first on the ‘pre- wash cycle’ before adding your other clothes! Pads can be machine or line dried. Sunlight is an effective natural sanitiser.
4. When you are away from home, put the rinsed pad in a waterproof bag (nappy bags or an old wash bag should do) until you reach home.
What about stains? Soaking your pads straight away in cold water and getting most of the blood off before washing helps prevent stains, because the proteins of the blood don't adhere to the fabric when it is wet, soaking works best!. If you do find your pads stain then Ecover do a bleach powder that works well, and drying them in the sunshine can fade any stains. Also Eucalyptus is a natural stain remover- dab on with an eco washing liquid as needed. Occasionally I give my pads a boil on the stove to freshen them up and remove stubborn stains.
How do they work? You put an 'insert' (small liner) inside the pocket of the pad (or a few if you are bleeding heavily) choosing cotton, hemp or towelling inserts. Pads are made from soft absorbent flannelette for comfort and protection. Pads have wings (which help to prevent leaks) and they fasten with press studs so they are very secure! The whole pad (including inserts) gets changed when you need a fresh pad.
I notice Moon Times® don't have a plastic backing, will they be able to protect me even when I'm bleeding heavily? The design of the pad, with the wings and choice of different inserts is extremely efficient. If you choose the right amount of inserts for the absorbency of your flow, the pads should not leak at all. For extra security there are inserts made from a double layer of towelling with a polyurethane backing. Not using enough inserts is usually the cause of leaking, so use more inserts; 1 or 2 is suitable for light to med flow, 2 -4 for medium to heavy. Towelling inserts are the most absorbent. Extra inserts and polyurethane backed inserts can be found here.
How many will I need? A set for an average cycle of 4 days, with 2 heavy flow days, 1 medium flow day and 1 light spotting day is between 5-6 pads: So a set of pads- which includes a pretty bag, consists of 5 pad pockets,1 panty liner and 10 inserts (you can choose a mix of inserts so some are thicker towelling for your heavier flow days) A set is usually enough for your monthly use but it depends on your flow and whether you will be washing your pads daily or waiting until your usual load of laundry goes on! Since you most likely won't be changing your pads because of leaking, you will change them because you are ready for a fresh pad. Most women change their pads once or twice a day, but that's a personal choice.
How long do they last? When cared for as recommended, Moon Times® last for years- mine have been going for over 23 years!
What is the difference between the press studs, velcro fasting and belted pads? Younger (new to their moontime) and older women (possibly using pads for incontinence) may prefer velcro- as it's quick and easy- the press studs can be sticky to open and close- but are popular with women used to using pads and who don't have any problems like arthritis in their hands. *please note we are phasing out the velcro fastenings- see our Clearance page
The belted pads are extra long and thick for extra protection- especially good for heavy flow, night time and after birth. They are very comfy despite a bit of bulkiness- and women liken them to wearing a thong, some women prefer to wear these without knickers!
Lots of women feed back they feel very secure at night time when they are moving around in the belted pads. These belted pads are great for mums after birth, especially if you have had stitches! We recommend spraying pads with some water and a few drops of soothing essential oils added (lavender, chamomile, calendula or rose) and putting pads in the freezer before use- a cool pad against swollen delicate skin is very soothing. If you are using cloth pads in hospital you will need your partner/friend to take your pads home & wash. Make sure you have enough as you can bleed heavily after birth & use as many as 4-6 pads a day in the first few days. Be sure to have some spare pads as a back up.
What are pads made from? There are 2 types of Moon Times® pads- 100% fair-trade organic and the patterned pads. All pads have an organic fair-trade cotton underside. Pads are available in 100% organic fair-trade cotton, the 'top' layer is soft organic fair-trade cotton flannelette and the underside is plain organic fair trade cotton. Organic pads are undyed or dyed pretty colours.
The patterned pads are non organic cotton flannelette on top and organic fair-trade cotton on the underside. Patterns vary from jumping rabbits, animal patterns, fairies, stars and bright colours depending on what is available.
