I just wanted to wrap up this year with a nice, eco-friendly post. As someone who has spent a lot of time promoting disposable feminine hygiene products, in 2012, I hope to be able to provide more information on menstrual cups, cloth pads and the likes to my readers. To start, I would like to re-post an entry written by Be Prepared Period. I felt this post was particularly worth posting because I had just finished some discussions with my girls about converting to cloth pads and one of their greatest concern was cleaning of used pads. To many, the idea of cleaning cloth pads might be a bit icky, especially if you’re accustomed to being able to wrap/roll & toss.
After seeing this post, I spread the information to my girls, telling them that they have a new method of cleaning their cloth pads with minimal effort on their part. I know that looking at your own menstrual flow, especially all spread over a cloth pad might not be a beautiful sight (though I stand by the fact that menstrual flow is a beautiful part of the female body), the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball serves as a great tool to cleaning cloth pads AND the rest of your laundry!
Suffice to say, with most organic and environmentally friendly solutions, the initial costs tend to be higher than conventional products. For instance, organic menstrual hygiene products, including reusable and disposable products, all tend to cost more than your everyday disposables. However, in time, not only do most people save money, but more importantly ensure good health for their body. I’m sure almost all of us would agree that our health is of utmost importance and by using organic products, you are one step closer in making healthier options for yourself and your loved-ones.
I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I have and thank you to http://bepreparedperiod.com for their permission for me to re-post this article which they have written. For the purpose of this post, the contest information has been removed to not interfere with their rules & regulations and the fact the contest is already expired.
A Better Way to Clean Cloth Pads
Finding healthier products for one’s body and the environment is a growing trend. As more and more people better understand the effects that many traditional products have on their health and the environment better options are being sought after.
One specific type of product that has been increasingly popular is cloth menstrual pads, such as Lunapads. Lunapads and products alike are a great reusable menstrual option that allows women to save money (after the initial investment), be eco-friendly, all while choosing a healthy alternative to disposable pads and tampons.
Choosing this reusable option (or considering the change) leaves many with questions like, “How do I go about cleaning reusable cloth pads?” We realize this can be a big change for those making the switch from disposable feminine hygiene products.
While we are not familiar with every brand of cloth pads, we can tell you that Lunapads can be washed by hand or machine in any temperature with regular detergent and can be air or machine dried. That said, we have a question for you. Picture this…you are excited to try out your cute, new, organic cloth pads, you’ve gone through your cycle and it is now time to wash them. You put them in the wash and now what do you do? Do you add a chemical detergent? Doesn’t that seem wrong? You’ve spent the extra money to put a healthier, organic fiber next to your skin and now you are going to wash them with what?? Detergent? Did you know that this once organic cloth pad will absorb the detergent and hold it next to your skin? If only there was a better option… (an option you AND your septic could LOVE)
Here’s the exciting news…there is one!!! About 9 months ago we were lucky enough to meet Jean Cox with H2O at Home, a company that continues to think outside the box creating environmentally friendly and chemical-free products. Their vision is to introduce their unique products and to spread the idea that YOU can preserve the environment WITHOUT making compromises to your household. While we could go on and on about the many awesome products they offer, we plan to share with you one (okay..maybe 2 or 3) special products that can help you with your laundry.
The first product, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball, was what first attracted us to H2O at Home. This nifty little ball allows you to wash your personal items and clothes with little or no laundry soap. That’s right! This laundry ball allows you to wash your personal items with LITTLE OR NO LAUNDRY SOAP!!! Knowing how many skeptics are out there, it’s hard to imagine using little or NO soap, but we are here to tell you, “It works GREAT with no soap!” We’ve been using it for about 6 months and absolutely LOVE it!
