Because of individual preferences and differences, this a little bit like asking, "How many pairs of jeans will I need?" That is something you will have to decide for yourself. Some of us like to have just a few beloved pairs and some like to collect a whole closet full! But, what it comes down to is that a woman wears only one pad at a time, so we can generalize a bit.
The Short Answer: To wash just once at the end of a cycle, you will probably eventually want about 2 dozen pads/liners, in a variety of lengths and absorbencies.
The Long Answer: Let’s take a typical textbook cycle and make some assumptions.
- Day 1: moderate flow
- Day 2: heavy flow
- Day 3: moderate to heavy flow
- Days 4 and 5: light flow
Our textbook lady gets up at 7am, goes to bed at 11pm and changes her pad every 4 hours she is awake.
- Day 1: She will use 5 moderate absorbency pads
- Day 2: 5 heavy absorbency pads
- Day 3: 3 moderates and 2 heavies
- Day 4: 5 light absorbency pads
- Day 5: With very light flow, she goes longer between changes - 3 light absorbency pads
- Total: In this scenario, she has used 8 light absorbency pads, 8 moderate absorbency pads, and 7 heavy pads (including 2 extra-long for overnights) for 23 pads altogether. If she finds her period is dragging on a bit into day 6, she might go through a few liners on this day as well.
But, many women do not change their pad this many times and, of course, you are not necessarily average! You might have a very different cycle with very different needs.
As much as we'd love to sell you a whole whack of pads in one go, what we'd really love is for you to be a devoted cloth pad user for life and we find that women are happiest with their cloth pad stashes when they take time to build them up over several months, allowing them to fine-tune to their needs.
A great place to start is with one of our starter sets. By far, our most common one is our Basic Starter Set. This offers a sampling of several different pads and allows you to figure out what you like before making the investment in a whole bunch.
Questions? Please use the contact form to ask away. We are always here to help!