Homemade Hygiene



There are many reasons why I created this blog, most from which I do not benefit due to my inability to keep it updated. Today is different. Maybe.

One reason I like to blog is because I like to make things. I like to make practical things, too, and I don’t like to spend money unnecessarily.

I like health topics and even try to live a reasonably healthy life, whatever that means. I like to re-use things, or re-purpose things. I like to keep my participation to the landfill to a minimum.

About four years ago (?) I stopped using packaged menstrual products. I moved to a re-usable (organic) cotton pads which are still in use.  I will spare you personal imagery of them, but if you’re into it, you can get your own at GladRags.com, which is where I bought mine and am happy to report they are a great investment.

The first set I bought cost me about $90. They seemed to be of a different cloth than the 2nd set I had purchased (about $25) last year.  I only bought the second set because the first set consisted of six 8″ pads & inserts + 1 overnight, which is something like 16″ long. I needed a few that were somewhere in between, around 12″ so I bought another set. 

First, let’s do a little simple math.

GladRags are certainly a bargain on numerous levels, but pricewise it goes like this:

$115 over 4 years (48 months) averages to less than $2.39/mo and dropping  in feminine hygiene product.
I also use hydrogen peroxide to keep my pads looking new: $1/6mo, so about 18c/mo; Also I use a bar laundry soap to wash them on the washboard: $2.50/yr, so about 20c/mo. That totals to about $2.75/mo. 

Commercial plastic pads average  to be about $7/package, of which I would often use 3/4 for a month.  That works out to about $5.25/mo and increasing. 

Some may say there’s an increase in water usage, except they often will forget about how much water is required to make plastic pads in the first place.  I use cold water to wash because that is what takes out menstrual material best and stains the least, so there isn’t any extra energy expense added to heat the water.

A comparable examination can be made with disposable diapers.  I’m sure you can find something regarding maxi pads in specific with a little more digging.

 Plastic feminine hygiene products take about 25 years to break down in the landfill. That’s a quarter century. There are so many reasons we should not be putting these in the landfill that I don’t think it is really necessary for me to list them for you. Once I understood that the first maxi pads I had ever used were just at that time degrading, I felt terrible. I felt terrible for the land, terrible for the workers, the wildlife, the seas and currents that I have inadvertently polluted with my ignorance.

So I stopped. And what I found was, that not only did I feel better psychologically, but the cotton was actually more comfortable! Well, most of the time.

There is one instance where the GladRag is sometimes less than comfortable and that is when I’m bicycle commuting, for reasons that should be obvious.  So when I started knitting regularly, I thought “hey, knit cotton pads may be more flexible and cheaper to boot!” So I set out to make my own maxi pads a couple months back.


This pound of cotton was about $11. I could probably make 40 maxi pads from it. That would make each pad something like 25c each. I can’t even buy a plastic pad at the airport for that price. I haven’t been able to find 1lb organic cotton, but I’m still on the hunt.

The knit pads would be secured with snaps, in wing fashion, much like the GladRags pads.  The problem I was finding, though, was that they were just too thin. I would still need to use an insert or double them up, which I think is what was causing the discomfort issue in the first place: too much bulk.

That was, until I started making socks. The heel of a sock has a special knit stitch that basically is a “double knit” which allows for thicker, more flexible and more durable fabric. The pad that is on the needle in the photo above is in the Eye of Partridge stitch, or “heel stitch.” This will be the winner. I’m still working out the kinks, and because it has been snowing regularly for what feels like six months, but in actuality is only about 3 weeks, I haven’t been riding my bike to work anyway. So I’ve got a little time to work out the kinks.

If anybody has any advice to give, like other “double knit” stitches, or solid DIY feminine hygiene advice, please feel free to drop a note.





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