Many ask, “How on earth can my laundry get clean with NO SOAP!?!?” The simple but maybe not so simple answer is, it works by increasing the pH level of the water to that of classic detergents. Inside the Laundry Ball, friction from ceramic pearls reinforce the cleansing properties of water, softens fabrics, protects against oxidation, eliminates mold and germs and preserves colors. It really is pretty amazing! Many moms that have children in cloth diapers are turning to this option of cleaning as they become aware of the dangers of using laundry soap. Now think, if this ball can clean poopy/soiled diapers, imagine how well it will work on your cloth pads or other laundered items! With no chemicals, this product is perfect for those with allergies or sensitivities.
As mentioned above, the Eco-Clean Laundry Ball is not the only wonderful product out there by H2O at Home. Another question or challenge you may have is, “How do I remove stains, is there a more natural option for that too?” And the answer is yes; there are actually a couple options. H2O at Home also offers a product called, Netepur Soap. This natural textile soap is perfect for pre-treating stubborn stains. In addition to blood, Netepur Soap will remove grease, grass, food and even red wine. Plus it is 100% biodegradable! And speaking of biodegradable, Ruby’s Red Wash is another wonderful option. It was specifically designed for menstrual stains, and is made from live bacterial cultures.
And if it wasn’t great enough that H2O at Home has these terrific alternatives to cleaning without chemicals they also have a personal line of products including a Feminine Wash (Many women do not think of using a separate soap for this, nor do they understand you are not supposed to use regular soap in this area). H2O at Home’s Feminine Wash is an extremely gentle cleanser that balances and protects your most sensitive areas. It is made of an intricate blend of organic geranium, calendula, cornflower, and aloe that calms and soothes skin irritations. It is also pH balanced making it safe for daily use, and is ECOCERT and COSMEBIO certified.
So what do you think? Are you as excited about these cleaning alternatives as we are? Do you have questions? Let us know your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below.
(Just an FYI, as you may be wondering…this post is not a paid post. Our intentions are only to share with you healthier and eco-friendly alternatives based on our own personal reviews.)
I started using a menstrual cup for the first time this past January. I had read about it online but did not know anyone personally who had tried it. I was hesitant at first because the thought of cleaning it made me nervous and I thought it was going to be very messy. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s not.
I am not going to lie, the first couple of months I used the cup it was awkward and a bit messy. I read the instructions over a few times to fully understand how to insert it properly to create a suction. It takes a bit of practice to master it (best time to practice is when you’re not menstruating so you aren’t dealing with a messy situation).
Cleaning it out is not as bad as it seems either. Lucky for me I have a sink right beside my toilet so I can just take it out, swivel, clean it, swivel back, and put it in.
With the DivaCup you also do not have to worry about TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), and you can leave it in for 10 – 12 hours! I empty mine once in the morning and once in the evening. If your flow is extremely heavy you may need to empty it during the day. The cup does hold 30ml and that is what an average woman bleeds during her entire cycle. I know I bleed much more than that, but I can still get by on changing it two or three times a day.
So to sum it up…
Positives: No TSS, holds more, less waste, saves money, no strings to tuck in, leak free, wear it in expectation of period starting
Negatives: Costs a bit up front, practice to master the suction, cleaning it, a bit messy the first two months
You may wonder, what exactly IS a menstrual cup? Since the review above is for the Divacup brand, here’s the information provided on their site (source):
The DivaCup is a non-absorbent menstrual cup that simply collects menstrual flow. It is inserted in the vagina and sits at the lower base of the vaginal canal. It is worn internally, yet because it is soft and smooth, it cannot be felt nor will it leak when inserted properly.
The DivaCup is the most clean and convenient method of feminine hygiene protection. No need to touch the flow. It is worn low in the vagina, not near the cervix, so it is easy to remove. No mess!
The DivaCup ends hassles with unreliable disposables in endless absorbencies, shapes and styles. It is perfect for all activities – giving women true freedom without the worry, guessing and unreliability that disposable feminine hygiene products pose.
The DivaCup can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting for use for another 12 hours. It can be used for light or moderate flows and is emptied more often to accommodate heavy flows. Perfect for overnight use.
