Review of bamboo and organic washable menstrual pads
Here’s one for the girls! It’s a subject close to my heart and one which I’ve talked about before.
If you’ve used washable nappies, you’re only one step away from using washable sanitary pads (or the mooncup if you prefer to keep things under wraps).
Using reusable sanitary protection makes total sense for the environment, your health and your pocket as they are undoubtedly the frugal option!
The average woman uses around 17,000 items of sanitary protection in her lifetime.
Every day in the UK, approximately 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million sanitary towels and 0.7 million panty liners are disposed of either in the bin where they get incinerated or landfilled; or down the toilet, where they can get washed out to sea.
During the MCS beachwatch survey weekend, more than 14 towels / panty liners and 4 tampon applicators per kilometer of beach are found, on average.
Every year, there are 2-3 deaths from toxic shock syndrome caused by tampon use. Alice Kilvert died in 1991 from toxic shock, at the age of 15.
So far I’ve spent about £60 on reusable sanitary protection in the past 6 1/2 years which is less than I would spend in one year if I was buying brand name disposable sanitary towels!
I’m a gal who needs good absorbency on my first day, so I’m a great tester for reusable products! Any washable pads I use need to work hard for me and absorb a lot of fluid. To date I’ve favoured hemp pads – these are 4 times more absorbent than cotton.
This week I’ve been challenged to test a couple of washable pads.
Honour your flow
I was contacted by Tree Shepherd from Honour Your Flow who asked me to product test a couple of her washable pads. All her products are beautiful as well as practical with the aim of keeping your periods comfortable and natural, with a touch of fun and twinkle!
Wherever possible, Tree uses organic and fairtrade fabrics.
Tree got into washable menstrual pads when living in a yurt community. They had no running water or electricity at that time, and compost toilets! Happily, Tree was instantly converted to using reusable products and got on well with them straight away.
In addition to her washable range of pads, Tree offers 100% compostable pads and cloth tampons.
The biggest washable pad in the world!
Tree sent me an Amethyst Dream night pad (also called ‘The Beast’ and apparently the biggest pad in the world!) to try, along with a bamboo velour maxi-long for comparison for day use.
Tree’s pads come washed and ready to use, which is wonderful – the last hemp ones I bought had to be washed about 6 times before they worked to full capacity!
Well I gotta say it, The night pad really does look like a nappy! But it’s fantastic because it gives you protection in all the right places. Little Miss Green was oohing and aaahing when she saw it and said she couldn’t wait to ‘be a grown up Mummy’ so she could have pads like that herself. In fact she asked to wear it for the day 😀
How many times have you woken up in the morning to find everything has trickled underneath you around to the back where there is little protection?
The night pad stops all that with some huge padding around your bum. In a world where ‘discreet’ is the name of the game for all things menstrual I think it would be hard for a lot of women to accept a pad like this. But for an old timer like me I instantly saw the practical side of things.
At the moment I put a bath towel in the bed for the first couple of nights of my period, but there was no need with this night pad – it worked like a charm! That means less washing in the machine each month, so the night time pad gets a beast-like thumbs up from me.
Bamboo velour day pad
Will you think I’m weird when I say I just want to stroke this pad?! Yes probably, but you really do! The fabric is beautiful and soft and I was champing at the bit to try this one (I’d finished my period on the day these pads arrived; how about that?!).
Well a moon’s cycle later and I was ready to try out the pad. It’s longer than usual, so again gives you protection in the right places. Often I leak through on the first day by lunchtime, but there was none of that with the bamboo velour day pad.
I was concerned that the back would slip out of place and look like a tail, but this wasn’t the case. The pad was comfortable, absorbent and does what it is designed to do.
I am a complete convert. This is my first time for trying bamboo and I’m very impressed.
My only concern will be wear and tear – I’ve had my existing pads for about 6 1/2 years and they are wearing well. I bought Little miss green some bamboo socks once and they were so fine they turned into holes after a few short weeks.
