April 28, 2009

WCC Question and Answer

We received a question regarding the use of reusable menstrual pads. Now, keep in mind we here at the WCC are no experts, just advocates of providing you with information. You can contact one of many experts at Luna Pads, however here is the question we received and an answer from a member of our WCC community.

I have a question for you.

When I do menstruate (which is maybe three times in the last four years including miscarriages), I use tampons. I don't really feel bad about it since there is no plastic involved and the tampons will biodegrade. But some part of me wants to use reusable products whenever possible.

Yet although cloth diapering is not in the last bit gross to me, cloth menstrual pads actually nauseate me a little. Perhaps it's the idea of the blood? I'm not sure why: poop is no less disgusting in principle, but blood stains seem harder to remove from other clothing if I put them together in the laundry.

So my question is, how do you deal with the pads? Do you pre-soak them like you'd pre-soak cloth diapers? How many pads do you own? How does the whole process work? I doubt I'll be able to get past the scariness of the blood in with my regular laundry.

Learning to Love Re-Usable Pads

Dear Learning to Love,

Good question, glad you asked, and thanks for your honesty!
First, let's discuss the blood. Like poop (which I happen to think is a LOT more nauseating, to be honest), blood is natural and comes from our bodies. In an odd way, I have come to honor and embrace my menstrual blood. Am I smearing it on my face and doing ritual dances? No, but I have come to terms with it thanks to Inga Muscio's book Cunt.

Ok, so first I ordered a starter kit. I also bought Bac-out (check out the bi-o-kleen site) for odor and stain remover (also good when your pet or potty-learning toddler pees on the carpet ;) ) and a waterproof bag to store the used pads in, like this one. You can also call and ask the folks at Luna Pads questions; they are really helpful! After I am done using the pad (which is very comfy and secures well into your underwear) I rinse the pad with cold water in the sink. If at home, I soak the pads in the sink or in a bucket (like reusable diapers) with Bac-out and water. I don't like having pads hanging around in standing water (and neither does my husband). So after an hour or so, I rinse them and either throw them in the wash or let them dry and then throw them in with the rest of my laundry. So, really there are not globs of blood anywhere.

I find it to be a very easy process and one that I actually enjoy. I feel like I am honoring and taking care of myself and the earth. A few thoughts/tips: I ordered darker colored pads just because I thought that "seeing" old but clean blood stains would be less appealing to use. Also, in the summer (although I am not a big tampon user) the Luna pads are fairly warm, but you can supplement with non-bleached chemical tampons, sea sponge, or diva cup.
In summary - it is doable once you get a routine going and not much blood in the laundry if you pre-clean! :)

Happy Learning!

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