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Tell me about how you soak your cloth pads

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm brand new to cloth pads (as in, literally starting TODAY!) and I'm already loving it.  But I'm just realizing that I do not have a firm plan on how to soak my cloth when I get home tonight.  I have a few thoughts/needs to address:


- I know I need something to soak them in.  I have a large secondhand pot (I think it's enamel) that I'm thinking of using.  Would I need to do anything to it to clean it before using it to soak?  Also, it's BIG - which leads to the second problem...


- The one bathroom in our apartment is VERY small. I'm actually not sure if I can fit anything in there ANYWHERE, on the floor or anywhere else.  The space is used as efficiently as possible, clutter is not a problem at all, there just isn't any floor space. Do you soak your cloth in the bathroom, and where in the bathroom do you put the container?  


- Cleaning supplies - I've heard so many recommendations.  We've been slowly converting to natural cleaning supplies as the budget has allowed for it, and I'm making the leap with laundry now that I'm switching to cloth.  What's your favorite?  


- DP.  He is generally extremely easy-going and more than happy to participate in some of the ways I want our household to run, but if he has one hang-up in the whole world it is, as he terms it, "all bathroom stuff." rolleyes.gif I think it's partially that he's never lived with a woman before me and that he didn't have any sisters growing up, but he can't even deal with things like being in the room while I pee.  I do not want him to have to constantly interact/see my pads soaking, because it would make him very uncomfortable.  Yes, I know what you're going to say - I should just tell him to grow up and get over it.  But this is ACTUALLY his only weird "thing", whereas I have about a million hang-ups, big and small, that he deals with on a daily basis with more kindness and understanding than any man I've ever known, and he has begged me to please just deal with this one thing for now.  So I am - for now.  Any thoughts on how I can make this transition as comfortable for him as possible, or really, any thoughts on how I can most effectively hide my soaking container etc?  What did you tell your DH/DP/other members of your family?  


Looking to hear some personal recs and ideas from ladies who have BTDT.  TIA for any advice!  

post #2 of 16

I use an enzyme detergent ( powder ) and mix it with cold water , then put all that along with the pads in a plastic container with snap-on lid . We have a fairly large house , but a lot of people staying in it , including my 2 teenage and one pre-teenage sons , and also only one bathroom , so that way , I can store under the kitchen sink or inside a cabinet as well , if the need arises  

post #3 of 16

I soaked the first couple of months, but I hated doing it.  It was kinda gross, actually.  So, I just make sure I do a load of laundry every day or just about every day.  I pretty much do that anyway, so it's not a big deal to me.  After I take one off, I do rinse it well and toss it right into the washing machine.  Even if I didn't do a load until the next day, it wouldn't dry out in that time, so I'm sure it would wash up fine.


If you do soak, you could probably keep your container in another room.  When I did soak, I kept mine on top of the washing machine.

post #4 of 16

I have to admit that I don't soak, I just accept that my cloth pads will be kinda stained.  Up till now I didn't have a washing machine in the house, so I'd scrub out my pads every night...here is what I did:

--I had a scrub brush (with hard plastic nubs, not really bristles) and a bar of detergent soap like my Indian mother-in-law uses for washing underwear in the shower

--When I took a shower I'd put the pads on the floor of the shower to "soak" in the water for a minute till they were wet through

--I got them nice and soapy and scrubbed them on the floor of the bathtub with the brush, a la Indian MIL

--I rinsed them briefly and stuck 'em back down on the floor to rinse more as I was finishing showering

--When I was done, I wrung them out and then pinned them on a clothesline to dry


Now that I have the ultimate luxury of an in-apartment washing machine, I will probably soak them in some kind of closed container with a lid so nobody has to see the bloody water, and I'll keep the container on top of the washing machine so DD won't get into it.  Otherwise, under the bathroom sink might be convenient.


As far as natural cleaning supplies go, the best ecofriendly detergent I've found is Bright Green 2X.  But it's hard to find, so I save it for the really disgusting laundry (diapers) and use plain ol' Trader Joe's detergent for everything else.


Good luck!  I hope you like your cloth pads! 

post #5 of 16
I don't get why you'd need to soak?

I never have. I just fold it in thirds, snap the wings around it and keep it until my next load of laundry which is usually that day or the next. Then, I just unsnap it and toss it in the wash. They're stained but, who cares? They are pads....
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Whoa, I wasn't expecting to hear that so many people don't soak!  I guess since I've read in the past that people do that, I assumed it was really necessary for some reason.  I'm glad to hear that there are so many different methods and non-methods.  Choose2Reuse, I thought about rinsing them in the shower too - I think I might switch to that!  We don't have in-unit or even in-building machines, so it's down the block and around the corner any time I want to do laundry, so anything I can do to cut down that process is awesome.  I'm using Seventh Gen detergent right now, which I know isn't the very best, so I think I'm going to switch to Trader Joe's after this container of detergent is done.

post #7 of 16

Here's my routine, which is squeamish-boy AND teeny-tiny bathroom approved:


- I keep a small wet bag between the toilet and the wall and stash my used pads in there until the end of my cycle.


- When my cycle is done, I fill the bathtub up with about an inch or two of cold water and maybe a squirt of Bac-Out or a little Femme Rock (or whatever I have on hand), then swish my pads around in it and let them soak for about 15-30 minutes. I find that simply saying, "hey, my GladRags are soaking upstairs, so if you don't want to see them, don't go in there" works great. No matter how supportive your partner is about GladRags, I've found that he probably does NOT want to have first-hand experience with them ;)


- After that I give my pads one last little swish, then toss them in the laundry with other things, so I don't have to do an extra load. This is important because while I have on-site laundry in my building, it's not free.


