Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eco Alternatives -- Reusable Cloth Pads

Here at Ladies Holiday we are all about living with a green consciousness so you can imagine my joy when Etsy proprietor and seamstress extraordinaire Traci recently sent me, in repurposed packaging (notice above!), a sampling of her Eco Alternatives line of reusable cloth menstrual pads.

Admittedly I was already a convert, having made the switch to cloth a few years ago- no more irritation, waste and monthly expense for me. Hooray! For more thoughts on using cloth for your “Ladies Holiday” read this great article by Christine. However, once I was aware of the reusable pad movement I became overwhelmed - in a good way. There were so many choices, fabrics, densities and the patterns- don’t even get me started. There is an entire world of fashion that most women aren't aware of, granted it is usually just the woman wearing the pad that sees the bright and bold, the soft and the sweet, the adorable owls and floral motifs, but let’s be honest, how many people see our other under-things anyway? However, many of us still make an effort to buy and wear cute undergarments, the occasional granny panty at the bottom of the drawer when the laundry hasn't been done notwithstanding. So with that line of reason cloth pads should by all means be just as aesthetically appealing as the rest we rarely bare. But I digress, back to Eco-Alternatives…

Traci’s in the business of offering women a choice, a sustainable, green, earth friendly option during their period that moves the consumer away from the toxins, the trash and the disposable mentality that has become rampant over the last few generations. As an extension of the idea that we have a choice in how we manage our periods we discover there is value in connecting to ourselves during “that time of the month.” Tuning into our cycles by making conscious choices about the products we use to support our comfort during our periods brings us closer to our inner awareness and femininity.

Eco Alternatives offers a line of women’s menstrual pads made with a variety of textiles including Organic Bamboo Velour, flannel and the rest of Traci’s current fabric stash can be viewed here- Impressive!

Not only is Eco Alternatives an option for women seeking freedom from the discomfort caused by synthetic materials found in commercial disposable feminine hygiene products, the high cost of purchasing every month and concern about the planet, Traci offers many options for how to get started on your way to period freedom at her Etsy store. You can buy a sampler pack of three pads in each of the common sizes used by customers or you can buy in pairs or singles. There are pads that serve for light flow, medium and heavy. There are even overnight pads and pads for postpartum. A great gift for a new mom. There is a lot to chose from!

The inner lining of each pad is comprised of organic bamboo and the pads I received were flannel, which without offering up too much information was seriously one of the most comfortable things that I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing down there. Traci, please make underwear!
The snap closure is just that, a snap, no more messing with sticky adhesive sticking to tender skin.

The questions that I’m often asked when I’ve revealed my use of cloth during my “holiday” are:

How do you wash reusable cloth pads?
When I’m ready to change my pad I rinse it in cold water. No need to wrinkle your nose. It’s your own stuff, you’re clean, it’s clean. If I’m out in public this can pose a problem. If there is no option to rinse, I fold it in on itself, place in a wet bag- also available from Eco Alts and go. Once home I rinse then wash it with my regular laundry  along with towels and under things.

How do you transport reusable cloth pads?
In a wet bag or get creative and come up with a small container, baggie or swath of non-absorbent fabric.

How many do you need?
Depends on the person and the time in the cycle. I have several pads for heavier days, medium days and light days. I do a lot of laundry anyway so it isn’t hard to keep up. If in a pinch they can be hand washed and dried with a hair dryer. Originally I transitioned to cloth over time and learned through trial how many pads I needed to get through my week. The great thing is Eco Alternatives are well made and will last a long time so although they are affordable the initial investment will serve for years.

Here is what Traci has to say - from the EcoAlts Etsy site:
Caring for your fluff:

* Keep Hydrogen Peroxide in a little spray bottle. A spritz of this is like a magic eraser!
* Wear zig-zag side down towards panties
* Soak in cold water and then wash with your regular laundry
* Dryer safe
* If you line dry your clothing like me, you know that the sun works wonders on stains too!



In addition to an assortment of colors, fabrics and density for cloth Eco Alternatives also offers the wet bags for the cloth pads, reusable cloth paper towels and wet bags for them that conveniently hang in the kitchen for an Eco Home, plus adorable baby bibs and more for your Green Baby.

When I am able to make consumer purchases from small and independent sellers whose business practices reflect my own values, using sustainable, earth friendly materials and giving back to the community whether local or global, I feel an immense satisfaction and that I’m making a difference with my dollar. Traci makes a difference by participating in Operation Write Home providing soldiers abroad with greetings and support.

Interested in trying cloth? Want to add some super soft and absorbent pads to your cloth collection? Eco Alternatives are offering a special 15% discount for Ladies Holiday readers: LADIESHOLIDAY

Find Traci and Eco Alternatives on Twitter, and of course her Etsy shop.
Comfortably yours,
Deirdre

*I was not compensated monetarily for this review.

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