PERIODS!!! A review of Cloth Sanitary Pads.

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Well, if you made it past the title, I’m guessing you’re either a woman…or a very brave man 😉

Either way, I shall give you one final opportunity to run, screaming, for the hills, because this post is all about periods.

Yup, that’s right, you’re all about to get to know me far too well, because, this month, I’M REVIEWING CLOTH SANITARY PADS!!!

I’ve never used CSPs before. I’ve always used disposable pads, until a few years ago, when I started using a Soft Cup (a menstural cup) as well. Since then, the pads have become a back up option that I’ve used, along side the cups, in case of leaking on really heavy days. They’re hot, sweaty, the sticky bits always peel away from my knickers and stick to my leg (ouch), and, of course, they have a massive impact on landfills and the environment. Time to move to a kinder, and fluffier, option.

I recently bought 6 different brands to try from a fab company I shop at frequently, Babi Pur. I went for the regular or medium version of each brand to give a fair comparison, and will be reporting back on how I get along with them. From left to right (and large to small), Pink Daisy, Imse Vimse, Charlie Banana, Earthwise, Fuzzibunz (clearly the best name), and EcoFemme.

First thing’s first, I needed a period. Now, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant so, as much as I wanted to do this review, I was actually hoping not to have the chance to. Unfortunately, as of last night, we are on to month 16 of trying to give Harrison a sibling (considering our journey to get Harrison, this comes as no surprise to us)

Either way, we all need something to make us feel better when the red witch slaps us round the face and screams, ‘You’re still not pregnant!’, and, this month, my feel better item will be my, pretty impressive, stash of CSPs (aka, Mummy Fluff)

To keep the test fair…
I have chosen the medium or regular version of each CSP brand
I’ll be using all CSPs with the same type and size of knickers
All CSPs were pre washed at 40 degrees, twice, and air dried
I shall aim to test each brand for day and night time use (except the EcoFemme, which came as a single pad, where the others came in packs of 3)
And I’ll be washing them by giving them a cold water rinse, storing them with Harrison’s dirty cloth nappies, and washing them alongside them, at 40 degrees, before air drying.

It’s worth noting that (joys of infertility), I have no idea how long my period will last or what it’ll be like. This could be a very long, extensive test, or one that I’ll need to complete over more than one cycle (hopefully it’s not the latter as I can’t tell you when the next one will be either, I’m afraid)

Before I get to the diary aspect of this review, let’s talk first impressions…

First impressions
Massive variation in sizes between the 6 brands, from EcoFemme and Fuzzibunz (smallest), to Pink Daisy and ImseVimse (biggest), with Charlie Banana and Earthwise taking the middle ground.

Patterns
I really like the Fuzzibunz prints; brightly coloured, pretty, with coloured poppers too – I think these would be great for teenagers. The hot pink Charlie banana are also lovely. My least favourite, looks wise, is probably the EcoFemme, but that’s personal preference.

Value for money
All brands, except the EcoFemme, came in packs of 3. The Charlie Banana also are with a black wet bag, which was a handy extra (and useful being that I forgot to buy one for this purpose as was close to pinching one of Harrison’s nappy wet bags)
From left to right, pictured:
Pink Daisy Medium Feminine Pads, Round-about
Pack of 3 £19.95, £6.65 per pad
Imse Vimse Regular Organic Pads, Natural
Pack of 3 £12.95 (I bought them on special for £10.45), £4.32 per pad (£3.48 per pad on special)
Charlie Banana Regular Feminine Pads, Hot Pink + free storage bag
Pack of 3 £11.95 (I bought them on special for £9.95), £3.98 per pad (£3.31 per pad on special)
Earthwise Medium Menstrual Pads, Kaleidoscope Black Blackcurrant
Pack of 3 £10.90, £3.63 per pad
Fuzzibunz Regular Comfort Pads, Belle, Chevron and Playful Paisley
Pack of 3 £12.45, £4.15 per pad
EcoFemme Day Pad
Pack of 1 £6.49

Pre wash and dry
Charlie Banana, Fuzzibunz and Earthwise were all pretty dry straight out of the washing machine, the Charlie Banana in particular, which was great and meant very limited air drying was needed. The EcoFemme held the water for a bit longer, Imse Vimse a little longer again, but the Pink Daisy were really wet when they came out of the machine. This being said, all air dried within about 4 hours with no turning necessary.
Charlie Banana, Fuzzibunz, Earthwise, and EcoFemme all dried lovely and soft.
The Imse Vimse had dried a bit stiff, and the Pink Daisy has gone a bit rough. It’ll be interesting to see how they feel when wearing.

