WARNING: If you don’t want to know about the inner workings of my tremendous undergarments, look away now.
This is a follow-up to my previous post about cloth sanitary pads (CSPs), which you can read here. That is an introductory “how-to” type piece and is probably our most popular blog post to date. It had an overwhelmingly positive response and I know a fair few women who have switched to cloth as a result.
So there is quite clearly a demand out there. Women want an alternative to disposables. And I’m not even talking about a small niche of hippy types who eat their own placentas and carve goddess statues from their ear wax. Not that there’s anything wrong with those people, obviously. Each to their own and all that. But I can see the glimmer of a future when reusable menstrual products (or RUMPs – a term which covers menstrual cups as well as pads) are very much mainstream and “normal”. If only more people knew about them.
So I had mixed feelings when I heard that Cheeky Wipes had launched their own brand of cloth sanitary pads, called Cheeky Mama.
The name itself is problematic, since not everyone has children. The key to becoming mainstream is getting all people who menstruate on board, including teens, folk without children and older parents with adult children. But as this company sells cloth wipes for babies in cloth nappies, I guess their existing customers are invariably young mothers.
I also felt that mass-produced functional CSPs might take business away from the wonderful work-at-home small businesswomen who have been lovingly making beautiful creative pads for years. However, Cheeky Wipes is a much bigger, better known brand name that is better equipped for spreading the word about CSPs. Ultimately if lots more people use CSPs, it will generate lots more customers for all makers. So it can only be a good thing really. And I believe a couple of makers are already beginning to introduce lower-priced ranges of value pads.
So anyway, Cheeky Mama kindly sent me a free pad to try and here it is:
At the moment there is only one length and absorbency available but I’m told that liners and night pads will be available some time in April. This regular pad is a smidge over 9.5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide when poppered shut.
The backing and wing fabric is short pile minky with a hidden waterproof PUL layer. My freebie is pink but there are other colours available if, like me, you like matching your pads to your underwear and your mood!
The absorbent core is made with two layers of microfibre fabric and topped with white bamboo cotton. The whole thing feels very soft and not at all bulky.
I usually avoid white or light-coloured pads in case they stain more easily but it does look very clean and fresh.
I’m a bit reluctant to review it in terms of my own usage because we’re all such different shapes and we all have different periods. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa. However, I found the length and absorbency comfortable for moderate and lighter days. The white top fabric absorbed very quickly and there was no spreading at all onto the pink wing fabric. I wouldn’t wear it for very heavy flow or overnight but I wore it for four hours in the daytime without any leaks.
It washed very well and didn’t stain at all. It kept its shape too. The fabric wasn’t as soft after washing but this is true of most bamboo-topped pads (fabric softener is a big no-no for cloth pads as it reduces absorbency).
The best thing about Cheeky Mama pads? The price. These are £4 each. FOUR QUID! That is a bargain. And it’ll last years. They also have a £25 starter pack available, which incudes five pads and a double-pocketed wetbag. The £50 full kit includes ten pads, a storage box for used pads, mesh laundry bag and a little bottle of tea tree oil for use with the storage box. And at the time of writing this, if you spend over £30, they’ll send you 25 cloth wipes for free! That is a brilliant price!
There is no getting away from the fact they aren’t as pretty as my other pads. Although Cheeky Wipes was very quick to respond to my questions by email and on Twitter, you don’t get to pick out your own fabrics or have that personal service you get from a work-at-home maker. Cheeky Wipes told me they are “ethically made” in China. They look almost identical to the ones you can buy on eBay, which also come from China. It’s a shame they aren’t made in the UK but presumably this is how they can offer such an amazing price.
BUT they’re a good product and they do what they’re meant to do. They are also really affordable for those on tight budgets. At four quid for one pad, a lot more people will be willing to buy one or two out of curiosity. And no one who tries cloth ever goes back to disposables, do they?!
I did not receive any payment for this post but was sent the product free of charge in return for an honest review.