Choosing Sanitary Products
Reusable Sanitary Products may seem like a bit of a leap of faith, they are not widely available, and as such you may well be a pioneer among your friends too! So where to turn to for advice on which reusable sanitary product to choose?
Fortunately, at Earthwise Girls we've done all the research for you, and have actually tried all the reusable sanitary towels, cups and sponges that we stock - which puts us in the unique position of being able to talk openly and knowledgeably about them. Earthwise Girls offers a completely free, discreet advice service about reusable sanitary towels (aka sanitary pads/eco sanpro/reusable menstrual wear), menstrual cups and menstrual sea sponges. Simply use the contact us form here on the website, or call Christine on 01865 407574.
A quick buyers guide to reusable sanitary products:
Reusable sanitary towels or pads
Sometimes called cloth sanitary pads, or CSP for short, these are shaped to suit your underwear, with wings that fasten underneath using one or more poppers. Pad lengths are quoted in the product descriptions to assist you with choosing, or take a look at our washable sanitary pad size guide. Generally speaking, it's helpful to measure a disposable pad you like the length of, and start out with reusable pads of similar size. Consider trying a few different sorts at first, and then build your stash gradually once you know what you get along best with. Natural fabrics may be best if you have allergies. Most of our products are latex free and also suitable for vegans - but do ask before buying if you need detailed information. We are happy to help.
We have a few brands in stock, all with different features:
- Angel Padz - made in the UK by a WAHM (work at home mum), sold singly, various colour options, 3 sizes, uses hemp for absorbency, leakproof barrier in pads (not in panty liners), metal poppers. Latex free.
- Charlie Banana - made in China, the manufacturers also make reusable nappies for babies, so know a few things about fabrics and absorbency. Fleece topped pads with a microfibre core and laminated polyester backing. Plastic snaps. Sold as a pack of 3 with a storage pouch.
- Clothpads UK - made in the UK by a small maker, the pads have a printed cotton top layer, with a fleece backing to prevent slippage, several sizes and prints stocked.
- Earthwise Pads - our own brand, these pads are fleece topped with a microfibre core and laminated polyester backing. Adjustable plastic snaps give different settings to suit your underwear, and each pad carries a size label. Made in Hong Kong. Sold singly, or in packs of 3 with a pad being donated to The Nasio Trust for donation to an orphaned girl in Kenya.
- Eco Femme - made in India by a women's empowerment project, aiming to promote healthy menstrual practises. Profits made from international sales are used to help fund inexpensive reusable pads for Indian women. The range includes panty liners, day pads, night pads and a pouch. Latex free.
- Eco Rainbow - made in the UK by a WAHM, sold singly or as a starter pack. Several colour options and sizes. Choice of minky or cotton on top, fleece backed, leakproof barrier in larger pads. Plastic poppers.
- Homestead Emporium - made in Canada from gorgeous hand dyed bamboo velour, backed with fleece, and with natural cotton/bamboo in the core. Available in several sizes. The 7" tiny liner is currently stocked in cotton, not bamboo.
- Honour Your Flow Sanitary Towels - made in the UK by a WAHM, several sizes including generously shaped Night pads, bamboo/wool option available, choice of colours, sold singly.
- Imse Vimse Organic Washable Menstrual Pads - offers good value, sold in packs of 3, all organic unbleached cotton, no colour options, 3 sizes, contains leakproof barrier, plastic poppers. Latex free.
- Minivivi - made in the UK, the range was primarily designed for continence needs, however they also work really well as menstrual pads. Cotton or bamboo options.
- Popolini - made in Austria, a flexible system that comes as a kit, choose the right insert for the absorbency required, pop it into the outer pad, then use as normal. Unbleached or organic cotton only, one size. Latex free.
- Red Queen Cloth - made in the UK by a small maker, available in several sizes with some lovely fabrics.
- Sckoon - Organic cloth pads in a unique design, the pad snaps around your underwear, and a removable liner attaches on top. You can then switch out the liner as needed throughout the day, leaving the pad in place. Extra liners are less bulky to carry around, or if it's a lighter day, leave out the liner entirely. It's a very flexible system. The pads are made with 100% organic cotton, even the thread. Has a leakproof sheet of polyurethane inside. Latex free. Made in the USA.
