Reusable period products
Wash, wear and save! A guide to better periods….
Did you know that if you have periods, it will cost you around £5,000 over your lifetime?
Periods can be costly, and not just for our budgets.
On average, 22 items of period products are used per cycle, totalling 4.3 billion EACH YEAR in the UK. Most products are single use, made of plastics and other synthetic materials, and wrapped in more plastic. That’s a LOT of plastic.
What’s the alternative?
There is now a huge range of washable, reusable period products that are not only better for the environment but work out cheaper in the long run too. The most popular alternatives are:
Period pants come in a range of different absorbencies and are worn just like normal pants, making them ideal for all ages but especially teens and tweens. They absorb your period and can be worn upwards of 8 hours depending on your flow, so they are ideal for days at school, work or when you’re out and about. Caring for them is easy too. After use, just rinse them out until the water runs clear and wash in with a normal load of washing. Manufacturers usually recommend a 30c wash without fabric softener as this affects absorbency. Then dry on a line or airer and store for the next time you need them. Period pants are available to buy from some high street shops or online. Ideally you will want several pairs which you can either wash at the end of your period or sooner, depending on how often you run your washing machine.
Check out these period pants reviews.
Image credit: The Independent
Reusable pads work just like sanitary towels and are available in a range of sizes, absorbencies, fabrics and colours. They have a soft inner lining, a waterproof outer layer and absorbent layers in between with wings either side to fasten in place. They are secured using poppers and can be changed as often as needed. When it’s time to change your pad, simply remove and rinse with water. Once rinsed, you can either wash them with your regular laundry or collect pads used over your period in a wet bag and wash them together at the end of your period. Reusable pads are generally available online – read this review for the best rated reusable period pad brands – but you can also make your own reusable period pads.
Image credit: The Eco Woman
Just like tampons, cups are worn internally and need to be emptied every 4-8 hours depending on your flow. They are available in different sizes and can hold up to 3 times more than a regular tampon. To change your cup, remove it, empty the contents down the toilet, rinse it with clean water and re-insert. After your period, it is recommended to clean your cup with boiling water or sterilising tablets. Cups can last for up to 10 years if cared for properly.
Read about the best rated menstrual cup brands in this review.
Image credit: Which?
There are many benefits to using reusable period products instead of single use pads and tampons. They are better for your pocket and the environment, don’t contain harsh chemicals and you’ll never run out! They are also easy to use, easy to clean and can be a much more comfortable option.
If you’re nervous about making the switch, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can start by wearing reusable period products at home for a couple of hours during the day, then gradually increase to overnight until you are confident to use them out and about. You can use a mix of reusable and single use products if that is your preference – small steps can make a big difference.
Not sure which option is best for you? Compare choices and find out more on our Reusable Menstrual Product pages.
(Products included in the reviews are for information and other products are available).