The night time pad is fabulous for someone who needs heavy duty protection, but no good if you like discreet. To be honest though, if you like ‘discreet’ you’re probably not using washable pads anyway. Tree’s compostable tampons might be a better option, or you might like to try the mooncup.
Tree certainly has succeeded in her mission to bring fun and twinkle’ to your moontime with her range of products.
What about you – do you use washable and reusable sanitary products? Which brands do you prefer?
I found this article really useful and insightful, so thanks for that. I’ve never really got beyond disposables despite the fact they seem to cause me attacks of thrush (tea tree oil saves the day here!) and I kind of know I could be doing better in environmental terms. Hopefully your post will spur me on to better things.
@Goo: Hi Goo, glad you enjoyed it. Oh yes, you’ve reminded me now; when I used disposables I used to get thrush too – oh man, I’d forgotten the agony of that. It’s all history with washables 😉
Why not buy just a couple of pads to try at home towards the end of your cycle and see how you get on?
Goo, try cloth – it’s soo much softer!!
My sister still thinks I’m sort of crazy, but I’ll NEVER go to plastic again!! (Would men wear plastic underpants?! Hmph!)
Great post, Mrs Green – and they do look soo lovely!!
I’d stay away from bamboo though – while pretty, it’s not really eco and sustainable, treated with chemicals to be so lovely soft – check it out online if you will! (a simple Google search like ‘bamboo not eco’ brings a lot of hits!) Basically doesn’t have much together with bamboo after it’s been treated, apparently it’s supposed to be classified as rayon/viscose..
Apparently bamboo cloth manufacturers haven’t been entirely honest with the public?
I do love the violet-ish colors and lol about Little Miss Green wanting to wear one! She’s so cute and adorable! 🙂
It’s a good idea, but I don’t know if I could use washable pads. I’ve tried the Diva cup before and wasn’t much of a fan… But I recently switched birth control to an IUD and I’m not even having my period anymore—so no waste!
@Layla: Plastic underpants – 😀 what a thought! My thoughts were that bamboo was great – it grows quickly and doesn’t need any treatment. It sounds like I might be about to learn something new?? I rather hoped not; my concern was with whether we were taking panda food, but I was assured we were not and it was grown separately as a plant crop.
I guess you never know the full story.
@Brenda Pike: Hi Brenda; I’m glad you have found a solution, although personally I would not advocate having no period. It kinda feels like not allowing any other natural bodily functions to take place – sort of constipating! But if it works for you, then great 🙂
I would feel out of synch without my natural rhythms and cycles.
For the last three years I had the contraceptive implant which stopped my period and I’d have to say Mrs Green has a point about suppressing natural flows! Whilst having the implant I never felt ‘myself’ and fell into a self loathing depression, developed an eating disorder and overall had no energy or motivation. I stumbled across many forums of women using the implant or taking the pill having similar experiences. My depression and anxiety was at its worse at the end of last year and greatly affected my university exams, luckily I have a very supportive tutor and I managed to work up the courage to go to the doctor. But then, a few months after starting antidepressants I came across this article
and once again started to wonder if the way I was feeling was because of my method of birth control. So just over a week ago I got it taken out and honestly, for the first time in a LONG time I feel like myself and everyday I feel my energy and motivation coming back. I’m not trying to say it’s all peachy everyday but after getting my implant taken out it is clear to me it affected my body both mentally and physically. So now I’m faced with the prospective of having regular periods again for the first time in years and I fully intend on buying and testing reusable sanitary pads and I recently came across another article that discussed whether these plastic disposable sanitary products really were effective and ‘good’ for you in terms of chemicals used to make them. After reading it I did realised before I had the implant I did used to get thrush regularly however while having no period that problem seemed to vanish… so I’m wondering if plastic sanitary towels was the culprit!
Anyway, sorry for such a long post! I just wanted to share my experience as it was because of other women sharing their experiences with contraception I got my life back and now hopefully will also find the right reusable products 🙂