Cloth Pad FAQ

If you're new to cloth pads, you probably have lots of questions! Learn the how and why behind using cloth menstrual pads here, plus find answers to the most common questions about making the switch.

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Why use cloth pads?

Using cloth pads instead of disposable period products is great for your body, your budget, and the environment!


How do you use GladRags cloth pads?

It’s simple! GladRags have wings that snap around your underwear to hold them in place, so you just take the pad, snap it on, and wear it until it’s time to change it.

GladRags cloth Pantyliner being snapped around underwear

There are 3 main types of GladRags: Pantyliners, Day Pads, and Night Pads.

Pantyliners are just one piece. Day Pads and Night Pads consist of a holder and 2 inserts. This allows you to customize the pad’s absorbency by using one, two, or even three inserts.


 Step by step:

  • Place the inserts inside the holder if using a Day or Night Pad.
  • Snap the wings of your Pantyliner or Pad around your underwear, tag side down.
  • Change as needed (this will depend on your flow). For Day and Night Pads, this means changing the complete pad (holder and inserts).

How do you choose the right pads?

This is such a common question that we actually have a quiz for it! Fill out our product recommendation survey to get a personalized answer about the best products for you.

When you're deciding which style of cloth pads you need, the most important factor is the absorbency level. GladRags cloth pads are just as absorbent as disposable period products, only without the plastics! After you determine your absorbency, you can choose between different sizes depending on the coverage you’d like. The breakdown below will help you determine which styles may be right for you.

Choose Pantyliners if...

  • you want back-up for a menstrual cup or tampon
    • you have very light flow, including at the very beginning or end of your cycle
      • you want to wear everyday protection

        Choose the regular Pantyliner if you prefer shorter liners, and the Pantyliner Plus if you prefer more coverage in the front and back. Choose the Thong Pantyliner for use with thong underwear. View size chart here.

        Shop Pantyliners


        Choose Day Pads if...

        • you typically use standard-absorbency disposable day pads
        • you sometimes leak urine when you sneeze or laugh (happens to the best of us!)
        • you have moderate flow

        Choose the regular Day Pad if you prefer standard-size maxi pads, and the Day Pad Plus if you prefer a longer and wider coverage area. All Day Pads consist of 1 holder and 2 inserts that allow you to customize the absorbency of the pad according to your flow. View size chart here.

        Shop Day Pads


          Choose Night Pads if...

          • you have just given birth and need postpartum protection
          • you tend to leak heavily over the front or back of your pads
          • you have heavy flow

          All Night Pads consist of 1 holder and 2 inserts that allow you to customize the absorbency of the pad according to your flow. The regular Night Pad has shorter inserts, whereas the Night Pad Plus has inserts that span the full length of the pad, providing more coverage in the front and back. View size chart here.

          Shop Night Pads


          How many cloth pads do you need?

          You can replace any disposable period product you currently use with a cloth pad (see 'How do you choose the right pads?'). The number of cloth pads you need will depend on how many disposable items you’re trying to replace. For example, if you use 10 disposable maxi pads and 4 disposable pantiliners per cycle, you could likely replace them with 10 Day Pads and 4 Pantyliners!

          If you don’t want to get a full set of cloth pads, you can just get a partial set and wash them midway through your period! In the example above, the person who uses 10 disposable maxi pads and 4 disposable pantiliners per cycle could get 5 Day Pads and 2 Pantyliners that they’d wash and use again within a cycle.

          Important tip: you don't have to go all in to get started with cloth! You can start with just a few products to test them out and see how they work with your period. This is a good way to replace some of your disposable products as it suits your budget.(Plus, any reusable pads you get will start saving you money!)


          How do you use cloth pads when you’re not at home?

            If you're out of the house, you can easily use and change your cloth pad! Simply bring a discreet Carry Bag with you to hold your used and fresh pads. Once home, you can wash the pad when you're ready.

            How do you clean your pads?

            See our Cleaning & Care section for everything you need to know!


            What are GladRags made of?

            GladRags cloth pads are made with 100% cotton fabrics: soft flannel on the outside and absorbent terrycloth on the inside.

            The non-organic pads are made of conventional cotton (with standard clothing dyes), the kind commonly used for bedding, children's clothing, towels, etc.

            The organic pads are made of organically grown, GOTS-certified organic materials (both the outer flannel and inner terrycloth). The organic undyed pads are also unbleached and undyed.


            What is the difference between regular cotton and organic cotton?

            Organic cotton means that no pesticides or herbicides were used to grow the cotton, so the soil and water were not polluted, nor did farm workers breathe in any harmful chemicals as they worked with the cotton. By purchasing organic cotton GladRags, you are supporting healthy agriculture. Be aware that while disposable organic cotton pads or tampons may be better for your health, they still create the same amount of landfill waste as conventional disposables. Plus, organic cotton products require more resources (mainly water), than their disposable counterparts. If the organic cotton product is reusable (like GladRags!), this extra usage is offset by the fact that it won't need to be replaced immediately. However, organic cotton disposables must continuously be replaced, causing vast amounts of resource waste. 


            Will GladRags cloth pads leak?

            GladRags are designed to be highly absorbent. The wings that snap around your underwear provide the same side-protection as disposable pad wings. We choose not to include a nylon or waterproof backing because these materials can trap in moisture, leading to odor or bacterial growth. And we find it is not necessary because GladRags are so absorbent! But just like disposable pads, they may leak if you leave them on too long and they become saturated. You will become familiar with just how long you can go before changing your pad. You should change your GladRags about as often as you would change disposables (every 2 to 6 hours, or as needed). 


            How long will GladRags last?

            With proper care, GladRags are made to last at least 5 years!


              Where are GladRags made?

              GladRags are handmade in Portland, Oregon, USA.


              I hate the feeling of disposable pads. Are GladRags comfortable?

              Yes! All-cotton GladRags are soft and breathable, which is so much better than plastic pads that can chafe and irritate your skin. Our customer Nicole had this to say about trying GladRags: “I love GladRags. They are so comfortable and easy on my skin. I love how they feel like regular clothing. It is like nothing is there.”

              If you are raw and irritated at the end of your period, please know that it does not have to be that way! With all of our pads you will experience the comfort and breathability of cotton. The soft flannel conforms to your body without the twisting and bunching up that can happen with disposables. And because there is no plastic backing you will have less chafing and irritation. One of our customers reports they're much cooler too (she's from Phoenix, she would know).


              Do GladRags work for people with vulvodynia, vaginitis or allergies?

              Yes! We've sold many GladRags to folks dealing with these conditions who find the pads helpful during their cycles. Some sufferers of these conditions have noticed that tampons and disposable pads can be a source of vaginal irritation, and most are unaware that disposable products are highly processed and may contain chemicals to "keep you dry" or cover up odor. Vaginal irritation, allergies, burning, itching, and frequent yeast infections can all be exacerbated by disposables.


              Do GladRags work for incontinence?

              Our products are happily used by many people for light stress incontinence (such as when laughing or sneezing). Unfortunately, our pads are not suitable for full incontinence.

              Just as with menstrual use, the number and style of GladRags you need will depend on how heavy your leakage is. See 'How do you choose the right pads?' to compare what you currently use to GladRags pads.


              Are GladRags good for postpartum (after giving birth)?

              Yes - Night Pads are especially great for postpartum! While many new parents find they need a large amount of GladRags or pads to carry them through postpartum, any amount of reusable pads would be helpful. They are softer and kinder than plastic on your skin. Some new parents place their inserts in the freezer after dipping them in witch hazel. The cool inserts soothe tender parts while they heal.

              Still have questions? Get in touch with us.