March 06, 2020 6 min read

"INFO: The team previously at hannahpad Canada launched their own new brand, illum! These blog posts have been written when we used to run hannahpad Canada. All information is still relevant and everything is the same! We simply changed the brand that we offer. :slightly_smiling_face: "


The moment you decide to switch to high quality reusable menstrual pads like illum Cloth Pads, you are already on the path to a ton of benefits. So now that you’ve made this awesome choice, let’s talk about the most burning question that’s probably on your mind: how many illum Cloth Pads do I need? 

In this blog we’ll break down how you can determine the right number of illum Cloth Pads for your period, as well as which types are best for you! Let’s jump right in

Four hannahpads with the patterned side down

Step 1: Determine If You Have a Light or Heavy Menstrual Flow

This step will give you an idea of what kind of pads you need to get, as we offer a wide variety of hannahpads that suit different people’s needs.

A “normal” menstrual flow (please note the quotations around “normal”) is different for everyone. In general, however, you’ll typically be able to classify your period as either light or heavy. You might already know this based on your past periods, but in case you are not sure, we know a great way to find out. The key is to find out how many mL of menstrual fluid that you lose every period. If you lose above 80mL of menstrual fluid per period, that counts as heavy bleeding. 

This may not be as straightforward as wringing a pad or tampon into a graduated cylinder, but at least we can make an estimate based on your experience with menstrual products you’ve used in the past. Here’s how you can find out:

If You Are Switching From Disposable Menstrual Pads

Look back on the days when you’ve last used one of those stuffy disposable menstrual pads. How frequently did you need to change them? On average, a regular disposable menstrual pad can hold about 5mL of fluid. Meanwhile, an overnight disposable menstrual pad can hold about 10mL. So now it’s time to do some easy math (note - this is for your entire period):

(Number of regular pads soaked x 5mL) + (Number of overnight pads soaked x 10mL) = estimate of mL of menstrual fluid lost

Just remember that this is an estimate. So if you get an answer close to or above 80mL, it’s highly likely that you have heavy menstrual bleeding.

If You Are Switching From Tampons

Ah yes, the invasive and abrasive tampons. This is one of the most potentially harmful types of menstrual products in the market. If you’re making a switch from this, we are both happy and relieved. 

A light tampon can hold about 3mL of fluid, while a super tampon can hold about 12mL of fluid. So based on this, we do an easy calculation just like the one we used for menstrual pads (note - this is for your entire period): 

(Number of light tampons soaked x 3mL) + (Number of super tampons soaked x 12mL) = estimate of mL of menstrual fluid lost

Please remember that this is just an estimate. Any answer that is close to 80mL and over can be considered heavy bleeding. Here’s an idea: if you have experience using both of these menstrual products, then you can even try averaging your results to get a more accurate estimate.

If You Are Switching From a Menstrual Cup

Though menstrual cups have the reusability advantage, the invasive aspect of this particular period product still carries concerns that put off a lot of ladies. If you’re one of them, welcome to the reusable-menstrual-pad club! Now you can enjoy the benefits of helping the environment without the invasive risks. 

The average menstrual cup often has volume measurements on its side (e.g. 10mL, 15mL, and so on.) If yours doesn’t, you can fill the cup with water and empty the water out into another container. Now, you are able to measure the volume of the menstrual cup. Once you have this measurement, it’s once again time to do some easy math:

mL of your menstrual cup x number of times it was full in one day x the average length of your period = estimate of mL of menstrual fluid lost

Just like with the previous two calculations, this is only an estimate. Any answer that is close to 80mL and over can be considered heavy bleeding. And to further validate your answer here, you can also do the math for disposable pads or tampons if you’ve tried those before. 

Now that you know your flow type, you’ll get a better idea of what kind of illum Cloth Pads you would need.

Step 2: Determine How Often You Will Change Pads

Like any period products, changing reusable menstrual pads is a matter of hygiene, need, and preference. It’s not all about the heaviness of your flow. In fact, if you’ve ever found that you’ve needed to change your pads way too many times because of your heavy flow, that pad capacity you were using may not have been the right one for you. 

In truth, a heavy flow will compel you to change pads more than a light flow would but the number should still only be around 1 to 6 changes in a day. 

As a ballpark estimate of how many reusable menstrual pads you’ll need, you can base it on the number of times you’ve had to change disposable pads in the past (assuming they were the right pad capacity for you).

Step 3: Note Your Laundry Schedule 

Would you be alright with needing to wash your reusable menstrual pads mid-period? Or would you rather hold off any laundry (including your reusable menstrual pads) until the end of the week?

If you said yes to that last question, make sure to have enough for your entire period. On average, the maximum length of the period is about 7 days.

While washing your reusable cloth pad might be your biggest concern when making the switch to a sustainable period product, there’s no need to worry. We have in-depth care instructionsthat can help you through the process. Check it out in order to determine how often you’ll need to be washing your reusable cloth pads so you can get enough.

Step 4: Pick Your Patterns

For this next question, you only need to trust what your heart tells you - no more period calculations, we promise! You might already know that illum Cloth Pads come in the cutest designs that are sure to add a bit of cheer to the dreaded red days. 

We’ve considered practicality in the previous points now it’s time for fun! How many of these fun patterns would you like to have in your wardrobe? Check out what we’ve got right now!

In Summary

When deciding how many reusable menstrual pads you need, what it really comes down to is your comfort. You want to make sure that your period doesn’t add another level of stress to your life, because as women we have to deal with enough stress on a day-to-day basis—Am I right, ladies?

The best way to stay comfortable is to know your flow. Here’s what we recommend:

For A Light Flow

We recommend you get illum Cloth Pad Pantyliners for your super early and late finishing days. The regular pads will also have you covered during your mid-period. 

You can also check out our light flow kit we have available, which contains all these pad types and a good number of each to get you started!

For A Heavy Flow

We recommend you get the regular pads for your light flow days and the overnight pads for heavier days. We get that sleeping with a heavy flow can be worrisome, that’s why we recommend you get the Overnight Pads for ample protection.

You can also check out our heavy flowkit we have available, which contains all these pad types and a good number of each to start with.

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