Hello, People with Periods!

Hello to you folks without periods as well! In this blog you’ll find information about the zero waste menstrual products we carry at the Co-op and how to care for them for less-stress plastic-free periods.

Here are some reasons why you may want to switch to using reusable period products:

  • Convenience: nothing like having to run out *just* for tampons, especially when you’ve *just* started your period. Having reusables means you won’t have to do any emergency shopping.
  • Health: Unfortunately, the FDA does not require manufacturers to disclose ingredients and materials in menstrual products (this is changing in CA in 2023 – yay!). Cotton, a common ingredient in tampons, is one of the most insecticide-intensive crops, which means those chemicals are coming in contact with one of our most permeable and absorptive skin barriers. If you choose not to switch to reusables, please consider switching to 100% organic tampons to at least limit your exposure to these chemicals.
  • Waste: Conventional period products are single use, which means periods can generate a lot of waste. Pads are basically 100% plastic too (they’re made from polypropylene, Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs), and polyethylene). About 41 million pounds of menstrual products go to the landfill in the US each year. 
  • Money: Reusable period products require more of an upfront investment than a box of tampons, but will last much much longer. Most people will save $1,200 to $2,500 over their period-having lifetime. 

The Diva Cup

The Co-op currently carries The DivaCup, one of many menstrual cups on the market. We have it in 2 sizes: Model 1 and Model 2. The Model 1 is for folks 19-30 with a medium flow and the Model 2 is for folks 30+ and/or with a heavy flow. 

  • Wear for up to 12 hours
  • 100% medical grade silicone
  • No chemicals, plastic or dyes

Now, speaking from personal experience, it takes a few cycles to get used to the DivaCup. When I went off hormonal birth control, I had to get reacquainted with my period, and DivaCup, all over again. I recommend patience and (physical and emotional) gentleness with yourself.

That being said, bodies are different! The DivaCup may just not work as well as other cups with your anatomy. If the DivaCup just isn’t working, try one of the others. 

Diva Cup Care

Start with clean hands. Wash your DivaCup before each insertion with hot/warm water and a gentle, fragrance free soap. You’ll want to be sure the little holes that create the seal aren’t blocked with any goo either. 

We carry DivaWash, a pH balanced soap for cleaning your DivaCup, but soap and water work just fine so it’s up to you how you clean your DivaCup during your period. 

At the end of your period, pop your DivaCup in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Medical grade silicone doesn’t absorb any smells so you don’t have to worry about deodorizing. Once it has boiled for 10 minutes, dry completely and store in the bag it came with or a storage container of your choice. That’s it!

Never clean your DivaCup with these cleaning agents (they can cause serious irritation):

  • vinegar
  • scented/fragranced soap
  • oil-based soap
  • rubbing alcohol
  • anti-bacterial soap
  • baking soda
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • bleach
  • dishwashing soap

GladRags Pantyliners

GladRags Pantyliners are the perfect pair to your DivaCup! Especially during your first few cycles with the DivaCup and on heavy flow days, you’ll want a little back up protection. Enter, GladRags Pantyliners!

  • made from 100% organic cotton
  • breathable and comfortable

GradRags Pantyliner Care

After use, soak in cold water to help prevent staining (light staining may occur; don’t worry – this doesn’t mean your liners aren’t clean). Use the presoak function on your washing machine or soak in a rust-proof container. Soak for at least 30 minutes.

Machine wash on cold using a gentle, all natural detergent. Hang or line dry to make them last! You can tumble dry on low in a pinch. Once dry, store until you need them again.

Avoid using detergents with fabric softeners or whiteners/brighteners as these can inhibit the absorbency of the liners. Be aware that soaking your cloth pads in water with additives such as hydrogen peroxide can degrade the fabric and lead to holes.

GladRags does not recommend the use of castile soap, facial soap, or other soaps not intended for textile laundering. Excess detergent may lead to build up, which can limit the absorbency of your liners.

Period Positivity

One additional benefit of switching to reusable period products is Period Positivity! Period Positivity happens when you feel good about your period and your period’s impact on the world. 

My ND recently shared with me that the each person’s relationship with their period directly affects how menopause will go for that person. Since hearing this, I have 100% tried to embrace Period Positivty and incubate warm fuzzy feelings toward my period. It’s a work in progress.