Cloth Pads are a washable and reusable alternative to disposable pads. Suitable for menstruation and/or urinary incontinence.
Made from soft breathable fabrics, they feel nicer to wear than plastic disposables, and can help eliminate thrush and sweaty irritations. As well as being something fun!
Easy to care for – cloth pads can be rinsed out and then washed with your regular laundry. Just like washing underwear or clothing that has been in contact with blood.
With fabrics like ultra soft and luscious velours, or funky printed cottons, Cloth Pads are not only a practical and eco-friendly product, but also more enjoyable to wear than a boring white disposable.
Obsidian Star Cloth Pads come in several shapes and sizes, as well as many different fabric options.
Ranging from the “Mini” pantyliner size to the “Goddess” extra long pads for Night/Post Partum.
A label is attached to the underside of the pads to indicate the level of absorbency of the pad and if it has PUL waterproofing or not. This also tells you which way up the pad goes (the side with the label goes against your underpants), as well as a reminder of where you got the pad! Reversible pantyliners/pads have no labels so that you can wear them either side up.
I designed my labels to give the absorbency and waterproofing information in the star. “L” stands for “Light”, “R” for “Regular” and “H” for “Heavy”. The darker purple stars indicate the pad has PUL in it, the lighter purple labels are used on pads with no PUL. If there is an empty star (no letter inside it), it means the pad has adjustable absorbency (such as boostable or pocket pads)
The absorbencies of “Light”, “Regular” and “Heavy” in reference to the cloth pads are a guide only. It is recommended to change your pad before it becomes “full” for hygiene and comfort reasons (around every 2-4 hours), regardless of the absorbency of the pad. I also list the exact composition of the pads in the product description so that you can make your own determination of the absorbency level for your needs.
Cloth Pads work more effectively when you are wearing snug fitting underpants (Preferably cotton or other fabric that allows some grip rather than more “slippery” fabrics like nylon). There can be no exchanges or refunds on Cloth Pads or associated products due to health reasons.
Most of the pads you’ll find here are made in the “regular” absorbency (also known as Moderate or medium) – These pads should be suitable for use throughout most of your period, even on heavy days (though you will want to change more frequently on heavy days). You would most likely want to change the pad for comfort before the pad was too “full”, and additional unneeded layers can make the pads slower to dry.
The longer the pad, the more surface area of absorbency, so a Priestess or Goddess pad of “Medium” absorbency will hold much more flow than a Nymph or Maiden “Medium” absorbency pad. Pads without waterproofing will allow the blood to soak through eventually, so it is recommended to check regularly to make sure the pad has not soaked through. Pads made with PUL waterproofing will allow the flow to spread out through the core of the pad more, as well as helping prevent leaks. If you have heavy flow or flow that soaks through the one spot quickly rather than spreading out over the pad, you might want to wear pads with waterproofing or use a waterproofed booster under the pad. While I do occasionally make pads with microfleece backing, this is usually chosen as a backing to match the top fabric and provide an alternative to using PUL or just cotton backing, and will provide only a slight amount of leak-resistance when compared to a pad with just cotton backing and nothing else. So they should not be considered leak-resistant.
Please note the brand/absorbency labels are sewn onto the pad after the pads have been sewn up, so there are small stitching lines visible on the top of the pad. If the pad has PUL this does mean the stitching goes through the PUL layer, however I position the tags on the back of the wing so that there is minimal chance of leaking through any needleholes in the PUL layer.
Obsidian Star Cloth Pads are made using the “Hidden Core” method – where the absorbent core fabrics are sewn to a full layer of flannelette that is sandwiched between the top and bottom layers of the pad. This is why there is no visible core stitching on the top of the pad. The main core in most areas of the pad is about 1-2cm away from the edges with any 2nd and 3rd layers down the centre of the pad only – to make the pad feel less bulky. Please take this into consideration when purchasing pads without waterproofing if you bleed right out to the edges of pads.
Some pads will have the decorative print on the top, some will have it as the backing. This is to cater for customers who prefer to have the print up and those who like it facing down. Some pads have exposed PUL backing (to make the pads as thin as possible), some have “Hidden PUL” where the PUL layer is hidden behind a backing layer. Occasionally there are microfleece backed pads, which offer extra grip, but this fleece backing should not be considered leak-resistant.
The wings snap together using polyacetal resin snaps, applied using a professional snap press. Most of the pads use one snap setting, however you can request a second snap to make the pad snap narrower.
All fabrics are prewashed, in their own load (not with other laundry), using eco-friendly detergents (with the grey water used in the garden) before sewing to ensure they have been preshrunk and absorbent. Hemp and bamboo fabrics are hot washed 3 times to help give maximum shrinkage and absorbency. This means that your pads are ready to be worn straight away if you wish. However if you would like to wash the pads before you use them, you may do so.
Obsidian Star Cloth Pads come in several sizes and a few different shapes, to help you find a pad that works well for you. Not every style will be always available, as I tend to make more of the more popular styles, but if you are after something I don’t have instock, I do take “suggestions” (I don’t accept custom orders, but you can suggest something and I can consider making it for my next stocking).