The DivaCup’s expert, proprietary, patent-pending features make it comfortable and assures ease of use and reliability. Perfect for traveling, running, biking, hiking, dancing, camping, swimming, diving, scuba, yoga, extreme sports and more…
- Latex-free, BPA-free, plastic-free
- No dyes, colors or additives
- Comfortable, reliable
- Clean, convenient, easy-to-use
- Worn for up to 12 hours at a time
For those who have not seen a Divacup before:
Here’s what the Divacup packages look like – very snazzy! 😀
For those who are not familiar with menstrual cups, you may wonder why there are two versions. 1 version is for women who are under 30 or have not delivered birth vaginally or through c-section. The other version is for women who are over 30 or have delivered birth through either birthing methods. You can buy one from here as well!
I hope this demystifies my stance on reusable products! I am very for-reusable products but I find it difficult for me to give an accurate review based on my lack of female anatomy to try it out. However, I’m glad Amelia took the time to write one up for me and appreciate her efforts in spreading the word about more environmentally-friendly and health-conscience form of menstrual hygiene!
No big update today, sorry… talking to a lot of people on MSN right now, lol.
But… I was completely outraged today after seeing an author make a horrible statement against menstrual-cups. Go figure, it was a male author (judging by the name). I found it only because I also happened to be reading a post made by another author, expressing her own positive experience with menstrual cups.
Likewise, I’d be happy to make a note about the way cups and alternative menstrual protection are slowly changing the way women deal with menstruation. The offending author writes that menstrual cups are… “possibly the grossest feminine hygiene product ever created.” Yes, that is right, I want to kick him in the face for making such a statement while being oblivious to the items. Too bad this guy is putting males to shame with such a statement. Wish he took some time to do a bit of research about all the benefits before putting his fingers on the keyboard.
Feel free to read more about her views of menstrual cups and its benefits on her site!
As I was stumbling around in my “Readomattic” of interested tags, I ran into a great article concerning the use of reusable products. I am quite guilty myself about the lack of coverage I have on my site. I have through recommendation of several readers, to post information pertaining to reusable feminine hygiene products. However, I lack much of the expertise when it comes to that because I have yet to date a girl who actually uses them. Furthermore, out of all my girls, only 1 uses them actively and 1 tried and defaulted to using disposable pads. Due to my lack of a vagina, it makes it extremely hard for me to test the items mentioned below – lol. On my blog, I try to bring “awareness” to subjects, not necessarily promote. As with pads, tampons and now alternative menstrual protection, I would like to stay away from saying which form of protection is better – that’s up to every individual to decide on their own. However, I will never object to providing information to help someone make an informed choice.
Having received the explicit permission of the author, I am reposting her entry. Unfortunately because of the way WordPress handles copy & pasting, the alignment of text/pictures are not correct, however, the entire article is still readable. Furthermore, you are encouraged to visit the author’s site for other “environmentally sound ideas”!
I will not be making any additional entries this evening as I got word from my close-friend letting me know that her grandmother has passed away. Fortunately (if that’s really a good way to describe it), her family was well-prepared for it and all affairs are already in order. Her grandmother was well over one hundred years (100, that’s right, COUNT IT!) old and although at any age, death is never fair and easy – in the Chinese culture, we consider this a “happy departure” given the age and non-tragic circumstances. I will be spending tonight helping her out with what I can (as little as that may be).
Just for fun, I added my “favourite brands” to the widget bar… I removed a couple of widgets that don’t seem to get much attention anyways. Hrm.. didn’t I just say something about not promoting things I like? Damn… lol. I knew if I didn’t add O.B. and Stayfree there, two of my girls will eat me alive, so I made sure those brands were there… hahahaha.
Get over it, my dear! February 10, 2010 by pickupamerica
By Kelly Klein
Hello, ladies! (Yes, you.) I’m here to talk to you about a great way that you can be more sustainable and create less waste every month! I know it’s a touchy subject… not everyone likes to talk about their menstruation experiences, but I encourage you to read on with an open mind as this information is good for your body, the environment, and women everywhere. Contrary to what a good friend believed as a kid, you don’t just get your period once and are done with it. Nope. It happens quite regularly and frequently over the course of a woman’s lifetime. This means that women will spend a great deal of time, energy and money suppressing menstruation every month. Current mainstream sanitary methods are not cutting it, and if they continue to be the norm, our landfills, waterways and bodies will hold the waste for years to come.
