Articles

Wetproofing Cloth Pads – whats the juice?

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(Article by Bec from Clothcycle)

A common question for those who are just starting to use cloth pads is what is the pros and cons of all the different methods of waterproofing a cloth pad and what are my options? I thought I would write a little bit about a few of the different options available and present some anecdotal findings of cloth pad users. I say anecdotal as cloth pads are about experience, each women’s experience is different, each women’s preference is different, each women’s flow is different!

Lets discuss pads with no waterproofing. A pad made with no waterproofing is good for those who prefer a totally natural or organic option and for those women who are sensitive to increased warmth in a pad. Any form of wet proofing will add a little bit of warmth.

Pros:

  • Breathable and cool
  • Pads can be made with entirely organic fabrics
  • You got to know the flow to understand
  • Good option for those wearing pads for cup back-up who need a little more protection from in between leaks than say a pantyliner

Cons:

  • If you are not careful and change your pads regularly there will be a mess in your pants
  • Not fantastic if you get stuck away from the house or bathroom for longer than expected, relies on you to change at regular intervals consistently

Another way to wetproof a cloth pad and remain organic if that is your preference is to use wool as a backing.

Pros:

  • Natural fibre
  • Breathable, cool
  • Relatively trim layer
  • Grips your underwear, so prevents sliding

Cons:

  • Requires special care or wool can shrink and warp the pad
  • May need lanolizing which could be difficult to maintain in all in one pads, may find that pad becomes less reliable over time
  • Water resistant, heavy flow may pass through this barrier

A further way of adding wet resistance to a pad is to use polyester fleece, this fabric is 100% polyester.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Grips your underwear, so prevents sliding/shifting of the pad
  • Reliable wet resistant layer for many women
  • Dense polyester fleece provides good support/form for the pad

Cons:

  •  Can add warmth to the pad
  • Synthetic fabric
  • Wide variation in quality or denseness of polyester fleece, the more dense the fleece the more water resistant
  • Some women report that it does not provide reliable water resistance for heavy/gushing flow
  • Depending on the dense nature of the fleece, may not lend enough support/form to the pad as a back
  • Windpro or Windbloc polyester fleece is not manufactured in Australia, requires import or purchase from cloth pad maker outside Australia.

Another fabric used is PUL. “PUL” is an acronym for polyurethane laminate. PUL is made by laminating a layer polyurethane to a polyester interlock knit fabric or cotton fabric. PUL comes in different thickness of laminate, either 1 mil or 2mil.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Most reliable wet resistant layer, good if you are leaving the home
  • Thin
  • As it is reliable allows the pad maker to use less absorbing layers in some instances
  • Polyester PUL is a pliable soft fabric
  • As it is thin a backing layer can be used to provide grip for the pad. Backing fabric can also provide decorative layer.

Cons:

  • Can add warmth to the pad
  • Synthetic fabric
  • Variation in quality of PUL or thickness, thicker PULs make for a thicker/stiff pad
  • Can slip/slide if not placed behind base fabric (this is not always the case depending on the style of pad or type of PUL used)
  • Cotton PUL relatively stiff fabric not generally used
  • Can be difficult to sew for inexperienced sewer due to slide of laminate layer.

(image from Dreamstime.com)

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