Zero Waste Periods

If you read my last post, I started the journey of using cloth pads back in August. As I mentioned then, I was a bit skeptical. However, I was on a mission (still am) to remove as many “chemicals” from our home. As someone who has PCOS and fibroids galore, I read blog after blog about the dangers of using disposable pads. It was not only the dangers of using them but for almost three years we have tried to minimize the use of disposable items around our home. I don’t want to say we are a zero waste home because one can never be 100% zero waster.

The cloth pads were an add on to my using a menstrual cup for my periods. Sadly, I think my time with a menstrual cup for daily use while on my cycle has come to an end. I had surgery back in 2008 to reconstruct the ulna nerve in my left arm. It was severely damaged. It was during this time that I also found out I have carpal tunnel in both hands. Well…the saying “it all goes to shit after FORTY” could not be any less from the truth. 😦 My carpal tunnel has really began to make cup insertion and removal super painful. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my cup and if I truly wanted too I could probably endure the pain for the next 10 years or whenever menopause hits; but I am not sure if physically I could hold out. So for now, I have put my lovely cup aside or until a company designs one for people with arm/hand mobility issues.

This is my first full cycle of strictly just cloth pads. So far, it hasn’t been bad. The only negative is that since I would use my cup during the day I only really had a good stash of my “overnight” cloth pads and my cup back ups which are 10′ light pads. I had a few 12′ heavy but they were from the early makers I bought from and are super thick due to the core materials used so I only have used those while at home. Luckily, I did have a handful of 12′ heavy from more experienced sellers and their pads are thin. Because of the limited number of these pads, I have been having to wash every other day instead of dry storing until my cycle is over as I had been doing previously.

Now, since August I have come across other makers who have been in the business longer. They are more experienced in making them and use higher end materials.

The only seller I still use from my last post is Just Jillian Reusables. She is a great seller. She is still fairly new to the market but her work is of good quality and her prices reflect her experience. She also tends to have great prints. I am anxiously waiting an overnight in a cute rainbow with raindrops design. She also makes other items such as: seat belt covers, cloth napkins, and bibs. I have permission from another buyer to post her review of Just Jillian Reusables.

Review from a repeat buyer, Gina

“ Let me be the first to say that I absolutely love how fast and friendly Jillian is to work with! She was my very first merchant I purchased from and I continue to come back. She’s really friendly and was very patient with me when I had 100k questions about pads, their absorbency and what length I should start with. What patterns and shapes I could try.  Extremely awesome. I’ll continue to purchase from her in the future!”

I can attest to this, which is one of the reasons that even though I have a other makers I buy from for my 12′ ultra-thin heavy pads, I keep coming back to her for my 14′ overnight ones.

A few of the most recent sellers I have begun to buy from are Grayson Street Emporium, she can be found on ETSY as well. She does not do custom orders and pads can only bought during her stockings, which are every Friday night at 8 CT on her ETSY shop and Sunday’s. Her pads are so highly sought that they will sell out in less than five minutes. I have been able to score five pads from her. Two 10′ moderate that I used for cup back up and three 12′ ultra thin heavy. She has an awesome selection of prints and toppers. Super fast shipping! She usually will mail out stocking claims on Saturday and they are usually in my mailbox on Monday.

The next seller I have started to buy from is Bombshell Cloth. She is strictly just a Facebook group seller. She makes an amazingly thin pad. She calls it her “ultraTHINNY”. Her fabric prints are super cute and she has a great assortment of backers as well. She works through what some sellers refer to as a custom list. When the list is open, you place your name on the list and she will get with you for your order. At times, she will close the customs list so she can dedicate herself to her current orders. She takes great pride in her work.

The third seller I love is Yurtcraft (Facebook). If you were to have a converation with someone who is already in the cloth pads world to name a seller, 90% of the time Yurtcraft (ETSY) will be the name that pops up. She has been making and selling cloth pads since 2008. Her pads are extremely cost affordable and her materials are top of the line as well. After you become familiar with cloth pads, her pads will be ones you can spot from all the rest. I love that she has an outer stitching which I feel cups my body. Since we are both within Texas shipping is lighting speed as well. Depending on time/day she mails out packages I can get them the next day.

Last but not least, is Red Tag Vag Rags. I have only bought one pad from her because she had the print I had been searching high and low for (Rocky Horror Picture Show). I ordered a custom 14′ may have been 16′ can’t remember heavy for my overnight. The pad was BEAUTIFUL!!! She works off a similar system as Bombshell Cloth with a customs lists. She tends to have cute cartoon horror films prints, and movie themed in general. Pricing is on par with GSE and Bombshell Cloth because they are more experienced makers. Just to be clear, just because Yurtcraft prices are a bit lower than the other two does not mean they are less of quality. I believe Yurtcraft keeps her prices a bit lower because she has been making them now for ten years. It may be just something she does to keep her clientele keep coming back from more.

 

Now on to the sellers I previously had listed on my last post….

I no longer purchase from any of the other sellers on my previous post for many reasons.