Tampons and pads are just plain wasteful. According to Susan Kim, the average U.S. woman will use 10,000 tampons in her life, throwing away a total of approximately 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs and applicators. A tampon takes about 6 months to biodegrade while any plastic (applicator, pad lining, and/or packaging) will never biodegrade.
The main ingredient in most tampons is cotton, which happens to be one of the least “green” crops out there. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “just 2.4% of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton yet it accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.” AND almost half of the chemicals used on cotton crops around the world are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization. Not only is this bad news for the plants and animals and farmers who come into contact with these substances, but pesticides don’t exactly go away. After all, cotton is used in tampons because of its absorbency. Pesticide residues stick around in tampons in the form of dioxins and other potentially harmful chemicals. Our vaginal walls are made of the most absorbent tissues in the body. Ladies, do the math.
What about tampon disposal? If you flush a used tampon, it enters our waterways and is absorbed by marine life or ends up on coast lines, which is — of course — a problem. If you throw it away, you wrap it in some toilet paper and it ends up in a landfill somewhere. At throwawayz.com, (a site that sells small biodegradable plastic pouches to throw tampons away in), it is estimated that the average U.S. female uses about 450 rolls of toilet paper in their lifetime just on tampon disposal, about 9.5 trees per female.
So, lets recap:
- Growing cotton to make tampons is bad for the environment.
- Using tampons exposes your body to harmful substances.
- Disposing of tampons creates a vast amount of waste that contributes to the pile up of pollution in our landfills and waterways.
Both 1 and 2 are addressed by using organic tampons, but not number 3. To address all of these issues, we have the fabulous menstrual cup. This is a reusable, flexible cup that is inserted into the vagina and rests around the cervix (like a diaphragm) to catch menstrual fluid. There are several brands; Divacup, Mooncup, Instead, Lunette, Miacup, Lady Cup, The Keeper, to name a few.
In my experience, you do need to give yourself some time to adjust and figure out exactly how to insert/remove/use a cup, but it is well worth it. You usually only have to clean it once a day, you don’t have to carry around tampons all the time, it doesn’t dry you out unnecessarily, it doesn’t get all full of water if you swim or take a bath… it’s pretty great. At the end of your cycle, you simply boil it for a few minutes so that it’s sterilized. There is a great blog that will give you all sorts of tips about using menstrual cups and answer all of your questions, so I won’t get into that here.
But I will say this… Most women I talk to dismiss menstrual cups with one simple comment: It’s gross! All I have to say is: Get over it, my dear. It is your body and your body’s process, so what’s there to be afraid of? Yes, while using a menstrual cup you will become very familiar with your vagina (and you might even find your cervix!). In order to use it correctly, you will need to do some trial and error. So what? It’s time that we accept menstruation (and our vaginas, for that matter) as a regular part of our lives and become comfortable asking questions and talking with one another. Susan Kim’s article is all about the taboo of menstruation. It’s an embarrassing subject for most women and it’s mentioned in the media in “pitches and jokes that basically use our poor ol’, much-maligned bodily process to get an easy laugh and/or earn a buck.” We got a lot of work to do to break down this taboo and it all starts with confronting our personal feelings toward ourselves and our bodies. Who’s with me?
P.S. If insertion techniques aren’t your thing, why not try a reusable pad? Yea, you have to clean it, but you can easily keep a large jar or bowl of water in the bathroom to soak them overnight and you’ll probably need about 7-12 per cycle. You can make your own from old diapers, flannel sheets, or terry towels. A number of manufactured pads are on the market in both organic and commercial cotton.
P.P.S. Props to any males out there who read this whole thing. Knowledge is power!