- Treehugger Cloth Pads - made in Canada, sold singly, great prints and a selection of sizes. The pads feature minky top layer, zorb inside and fleece backing, fastening with a snap. A tree is planted for every pad purchased.
Tip: After use, reusable sanitary towels should be stored in cold salty water to prevent stains from setting, and can then be washed with your normal laundry. We recommend washing at 40 degrees. Fabric softener should NOT be used, as over time this will decrease the absorbency of your reusable sanitary pads. With care, your reusable sanitary pads should last for 3-5 years, possibly longer.
Several sizing options are available, as with disposable sanitary towels, and you will find that we offer reusable panty liners, sanitary towels in various absorbency and sizes, as well as highly absorbent night pads and maternity pads for really heavy days or post-partum bleeding.
What we don't stock is just as important as what we do - we only stock menstrual cups that are free from links to animal testing, so you don't have to worry. Reusable menstrual cups are worn internally, they sit lower than a tampon and simply collect your flow. Made from medical grade silicone, a single menstrual cup will last up to ten years, offering fantastic value for money. If you're worried about leaks while you get used to using one, we have washable panty liners, as well as Natracare disposable panty liners, available.
- Femmecup - made in Far East for a British company, established 2007, single size only (one size fits all), supplied with cotton storage bag and instructions. A cheaper "lite" version is now available for those who want a lower price point cup to try out. Approved by the Vegan Society.
- Fleurcup - this French brand is a budget end cup, it doesn't include a storage bag and instructions are minimal, so if you're looking for a sized cup that's inexpensive, this one is worth considering. Two sizes available, no colour choices. No animal testing.
- LadyCup - made in Czech Republic, available in two sizes and a selection of colours, supplied with colourful cotton storage bag and instructions. The inside of the cup has been made to be smooth for easy cleaning. We also have alternative designs of bag in stock. No animal testing.
- Lunette - made in Finland, available in two sizes and a range of colours plus clear, supplied with a coloured satin storage bag and instructions. Individually wrapped disinfectant cup wipes also available. Bundle available. No animal testing.
- Mooncup - made in UK, established 2002, choice of 2 sizes: B for those who haven't had a baby or are under 30, A for those who have given birth or are over 30, supplied with unbleached organic cotton storage bag and detailed instructions in several languages, winner of 2007 Best Buy Award from Ethical Consumer, all materials are as ethical and eco-friendly as possible. Mooncup also employ 2 fully trained nurse advisers who can provide telephone advice on choosing and using the Mooncup, wherever you bought your Mooncup. Approved by the Vegan Society.
- Ruby Cup - made in Kenya, for every cup sold, one is donated to a girl or woman in Kenya, making reliable menstrual protection a reality for those who would not otherwise be able to access it. Choice of 2 sizes and several colours. Suitable for vegans.
- SckoonCup - made in the USA, FDA registered and cleared. Sckoon were established in 2002. Their cup has a completely smooth outer curve for comfort, with the air holes positioned close to the rim for maximum capacity. The shape is more tulip like than other cups which again helps with a better capacity.
- Yuuki - made in Europe, these cups are available in two sizes and an awesome rainbow colourway.
Tip: if worn overnight, try drying the stem of the menstrual cup with a little toilet tissue before removing to give better grip!
Menstrual sea sponge tampons
The use of natural sea sponges as tampons has been going on for many years, and unsurprisingly, the soft natural sponges are not only absorbent, but very comfortable to wear. Worn internally like a tampon, menstrual sponges absorb your menstrual flow, and when they need changing, you may notice a bubbling sensation or feel the sponge starting to slip lower. They are quite easy to insert and remove, though if you prefer you can carefully sew a little dental floss to your menstrual sponge to aid removal.
- Jam Sponge - sourced from the Mediterranean Ocean, 2 sponges supplied in a kit with a red storage bag, several small plastic bags, instructions, and a badge! Also available as a pack of 3 mixed sizes.
- Moon Times Sea Sponge Tampons - supplied in a pack of 2 with a storage bag and full instructions. Also available as a pack of 3 mixed sizes.
Tip: before re-inserting your sponge, rinse with warm water (and squeeze out) for a more comfortable experience!