Okay guys, time to disappear. I know you'll want to anyway when you find out that the subject of this post is....(drum roll please) ...feminine hygiene.
Seriously, ladies, by now you probably know I'm into preparedness. I like to think we're fairly well prepared in terms of the basic necessities (and some of the comforts) of life if the economy gets tough(er). For the last few years we've been using reusable alternatives to most everything that’s disposable. And what's more disposable than feminine hygiene products?
For some time now, I've been "test marketing" reusable feminine napkins made by my friend Enola Gay. Along with some other ladies, we've suggested tweaks and fiddles and adjustments until she's come up with a design that works.
And let me tell you, these work. Beautifully. These napkins are better than any store-bought disposables I've ever used. No leaks, no slips, easy on and off, and they feel terrific (and soft!). If it's possible to gush over such a product without sounding like an idiot, I'll happily gush.
My favorite style is unquestionably the one designed for nighttime use. There's nothing worse than lying half-asleep in bed and, uh, feeling things getting out of hand. If you're lying on your back, there's an excellent chance you'll wake up with a stain on the sheet. Oh groan. But with this nighttime design, there's extra material in the back to catch that middle-of-the-night flow.
Reusable feminine hygiene products means you never run out. Have you ever had that moment of panic when you realize you need a napkin now and you don't have any more? For some women, it's a simple matter to drive down the street to the nearest store to resupply. For us rural women, it's more of a challenge (especially in winter) to make a dash to the grocery store. But what would it be like if disposable napkins weren't available at all?
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 (for that "fresh feeling," don't you know) with no additional cost. Ever.
Washing is easy. I keep a bucket and tongs dedicated to soaking my napkins. When that time of the month calls, I fill the bucket about half-way full of water and use the tongs to press the napkin's soiled part fully under water. That's it. As the days pass, I pile more and more napkins on top each other (adding more water as needed to make sure the soiled part is always soaking) until either my cycle is over and/or I do a load of laundry. As long as the soiled part is soaking, I don't need to add anything else to the bucket except plain water - no hydrogen peroxide or vinegar or anything. When it's time to wash, I start the washing machine, use the tongs to fish out the napkins, and toss them in the washing machine with a load of dark clothes. Voila.
I air dry my napkins by laying them flat on my clothes racks to dry.
I've adopted Enola's attitude that "ladies only" items should be pretty and feminine. Accordingly I bought attractive picnic-style baskets from thrift stores for our items, and my daughters and I keep the napkins discretely stored in convenient places.
Enola's home business is called "Naturally Cozy" and she's ready to start taking orders. I estimate these products will pay for themselves inside six months. I ordered three sets – one for myself and a set for each of my daughters. Never again will we have to make an unexpected dash to the store for disposable napkins.
Enola has perfected a design for a daily-use panty liner as well. Whoo-hoo!
So here's my testimonial for Enola's reusable feminine hygiene products. If you want some peace of mind for that inevitable and unavoidable time of the month, I can't recommend these highly enough.