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Imse Vimse Dambindor pads are a set of cotton Sanitary pads that you can wash and reuse. I can hear the resounding YUK from here! I fact that was my first impression when I first came across them whilst shopping for real nappies (Imse Vimse, which means Incy Wincy in Swedish apparently, are primarily a nappy manufacturer). I didn't start to come around to the idea until after I had had my son. I began to think, well if fabric nappies are best for him, and for the environment, then why do I not use fabric products on myself? So I looked into them and came across this product.
The sets cost around £16.99 each, and for that you get 6 regular pads with 2 holders, 1 longer nighttime pad with a holder, 1 pantie liner and a bag to hold them in. All the pads are made from unbleached cotton flannelette and the holders are lined with breathable polyurethane. Apparently this is supposed to be all you need for a cycle, but I am a bit dubious about this. I would suggest that if you are using these alone, then you will need at least two sets so that you can have time to wash and dry them. The holders fasten to your knickers with fold around flaps and a popper which holds them very securely. The pad is then folded and slots into the holder. The regular pads are about 24cms long in thier holders and the night time ones are about 35cms long. They are not much thicker than a slim disposable sanitary towel (hellishly difficult to measure but about 0.5cm thick!) and as they are made of fabric, they feel like pants so you are unlikely to notaice them much (and don't worry about looking like you have a futon in your knickers, no one else will be any wiser).
I have found these pads to be far more comfortable than thier disposable equivalents, without the problems of 'sweaty-ness' that plastic backed disposables have. Another advantage that I did not expect was the smell, or rather the lack of it. I would have thought that with the new 'odour neutralising core's available, disposable sanitary towels would have less smell to them, but that it not the case. I have also found this with nappies, that the cloth smells far less than products with the moisture-retaining gels.
The cloth pads are very aborbant, and I have so far not had a problem with leaks. They also stay in place very well. They do need changing slighly more often than perhaps some of the better brands of sanitary towel, but not much more.
As to washing, I have not found this to be much of a hassle. I put an old icecream tub in the bathroom, filled with cold, slightly salty water (good for getting blood stains out of cloth) and soak the pads in there. I usually just bung them into the wash every second day with my sons nappies (as this is a wash without fabric conditioner, which can reduce the absorbancy, and with vinegar to wash out the washing powder better), but they would be fine in with an ordinary wash. The pads fold out flat to dry very quickly, and can be tumble dried. They can be washed at 90oC, but I have not found this to be necessary.
At £16.99, these pads have a high initial outlay, but as they will last for years, the saving in the long term is obvious. In fact, even if you only use these pads at home, or on light days, you will still save money. Not to mention the lessened environmental impact (you get to feel all smug and superior 5 days out of the month instead of just grouchy!). If these pads are a little dull for you, there are other cloth systems out there that come in funky patterns (for example, lunapads) but these tend to be more expensive (the Lunapads starter kit is £24.99 for 2 regular maxi pads, 2 liners and 2 minipads).
I got my pads from www.twinkleontheweb.co.uk . There are a number of places on the web selling them - usually cloth nappy firms. The web site for imse vimse is in swedish, so if you speak it the address is http://www.imsevimse.se/
As a cloth convert, I would heartily recommend that you try out washable towels. Even if you hate them and never use them again, you will always have an emergancy supply! The best places to look if you are wanting to buy cloth sanitary towels is on cloth nappy seller's websites.
A good idea in theory and I would like to use them but not sure how well it would go down washing these in a shared house! Sam
scarletuk72 06.11.2005 14:27
Wow, I didn't know such things existed! I have to admit I was a little dubious when I first started to read your review, but I think you may have won me over, or I at least might give them a try, especially on my lighter days like you suggested, or even at night time. Thankyou for encouraging me to do my bit for the environment! ;-)