We totally understand that making the move from disposable period products to reusable ones can feel daunting and you probably have a few questions…. We’ve put our heads together to try and answer the most commonly asked questions so hopefully you’ll find everything you need right here. If not, ping us an email and we’ll make sure it makes the list!

 

General FAQs

Go for 100% organic cotton and if using a tampon make sure that you change it at least every 6 hours. Use an organic menstrual pad at night to help reduce the chances of toxic shock syndrome. Avoid tampons made from rayon, a rayon cotton mix, or anything fragranced.

NOTE: Even organic and biodegradable products should not be flushed down the loo! They may take months to break down, blocking pipes and polluting marine environment until they do so.

For more information on organic period products please refer to the Womens Environmental Network ,  Natracare or Grace and Green.

Category: General

An ‘average woman’ throws away 115 – 135kg of pads, tampons and applicators away in her lifetime. Menstrual products that are properly disposed of (not flushed!) create 200,000 tonnes of landfilled waste every year in the UK. The break-down of these products in landfill contributes to the production of greenhouse gases, just like other bio-waste.

In addition, over your lifetime you can expect to save up to 94% of what you would have spent on disposables, by switching to reusables!

We do acknowledge that there are certain times and occasions where people may need to use throwaway products and we totally recognise and support this. On those occasions, opt for organic products instead of those that contain plastic, bleach and other undivulged chemicals.

Category: General

The best place to look for reusables is online or in your nearest zero-waste or wholefoods shops.

If you want to explore a variety of brands and products in one place check out these websites:

Luxury Moon
Earthwise Girls

For menstrual cups:

  • Mooncup
  • Lunette
  • Ruby Cup
  • Diva cup
  • Hey Girls
  • No More Taboo
  • Just little changes

For reusable pads:

  • Precious Star Pads
  • Hey Girls
  • No More Taboo
  • Lunapads – 1 of only 1000 certified B Corporations worldwide (ethical, social based & woman-owned)
  • Just Little Changes

For period pants:

  • WUKA
  • Lunapads
  • THINX
  • FLUX Undies

For more environmentally friendly disposables:

  • Natracare
  • Grace & Green
  • Hey Girls

Discount codes:

  • Lunapads 15% off any order of any value Quote: LUVLUNA15
  • Lunette Cups are offering 15% discount Quote: CITYTOSEA15
  • Ruby Cup are offering 15% discount citytosea15
  • Mooncup® 10% discount code citytosea10
  • FLUX Undies 10% discount code citytosea10
  • OHNE Get your first box of organic tampons FREE when you subscribe using the code PERIODSWITHOUTPLASTIC
  • Bloom & Nora 15% off using the code WEN15
  • Organicup 20% off using WEN20 
  • The Cup Effect 15% off using WASTEFREEPERIODS15
  • Grace & Green organic subscription service – to get full discount use G&G40 (40% off) and GGWEN (for additional 10% off for quarterly subscriptions or 5% for monthly).
  • TOTM organic disposables – 15% off new orders (expires January 2020)using TOTMWEN15
  • ALBANYONE organic disposables – 50% off first purchase using code ALBANYONE

Category: General

Of course! Just as some people use a combination of disposable pads and tampons and use different products as their flow changes, some people use a combination of disposable / reusable products in the same way. Many people use multiple products during heavy flow, or switch to disposable organic products when they’re at festivals, etc.

NB: it won’t work using a pad on top of period pants – the tech will be cancelled out!

Category: General

Reusables can actually be more practical when you’re living outdoors, because you don’t have to worry about finding a bin for your disposables. However, they can pose new challenges in the type of washing facilities that are available!

If you’re using a cup make sure your hands are clean and bring a reusable water bottle into the toilet with you so you can rinse your cup off even if there’s no sink. You can also buy cup wipes or use a sterilising tablet (like what you’d use for a baby bottle) in a foldable cup.

Reusable pads and period pants can be folded and stored in a bag until you to a washing machine, or you can wash them by hand!

We do acknowledge that there are certain times and occasions where people may need to use throwaway products and we totally recognise and support this. On those occasions, opt for organic products instead of those that contain plastic, bleach and other un-divulged chemicals.