Right then, on to the diary…(scroll down for an overview per pad)

Day 1
An evening visit from Aunt Flo meant that the first CSP had a night time trial. I decided to start with the Fuzzibunz as they are the smallest of the brands and I was very light at that point.
They are sooooooo comfortable. So much more comfortable than disposables. It just felt like wearing a pair of knickers…really really soft knickers.
A bit of movement over night, which wouldn’t have been a problem, but these are the smallest of the brands I’m trying, so it doesn’t take much movement to cause a mess.
The absorbency was impressive though and the pad had plenty of capacity left this morning.

Day 2
I used an Earthwise pad from 8am to 3pm.
The Earthwise has 2 poppers at the fastening for you to choose from, which is a nice additional tailoring option to have. I went to the larger setting to get the best fit around my knickers (size 12, Marks & Spencers). There was very little movement from the pad, and the absorbency was excellent. The absorbency comes from a microfibre inner with a fleece topper, making them very comfy, and absorbent. This one has gone to the top of my list so far.

From 3pm to 10pm I used a Charlie Banana from 3pm to 10pm (I’ll pause to let you get the obligatory giggles about putting a banana in my knickers out of your system. You done? Good)
This one has had to most movement so is at highest risk for leaking. It’s the third largest pad of the brands I’m trying, but still small enough that movement can be problematic.
The absorbency is wonderful, though, and is incredibly soft. I’m still going to give it a thumbs up for day time use, as will do the job nicely on lighter flow days if you aren’t being super active.

Over night, I tried out the Imse Vimse, which I’ve heard wonderful things about.
After the pre washes and air drying, the material had gone a big stiff and I was nervous it wouldn’t  be as comfortable, especially when comparing it to the Charlie Banana, Fuzzibunz and Earthwise, which all dried very soft. Actually, it was absolutely fine. The fabric isn’t as structured as the other brands, which allowed it to shape around me. Really comfortable. It, like the Earthwise, has 2 popper options, and, being a lot larger than the other pads, the smaller option worked best for me.
No movement by morning, despite a very active night with a tear away toddler who refused to sleep. With the additional coverage of the larger size, this one will give you total confidence. The Earthwise has company at the top of the list.

Day 3
Okay then, up first, it was the turn of the EcoFemme from 8am to 3pm.
It’s one of the smaller brands, but, impressively, it didn’t move around AT ALL, making it a really great option.
It’s surprisingly soft to wear, and the absorbency is impressive.
You only get 1 of these in pack, making it a higher per pad price than some of the other options, but I really like the fact that the company will donate a cloth pad to a disadvantaged girl in rural India for every pad purchased. To me, that is worth paying slightly more.

I wore another Fuzzibunz from 3pm – 10pm to give the brand a day test, and it, again, faired well for absorbency and comfort, but there was a bit of movement. Because of how small the pad is, this movement did cause some leaking, which is a pity. I think this could be reduced significantly by wearing slightly tighter knickers (these are a little loose), but it’s definitely something to beware of for future. I’d suggest these be reserved for lighter flow days.

The last brand in our selection is the Pink Daisy, which I wore from 10pm to 8am.
I was a bit nervous about comfort as the fabric felt quite rough after the pre washes and air drying, but they were actually very comfortable.
These are the biggest in my selection so are great for full coverage and complete reassurance. The size might be a bit on the large size for those who wear really small clothes sizes, and are probably unnecessary for those with lighter flow, but they are great for heavy days, and for those who wear larger sized clothes.

Day 4
Today was a great day! I am completely converted to CSPs already, and these 3 are excellent examples of why.
I used the Imse Vimse from 8am – 3pm, for its day test. Fantastic. It may be one of the larger of the brands, but that gave me complete confidence to get on with my day, on my heaviest day so far.
I had a 2 hour driving lesson in the morning and, as you’ll know very well, sitting for long periods can be risky business during ‘that’ time of the month. No problems for the Imse Vimse though. The absorbency was excellent, and it didn’t move out of place. Thumbs up.

The Pink Daisy got its day test from 3pm – 10pm. Even larger than the Imse Vimse, this gave full coverage. As I said previously, this is a great option for those who wear larger clothes sizes, but may be a bit big for size 8 and below. The absorbency is exceptional and was no where near its capacity by the end of its wear.

Overnight, it was over to the Earthwise, which I was already really impressed with from its day test. The Earthwise is significantly smaller than the Imse Vimse and the Pink Daisy, and I was a little worried as to how it would fair overnight on a heavy day. Needn’t have worried, it was fantastic. No movement of the pad and incredible absorbency safely saw me through the night.

