On the Rag

Posted on March 8, 2012 by Howling Hill

Way back in 2002 I bought myself some Luna Pads. Prior to the day I bought the reusable menstrual pads, I used facecloths. Before the facecloth period (pun unavoidable), I used tampons exclusively.

Why did I change from one system to the next? Well, there were a lot of reasons. Being green wasn’t a part of that decision on any conscious level until I bought the Luna Pads, and still the decision to use cloth pads was based on economics more than it was about being green.

The reasons were relatively simple, actually.

I stopped using tampons when I found out digoxins were used in commercial pads and tampons. I was scared out of my mind of the very idea of chemicals used to bleach the cotton white were near my most intimate body part. At the time I believed what I heard though now I don’t know if this is true. I did a google search and found nothing to support the claim.

The facecloth thing came about because I worked at a hospital and had “free” access to facecloths. They were however, very, very uncomfortable as you might suspect. And while I thought I was being nicer to my womanhood, the reality was I was exposed to more chemicals because Housekeeping uses a buttload to keep the whites white. (I didn’t bring back the ones I used. I kept them and used them each month).

Finally I decided to bite the bullet and buy some nice, soft menstrual pads. They weren’t cheap. I think I paid nearly $100 for the bunch that I got. But it was well worth the money. For a decade I’ve used these pads each month. They have held up well to being washed monthly, travel easily, and are very comfortable.

The best side effect of ditching the disposable pads is my moontime is not nearly as painful as it used to be. When I was in my teens I spent the days curled up in a ball until I went on the pill. After discarding hormonal birth control, my moontime resumed its painful descent from my body. But as I cleaned up my diet, as I stopped using commercial tampons and ditched the facecloths, the monthly pain eased to near non-existence.

There are many who cannot conceive the idea of reusing pads each month. There are some males who do not want their female lovers to “leave those bloody rags hanging around.” I understand this can be a very contentious issue. When the topic starts getting very emotional, I like to remember what a friend’s grandmother once said “we used strips of flannel when I was a girl. That’s where ‘on the rag’ came from you know.”

Though I have sea sponges I got here at the same time I got the pads but I don’t use them much so I’m not going to write about them in depth. Don’t get me wrong, they work fab when I want to go swimming, etc. but I’m not one to leave things in my vagina for any length of time. The Keeper is not an option for me because I’m allergic to latex* and I wasn’t interested in using a similar product made out of polyurethane.* I know many women who use the Keeper and are very happy with it. Please consider these to be fantastic alternatives if using pads doesn’t appeal to you.

*The material the Keeper is made from may have changed. I haven’t researched Keepers in quite some time.

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Cross posted on No Unsacred Place

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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