When first stepping out into the big, wide world of cloth, the choice can be overwhelming. You don’t only have a choice of top layer fabric, you’re also faced with various bottom layers, absorbent cores and even the shapes of the pads themselves – there are flared, straight, long, short, curved, ultra slim and wide to name but a few. Is your head spinning? Mine used to before I got to grips with it all and realised it was much simpler than I originally flapped on about. It’s a little like being a chubby diabetic child and winning a golden ticket for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. You want to taste everything, but know that you probably shouldn’t – at least not all at once.
I’d like to point out that I don’t encourage cloth pad gluttony. It took some time and research, but I still remember that first feeling of desperately wanting to try cloth and not knowing where on Earth to begin. I would hopelessly scour Etsy and Feminine Wear for hours on end in the hope that some well-reputed cloth pad makers would pop up in a search. This did not happen. Now, I am many months on from that hysterical time and I am ready to share with you what I have learned. The following are my top five favourite cloth pad makers of all time.
1. Mama Kloth
Nicole makes cotton topped cloth pads from her home in British Columbia. She uses bamboo and organic cotton fleece for her cores, soft water resistant poly fleece for her backing and poly resin KAM snaps. The flow is indicated by the colour-coded KAM snaps: silver for light and gold for heavy. I came across Mama Kloth on Etsy and was delighted with my “fox field” cloth pad starter set, which included five pads for variable flow. I recommend a set such as this for any newbie as it allowed me to try a few different lengths and sizes. Her pads are relatively straight in shape, although she does now offer a curved style too. While her pads aren’t exactly on the cheap side, they are well made and they wash well. I’m glad to have some in my stash.
2. Eco-Owl by Netta
Based in the USA, Bernadette or Netta at Eco-Owl sells via her Facebook page. Her pads are cotton topped, anti-pill polar fleece backed and have a core of either cotton terry or cotton flannel. They’re definitely thicker than the County Cloth pads (the next maker in my list), but provide much more coverage in your underwear due to the super flared front and back. Personally, I don’t require so much coverage throughout the day, but I do favour this shape of pad for overnight use. The extra coverage means I feel much more confident against leaking. Netta’s prices are reasonable and I would recommend buying some of her cloth pads for anyone starting up their stash. You’ll get more for your money from Eco-Owl, to quickly build up a collection without breaking the bank. I placed quite a large order with Netta for this very reason.
3. County Cloth Creations
Based in Ontario, Meghan at County Cloth creates awesome cloth pads from her rural home. Most of her pads are cotton topped and backed in micro fleece, with poly resin quality KAM snaps applied with an industrial snap press. Their absorbent flannel cores come in different numbers of layers, depending on the flow you’re looking to deal with. I discovered County Cloth from a random Etsy search and have never looked back. From my first few purchases I’ve been hooked. Meghan just gets the shape right – her panty-liners and cloth pads are slightly curved and rounded at both ends alike. In my opinion, her pads provide just enough coverage, are superb as menstrual cup back-up and for dealing with moderate day flow. The thickness is relatively slim in your knickers and doesn’t encourage any bunching up in the middle. I find her pads very comfortable, soft and they wash well to boot.
What a superb brand name and one that still brings a smile to my face. It’s quite simply brilliant: clever, effective and clear in its message – “be kind to both your body and the environment during your moon time”. Based in Scottsdale, Australia, Rachel hand-dyes cotton velour for the tops of her cloth pads, while using super absorbent layers of bamboo fleece for the cores. The pads are finished in vibrantly printed cotton backing and many have a hidden PUL (polyurethane laminated) layer for waterproof protection. She offers a great selection of pad shapes on her Etsy shop including straight, curved, long and short, depending on your preference. Her cloth pads are by no means the most reasonably priced on the market, but the quality is clear in Rachel’s choice of fabric and her neat stitching. I consider her pads to be the more luxurious ones in my collection and I enjoy using them very much.
5. Pampered Mama
Tanya is the woman behind the Pampered Mama brand. Selling from California, her cloth pads are all minky topped, backed with windpro fleece and have poly resin quality KAM snaps. Her cores are made with layers of bamboo fleece and are incredibly absorptive. Minky is a stain resistant fabric, which is brilliant for heavy flow. I placed a custom order with Tanya on Etsy for three pads and she made and shipped my order rapidly. While not being the greatest fabric choice for hot summers, Pampered Mama pads are a favourite of mine in autumn and winter and also for overnight protection. Her cloth pad prices are average, making them a great choice if you’re a minky fan.