Getting Started with Reusable Menstrual Products

Garbage from tampons wastes money

If you use cloth diapers for your babies and if you are looking for waste-free, reusable products in the rest of your life, it’s a natural next step to keep the change coming and use cloth menstrual pads or a diva cup. Getting started is easy.

The quickest way to start: borrow your baby’s diaper doublers and see how easy it is. Toss them in with the diapers, and wash.


What You Need to Start

If you don’t mind sharing diaper doublers with your baby, it really is easy to start.

Just be sure that you have

  1. something absorbent,
  2. somewhere to put them until you wash, and
  3. something to carry them in while you travel.

The simple solution includes items that can be borrowed from cloth diaper accessories or improvised from supplies you already have.

  1. wash cloths
  2. diaper pail
  3. small wet bag

The more advanced solution includes buying or making new supplies.

  1. specially made menstrual pads
  2. a bucket or soaking pot that can hold water
  3. a bag for your purse

Menstrual Pads. A lot of people want a leak-proof layer, but I just don’t find this necessary. It’s one more place for laminated (plastic-coated) fabric or micro-fiber that just isn’t necessary. All you need is absorbency. Natural materials work best, and anything absorbent will do. Our wool diaper doublers are just the right size for cloth pads. If you sew, you may find that some of your scraps are just the right size for cloth pads, which is a great way to divert more materials from waste.

Menstrual Cup. Rather than using an absorbent layer, you can use a cup instead of tampons. This is such an easy solution. The Diva Cup, for example, is medical-grade silicone—latex-free means no allergic reactions. It can be worn for up to 12 hours. I think it still helps to wear a light pad.

Natural Sponges. If you are used to tampons, you might find natural sponges a good alternative. You can even sew a string into them to help pull them out. You just rinse well, following instructions to be sure that they are clean, let them dry, and reuse.

Panty Liner. My favorite light pad or panty liner is a silk diaper liner. The liner is very thin, soft next to the skin, and just enough of a barrier.

Bucket or Pot. An ice bucket works really well. I have a pedal garbage can (with a removable liner) because I have a dog who is a thief. My favorite solution is one I don’t currently have: a ceramic pot that is actually made for cloth pads. I’ve seen some gorgeous ceramic pots, and I hope I own one before I don’t need it any longer.

Planet Wise Mini Wet Bag

Wet Bag. Any small wet bag will do. Many wet bags are made of nylon. I have used a wool bag as well, which is very absorbent and doesn’t leak through. My new favorite bag, though, is the Planet Wise mini wet/dry bag because it has two zippered pockets, one for dry and waterproof one for wet. This is a perfect size to fit in a purse.

Reusable menstrual products are an economical and environmentally-friendly choice. With cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups you also enjoy safe, chemical-free protection. Once you give these a try, you’ll never go back to paper, plastic, and gel pads or bleached tampons again.

Pregnancy by Nature carries a full line of reusable menstrual products.


More Resources for Reusable Menstrual Products