Reusable Sanitary Products: What Are They, and How Do They Work?

by Janice FERGUSON on Oct 09, 2019

Reusable Sanitary Products: What Are They, and How Do They Work? - Inspire Me Naturally

Reusable sanitary products have become increasingly more popular with Australian women. But if you haven’t yet explored these reusable alternatives, you may be wondering exactly what they are and how they work.

Reusable sanitary products are much better for the environment, healthier for our bodies, and can also save us money in the long run. If you’re currently looking to make the switch to reusable sanitary products, keep reading for a full breakdown below.

Why switch to reusable sanitary products?

Simply put, reusable sanitary products are a more eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads and tampons. Did you know the average Australian woman uses approximately 10,000 – 12,000 disposable sanitary products in her lifetime? Alarmingly, these products can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, with an estimated 18 thousand metric tonnes of disposable sanitary items ending up in Australian landfill each year.

Along with being a more sustainable alternative for the environment, reusable sanitary products are also thought to be better for our health. Many standard pads and tampons are made from plastics and synthetic fibres which can block airflow and cause irritation, while reusable alternatives do not.

Finally, reusable sanitary products can actually save you money! While these products have a larger initial cost, they work out to be a much cheaper alternative over time due to their reusable nature.

What are the different kinds of reusable sanitary products?

Currently, there are 3 different kinds of reusable sanitary products: menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads, and period-proof underwear. Just like disposable pads and tampons, each one has different collection methods, allowing you to choose the best option to suit your needs and lifestyle. 

Menstrual cups

Perhaps the most daunting reusable sanitary item, menstrual cups are similar to tampons in that they are inserted internally to collect blood. These small, flexible cups are gently folded and pushed inwards, just like a tampon. Once inside, they unfold to create a “suction” effect which prevents leaks. 

Most women find they only need to empty the cup twice a day (morning and night). However, it’s best to figure out how many times you’ll need to empty the cup depending on your flow. You can remove your menstrual cup easily after use by pulling gently on the “stem”. Then, simply empty the contents into a toilet or sink, and wash the cup before re-insertion. 

Menstrual cups work for all kinds of flows and are suitable for most women. Teenagers and young females with less experience using tampons may benefit from using another type of reusable sanitary item before trying the menstrual cup.

Not only are menstrual cups environmentally friendly, chemical-free and zero waste, they also work out to be money savers too! Women spend on average $120 – $200 on disposable sanitary items each year. Alternatively, menstrual cups retail for around $50 – $60, and easily last a couple of years.

Reusable cloth pads

Reusable cloth pads are a great option if you’re not yet comfortable using a menstrual cup. These natural cloth pads attach to your underwear just like standard pads, but simply need to be washed between uses. They also come in various sizes to cater for different cycle and flow needs. 

Reusable cloth pads don’t contain any of the plastics, chemicals or synthetic fragrances that disposable pads often contain. They also last several years, making them a much friendlier option for the environment. 

Period-proof underwear

Period-proof underwear look and feel just like regular underpants, however, the fabric has been designed specifically to hold menstrual blood. This underwear is cleverly designed with layers of different materials that absorb and trap blood, providing a leak-resistant and odourless barrier. The fabric also dries eight times faster than cotton. 

Similar to cloth pads and menstrual cups, period-proof underwear is a great money-saver while also producing minimal waste. This option is ideal for teenagers, young females, or as a backup for those starting out with the menstrual cup. 

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