Why do I give my pad styles/lengths odd names? Well when I first started out, I offered a “regular” length (what is now “Maiden”) and a long “Uber” night pad (what is now “Goddess”). Then added a size between those and had no idea what to call it. So, after seeing a couple of pad makers in the US calling their larger size “Goddess” I thought instead of giving my pad lengths normal names, I’d go with a mythology/mystical type theme for a bit of fun!
“Mini” – Around 16cm long and 6.5cm wide at the crotch.
Meaning: It just means small
Nymph” – Around 20-22cm long and 6-7cm wide at the crotch.
Meaning: A “nymph” is a pixie/elf like mythological being, so it conveys smallness
“Neophyte” – Around 25cm long and 6-7cm wide at the crotch, with wider ends.
Meaning: A neophyte is a “beginner” at something, so this pad length is small and suitable for young women.
“Maiden” – Around 28cm long and 7cm wide at the crotch.
Meaning: A maiden is another name for a woman, and is meant to convey a smaller size than a “Priestess”.
“Acolyte” – Around 30cm long and 7cm wide at the crotch. This has one end longer than the other (wings are not centred in the pad), this allows you to wear the longer end at the front or back, wherever you need it most.
Meaning: An Acolyte is an assistant to a Priest/Priestess.
“Priestess” – Around 33cm long and 7cm wide at the crotch.
Meaning: A Priestess is a woman who has an intermediary relationship between a God/Goddess and the regular folk, so this pad was named to fit between the Maiden and Goddess sizes.
“Goddess” – Around 38cm long and 7cm wide at the crotch. “Extra-Long” – Around 43cm long.
These are longer and have a wider back section to help catch any leaks while laying down or sitting. Goode for night or Post Partum use. Named because it is the largest and most powerful (absorbent) pad I make
“Arabian Nights” is a range of cloth pads designed to have an Arabian feel due to their rounded shape with pointy ends. These pads have their own Arabian size names because they were created by adding an extra pointed end to my standard pad lengths, so they are a bit longer than those lengths, but the pointy ends aren’t really much more usable extra length. So I wasn’t sure what lengths to call them, so I created new names!
“Lamba” (Lamp) approx 26cm Long (Based off the Nymph size)
“Amira” (Princess) approx 29cm long (Based on the Neophyte size)
“Malika” (Queen) – approx 31cm Long (Based on the Maiden size)
“Layla” (Night) – approx 34cm Long (Based on the Priestess size)
“Djinn” (Genie) – approx 38cm Long (Based on the Goddess size)
Fold up pads are designed to have the main absorbency of the pad made of a foldable booster. This allows the main bulk of the pad to unfold for faster drying, as you don’t have multiple layers sandwiched together as you would in an “all-in-one” pad. You can also add extra boosters in the folds to increase absorbency if you need to.
The disadvantage is that is can be bulkier than other styles of pad. However the main advantage is that you can have a much higher absorbency pad, with much less drying time than other styles.
With the Foldup pad “upside down” (so you are looking at the square/rectangle of the booster/trifold section) Fold one side of the booster section over 1/3 of the way into the centre of the pad.
If the pad has a strip of PUL, fold the non-PUL side over first. If not then it doesn’t matter which side you fold first. Then fold the other side of the booster section over to cover the other side. If your fold-up pad has waterproofing, the PUL section should be on the side you fold last, so that it is on the outside of the booster section.
Then snap the pad around your underpants like you would any other pad. Making sure the folded booster section is against your underpants.
If needed, you can place an additional booster between the foldup layers if you need to. You could lay a square facewasher or booster on the pad as it is flattened out, and fold it along with the fold-up pad. Or you could use a pocket pad insert or other narrow booster by slipping that in with the folds.
Some people call these an “All-in-Two” (Ai2) pad, I tend to call them a “Base & Insert” (B&I) pad. But whatever you call them, they are a pad system that consists of a normal winged pad shaped “base” or “holder” that has no absorbency itself (and may or may not have waterproofing), and the absorbency is done via “inserts” or “liners” that sit on top of the base.
The advantage with this style of pad is that if you have a light to regular flow or like to change pads regularly, you can keep the base on and switch the inserts as you need to.
So if you’re wanting to lessen the environmental impact of synthetic fabrics, this system allows you to use the one base (which uses synthetic fabrics) and several natural-fabric inserts through the day. Rather than needing several full waterproofed pads. The inserts also take up less space to carry around. They will also dry faster than an All-in-One pad that has the absorbent layers sewn into the pad.
The disadvantage with this style (particularly the “strap” style) is that if you have a heavier flow you will need to change the inserts more regularly or layer more than one together at a time, so won’t have the same multiple-use advantage than if your flow is lighter.
