Introducing the award-winning Bloom & Nora.
From menstrual cups to period pants to reusable sanitary pads, there are a flock of eco-friendly alternatives to regular tampons and sanitary wear.
Bloom & Nora is one of the leading brands for reusable period products, with beautifully made (and printed) liners and pads. TotsBots disposable nappy director Fiona Smyth evolved her design know-how to create another environmentally friendly product to help combat single use plastic waste. Have a positively eco-friendly period with award-winning reusable sanitary wear, made in the UK.
We were sent a starter pack to review and as a newbie to reusable period pants also answer frequently asked questions about reusable cloth menstrual pads.
Why switch to reusable sanitary pads?
Why doesn’t everyone use reusable products if they are so good? Blame it on the lack of information, availability, laziness (let us be honest ladies) or simply the uncertainty of change (I am a stubborn creature of habit and its not a good thing).
There are many reasons why switching to reusable sanitary pads is the way forward.
They are safer and MORE sanitary.
A lot of people think that using reusable period products is unsanitary when the opposite is true. Bloom & Nora pads are Oekotex certified which means there are absolutely no harmful chemicals in the product. If used properly (cloth pads need proper washing, drying, and caring for) they are more comfortable, skin-friendly, and less likely to cause allergic reactions in comparison to synthetic pads. Reusable pads are also less likely to cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Of course, it is important to make sure that you change your pads regularly.
Surprisingly, they do not smell weird.
Hands up, this was my preconception, Soft and breathable materials used to make the Bloom & Nora pads allows moisture to evaporate. Less moisture means fewer bacteria to produce unwanted smells, so they are fresher. Sorry to be gross, but you were wondering.
Myth Bust: reusable cloth sanitary pads are less hygienic.
They save you money.
Most women can expect to deal with 30 something years of menstruation during their lifetime. Did you know that you can save up to £2000 compared to the cost of using throwaway sanitary products? Whilst reusable products have a higher upfront cost, they evidently last longer, many reusable converts state up to 5 years. As an added benefit the Bloom & Nora products are covered by a 12-month guarantee.
They are made of environment-friendly materials.
Over a year one woman can use up to single use 15,000 products, most of which end up in landfill and can take centuries to biodegrade. The ones that do not end up in landfill, often end up on in the sea and on the beaches. Where you like to swim…and take your kids. In 2013 the Marine Conservation Society held a beach clean across 96.7km of UK coastline. They collected 428 tampons and tampon applicators per 4.4km and 1291 sanitary pads.
Bloom & Nora sanitary pads.
Let’s keep it simple. The Bloom & Nora pads are available in two types –
Bloomers. Perfect for those who prefer natural fabrics as they have a colourful, absorbent bamboo fleece surface. Noras. If bright whites are more your cup of tea, the surface is a stay dry polyamide is great for first time users. As the Noras are stain repellent it is easy to keep them just like new. Buyers get to pick different styles of fabric. I love the Lady Gardens pattern…and name! The core on both is Polyester microfiber and the soft waterproof exteriors are made from plastic bottles! Bloom & Nora are the first brand in the UK to use recycled waste to make the waterproof PUL. Approximately 2 bottles are recycled to make one Bloom & Nora trial kit (RRP £33.95).
Which size is best for me?
Bloom & Nora have four sizes and levels of absorbency:
- Mini – Liner sized for light flow. Length 21cm (approx.), holds up to 40ml. Team the smaller panty liners up with a menstrual cup.
- Midi – Normal size for normal day flow. Length 26cm (approx.), holds up to 50ml.
- Maxi – Longer size and with extra absorbency for heavy flow, day or night. Length 29cm (approx.), holds up to 125ml.
- Mighty –Very long for very heavy, overnight & postpartum flow. Length 32cm (approx.), holds up to 140ml.
Not sure where to start? Take the perfect pad questionnaire, try a trial kit, or buy a single pad or three pack – there are options for everyone!
Reusable vs disposable pads.
What did you think of the pad’s performance?
I admit surprise at the fact that reusable products work better than disposables. It is a good idea to give them a few washes before wear get them up to full absorbency. Cloth pads are made to be very absorbent, the seamed edges and the waterproof backing on the Bloom & Nora pads stops leakage.
You need to change pads every 4-6 hours as usual. You will need 10-12 pads if you plan to wash every second day. If you do not have enough, it might put you off using them as you may find washing them time-consuming.
Comfort wise there is no itchy plastic; the pads are soft and surprisingly lightweight. They are typically made with wings that snap around the underwear to keep the sides of the pants dry. I was dubious about the poppers, but there was little movement inside the underwear. There is also no sticky adhesive strip getting stuck where it should not.
Is washing cloth pads a lot of work?
The secret to preventing staining is a quick cold-water rinse by hand before you pop your pad into the bathroom bag. Do not rinse with hot water as it will set stains.
Pre-soak in regular water for 30 minutes. Toss them into the washing machine. Do not boil wash or add vinegar or sodium bicarbonate to the wash. You can wash other similar colours at the same time. Wash within 48 hours at 40 and use a non-bio powder. Avoid fabric conditioner as it will reduce their absorbent capacity.
You can tumble on a cool setting, but the best option is to dry in direct sunlight/ open air as they act as natural disinfectants.
Myth Bust: I thought I would be unsettled about blood in the washing machine, but then I started to think about how if I ever had any leaks then this would be washed anyway.
How do I deal with pad changes when I’m away from home?
Whenever you are at work or out invest in a Bloom & Nora handy waterproof ‘out and about’ bag. The clever design has 2 compartments to keep used and unused pads separate and will hold 4-6 pads depending on their size.
What is it really like to use reusable menstrual pads during your period?
Personally, I feel they are the same as disposables in terms of where the pads go, fit and how long you should be wearing them. No, it doesn’t feel like you are wearing a giant nappy, well not any different that if you were wearing a maxi night pad and the Blooms are MUCH comfier than say your off the shelf Always pads. The only thing that is different is rinsing and storing (if you are out) the pads after you remove them (then later, washing). It is a tad more time consuming, but that is the point – you are trying to stop using one use products and after a couple of months it will not seem like a trail at all. In a way being more hands on has made me more accepting of my period. I’ll be switching up my routine. First 2-3 days will be staying with the cup with a Bloom Panty liner, and last 2-3 days will be with the Midi pads.
So, for me, there are no negatives to using the Bloom & Nora reusable pads and the only reason I have that it is not common practice for modern women is because of the inconvenience factor.
Honest note, not all women will have the heart to wash off their period blood with their own hands as thoroughly as they will need to, or it will take some adjustment.
Myth Bust: You can feel your period more. If you are used to pads, then it is no different. Moving from tampons to reusable pads then it will be different.
If you are looking to minimize your environmental impact, reduce, reuse and recycle, one pad at a time then we highly recommend Bloom & Nora reusable pads. They dispatch pads with Royal Mail Signed For, which typically takes 2-3 working days for UK orders, and longer for overseas and prices per pad range from £4.99.
This post is written in collaboration with the above brands. Distribution of prizes is the responsibility of Bloom & Nora.
#AD. We were kindly gifted the Bloom & Norah for the purposes of this review.