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Sustainable Swap: Washable Cotton Menstrual Pads

Posted on December 17, 2019

cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free

Why reusable, organic cotton pads rock my socks

This summer, I underwent an insane deep clean of the products I use at home, starting with my skincare regiment. These changes were inspired by these two reasons: 1) Because after watching The Story of Stuff, my entire life view as a consumer changed in A LOT of dramatic ways. AKA I am still learning on how to live sustainably and eco-friendily 2) Because I was sick of all my adult acne and using benzoyl peroxide (uselessly for over 5 years), and I wanted to find a deep-down cure - or at least, something healthier to completely eliminate toxic chemicals in my skincare to normalize my skin once again.

Just within this past month, after moving back out to Japan, I also took a good look at my garbage can and what kind of waste I was putting out. Most of it - like you, I'm sure – was food packaging. BUT one thing while cleaning out my bathroom garbage can was menstrual pads and tampons.

But all napkin waste accumulation during the bloodiest days of the year aside (I'm not trying to be a zero-waster, or anything; just low-waste), my main reason for making this latest switch of mine from single-use pads to reusable cotton pads was actually one-fold: health. Without getting into too much detail, basically, I don't know what the pads I'd been using were made of, but no matter what kind of "natural cotton pad" I used (which, "natural" – we all know – is a green-washing term meaning absolutely nothing), my skin had developed a nasty sensitivity to the disposable suckers. Tampons helped, but because my periods are mostly light, and I'm not exactly a tampon girl, I merely suffered through the pads.

"Until now." (In my best 90's movie advertisement voice)

Girls, I introduce to you 100% organic, reusable cotton pads! I – for one – (is a roman numeral haha :D) am never going back.

Where to get them in Osaka, Japan

Just until recently, I discovered a new organic food store out here in Osaka called "Natural House", where, not only do they have a lovely selection of organic foods, but they also carry organic cotton and bamboo products, too. AKA reusable sanitary masks (instead of the single-use ones), organic cotton socks, underwear, pajamas, and baby bibs. AND organic cotton menstrual pads, ladies!

cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free

Here's my haul, y'all. I bought one small one (for the lighter days towards the end), one main base, and a set of 6 inner pads. Let me tell you, this is a complete game-changer for me and my periods. I bought them from this brand called Made in Earth. The link is in Japanese, but I'm not saying you need to get these specific pads. I'm saying that you need to get yourself some comfortable, eco-friendly, organic cotton pads before your next period PERIOD (haha I'll bet you ladies have never heard that one before).

cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free

How many should you get? It depends on 1) How often you want to wash and dry your pads and 2) How heavy your flow is.

I bought these just this past week, and as my period's finishing up now, I can honestly tell you guys that nothing down below feels scratchy and uncomfortable (like it was before with the disposable ones). And – as a nice side note – my bathroom garbage can is from here-on-out forever free from anymore bloody pads and/or tampons.

Maintenance – How and When to Wash Your Pads

cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free

I hand-wash mine with hot water and soap (I use soap bars) and hang dry them. Probably best not to put them through your dryer, unless you're okay with staining, if there's still some stain left on them to begin with. I know you might be like, "Ehh hand-washing takes too long." I know, I'm usually that person that if they're out clothes shopping and find something cute, but the care label says "hand-wash" on it, I'm like, "Ehh maybe it's not that cute or worth the trouble". But seriously, washing your reusable cotton pads is easy and doesn't take as long as you'd think!

cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free
cotton reusable menstrual pads sustainable and toxic-free

If I'm at home, I hand-wash them right away after I do the ol' cleanup switcharoo in the bathroom. If I'm out and about, I keep the used ones in a Stasher bag, but honestly, any sort of storage like a wet bag or even a pencil-case-esque case will do in my purse, and then wash them when I get home.

Random side notes I didn't think of while I was writing this blog entry: If these organic cotton pads don't work for you, try out a menstrual cup! Also, yes, these cotton pads clip around your underwear, but no, while you walk around, they don't wiggle around as much as you'd think. Just make sure you buy the right size for you!

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