Inserts come in 4 types: Cotton Inserts (100% organic fair-trade undyed cotton) Towelling Inserts (bamboo towelling sandwiched between a layer of 100% organic fair-trade undyed cotton. More absorbent than the cotton liners and slightly thicker) Hemp Inserts (100% hemp, a thicker woven hemp is sandwiched between a more fine hemp cotton mix cloth.) Thick Towelling Inserts with waterproof backing (2 layers of bamboo towelling sandwiched between 100% organic fair-trade undyed cotton on one side and polyurethane backed with cotton flannelette for a waterproof underside- great for heavy flow days!)
Often inserts that come with your pads may have 1 layer of the same fabric as your pad (ie patterned fabric on top) this is beacuse we try to use up all our scraps of fabric...and so turn every bit in to something! Moon Times™ Fabric suppliers are: Bishopston Trading Company, Organic Fair Trade Cotton, Fair Trade Certified and recognised by the International Organic Standards and SKAL certified. Green Fibres, Organic Fair Trade Flannelette, Soil Association and Organic Trade Association certificated House Of Hemp, Hemp Fabrics
Why wear cloth pads? There are many reasons to switch to cloth: * Comfort- Because Moon Times® pads are made from natural cotton fabrics, they are soft and comfortable to wear. Unlike plastic used in disposable pads, cotton allows your skin to breathe, reducing the likelihood of Thrush or other fungal infections. * Convenience- By using cloth pads you always have fresh, clean pads on hand when you need them you don't have to worry about running out, or having to shop for sanitary products anymore! * You are doing your bit for the planet and future generations- even if you use only Moon Times® at night you are making a difference to the amount of waste women throw away each month from sanitary protection. The statistics on how many tampons and sanitary pads that are added to landfill each year huge.(Between 10-17,000 per woman in her lifetime) In most cases they don't break down, nor are they recycled. By using cloth pads, you can help reverse this trend and create a more sustainable world for our children. * You could change how you feel towards your period and your body- many women have reported that using cloth pads connects them to their cycle and their body, they have begun to develop a more healthy and intimate relationship with themselves. Women have also reported their periods have become 'easier' and in some cases lighter! * Save money-Investing in a set of cloth pads will cost you only a small percentage of what disposables are costing you now.
What are the health issues? Tampons are made from either cotton, or a mixture of cotton and rayon. Use of cotton of course raises issues of fair trade, pesticide use and genetic modification. Rayon is chemically processed from wood pulp. Disposable sanitary towels and panty liners are also made mostly from wood pulp, bleached from its natural brown colour. Chlorine gas was originally the bleaching agent used, and was a source of dioxin, which is a known carcinogen-due to lots of campaigning from The Women's Environmental Network they now use either chlorine dioxide or hydrogen peroxide. As a result of this and reduced use of chlorine in other processes, dioxin levels in the environment are tending to fall. Dioxins released during chlorine bleaching and plastics manufacture have been shown to cause cancer, miscarriages and damage to the immune system and toxic shock syndrome. There are laws that protect our right to know what's in our shampoo, but none for tampons. Considering that the vagina is one of the most absorbent and vascular environments in our body, we've got to wonder what our bodies absorb from tampons and the chemicals in pads. Disposable pads contain a myriad of chemicals and additives which serve to increase their absorbency and keep them looking white and bright but these chemicals don't do you any good at all. Your genital tissue is highly sensitive, and these chemicals are easily absorbed into your body, causing vaginal irritation, itching and discomfort in the process.
Can I use Moon Times® if I am prone to Thrush? Of course, Thrush can sometimes be caused but the plastics in disposable pads, because cloth pads are breathable this discourages the moist environment that thrush loves. If you are suffering from a Thrush infection, for extra sanitation we recommend 5 seconds in the microwave after you have washed your pads. (or boiling them if you don't own a microwave) This will kill off any bacteria that might survive washing.
Will I smell using Moon Times® cloth pads? Well although menstrual blood has an odour, it's a bit different from the odour that your vagina has at other times during the month and in fact unless there's something medically concerning, the odour isn't all that noticeable. Cloth pads do not enhance that odour; by allowing for adequate air flow, unlike the plastic-backed 'disposables' they can actually reduce the smell. If you leave your cloth pad on for an inordinate length of time, that smell will increase, so change it before that happens!
