Pads and tampons are not a long term solution, nor are they healthy. The majority of top brands 
contain chemicals.  
A tampon can not be used longer than 4 hours before you put yourself at risk for Toxic Shock 
Syndrome (T.S.S.), which is a rare, life threatening complication of certain bacterial infections. 
Knowing that, let’s do the math. If in a 24 hour period, you pushed each tampon to the maximum 4 
hours, you would need 6 tampons for that day. If your cycle goes on for 7 days, that is 42 
tampons. If you change them every 3 hours, it is 8 tampons in a 24 hour period and 56 for a 7 day 
cycle. To stock up for a year, you would need between 504 to 672 tampons.  
The same goes for pads. Not only is that a lot of cost and space needed, it is also a lot of 
waste. Now, if we take this information and use it for our everyday life, it seems normal. Women 
usually have enough on hand for a cycle, maybe some extra to start the next. The cost and 
storage space are spread out every month rather than yearly. If everyday life is disrupted, and 
you can’t just go out and buy the next supply, you will be anxious to say the least. Not only are 
there other needs to take care of. A menstrual cycle seems to be the cherry on top. 
If the situation takes months to resolve and you are left with the option to scavenge, how many 
other women are going to be doing the same thing? This is where long term reusable options 
come into play. Some of these include; 
Natural Sponges 
Menstrual Cups 
Washable Menstrual Pads 
Crochet tampons 
With these products you have to wash them, store them, and repeat. Using any of the more 
porous items like; the sponges, pads, and crochet tampons need to be dried thoroughly or you risk 
them getting moldy and smelly. Most likely you won’t want to use them again. I found the most 
convenient to be the cups.They have to be cleaned and dried thoroughly , and inserted with clean 
hands. They aren’t soft and porous like the other options.Cleaning requires less water, important if 
you are on the go or are rationing water.  
Different products can be used together while you are still getting use to them. For example, 
the cups, sponges and crochet tampons can be used with the reusable pads until you are 
accustomed to how they work, or how well they work. 
I asked other women what they had used and their experiences; most women preferred the 
cup. Some had used the pads, a few used the sponges, none had used the crochet tampons. 
Some switched between cup and pad. The sponge was one I had considered, one woman gave 
her experience, it involved having a “full “ sponge, and then laughing or sneezing and then that 
sponge wringing out . I could imagine that happening, it dashed about 99% of the chance that I 
would try it 
Some people have no issues. They seem like they would be easy enough to clean and allow to 
dry without having to question the dry length and wonder if anything as now growing on it. I am 
unsure on how long you can leave in, before cleaning. I am sure it varies in that current flow being 
light or heavy. Cups you can go 12 hours in between emptying and cleaning before reinserting.  

Inserting and getting it to open tends to be the more difficult part to learn. If you don’t get the seal 
right it can be uncomfortable and experience leaks. After you have gotten it in and it is correct, it 
feels like you aren’t on a menstrual cycle. The cups have an average lifetime of 10 years, most 
brands come in 2 sizes. It’s a great feeling to not watch the garbage fill up and of course looking 
down and just seeing the mess of red that I at least never got use to. 
It always gave me a feeling of misery. When I first looked into the idea of reusable menstrual 
products, the pads I came across 1st but , I don’t have a washer or dryer in our apartment, and 
taking them to get washed posed it’s own new set of dislikes. Paying for a separate wash and dry, 
buying enough to make it through a cycle, and storing them until washing them. My other option 
was to buy less, hand wash and dry and hope the high humidity (75% on average), allowed them 
to dry without adding bacteria or worse. This would mean adding to my misery and questioning 
how well the job was done. 
The crochet tampons I have not used, though I am sure you still risk T.S.S. The only 
differences are, A- it is reusable, so less waste. B-less chemicals pending on material. The goal is 
to create less waste while saving money. I encourage you to try different methods and see what 
works best for you. Remember to wash thoroughly and dry any product prior to use and storage. 
Always wash your hands prior to inserting anything, and keep up on personal hygiene.  
I hope this helps
                                                         – Melissa Christel
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