Guys, go away. Ladies, please stay.
As long-time readers know, we phased out disposable products a number of years ago. Literally the first disposable product we got rid of was feminine hygiene. That's because our then-neighbor Enola Gay (who runs the Paratus Familia blog) opened a small cottage business making washable hygiene products. We were among her first customers. That was about 10 years ago.
The business was so successful Enola couldn't keep up, so she sold it to another young family that lives in north Idaho. The business, called Naturally Cozy, continues to flourish. Once in a while I like to give them a shout out because, after all these years, my enthusiasm for their products has never waned.
Before switching to washables, I'd long been dissatisfied with store-bought sanitary napkins for a number of reasons. One, I don't like what they're made of. Two, I don't like the price. Three, I don't like that they're non-biodegradable. Four, I don't like the idea of being, say, trapped in a blizzard and unable to make a dash for the store for emergency supplies. Five, I don't like things that aren't reusable.
So what’s it like, using washable hygiene? In a word, comfortable. The pads are made of soft flannel and organic cotton, so there is no chafing and it’s easier on the "lady parts." The fabrics breathe, which decreases trapped moisture and the problems that accompany it. Contrary to popular belief, washable hygiene isn't "icky" any more than washable cloth diapers are icky.
Women can choose their personal flannel pattern, which makes it easy to distinguish between pads for different family members.
Of course the initial cost of purchasing pads and panty liners are higher than disposables. But it’s also worth adding up how many disposables you purchase on a monthly or yearly basis, and compare that to the cost of washables. So far we’ve gotten 10 years’ worth of use out of our pads and they’re still going strong.
This is one of those products that, once used, you start to wonder what you ever saw in the disposable versions (which, not incidentally, are made with all kinds of nasty chemicals). Most women aren’t aware of what goes into the manufacture of disposable monthly pads. Laboratory analyses of a popular brand of disposable hygiene products found toxic chemicals classified as carcinogenic as well as reproductive and developmental toxins, including styrene (a human carcinogen), chloromethane (a reproductive toxicant), chloroethane (a carcinogen), chloroform (a carcinogen, reproductive toxicant and neurotoxin) and acetone (an irritant).
I also have about a month's worth of the daily-use panty liners and have come to loathe the store-bought versions after 10 years of cloth softness. I finally hit menopause (yay!) so I no longer have to worry about monthly pads, but I use the panty liners every single day and adore them beyond reason.
For those concerned about environmental impact, consider this: "It's estimated that nearly 20 billion (billion!) pads and tampons are discarded each year in North America alone. The plastics in a pad will take hundreds of years to decompose. The process of manufacturing these disposables also pollutes our waterways, air and animal habitats. Switching to reusables can make a difference."
Naturally Cozy products go beyond just monthly needs. They carry daily panty liners (of course) as well as cotton nursing pads, incontinence products, post-partum pads, washable toilet wipes, hand towels, and even flannel "clutches" to carry personal items discreetly. Additionally, since this is a home-based business, they are sensitive and responsive to customer requests, so if you have a special need or a product you’re looking for, just ask.
There is also the satisfaction of giving business to a hard-working young family which is hand-producing high-quality products.
Naturally Cozy has item samples you can order to "test drive" a product, if you want to try them out before ordering a full set.
I don't endorse products very often. When I do, it's because I can strongly recommend them. Once you've tried these washable versions, you'll never go back to store-bought disposables.
Ladies, I urge you to think about washable reusable hygiene items as a gift to yourself this upcoming year.