Obsidian Star B&I pads are made in 2 varieties:
“Strap Style” – Where the base pad that is topped with microfleece or suedecloth – which help provide good grip for the inserts and can also be more easily wiped clean. With ribbon “straps” on each end to hold the inserts in place. These generally come with a set of 3-4 single layer hemp inserts which can be worn singularly for a light flow or layered for more absorbency. If you get blood on the ribbon straps, you should be able to wipe them clean and keep using the base for the rest of the day. It is not recommended to wear the base for more than 4 hours if it has become soiled. This style allows you to also use a folded washcloth or other absorbent items instead of the inserts if needed.
“Pocket Style” – Where the base pad has fabric “pockets” on each end which hold the ends of the inserts in place. The inserts may be individual single layer hemp inserts like with the “strap” style pad, or may be “Trifold” inserts – a rectangle of fabric which is folded into 3rds then placed in the base. This style works best if your flow is more straight down onto the pad, as if the pocket ends become soiled you would need to change the base pad as well as the inserts. Only inserts created for this pad may fit into the pocket ends, so a folded washcloth or other improvised insert may not fit.
A “pocket” (or “envelope”) pad is a 2-part pad system where you have removable absorbent inserts/boosters that fit inside an empty pad case.
Obsidian Star Pocket Pads are made with a split back (underside), so that you place the absorbent inserts into the pad via this opening. The 2 halves of the back of the pad overlap to help ensure the back is covered even when the pad is stuffed full. Inserts may be individual light absorbency inserts that are layered together to achieve the desired absorbency from light to heavy. Or a “trifold” insert, which is a rectangle that is folded into 3rds to achieve a regular-heavy absorbency.
Pocket pads offer a great mixture between the function of an All-in-One pad, but with the flexibility of an adjustable absorbency and the faster drying with the removal of the absorbent inserts.
I generally don’t advise anyone runs out and buys a full stash straight away, because its hard to know what is going to suit you looking at pictures and descriptions of pads. That goes for any pads, not just mine. So I recommend buying 1 or 2 of a style to try out and if you like them go back for more. You may find you need or want different pads for different stages in your period. Some pads work better in some underpants than others as well.
PUL or not
“PUL” is a thin waterproofing fabric used in cloth pads. It is there to help stop the blood soaking straight through the pad. Some people prefer to have only natural fibres in their pads so don’t like pads with PUL. Some prefer the peace of mind and longer wear time of pads with PUL. I make most pads using PUL, as I feel they are most effective this way, but I do offer some without it for those who prefer not to use it. Whether you need PUL or not really depends on how your flow behaves as well as how heavy it is. If your flow is lighter and spreads out over the pad, then you may not need a pad with PUL. If your flow is heavier and if if soaks through a small area of the pad, then you may find that using pads with PUL means you can wear the pad longer.
Some brands of cloth pad use leak resistant synthetic fleece (like windpro) as a backing instead of PUL. I use PUL in my pads as this is a more waterproof fabric, thinner and is less likely to contribute to synthetic microfibres being washed into the waterways. So I feel this is a better choice for both function and the environment.
As we are all different, what lengths work for us is different too. Some people need longer pads to catch the “chanelling effect” (as I call it – where you leak out the front and back, not just nicely down into the middle of the pad), some prefer just a wider back, some don’t need anything more than a small little pad. So try to think of what you disliked about disposables, and what would be nice to have in cloth – to work out what shape and size you think you might like.
The longer the pad the more fabric there is in it, so a waterproofed pad that is longer will give you more absorbency than the same absorbency level in a smaller pad. Eg a “Regular” absorbency 30cm pad will have more absorbency capacity than a “regular” 20cm pad because there is 10cm more pad and the core inside is therefore longer. This is especially true in pads that have PUL inside, as the flow is able to soak into more of the pad core, whereas a non-waterproofed pad can leak straight through. So if you want extra absorbency, you may like to go for a slightly longer pad with PUL.
To find the right length of pad for you, check the measurements with a ruler or tape measure to see exactly how that size looks. Perhaps even measuring it against pads you already have. Don’t forget to measure the crotch of your underpants to check the width of the pad against those too, as some styles of underpants have wider crotches than others and a pad that is too narrow for the style of underpants you wear, can pull the crotch in, which you may not like, if if the pad is too wide for your underpants the pad won’t be held securely enough in place. (See the article on “Bunching” on my blog.
Some of my pads come with 2 snap settings to allow you to choose between the settings to better fit your preferences and your underwear – however make sure to check the measurements. You can request an extra snap setting on pads that do not have one, however I will advise you if the pad does not suit an extra snap setting.
If you want something for discharge, backup for a menstrual cup, light flow, spotting or “just in case”, then a “Light” absorbency pad or pantyliner might be appropriate. These are smaller pads with a lighter absorbency, so shouldn’t feel too bulky when you don’t need a lot of absorbency. For a “gushy” or heavier flow, you’ll need to either change a “regular” absorbency pad frequently, or choose a “heavy” absorbency pad. “Heavy” pads may also be necessary to use overnight. A “Regular” absorbency pad should be fine for most people to use through the majority of your period.
Unfortunately I cannot accept returns of cloth pads for change of mind/incorrect fitting (for health reasons).