Category: General

Everyone’s period is different but for many people – yes!

Reusable pads are often preferred over disposable pads by people with painful periods because of the high level of comfort in their materials.

Period pants and reusable pads come with differing levels of absorbency, so you can find something appropriate if you have very heavy periods.

Janet on switching to Lunapads Performa Pads:

“Using soft, black cloth pads makes endometriosis less dramatic. I’m a very visual person, so blood stains and clots on a black surface is less dramatic. You can’t really see it that much. Having something less irritating (goodbye disposable pad rashes!) comfy and soft close to my body is much more comforting when I am already in pain and discomfort. It’s nice to have products that calms the drama rather than adds to the already intense uncomfortable time I have with endo. I was worried that I would bleed through it all but I don’t. It works perfectly. I changed pads as often as I would with regular pads.”

Category: General

Period pants are potentially the least messy option because they stay in place and no fiddling around is required. However, although the menstrual cup can be messy when you start learning to use it, once you’ve mastered the technique you can avoid any leaks or spills. By changing a reusable pad at the appropriate time you can also avoid leaks.

Many people use the menstrual cup in combination with period pants or reusable pads, for extra security and peace of mind on heavy days.

Category: General

How you manage your flow is your choice! Let your partner/ friends/ family know that this is your body and your decision. No one should make you feel ashamed for choosing a menstrual product that is better for your health and for the environment.

The more we talk about periods and period products the more ‘normal’ and accepted the subject will become

Category: General

Over your lifetime you can expect to save up to 94% of what you would have spent on disposables, by switching to reusables! Don’t let the initial financial investment put you off –  it more than makes up for itself over time.

Based on a 4-5 day cycle the average woman spends around £100-150 per year on disposable products.

Menstrual cups cost £9 – £24.90 and will last you up to 10 years.
A set of reusable pads will cost you about £10 – £35 and some can last up to 10 years.
A pair of period pants will cost you between £23 – £31 and each pair will last you at least 2 years.

These timelines are all dependent on you properly looking after your products so be sure to read the washing/ maintenance instructions that come with whatever product you opt for!

The exact amount of money you save will depend on what and how many products you decide to use, and what throwaway products you move away from.

This is very much a personal preference. Many people find reusables more comfortable than disposable products – no squeaky, expanded pads or tampons that dry you out.

Some people say that they can forget all about their period when they’re using a menstrual cup because they can’t feel a thing. Reusable pads can be made of super soft cotton and bamboo which feels like a luxurious rug in your pants! Period pants don’t move or shift in your underwear and sit comfortably without requiring you to fiddle around or insert anything internally.

Category: General

Absolutely! Reusable products can be even more hygienic than disposables because you’re able to wash them yourself and ensure that they’re clean. Just as when you purchase underwear at the store you should always wash your reusable product before you use it simply because most factories are dusty, etc.

Disposable products with layers and layers of packaging aren’t treated as medical products here in the UK so they’re not required to be kept sterile. They’re made in factories and are not required to follow any food grade factory standards, including divulging information about what exactly is in their products.

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Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are soft, flexible cups made of silicone or latex rubber, that you fold and then insert just like a tampon. Instead of absorbing your blood, like a tampon or pad, the cup catches it and you can empty it down the toilet. Menstrual cups hold more blood than your average tampon so you shouldn’t need to empty it as regularly as you would change a tampon.  A menstrual cup should last you about 5 years and is perfect for travelling (who wants to carry boxes of tampons and pads around whilst on the move?).

91% of women who tried the menstrual cup said that they would continue to use the cup and recommend it to a friend. Menstrual cups cost £9 – £24.90 and will last you 5-10 years.

Mooncup have an advice line run by qualified medical health professionals – they’re happy to answer any questions/ work through problems with usage: [email protected] or +44(0) 1273 673 845

Lunette: Lunette has a very good and responsive customer service so you can email them anytime at i[email protected].

There are also lots of useful information in their FAQs and blog. There are also loads of blogs, youtube videos and forums on this topic so google your question!

Category: Menstrual Cups

Like with any internal period product, there is a risk of TSS. But a clean, properly used menstrual cup means the chances are very small. Take good care of personal hygiene and always choose a trusted brand.

