Using Reusables: My Favourite Supporting Products
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I’ve been using cloth pads and menstrual cups since early 2016 and, in that time, I’ve built up a small bank of favourite things I like to have nearby as part of my routine. These things range from cleaning products to helpful accessories. I wanted to share this list as a way of potentially helping those new to cloth to get an idea of what might be useful to them. Below I have shared items that either are or are very similar to products I own - unfortunately I was unable to track down some items exactly as I purchased them a long time ago.
As an important note, this list is not designed to be zero waste. While there are excellent options around that are low/zero waste, I wanted to focus on what is easy to find in local shops as well as what I have personally found effective - in terms of cost, time and the actual product doing what it’s designed for. For the purposes of being able to show you everything easily, I will be linking to Amazon in this article but most things can be found in local shops with some hunting around.
Since the beginning, I have always used the this type of powdered stain remover. I like to use this in my soaking bowl along with cold water before putting the pads in the washing machine. I also like to add another scoop to the wash if the load is especially full or stained. I personally like to choose the colour safe version to protect the beautiful designs of my pads.
I have tried a few different types of stain removers but found that the classic, solid bar works best for me. I use this to pretreat stains before washing in the machine. With just using this for pads, I find this product to last an incredibly long amount of time if dried between uses.
As mentioned above, I always use a bowl to soak my pads in along with Vanish powder before adding them to the machine. I have a black one - this was so it was less obvious when soaking pads while I lived in university halls.
A mesh laundry bag used to come in really handy while I was in university as it always ensured all my pads were in one place when separating clothes for the dryer (I don't tumble dry my pads just in case). Now, in my own home, I still utilise a mesh bag for this reason.
My favourite type of drying rack is the 'candyfloss hanger' as I call them (where I'm from, they always display candyfloss for sale on these at the seaside). I love how the hanger at the top enables me to easily hang the pads anywhere there's space while also ensuring they have enough airflow to dry efficiently.
I never knew how important these would be to me until I had a menstrual cup with tiny holes! The holes on my Mooncup easily become clogged due to their size so I have found interdental brushes to be a lifesaver for cleaning them. I always ensure I clean and dry the brush after use to make sure it lasts for a long time.
A quick way I like to sanitise my menstrual cup is by putting it inside a microwave pot. Please do take care with these however as they are often quite difficult to lift out without spilling hot water - I usually leave mine to cool before removing from the microwave.
Also, recently I learned that electric sterilisers are available - I have not yet tried one but they look interesting!
When I take off a cloth pad, I like to store them folded in half inside a pedal bin (without the snaps done up, just gently folded). I like the convenience of being able to lift the inner bucket out when its time to take them to the washing machine as well as the fact it does not draw attention to itself in the bathroom. Just make sure other members of the household know that it's not a rubbish bin!
Do you have any favourites that I haven't mentioned here? Do you have any zero waste alternatives for the above that I could try out? Let me know!