If reading about feminine hygiene products grosses you out, feel free to skip this post. I’m writing it because I only found out about reusable menstrual products by accident and really wish I’d known about them sooner. I now use the DivaCup and washable cloth pads. Both of these options are simple, comfortable and highly effective at reducing your impact on the environment.
The DivaCup is a reusable replacement for tampons. As you’d expect, it’s shaped like a cup; you insert it and it catches your flow like a tampon. It’s a little tricky learning how to insert it but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. You can leave it in for up to twelve hours, much longer than most tampons. It also holds a lot more blood than a tampon, which is very handy if (like me) you tend to bleed heavily. When you remove the cup, you dump out the blood and wash it out with soap and water. It can be a little messy if the cup is particularly full, but as long as you have access to soap and a sink I haven’t found it to be a big deal.
In addition to the DivaCup, I also use washable pads. At the beginning of my period I tend to use both at the same time, but as my flow gets lighter I switch to just pads. I got my pads from Glad Rags but there are many other options out there. If you sew you could probably make your own, too.
I love my pads from Glad Rags. They are very simple to use: just fill the pad with one or two liners and snap it onto your underwear. The pads are very comfortable and I haven’t had any issues with them slipping out of place. I have had some minor leakages, but only because I was failing to change the pad as often as I needed to. Just like a disposable pad, reusable pads will leak if you let them get too saturated.
The pads are also easy to wash. The directions say to soak them in cold water after use and continually until you are ready to wash them. I don’t have the space for that, though, and have been having good success with just soaking them overnight before throwing them in the washing machine with my regular laundry. Sometimes the stains do not come out completely but I figure they’re just going to get bled on again the next month so it’s not really a big deal.
Why Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products?
Both the DivaCup and washable pads are cost-effective. There is a noticeable upfront cost for both options, but once you spend the initial money you won’t have to spend any more money on menstrual products for years. I haven’t done the math but I’m sure that you’ll save substantially in the long-run. Disposable tampons and pads are expensive, particularly if you buy the greener options.
Last but not least, I love how much less trash I generate since switching to reusable products. It’s really amazing how much trash I used to produce during every period. I never liked it, but I never really knew what I could do about it. I love that there are better options out there! Plus it’s awesome that this greener switch requires hardly any more work on my part. Isn’t it great when that happens? 🙂
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
Do you use reusable menstrual products? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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