TSS is an infection caused by bacteria entering through wounds or mucous membrane. It is an extremely rare, potentially fatal disease occurring in those with or without a uterus, and children. TSS is usually connected with absorbent tampons.

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:

  • sudden high fever
  • sore throat
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • dizziness
  • a rash resembling sunburn
  • muscle aches
  • fainting or blackouts

Early recognition and cure is vital, so if you have some of the symptoms mentioned above, remove the menstrual cup immediately, contact your doctor and express your concerns about the possibility of TSS.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Yes! Because menstrual cups don’t dry you out like tampons you can even do a ‘dry-run’ before your period starts if you like!

Here’s some tips from Lunette about first time use: https://www.lunette.com/blogs/news/teens-menstrual-cups-tips-for-first-time-use?p64=4

Category: Menstrual Cups

This will vary from brand to brand and depends on how well you take care of the cup. Some people will use their cup for up to 10 years and others prefer to change it yearly. Some discolouration is normal because blood is quite strong, but with good cleaning you can minimize this.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Yes you should properly disinfect your cup before and after your period starts.

If you’re unable to boil your cup (some brands don’t recommend boiling anyway) then a sterilising tablet in a foldable cup (or any other cup/bowl) will do the job just as well:
https://www.nomoretaboo.org/store/RubyCup-Foldable-Steriliser-Cup-p60272081

Category: Menstrual Cups

Silicon is fairly inert and not associated with hormone disruption, unlike the additives in plastic and other chemicals and residues found in mainstream pads and tampons.

Official advice is to opt for a silicone cup. Silicone is better than rubber because of its smooth surface which doesn’t allow Staph bacteria to build up. It’s very important that the cup is regularly and thoroughly washed using mechanical action to remove any biofilm from the surface.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Yes, you can. If you do use an IUD, consult with your doctor about cutting the strings as short as possible and monitor their length regularly during periods. If the strings seem longer than normal, it might be a sign that your IUD has moved. We recommend taking this quiz to find out which cup might suit your flow best: www.putacupinit.com/quiz/

Category: Menstrual Cups

Can I use a menstrual cup if my uterus has an unusual tilt or I have a low cervix?

The cervix is usually high in the vagina and the menstrual cup is placed low so the cervix remains above the cup. For many people, the cervix descends after giving birth; for others, it is simply situated low in the vagina. If you have a low cervix it may enter the interior of the cup which makes it more prone to leak. In some users, the cervix fits best inside the menstrual cup but for others the cup may exert pressure on the cervix that can cause discomfort and even pain.

The best way to evaluate the position of your cervix is by observing leakage — if you have experienced leakage even when the cup has been opened, make sure that the cup is significantly lower than the cervix.

If you haven’t experienced leakage and you have not located the cervix, there’s no need to hunt for it! You’re a woman whose cervix is so deep in the vagina that it doesn’t affect the use of the menstrual cup in any way.

If you have a titled uterus the cup may also be tilted, causing it to leak a little. Here is a video from Lunette about how to make sure your cup is its place!

We recommend taking this quiz to find out which cup might suit your flow best: www.putacupinit.com/quiz/

Category: Menstrual Cups

Period blood is not smelly – it’s only when the blood oxidises and comes into contact with pads and tampons that it starts smelling.

If you’re worried about body odor, empty your cup more often. If you’re worried about cup odor wash the cup regularly.

Period blood is not smelly – it’s only when the blood oxidises and comes into contact with pads and tampons that it starts smelling.

If you’re worried about body odor, empty your cup more often. If you’re worried about cup odor wash the cup regularly.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Yes absolutely!

A menstrual cup is worn internally (and you don’t have that rogue tampon string to worry about!) and holds more volume than tampon.

Some super sporty people find that firmer cups stay in place better in their stronger pelvic muscles. Firmer cups include: Hello Cup, MeLuna Sport, Yuuki, or Lena.

Category: Menstrual Cups

No!

Category: Menstrual Cups

If your flow is very heavy or your cervix hangs very low when you’re menstruating you may find that the cup leaks a little. Leaks are more frequent for women whose cervix’ move lower during menstruation or if the cup has been inserted too high in the vagina, next to the cervix, or above it.