Are Moon Times® cloth pads unsanitary? Well, lets think about underwear for a second, do you think your underwear is unsanitary? Do you boil it after every wear? Hopefully you don't. Same goes for cloth pads! So why does the disposable product industry rely so heavily on their 'sanitary' image? Same reason that toilet paper is white, because it has become normal. There's a complex historical argument behind this, but basically somewhere after the Second World War, white became a symbol of sanitation. In actual fact, the tampon and disposable pad industry operates under no regulations that ensure sanitation and they aren't really all that sanitary; they're just white.
Why are Moon Times® cloth pads so expensive? Buying cloth pads can be a pricey investment, bear in mind they are hand made (in the UK, not in a sweat shop somewhere!), made using organic cloth and they are reusable! It may seem expensive at first but as you begin to save money by reusing your pads you'll see what a difference it makes to your purse! At first maybe just buy 1 to try. Then invest in a few more in the coming months. Or buy a few to start, wear them only at night and buy a few more every couple of months or so. The long term savings are massive and chances are all the money you spend is going to smaller women-run businesses.
Will using washables be a big hassle? Sometimes your period can be a hassle Having to go out in the middle of the night because you forgot to buy tampons is a hassle! Using cloth pads simply means taking a few extra minutes out of your day to rinse out some pieces of cotton and hang them somewhere to dry. Sometimes that's a hassle. You'll get over it. If you're like me, and many of the cloth pad users I've spoken with, you might actually grow to enjoy the time you spend washing your pads. Unfortunately our lives as busy women/mothers/workers on the go doesn't really allow for enough time to stop and think about what's going on in our bodies. I love this quote one of my happy customers sent me- I love my washable pads- for me they are about getting away from the attitude of 'stick in a tampon and forget you're bleeding' and more about honouring your menstruation and the earth. I love watering my garden with my moon blood (from soaking my pads)- I make the whole ritual a sacred ceremony-it's a beautiful thing to connect to your cycle, the moon and the earth...and to other women, how great is that- just from using, soaking and washing cloth pads!!
But they don't fit into my lifestyle. It really isn't such a big shift to make, if you've got this far reading all this info I'd say you are wanting to make the change! It really only takes a few extra minutes of your time and a shift in attitude about social taboos. Don't have a washing machine at home? That's not a problem, just rinse them as you go and take them into the laundrette with the rest of your laundry.
Can I do sports in a pad? Of course Moon Times® can be worn for yoga, cycling, running, power walking, but I'd just like to say that when your bleeding your body really wants you to SLOW DOWN! But a little exercise helps ease the cramps away so do a little when you need to. If you are a lifeguard/aerobics instructor/yoga teacher/west end show girl, the you probably will want to use a tampon /mooncup/ sponge while you're at work. Lots of women just wear washables at night. If you start using cloth pads at night you will cut the amount of sanitary waste you produce and money you spend by about one-third. So that's a great place to start.
Is it like wearing a nappy? No, it's like wearing a cloth pad! Yes, it is bulkier than an ultra-thin maxi-absorbent disposable pad, or one of those 'thong panty liners' You can get different kinds of washable cloth pads, some of which rely on bulk of material for absorption, while others use specifically absorbent types of cotton to help reduce the bulk. I actually prefer a little bulk over those plasticy, synthetic disposables on the market. Of course if you are wearing skin tight white trousers then your patterned pad might show!
Aren't cloth pads for hippies? Well they are for some hippies, as well as some business women, mothers and daughters, graphic designers, teachers, waitresses, photographers, students, midwives, artists, doctors and nurses. Hippies and goddess lovers have been more inclined to stick to cloth pads throughout the eras of Tampax marketing, much like they've been doing yoga and drinking herb teas for decades now. Hippies can be wise folks; learn from them!
Will they ruin my sex life? (AKA "Well I think it's an ok idea but I can't imagine what my partner might say!") If you honestly think that your partner is going to have an issue with you using washable pads then it's time to rethink your relationship! I'm presuming that your partner likes your vagina the rest of the month, and so it's time they dealt with the few days that it might not be as appealing to them. Besides, you maybe surprised. In the many years that I've been making pads, I have learned to not assume that men will be repulsed by them and there have been many men along the way who have been some of my biggest allies. A special thanks to Bis for all his encouragement of my Moon Pad Soaking Jars on the windowsill, to Mark for washing my pads- by mistake, he thought they were his girlfriends- but didn't care anyway! And to Tom for his constant support! Thanks guys :)