I first became aware of reusable cloth pads while surfing the handmade community, Etsy.com. I did not realize people used cloth pads; I only had been aware of the disposable types found in mass market stores. I decided to try a cloth pad because since they are reusable, you contribute less waste when you have your period. According to The National Women's Health Network, in the US alone, over 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are used once and disposed of every year. Just thinking about all those pads in landfills gave me the impetus to order the pad from SwimSwim.
Danika, the store owner, made me a custom-made pad that was 11" in length. I chose a dark navy color so that I would not have to look at dark stains on light fabric. The pad is comprised of cotton flannel and hemp thread.
One definite plus of the product is that it is durable and long lasting. I bought the pad in 2007, and it is still in virtually the same condition in 2009.
Some negatives: I try to wash the pad out each night to try and avoid staining, but I got stains anyway. I even tried spot-treating stains, but there are some stains that remain and are somewhat visible even though the fabric is dark.
Also, this cloth pad is not absorbent like the pads you get at the store. Yes, it absorbs liquid to an extent, but I did not find that it wicked away the moisture from my body. You could still see the wet blood on the pad and it got pretty messy. Due to this, I tend to wear my reusable pad on my medium-to-light days, especially when my sensitive skin gets sick of wearing commercial disposable pads.