By Patrice Lewis
Back in my younger days, I went through a phase where I wanted to be environmentally responsible in everything I did. I switched to recycled printer paper and “green” paper towels, paying a premium price to have those items shipped to my door. I had some growing up to do, you see, before I understood what a truly low-impact lifestyle was like.
One of my biggest flops in terms of earth-friendly products was feminine hygiene. Being the good little green citizen that I was, I ordered reusable menstrual pads which promised a lovely, environmentally-responsible monthly experience. And, I was assured by the company, “by replacing conventional pads with our process chlorine-free pads, you can help prevent chlorinated hydrocarbons from polluting our waterways.”
The napkins were, to put it mildly, a total disaster.
I have seldom encountered a product so poorly designed and manufactured. The pads literally crumbled into pieces in my underpants. They were one of the few products in my entire life I ended up boxing up and shipping back to the company with a request for a refund and a letter explaining why.
And that, for the next 20+ years, was the extent of my excursion into the world of “green” hygiene.
But I never liked the bleached white, chemical-laden store-bought stuff. I hated the thought of frittering away money and filling up the landfill, month after month, year after year. When our daughters became teens, the cost and waste really started to add up.
Additionally, I don’t like things that aren’t reusable (in the interests of cost and sustainability, several years ago we phased out most disposable household items and phased in reusables). I don’t like the idea of being, say, trapped in a blizzard and unable to make a dash for the store for emergency supplies. Also, we are “preppers,” so addressing our unavoidable monthly needs with a long-term solution was high on our list.
Enter Reusable Menstrual Pads
Then a friend started a home business making washable and reusable feminine hygiene products. I was almost her first customer, and have been thrilled to the point of babbling about the wonders of washable hygiene ever since. It’s been almost eight years now, and my satisfaction has not waned.
The business was so successful our friend couldn’t keep up with orders, so she sold it to another young family. The business, called Naturally Cozy, continues to flourish.
Who is Naturally Cozy?
The company makes products in a wide variety of sizes and absorbency suitable for different ages and flow rates (since the needs of a young teen are different than that of, say, a post-partum woman). Each female can choose a different color and pattern to personalize her own pads.
My Reusable Menstrual Pads Review
So what’s it like, using washable hygiene?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s no more “icky” than washable cloth diapers are. And, like cloth diapers, washable sanitary napkins are far more comfortable than the plastic disposables. The pads are made of soft flannel and organic cotton, so there is no chafing and it’s easier on the “lady parts.” The fabric breathes, which decreases trapped moisture and the problems that accompany it.
There is also the satisfaction of giving business to a hard-working young family which is hand-producing high-quality products. These kinds of cottage industries are known for their sensitive response to customer needs, and Naturally Cozy is no exception. For example, when customers asked for incontinence products, the business responded by offering discreet, specialized items with different levels of absorbency.
The quality has improved drastically since we purchased our original sets of napkins nearly eight years ago. The fabrics and sewing techniques used in their construction have improved the products’ quality, softness, thickness, and absorbency. Yet our original napkins are still going strong. They show only the slightest bit of fraying around the edges and continue to perform their function superbly.
After I started using these reusable napkins, I realized there’s a side benefit I hadn’t thought about: the “cha-ching” factor. You know what it’s like – you keep using a disposable napkin until it’s saturated (and possibly leaking) because every time you use a fresh one, a little “cha-ching” (“How much did that cost?”) runs through your mind.
But with reusable napkins, you can change as often as you please (to stay fresh) with no additional cost. Ever. With three females in our family, imagine how much money we’ve saved in the past eight years instead of wasting our money purchasing disposables every month. Additionally, the advantages of reusable items to a prepared, self-sufficient lifestyle are enormous.
I also have a month’s worth of washable daily panty liners, and if possible, I like these even more than the monthly sanitary napkins. I’ve had occasions in the past few years where I’ve had to temporarily switch back to disposable panty liners, and I hate them. I can’t wait to get back to my soft cotton washables.
I don’t endorse products very often. When I do, it’s because I can strongly recommend them. That’s how I feel about these particular hygiene items. Ladies, I urge you to consider washable napkins for you and your daughters. You won’t regret it.