Clothespin Cloth had an issue and was banned from the cloth world due to taking orders/money and not making the items. I myself was a victim. Luckily, almost five months later I got my money back. I know that there are still a few individuals who to this day never received a refund or their order.

Eco-Owl by Netta-although I believe she still is in the market, I have not seen any traffic on her Facebook since fall of last year. I know a few individuals reached out to her but never got a response back. I believe in addition to making cloth pads, she also had a full time job so sometimes I have heard when sellers have jobs outside of the home they tend to take breaks from making pads from time to time.

Gemini Creations-she is another seller that I stopped seeing work displayed or posts for ready to sell items or even having announcements she was taking orders. Her work was good as I have a few of her items so if you follow her and you see her making pads, pick one up.

Ember Rose Reusables-after months of not seeing any commentary on her facebook group, I decided to leave the group. I had so many cloth groups I was following and decided it was just best to leave those that were not showing any activity. I do know she was a full time mom so maybe mommy-hood became the number one priority (which I wouldn’t blame her, as I got to enjoy staying home with my son for the first three years).

Now on to some questions some of my readers had from my last post. 

Question 1: What is the average cost to get started with cloth pads?

This will vary from maker to maker. Just Jillian Reusables offers starter packages that vary in price between $25-$35 with pads in an assortment of sizes and absorbency.

For your more seasoned sellers the standard is right around $1 an inch. Again, this is the average. GSE, Bombshell Cloth, and RTVR run a little on the higher end side. I pay roughly $19 and some change for a 12′ heavy from GSE. My  12′ from Bombshell Cloth ran me around $18 and my 14′(may be a 16′) from RTVR ran me about $17. All these prices included the shipping and handling.

Yurtcraft despite being the more seasoned of them all, a 12′ heavy will run me about $16 with shipping and tax.

As you can see, it may be a bit steep in the beginning getting your stash built so what I did was buy a few from some newer makers who charged less because their stitching may not be perfect. I also recommend, trying from a few different sellers. Maybe buy one or two from one seller and another one or two from another. All too often women will buy a handful from one seller and then when they arrive find that the size or shape of the pad that seller offers may not always work. I had that experience myself. I bought two pads at roughly $18 for both and now they just sit in my drawer because the shape did not work for my body. (quick side note—there is a facebook site where people will destash their pads that didn’t work for them.)

Question 2: Is there anything I need to know before I place my first order?

I recommend you measure your current disposable brand to get an idea of the length you will need. I also recommend you look at your flow. Are you a gusher? A front bleeder? Back bleeder? Do you bleed in the center? All these are good to know so you can relay that to the maker. She can then guide you on shapes that are known to work for those issues.

Question 3: Any special “equipment” I will need? 

When I first started, I was low on funds due to buying a handful at one time. Because of this I just used a few sandwich bags to hold my pads in for a few months in the begining. If you can afford it at that time, a wetbag is needed. Many sellers make these as well if not you can find them on amazon for relatively inexpensive. I bought mine off Amazon back in December and am still using it. It was a pack of 2 for $9 with Prime. It looks like the price went up a few cents. One hangs from the restroom door and the other I pack in my purse. I will admit it is a big large for my purse so as soon as funds become available, I will be ordering a smaller one. The wetbags have two pockets, one to house the clean pads and the other pocket is usually lined with PUL which is to house the soiled pads. Many sellers also sell pouches. These are pretty identical to the little pouches disposables come in. They run about $3 for each one. I find it was more cost effective to just use a wetbag.

Cleaning supplies will consist of a good detergent. Homemade detergents will NOT work. In general they do not work period (take it from someone who went a few years making her own). Tide is a highly recommended detergent as is Persil. You will also need some type of stain stick/remover. I use OxiClean powder but have heard that the Orange Oxi Dollar Tree version is just as effective as the OxiClean brand. My stain stick is a bar of Fels Napta. It hasn’t failed me yet. Many in the cloth world swear by eCover stain stick but it was a bit pricey at about $8 a stick and it literally lasted me one cycle.

Question 4: How do you wash them?

I am lazy with my pads!! I use a dry store method because if I would have kept with the method I was originally told, I would have given up and stopped using cloth. No one wants to be rinsing each pad after use. Well…I know I didn’t.

The dry store method for me is removing my soiled pads and putting them straight into the wetbag. I do not do any pre-treat for stains. Prior to this month, I would store them all into my cycle ended. My cycle lasts anywhere from 7-10 days. I dump all my pads in my washer with Tide detergent and run a quick wash. Then, I remove any pads that remain with stains (usually will have one) and run my stain stick bar over the stain and back into the wash it goes. This cycle I add a scoop of Oxiclean and during the cycle I will pause the machine to let the pads soak for about an hour, sometimes I can go longer than that if I start to do other chores or we leave the house to run errands (longer won’t hurt). Then finish running the cycle. I will do one last rinse (in hot water-to disinfect) and spin to remove any residual soap or Oxi and hang dry. To this day, I have yet to have one permanently stain. As mentioned above, due to the limited number of pads I have in 12′ I am washing them every other day until I can add to my stash of 12′ pads.