Remember to make sure the suction air holes are clear before reinserting your cup each time. Rotating the cup a couple of times will make sure that the cup has unfolded inside you.

To catch any small leaks you might want to wear a reusable pad or period pants in conjunction with the cup, especially when you’re trying it for the first few months and you’re still learning about your flow.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Cups can be messy when you start learning to use them, but once you’ve mastered the technique and worked out what’s best for you you can avoid any leaks or spills.

If your flow is heavy, you may find that blood pools in the bottom of the loo when you empty your cup, even after you’ve flushed. Use a toilet brush and flush again, and the red water should go!

Category: Menstrual Cups

Make sure your hands are clean and bring a reusable water bottle into the toilet with you so you can rinse your cup off if there’s no sink. You can also buy cup wipes but it’s not advised to use normal soap.

If you’re out for a shorter period of time wipe your cup clean with toilet paper or use a special disinfectant wipe like these: https://store.lunette.com/products/lunette-cupwipes.

Properly disinfect your cup before and after your period starts.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups should be cleaned before and after your cycle as well as rinsed after emptying.

Read the instructions that come with your cup – some will suggest boiling in a saucepan for between 5-10 minutes whereas others advise using sterilising tablets or cup cleanser.

Using normal soap is not advised because of the pH, the oils and the lack of a thorough clean in the nooks and crannies of the cup.

Category: Menstrual Cups

When you first start using the cup empty it every few hours and you’ll soon get an idea of how heavy your flow is and how often you’ll need to empty it. If your flow is very heavy you may need to empty it every couple of hours. If your flow is lighter, you may find you can go as long as 6-8 hours.

The capacity of a menstrual cup is usually 25 ml or 30 ml whereas the absorbing capacity of a tampon is 6-18 g.

Category: Menstrual Cups

Don’t worry! You’re not getting anything stuck in there. Removing your menstrual cup can be tricky at first, but we promise it will come naturally after a few tries.

Relax. Use your pelvic floor muscles to push down until you can get a firm grip on the stem of the cup.

Break the seal by pinching the bottom part of the cup until you feel or hear the suction release. Then, gently rock the cup from side to side while pulling down. Make sure that you do not pull the cup out by the tab alone!

You can also try sliding your finger up the side of the cup (your finger between the cup and vaginal wall) and bend your finger when you reach the rim.

 

Category: Menstrual Cups

This is totally dependent on the individual and whether you have secondary dysmenorrhea or similar. For many people, menstrual cups have to be changed much less regularly than tampons, so there is less faffing around in your sensitive area.

Some people take a few cycles to get used to the menstrual cup and work out how it works best for them. When a cup is property inserted (and the stem is appropriately trimmed!) you shouldn’t feel the cup inside you at all.

Sometimes the cup doesn’t unfold which might feel uncomfortable – rotating it a couple of times inside you should open it up.

If you have a low cervix or a cervix that moves particularly low during menstruation, the cup may exert pressure on the cervix and cause discomfort and even pain.

You don’t need to wait for your period to start before you can try out your menstrual cup – it’s perfectly OK to do a “dry-run” since menstrual cups wont dry you out in the same way that tampons do.

Category: Menstrual Cups

There are various ways to insert a cup – try them out and see what works for you.

You may not be able to get the menstrual cup to fit right the first time, but with a bit of practice you will be able to insert the cup like an expert. Make sure you read the instructions and try to relax as much as possible!

Here’s a Lunette video demonstrating 3 different folding styles:

  1. C-fold/heart fold
  2. Punch down fold/shell fold
  3. 7-fold or triangle fold

Spinning the cup a quarter turn once it’s inserted may help to make sure that the seal is good.

You may find it easier to put your legs wide apart whilst siting on the loo (if you’re wearing tights or trousers, pull them right down to your ankles!)

Category: Menstrual Cups

Most cups come in 2 sizes: a smaller one suitable for those aged under 25 or 30 who have never been pregnant, or a larger one suitable for those aged 25 or 30, or those who have been pregnant. You can also use the larger size if you have a heavier flow.

