On Campus with Cloth Pads and Menstrual Cups

We often hear from students who want to try GladRags, but are afraid that living in a college dormitory will make reusables impossible. Whether you live by yourself, with roommates, or in a coed dorm, it’s totally possible for GladRags to be a simple, convenient part of your life. Here are a few tips for using cloth pads and cups in less-than-private living situations:

Use a menstrual cup
XO Flo is a great option to give you more hands-off time during your period. Alicia M. writes, “I usually empty my cup twice a day! It’s that easy. Even in the dorms there is usually a time when the bathroom is empty.” You can also bring a water bottle, damp paper towel, or wet wipes into the stall with you to discreetly clean your cup.

Presoak your pads
Nadia R. advises college students to “just have a small tub (like a plastic basin) that when you’re done with a rag/pad you can put it in to soak. Use an old dark t-shirt to drape over the top while they soak — it won’t smell if its just a day or so — then pop them in with a load of laundry. Good luck! You can do it!”

Use private spaces wisely
“I used GladRags in college with no problem,” says MLE. “I kept a large, opaque Tupperware container in my closet with water and Bac-Out in it. I would crack the lid and dump out the water in the toilet before bringing it to wash with the rest of my laundry. (If the machine has a door gasket that catches small items easily, I would line the container with a mesh laundry bag to keep them all contained.) I carried pads to and from the bathroom in a carry bag (I think I used the little cloth sack that my sheets came in!) and then stuck the used one in the container when I got back to my room.” For cups, MLE recommends just wiping it off if you’re in a bathroom stall, and then washing it more thoroughly when you shower. “There are also often a few little one-stall handicap-accessible bathrooms around campus that are good for rinsing a cup as well, if you plan your schedule around their locations. For example, if you have class near a solo bathroom at 10 am, use that, and then shower at 10 pm.”

Try the “dry method”
I don’t actually soak my pads until I am ready to wash them (so they don’t sit around and mildew while wet). I’ve never had a problem getting any “stains” out and if you throw them in with underwear at a communal laundry room, chances are no one will even notice,” says Jennifer W.

Know the facts about disease (spoiler: don’t sweat it)
Occasionally people are concerned about the possibility of disease transmission by using cloth pads. Fortunately, there are very few viruses or infections that can survive outside the body or a wash in soap and water — including HIV. Keep in mind that all kinds of bodily secretions (mucus, semen and fecal matter, to name a few) are often present in clothing that is washed in shared facilities, and that the chances of getting sick from a shared washing machine are incredibly slim!

Remember: it’s your choice
Whatever you choose to use for your menstrual cycle, the important thing is that it’s your choice!  No one else has the right to decide for you, so choose what’s right for your body and your life — and be proud, not embarrassed! If you still need some encouragement, Amanda S. says, “DO IT.  Seriously one of the best choices I have ever made… start a dorm movement!”  And you can always find more support and tips here on our blog (for example, we talked about using cloth pads and menstrual cups in public restrooms) or on our Facebook page!

Readers, what tips do you have for college students who want to try GladRags?