Naturally Cozy — Washable Feminine Hygiene Product
By Patrice Lewis
Gentlemen, please skip this article. You’re probably not going to be comfortable with the subject matter.
Ladies, let me ask you a question: What would you do if “Aunt Flo” suddenly arrived and you were caught empty-handed with a blizzard outside, and you were unable to get to the store for critical supplies?
Even though women have had to take care of their personal hygiene needs for thousands of years, modern women seem to think washable and reusable sanitation products are novel and new. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Disposable menstrual pads are the new things, only available since the 1950s or so. Marketers began advertising them as sanitary, efficient, and healthy alternatives to the frumpy ol’ washables our grandmothers used. What they didn’t tell us is how nonbreathable, dioxin-laden, and nonbiodegradable their products were.
Eventually the “luxury” of disposables sanitary pads became a “necessity,” and most women forgot (or never learned about) the option of reusable hygiene products.
But just as many young parents are discovering the ease and frugality of cloth diapers, many women are discovering the ease and frugality of washable feminine hygiene.
When a neighbor began a cottage industry about five years ago making reusable products (www.naturallycozy.com), my two daughters and I were just about her first customers since I’ve long been dissatisfied with disposables. I couldn’t be happier with these solutions to Aunt Flo’s monthly visit.
My friend’s business grew so rapidly that she couldn’t keep up. After 3-1/2 years she sold the business to another young family, who have expanded the product line and continued to make high quality items with luxurious materials. There is a variety of fabrics to choose from, so each female in the house can have her own pattern.
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.
The pads wear well. Mine show a touch of fraying after five years of steady use, but to be honest the products have improved in quality since we first purchased ours.
Unlike some reusable pads which have an inner absorbent layer that can be changed (but which leaves the soiled outer shell still in place), these pads are meant to be swapped for another pad whenever necessary. This gives a fresher feeling at a time of month when many of us are feeling far from fresh.
In addition to the day pads, Naturally Cozy makes nighttime pads; and let me tell you, these are my favorites since they’re designed to catch “flows” going in unusual directions as we sleep.
We keep a dedicated bucket in our washroom for soiled pads, with a pair of dedicated tongs hooked over the edge. The bucket should be full enough of water that the soiled portion of the napkin is always submerged. Sometimes we’ll add a splash of hydrogen peroxide to the water, which helps loosen blood from fabric.
When we’ve all finished our cycles and the soak bucket is full, I use the tongs to lift the pads into the washing machine where I wash them by themselves, twice. The napkins should not be put in the dryer. Instead, we lay them on a wire shelf we installed near the washing machine and allow them to air dry.
About twice a year I soak all the (clean) pads in vinegar, then wash. This gets rid of any odor buildup.
I also have a full month’s supply of panty liners. These are soft cotton/ flannel items meant for daily use. The panty liners come with different colored snaps to distinguish which female they belong to. I’ve come to despise the store-bought disposable versions after a few years of using the cloth panty liners. We keep another dedicated bucket of water (with a splash of bleach) in the washroom for panty liners, then wash them with our whites (socks, underwear, etc.).
I’ve adopted the attitude that “ladies only” items should be pretty and feminine. Accordingly I bought attractive picnic-style baskets from thrift stores, and my daughters and I keep our napkins discretely stored in convenient places.
I think one of the greatest benefits of washable hygiene is the peace of mind in knowing we never have to make a mad dash to the store. Additional benefits include long-term financial savings and ease on the environment. For those who like to live a “prepared” lifestyle, there is no finer investment for women.
Of course the initial cost of purchasing pads and panty liners will be higher than disposables. But it’s also worth adding up how many disposables you purchase on a monthly or yearly basis, and compare them to the cost of washables. So far we’ve gotten five years’ worth of use out of our pads and they’re still going strong. The panty liners initially wore out quicker, but the quality has improved to the point where I anticipate similar longevity from my latest batch.
There is also the satisfaction of giving business to a hard-working young family which is hand-producing high-quality products. These kinds of cottage industries are known for their sensitive response to customer needs, and Naturally Cozy is no exception.
After five years of use, I can highly recommend Naturally Cozy washable feminine hygiene products. www.naturallycozy.com.