We recommend taking this quiz to find out which cup might suit your flow best: www.putacupinit.com/quiz/ 

Category: Menstrual Cups

Most menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone, latex or TPE. Official advice is to opt for a silicone cup. Silicone is better than rubber because its smooth surface which doesn’t allow Staph bacteria to build up.

 

Category: Menstrual Cups

All cup brands are different so you should do your research and work out the best option for you.

You want to make sure that your cup is made of medical grade silicone and is latex and BPA-free. Cups that do not mention it in their packaging probably include some nasties, including plastic!

Give this quiz a go to find out which cup might suit your flow and body best: https://putacupinit.com/quiz/

Category: Menstrual Cups

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Period Pants

Period pants are absorbent underwear that you can wash and reuse again for up to 2 years. Period pants come in a range of styles (including thong style!) and absorbencies. Some have inserts that you can remove and change as you would with a pad. Some people use these in conjunction with the menstrual cup or for overnight bleeding.

A pairs of period pants will cost you between £23 – £31 and each pair will last you at least 2 years.

No, TSS only occurs with internal products.

Category: Period Pants

Throughout pregnancy you may experience an increased amount of discharge and during postpartum bleeding you may have a tender perineum. Period pants are recommended for pregnant women and also for postpartum bleeding.

Category: Period Pants

Yes, absolutely!

Janet on switching to Lunapads Performa Pads:

“Using soft, black cloth pads makes endometriosis less dramatic. I’m a very visual person, so blood stains and clots on a black surface is less dramatic. You can’t really see it that much. Having something less irritating (goodbye disposable pad rashes!) comfy and soft close to my body is much more comforting when I am already in pain and discomfort. It’s nice to have products that calms the drama rather than adds to the already intense uncomfortable time I have with endo. I was worried that I would bleed through it all but I don’t. It works perfectly. I changed pads as often as I would with regular pads.”

Category: Period Pants

Period blood shouldn’t have a strong odour. With disposable products, the plastic in the products creates an anaerobic (no air) environment, which can often lead to an increase in bacteria and an unpleasant odour. Most period pants are cotton or bamboo, and so they’re very breathable!

To keep your pads smelling great for years and years, it’s important to make sure to wash and care for them properly. If the pads are heavily saturated, consider soaking them for an hour or quickly rinsing them out before washing properly.

To ‘strip’ the pants as you would with diapers you can wash them over and over again in fresh batches of hot water until the water runs clear and there’s no suds or residue coming out in the rinse water. This means you’ve removed all build-up of old detergent/soap residue (which will catch and hold onto odours). Then, hang to dry in direct sunlight.

 

Category: Period Pants

One pair of FLUX Undies will last at least 3 years.
LunaUndies will last between 3-5 years.
One pair of WUKA lasts up to 25 washes.
THINX pants should last 2 years.
Modibodi pants last between 6 months – 2 years. 

Of course these all depend on you taking good care of your period pants and reading the instructions!

Category: Period Pants

Swimming during your period can be tricky. Period pants aren’t ideal for swimming because they will will absorb any water they come into contact with – leaving limited room to absorb your period. Plus, any menstrual flow already in your undies could seep out into the pool when you get in.

We recommend a menstrual cup for swimming!

Category: Period Pants

Some period pants are not treated with stain resistant chemicals because they can be damaging for marine life when the pants are washed.

Most period pants are black so even if they are slightly stained it won’t be visible. That being said, some people prefer light-coloured products because it can be easier to tell when the pants needs to be changed.

If you rinse your pants with cold water as soon as possible after use you can reduce the chances of staining.

If staining does occur you can spot-treat them using this natural product.

 

Category: Period Pants

Period pants can be folded and stored in a laundry bag until you get home/ to a washing machine. You can always rinse them whilst you’re away if you won’t be able to put them in a washing machine for a few days.

Category: Period Pants

Make sure you check the washing instructions on your product as each brand is different.

Most brands recommend that you rinse the pants with cold water and then throw them in a cold black wash, preferably in a laundry bag (as is recommended with any high quality underwear). If the pads are heavily saturated, consider soaking them for an hour before you wash them. You can then hang-dry the undies inside out, bearing in mind that they will take longer to dry than your normal pants because of the absorbent layers.

