Reducing waste often saves money, too — and Lunapads have been a go-to solution for many women who want to keep their periods waste-free and low cost. Instead of buying a new pack of disposable pads every month, eco-friendly women can opt for a reusable alternative from Lunapads, makers of washable cloth menstrual pads.

I’m a fan of The Keeper, but often use disposable organic cotton panty liners too for extra protection. So when I got a Lunapads Organic Mini Pantyliner in my shwag bag at an event, I decided to give reusable pads a try. My verdict: Lunapads are great to use — but not so great to clean.

Let me start with the great to use part. The cute pink panty liner, made out of organic cotton, is super soft and gentle on your skin. I fastened it around my underwear with the simple metal snap on the pad’s wings — and the panty liner stayed put without shifting or turning. In terms of performance as a pad, Lunapads work excellently.

The problem is, reusable pads require washing — which I discovered I really, really didn’t enjoy doing. Assuming you use Lunapads throughout a period — instead of just trying one panty liner for a day of it as I did — you’ll need to employ a soaking pot to hold your dirty pads in water — which you’d need to change every day — until you’re ready to wash all the pads.

Letting bloody pads soak for a whole week in itself sounds kind of gross to me, but then comes the washing of the pads. According to Lunapads, the used pads can be machine washed — but the idea of letting dirty pads swirl around with my other clothes really grosses me out, while running a separate load just for dirty pads seems wasteful, especially in water-thirsty Southern California. Plus, neither option is viable for apartment dwellers like me who don’t have their own washing machines — and don’t care to have neighbors in the apartment complex or strangers at the laundromat see their dirty pads.

That meant I needed to wash the pads by hand. Now, I don’t enjoy hand washing items in general and tend to avoid that task as long as possible — but obviously procrastination isn’t a good idea when it comes to dirty pads that have already been soaking for a week. Luckily, soaking made the panty liner wash clean with relative ease. Unluckily, I wasn’t quite sure how I should dry the thing post-wash. Yes, they can be thrown in a dryer, but again, as an apartment dweller without a personal dryer, that wasn’t a viable option. Since the pantyliner is fairly thick, letting it dry slowly indoors seemed like a great way of inviting mold — which left drying it on my sunny balcony where my neighbors could gaze at its bright pink wings flap in the beach breeze.

So Lunapads aren’t for me. Though the reusable pads apparently last years, the thought of hand washing menstrual blood out of pads every month for years and years to come makes me depressed.

But if you, unlike me, enjoy hand washing and have a discreet sunny space to dry your pads — or have your own washer and dryer to wash pads as you please, Lunapads might work for you. Do any MNN readers use Lunapads? Share your experience in the comments.

Are reusable pads for you?
MNN's lifestyle blogger tries Lunapads -- and finds them comfortable to wear but uncomfortable to clean.