Quick Method- not worrying too much about the potential staining
The quickest way is the following. You may not get rid of all stains this way, but your pads will be washed and clean for your next cycle. If you're someone who doesn't want to waste too much time on this process then this is the method for you.
1. You can simply toss all soiled pads into a wet bag then move straight to adding them to the wash once ready.
2. You'll add your Oxyclean to the washing machine, and just a bit of detergent. Do a quick wash on cold, then bulk the load with towels or clothes and do a regular wash on cold again and add the regular amount of detergent needed.
3. Tumble dry on low.
Note: Before adding your pads to the dryer, if you have pads that are still stained, you can rewash them with Oxyclean and try to get the stains out. Once they are added to the dryer, the chances of removing the stains are very slim as it's the heat of the dryer that sets the stain in.
Longer method- ensuring your pads are stain free
The method explained below is to ensure all stains are tackled. It's more lengthy, and you may not want to do this every cycle, but it will help make your pads last longer and stain free. It's ultimately your own choice as to how you want to clean your pads once you've done it a few times.
1. You will rinse the pad in COLD water (this is important, never use hot water on your pads, it can set any stains you may have) until the water runs clear. Squeeze the water out. Don’t twist the pad. At this point, you can use a stain stick to tackle any stubborn spots you may have. (Remember to rinse really well after getting stains out! You can then leave the pad to dry and reuse it, or toss it in a wet bag until the end of your cycle.
If you are out of the house, simply toss your pad in a wet bag and once you get home, you can then rinse them.
2. You may want to use an Oxyclean type powder or any other stain removing method for additional stain cleaning. (Completely optional). Add some to a bucket or sink with enough warm water to disintegrate the powder. Then add cold water. Add your pads topper side down. You want to make sure they are completely saturated. You can now let your pads chill. I tend to do this before bed and they would be ready to rinse the next morning. Or do it in the morning and they’d be ready in the evening. Rinse your pads. (Here is where you could leave them to dry completely and re-wear them IF you do not have a big enough stash. Once you are finished your cycle though, you will do a machine wash.)
You could also sun your pads. Sun is remarkable! Wet your pads and set them out in a sunny spot. In no time, your stains will disappear!
3. Add them to your wash. You may want to get a mesh bag to put them in before tossing in the wash. This will protect your pads from things that could pull or damage the fabrics. If you don’t have a mesh bag, you can simply be mindful of what will be going into the wash. No Velcro, zippers, and so on. Towels are a good option. Use a cold setting. Wash as usual.
It’s best that you do not add your pads to the dryer. The dryer will eventually wear out the fabric and won't make them last as long as if you air dried them. But they are fine to go into the dryer.
This is a personal choice. You want them away from daily routine where no dust or dirt will get to them until your next cycle. A pretty box, plastic bin or large makeup bag works. A wet bag can do the job as well! Some ladies like to showcase them in the bathroom. It sparks interest and can become an easy way to talk about cloth pads with your friends and relatives that see them!
Out of the house and using cloth pads
This can be a bit scary for some people. What do I do with the soiled pad? Will they smell? What if it’s a heavy flow? Well, you just have to be prepared. You will need a small waterproof bag of some sort. Pad wrappers will be convenient. And it never hurts to have a few wet wipes and a change of underwear. Let’s face it, cloth pads are not waterproof. If you go too long and bleed through, you’ll have a mess on your hands. So, the extra underwear and wipes will help that out IN CASE this is to happen. To avoid this scenario, change a little more often. Be sure to bring enough clean pads for the period of time away from the home. Keep your soiled pads in a waterproof bag.
Things to avoid with your cloth pads
If properly taken care of, your pads will last you 5-10 years or even longer! Here are a few things you should steer clear of to make sure they last!
Bleach: Bleach will slowly eat away at your fabric and can damage the prints if not used properly.
Fabric Softener/ Dryer Sheets: With time, these two products will leave a residue on your pads which can change the absorbency of them.
Ironing:Though the cotton toppers can get wrinkly looking, its best to not iron your pads. The plastic snaps and fleece will melt and become damaged with an iron.
Twisting the Fabric: When ringing your pads, its best to squeeze the fabric rather then twist it. After time, the twisting will break the fibers in the fabric and cause it to become weak.
Cleaning Brushes: You might be tempted at some point to use a little bristle scrubbing brush to get stains out. Similar to twisting the fabric, it will damage it with time. Its best to rub the fabric together, or use your hand to scrub out stains.
The Dryer: With time, the heat of the dryer will weaken the fabric. Also, if you have any stains you didn't tackle, the heat will set them into the fabric and you will have a much harder time getting them out. BUT, there is always a chance you need your pads asap and don't have a choice. We recommend a low heat setting and tumble dry. Our fabrics are preshrunk, so there shouldn't be much if any shrinkage.