Fabric softeners and tumble drying are not advised as they may decrease the performance and absorbency of the pants.

Category: Period Pants

One pairs of period pants will cost you between £23 – £31 and each pair should last you at least 2 years. Don’t forget to check postage rates too as lots of period pants companies are located abroad!

Category: Period Pants

On your heavy days (aka days when you use more than two regular tampons) you will probably want to use a menstrual cup or organic tampon as well as your period pants.

However, everybody’s flow is different! The best way to find out is to test the pants and have some spare products in your bag for emergencies.

WUKA holds 20ml of your flow which is equivalent to 4 tampons worth. Luna Undies hold up to 1 tampons worth of blood on their own, or 2 tampons worth with an insert. Some styles of THINX pants hold up to 2 tampons of blood.

Category: Period Pants

This depends on how heavy your flow is and how often you want to do laundry!

3-5 pairs are recommended for a cycle of 4-5 days. Of course if you wash them more regularly you can buy less and rotate them quickly!

Some pants are compatible with removable absorbent inserts that you can replace like you would a pad, which means you have to change pants less often (e.g. Luna Undies).

Category: Period Pants

Yes, there are many types of period pants! Almost all period pants currently on the market hold 1-2 tampons worth of flow, except WUKA pants which hold 4 tampons worth.

Most brands will have a variety of designs, absorbencies and sizes so browse a few sites before you buy.

Category: Period Pants

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Reusable Period Pads

Reusable pads are used in the same way that you’d use a disposable pad, but they aren’t squeaky or sticky and can be washed and reused again for years! Reusable pads come in a range of sizes, materials and patterns. Some people use these in conjunction with the menstrual cup or for overnight bleeding.

A set of reusable pads will cost you about £10 – £35 and some can last up to 10 years.

No, TSS only occurs with internal products.

Category: Reusable Pads

Throughout pregnancy you may experience an increased amount of discharge and during postpartum bleeding you may have a tender perineum. Reusable pads are recommended for pregnant women and also for postpartum bleeding.

Category: Reusable Pads

Period blood is not smelly – it’s only when the blood oxidises and comes into contact with pads and tampons that it starts smelling.

If you’re worried about body odor change your reusable pad more often. If you’re worried about pad odor wash them more regularly and make sure that they’re not stored in an airtight container.

Category: Reusable Pads

If taken care of properly, a reusable pad will last between 3-10 years.

Category: Reusable Pads

Once you’ve used a pad, you can fold it and clip it together, before popping it into a wash bag. You then wash your pads in the washing machine when home or hand-wash them.

Category: Reusable Pads

Make sure you read the washing instructions on whatever pads you choose. General guidance is to rinse them / soak them in cold water before popping them in the washing machine on a long cycle (30º-40º). You can also hand-wash them. Don’t use fabric softener!

 

Category: Reusable Pads

Just like disposable pads, if your periods are really heavy, or you leave the pad on for too long then it’s possible you may leak a little. However cloth pads come in a range of sizes and absorbencies so you can always make adjustments to suit your body’s needs.

Some reusable pads come with a leakproof lining.

Category: Reusable Pads

Reusable pads have poppers on the wings which connect around your underwear to hold them in place. As long as your underwear is also snug fitting you shouldn’t have any issues.

Category: Reusable Pads

This will depend on how heavy your flow is and how often you want to wash them. There is no set amount for the number of pads you need but we would recommend starting with around 5. You can also wash your pads part way through your cycle, which will cut down on the number of pads you’ll need to get through a period.

Some pads come with inserts that you can swap rather than changing the whole pad. In this case you’ll need 1 pad per day, and about as many inserts to match the number of times you would normally change your disposable pad each day.

You can buy different sizes and absorbencies and some will come in their own washbag. To find out which size of pad you need, measure what you’re using now and choose a comparable size.

Category: Reusable Pads

This depends on the brand of reusable pad – they can be made from 100% natural cotton, flannel, fleece or bamboo. Some contain polyester which is a type of plastic that is commonly found in clothing.

Category: Reusable Pads

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