I couldn’t be more impressed. On heavy days like this, I’d usually use a super absorbency, night time, disposable sanitary pad as a back up to my soft cup, and would be nervous about overnight, but these CSPs have given me total confidence, even without a soft cup. Incredible!

Day 5
All of the CSPs have been tested for a day time use already so I am retesting the ones from the first couple of days as my flow is heavier at the moment, which might give me a different perspective.
Up first was the Charlie Banana from 8am – 3pm. Still a very comfortable option, and really well made, but there is a bit of movement. It’s a mid size pad so that movement wasn’t an issue for me as a size 10/12, but I can see how it might be for larger sizes on heavy days. The absorbency made up for the movement and there weren’t any leaks, but, had I been more active, I’m not sure I’d have had the same result. Definitely one to wear with tighter knickers.

From 3pm – 8pm, I used the Earthwise again. Again, it was excellent. No movement, super absorbency, and really comfortable. Having the 2 size options when fastening the pad to knickers means that it combats the need for tighter knickers. I love this pad!

Overnight, from 8pm to 8am, I used the last of my 3 Charlie Bananas. I was a bit nervous considering the movement I’d had during the day, but hey, a test is a test, folks, and I’m committed to it. Sadly there was movement and some leaking by morning. The leaking wasn’t the result of the absorbency; this is genuinely very absorbent, and still had plenty of capacity by morning, but it had moved backwards during the night. Again, the tighter knicker trick might be key with the CBs.

Overview & Review By Pad

Pink Daisy http://www.babipur.co.uk/reusable-me…/pink-daisy-medium.html
Biggest of the brands, making them ideal for really heavy flow or for those who wear largest clothes sizes.
I didn’t notice any movement with them, but the size would mean that movement wouldn’t be a problem even if they did wiggle
Great for full coverage and confidence.
Felt quite rough to the touch after wash and air dry, but felt soft when wearing.
Absorbency is insane!

Imse Vimse Organic http://www.babipur.co.uk/…/imse-vimse-organic-sanitary-pads…
I’m calling FAVOURITE! Good size for full coverage. Literally no movement. Absorbency is amazing. Felt a bit stiff after washing, but felt soft to wear. Has 2 popper fastening options to help size around different knickers. Best alre pound CSP, in my opinion.

Charlie Banana http://www.babipur.co.uk/reusab…/charlie-banana-regular.html
A big drop in size from the first 2, but the next largest of the 6 brands.
Probably the most movement of them, which did catch me out when using overnight. Comes out of the tumble dryer practically dry, but the absorbency is still fantastic and there was plenty capacity left even after using overnight. Comes with a little bag to store them, which I really liked.

Earthwise http://www.babipur.co.uk/…/earthwise-menstrual-pads-regular…
Second favourite. Smaller than the Imse Vimse so this would be my favourite for daytime, or lighter days, or just times you don’t want quite as big a pad. Doesn’t move around, excellent absorbency. Like the Imse Vimse, it has 2 popper options to tailer the fit. Soft, comfy, amazing. Plus, they donate a pad to girls in Kenya for every pack you buy. Sold!

Fuzzibunz http://www.babipur.co.uk/…/fuzzibunz-reg-comfort-pads-3-pac…
The smallest of the brands, and they really are quite little. There is a bit of movement, so I’m going to say these are best for those who wear smaller sizes or lighter days. The patterns are amazing (perfect for teenagers wanting to use CSPs), and they are lovely and soft, plus very absorbent.

EcoFemme http://www.babipur.co.uk/reusable-me…/eco-femme-day-pad.html
A smidgen bigger that the Fuzzibunz, but they don’t move at all, so you don’t need to worry about any leaks. Really good, reliable CSP. Worth noting, this is a pack of 1 where the others are packs of 3. They also donate a pad to rural girls in India for everyone you buy.

In Summary

None of them stained from my using them (I cold rinsed after use and stored with my sons cloth nappies.)
They didn’t smell, at all. I mean, seriously, disposables smell, these don’t. If that’s concerning you, don’t worry.
So much comfier that disposables, and no risk of the inadvertent disposable pad bikini wax (you know what I’m talking about 😱)
Honestly, none of them were anywhere near capacity, so I’d probably move to using 2 a day next time round.
If you didn’t want to wash them until after the dreaded event, max of 14 would see you. If you’re washing with baby’s nappies, you’d only need as many as would see you through between washes.
They all dry quickly (pink Daisy took longest at 4 hours, air dried in my house, about 21 degrees)

Don’t forget, I’ll be doing a video review of all CSPs, and adding it to this blog post, once the washing and drying are tested.

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