(picture courtesy of lolalovesgreen.com)
This is a question I get from a lot of people who have just been introduced to the concept of using reusable cloth pads.
Luckily there are MANY options when it comes to cleaning your cloth pads.
No matter the method, there are a few things to keep in mind when washing your pads:
*DO NOT use bleach or products such as oxy clean. Bleach and products such as oxy clean may either fade color, break down natural fibers, and overall deteriorate the product over time thus shortening the life of your pad.
*DO NOT wash in temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Washing with hot water will cause stains to set.
*DO NOT use heat when drying. Using heat to dry may cause your pad to warp.
*DO NOT use fabric softener. Fabric softener can leave a coating which can make the pad less absorbent.
So, what CAN you do?
*Use cold water to rinse and wash. Cold water washes away what's on the pad and does not allow stains to set.
*Use a detergent that does not cause irritation or leave residue.
What are the different ways to clean your pads? (You can use these methods separately or together)
*Rinse them in COLD water until the water runs clear and then air dry until wash day.
*Soak them in cold water until it's time to wash. Some people like to add a few drops of tea tree oil to the water. Tea tree helps to disinfect and deodorize pads. Just remember to change water daily if you plan to soak for more than 24 hours. Some people may use a bucket, pail, or a glass jar. Be sure to use a tight fitting lid.
*Wash by hand with cold water and detergent.
*Machine wash (preferably on gentle) in cold water.
*Tumble dry on no heat setting.
*Air dry your pad.
How to store your soiled pad(s) when you're out and about or just don't have time to wash right away?
Just like washing there are many options when it comes to storing your soiled pads.
*You can fold them up and place them in a wet bag or an air tight back (such as a plastic ziplock bag).
*You can rinse them, allow them to air dry, then place them in your dirty clothes hamper.
*You can allow them to soak (as mentioned above) until wash day.
What to do about stains?
As stated earlier *DO NOT USE BLEACH*
You can allow your pad to air dry in the sun. Sun light naturally bleaches fabric and will fade the stain.
You can use a mixture of baking soda and water. mix it until it becomes a paste and work into the pad. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes, rinse, and then wash as usual.
Any other questions you may have about caring for your pads that I may not have covered in this entry? Please email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below. I may also feature your question on an upcoming entry.