 

I hope you take the plunge and try going a Zero Waste Period lifestyle…Once you switch you will not go back to having those horrible chemicals near your body.

#clothisthenewnorm #menstrualcupsforthewin #clothpadsareawesome #zerowaste

 

BeFunky Collage

Here’s my RHPS beauty from Red Tag Vag Rags

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©Valerie

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All things R.U.M.P.s

A few years ago, I came across a Facebook group about reusable menstrual products. At that time I had already been a menstrual cup user for almost eight years. I was first exposed to menstrual cups in the early 90’s when I moved to Europe. I used one for a while but since it was something I was not familiar with, it became hard for me to fall in love with it. So tampons and pads it was again.

Fast forward to early 2007 and I was ecstatic when I entered my local Sprouts store and saw they carried a menstrual cup. Although, the upfront cost of this cup was outrageous and way out of my budget I was happy to see a European concept here in the States. Even more so here in my town that is super conservative with a large Hispanic demographic that already stresses to the young Hispanic girls that tampons are “sin.” I drove home like a child who had just gotten a new toy. I was anxious for my cycle to arrive that month.

The upfront cost of the cup washes out the monthly cost of disposables. Most menstrual cups if taken care of properly will last up to ten years. Yes, you read that right. Ten Years!! A menstrual cup can cost you roughly between $20-$40 USD. This is a one time upfront cost. Now calculate your savings. For me personally, I was spending anywhere between $10-$15 USD a month for tampons and pads. Take that times the number of months in a year, equals $120-$180. That equates to $1200 for ten years. That is a savings of a minimum of $1000.

My cup would have lasted the ten years if it had not been for me falling asleep while I was sterilizing it and it ended up boiling to death.

The previous cup that was boiled to death wasn’t really suitable for my body but it was the only one that was on the market ten years ago. So when I was on the hunt to purchase a new cup, I saw there were lots of different menstrual cup companies now. I was happy for that because they each had designed their cups for the different bodies out there. Some are made for women with low cervix, some for women with high cervix, and most have a selection of capacity size for regular cycles and for heavy cycles.

My next cup was a brand new up and up-coming USA based company. I purchased this cup through Amazon at an unbelievable low price and with Prime 2 day shipping, it was a deal I could not pass up. This new cup arrived right on time. I was day two of my cycle and I was in love. This cup was much gentler inside of my body, but again it was not my goldilocks cup. Due to its capacity, I was emptying it every 2 hours. I needed a cup with a capacity to get me at minimum 3-4 hours since I knew that my cycle would never allow me the opportunity to go the full 12 hours that some women may have.

Last month, I took the plunge and purchased another cup. I purchased the Lena Cup. Still a great cup but due to firmness and the “bell” shape it did not work for me.

I scored an Organicup through the Danish company give-away and WOW it was perfect. The fit was an identical match to my body. However, the capacity of the cup since the size A was sent to me it can’t keep up with the level of my cycle fluid capacity. I was told by some women in a Facebook group to try the Finnish brand Lunette. The firmness is very similar to the Organicup but the capacity of their size B of 30 ml beats the 20 ml of the Organicup. Some women may think a 10 ml difference does not make a difference but for me it does. The Lunette is my goldilocks cup the first several days of my cycle and the Organicup is my goldilocks cup the last few days of my cycle. I did have a few women ask why not just order the Organicup size B which is as well a 30 ml capacity cup. For me, I am sure my body would welcome it with open arms but I am one who loves to share the love per se.

Now, onto part two of reusable menstrual products, cloth pads.

Even though, I was a cup user I would rest my body of having something internal and wore pads at night. When I came across that Facebook page and saw women talking about cloth pads, I sort of thought to myself no way. I already wash laundry too often and I am not about to take on more washing.

But when I was diagnosed with PCOS and was found to have over 30 fibroids living rent free in my uterus, I knew it was time to stop using conventional disposable pads. I did research and found many of these pads are slathered with chemicals. They all have special chemicals to wick away the liquid and women have this up against an open body organ. By this time, I had already started to remove chemicals from our home. We stopped using hair and body products that contained SLS, Parabens, and Phthalates. We stopped using conventional deodorant and had switched out our dental products to oils and clays. So why not, stop using disposable pads.

Enter the world of cloth pads. Now, being a few cycles in using cloth pads, I think to myself as to why I waited so long. Yes, it takes a bit of “care” in the sense of extra laundry but I am happy with it. I am happy at the continued savings cost and extremely happy that I no longer have harmful chemicals near “her”.

If you want to enter the world of cloth pads, try reaching out to my Top 5 sellers! Let them know I referred you. I don’t get anything in return, I just want them to continue to know that I love their products.

*not in any order*

Just Jillian’s Resuables

Clothespin Cloth

Eco-Owl by Netta 

Gemini Creations

Ember Rose Reusables

 

©Valerie