That's it! Have to say my favorite cleaning supply is Bac-Out: smells awesome, and can be used for everything under the sun.

post #8 of 16

I also do not soak or do anything special. I keep a wetbag left over from diapering in the bathroom and put my cloth pads in there along with the cloth wipes that we still use. Once a week or at the end of my cycle I wash it all in the machine- 1 cold prewash with water only, then 1 hot wash with Country Save detergent and Country Save oxygen bleach. Often I hang in the sun to dry but not always. My pads and wipes are stained but I don't care.

post #9 of 16

Ok, I do soak... sort of.


I have 3+ yo cloth pads with zero stains or signs of their "real" use. When dh first saw them, he assumed they were a rather large stash of very pretty flannel hankies strangely stored in a pretty bag in my dresser drawer, LOL.


I do *NOT* use a washing machine, so I know anyone with one can do this even more easily.


When I use the bathroom, I toss the pad into the plugged sink & run cool water on it while I use the bathroom, tidy, up, etc. Swish & wring, rinse if needed & repeat. Then I put the pad in a container 1/2 or so full of cool water (any old thing will do-- I've used a bleach bottle w the top cut off before, but many women find that a cookie jar is the best bc it's pretty enough to put on a shelf & you can warn any squeamish ppl not to peek!; I really love the idea of the wet bag stuffed behind the toilet tank! brilliant! but we'll soon be using a humanure toilet, so no tank & my new-found hiding place will not exist, LOL).


After a few days I handwash in the sink with 1 Tbsp or so homemade laundry powder (1 bar laundry soap, grated- like fels naphtha or lirio  + 1 c borax + 1 c arm & hammer washing soda). No scrubbing is usually needed. I bought a stiff bristle nylon brush for the task, but have almost never needed it (works great for boy-jean-knees though). Just swish, wash, rinse w a blub of vinegar in the water & hang to dry. Then I start soaking again 'til the end of cycle & repeat.


When I used to use a machine, it was all the same, except I'd throw them in with a hot water load & used Country Save-- it was the cheapest & best I could find at the time, although I am pretty loyal to my homebrew soap now C:


I hth & I thank all the mamas who would *talk* about this kind of thing when I was younger & newer to sustainable living, as well as those who still do now C:


****editing for clarity****

sorry, it just sounded so unclear when I re-read. I keep adding rinsed pads to the soak jar/ bucket for a few days, then wash as above. Then I start new soak water & keep adding 'til end of cycle. HTH it make better sense!

Edited by mum4vr - 11/30/12 at 5:41pm
post #10 of 16

I don't soak and I don't have stains. shrug.gif My pads are snow white.


I put my pads in a tiny wet bag that is the same color as the wall they hang on. I them usually take them out to the laundry area to another wet bag each night, just so our bathroom doesn't get funky (we have no window in the bathroom).


I wash my pads every other or every third day (I usually bleed for 7 days, 5 of it very heavy). I use a small amount of Bio-Kleen powder detergent and then I fill the bleach and fabric softener compartments of my front loader with hydrogen peroxide. HP "eats" protein, so the HP literally "eats" the blood away, leaving sparkling clean, fresh smelling pads. I wash them on a quick cycle, on hot, with an extra rinse and on the heavy soil setting. I *immediately* dry on high for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the load. I don't want any nasties growing in damp pads.


Our bathroom is tiny and used by our whole family and guests.


That's my routine!

post #11 of 16
I am almost done with cloth diapers but we still use family cloth. My pads and the family cloth and the diapers all go in the same wash and nothing gets soaked first.
post #12 of 16
i dont soak.... sometimes i rinse them out, if im at home, since i can reach the sink from the toilet, but i dont even always do that. i have a hanging wetbag that we use for that and bathroom cloth.... my pads are all 6-8ish years old, and no staining at all.
post #13 of 16
No soak. Rinse them in cold water & toss them in with the cloth diapers and family cloth wipes. Two runs in hot water, soap on the first run. Then dry. No muss no fuss.
post #14 of 16

I don't soak mine either. I do rinse them pretty well before putting them in a wet bag.

post #15 of 16

I don't soak or rinse mine.  Just toss them all in a box (and let them dry) until I do laundry.  Then I spray some Shout on the stained part and wash with other clothes.  Never had any stains and I've been using cloth pads for years.  OK mine are not white of course, all different prints, but there are some light blue and light pink ones and I haven't seen any stains.  As others said, as long as you wash them within a few days (so the stains don't set) they should come out fine.  If you don't use commercial stain removers rubbing a soap bar on them would work, too.  Very occasionally they might not come out after a wash on a light colored pad, I then spray the part again and toss it in with another load, and they always come out clean.  Make sure you check them before tumble dry.

post #16 of 16

Just saw this thread....


When I began using Mama cloth -I did try "wash out" my pads ..but I work out of the home and have too many kiddies.. (HA) and someone usually banging on the bathroom door to get in...so the 'washing out' was just too much work..


I do NOT rinse out individually ...


I sewed myself a handy dandy wet bag and toss them all inside...depending on schedules- sometimes I wash mid cycle..sometimes I do not... I too had the idea that my pads would just have to be a little stained....but really..i don't have much staining...


I dump the whole wet bag into the washing machine, I do a rinse only for an extra small load...then i refill the washing machine with detergent (homemade) and I recently bought a small container of the oxy cleaner from the $1 shop..I put a 1/2  a scoop in..then I toss in the dryer for a bit, then lay out flat to dry the rest of the way....


See one of my other threads for a recent question of mine....


Hope this helps...how is it going with the cloth??

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