I've been thinking on the keeping it simple , keeping it cheap theme again .
I wondered why post this ? people out there know it already . shit they can google anything LOL
so on the subject of environmentally friendly & low cost regarding menstration comes up . It will in each generation be a new topic . so should we not keepre-sharing ? many young women use the cup the menstration cup which catches your cycle blood . it is inexpensive & is a convienent way to save your blood to use in ritual or give back to the earth etc.
yet some of us have a tippy or irregular shaped cervix . some of us do not wish to use plastic or latex materials due to allergies or environmental reasons .
so what else can we use . what did your great grandmothers use ? aside from having a sacred space with a hole in the ground to bleed each cycle or collecting mosses ;-)
rags . I don't think the younger generations may even know what the term " I'm on the rag or I got my rags " means LOL
Women can purchase pre sewn menstrual flannel pads already made if they like . I don't . Now I'm sharing my experience , what I use . what works for me . I am not a working outside the home woman like my daughter is .
So what I do may not be best for her . maybe it is . I'm just sharing because it is extremely simple & cheap.
I use flannel rags & a small sea sponge . This works well for me . Personally if I did not go out or travel I do not even use the sponge when at home . but the sponge is a great alternative to tampons or the cups .
So let's start with the rag ! I do not pre-sew my flannel . I use long rectangular shaped pieces of flannel . that is it . my mother & grandmother taught me via diapers that you need not hem flannel . it frays at first but it eventually after a few washings closes up along the torn edges & no longer frays . so just snip the lose little ends that come the first couple washes & eventually that stops & you do not need deal with a lumpy hem either .
You can make a few sizes of rectangles depending on the flow of your bleed . the longer the rectangle the thicker your pad will be . you can make smaller pieces to add within larger pieces too. the reason I just fold my flannel & not sew is that it saves on drying time ! within the dryer or if you hang wash .dryer time for a thick pad takes time & energy & hanging them takes time too .
How to clean your flannel . to avoid stains , if that bothers you . soak in salt water in a bucket , yogurt container etc. salt cuts mucus ! this is how people in the olden days cleaned their hankerchief ;-)once you are finished soaking if you want you can pre-wash by hand with laundry bar soap . don't rinse it & let it sit for about 20 min .
I rarely do this but for those who want totally stainless pads go for it .
So the sponge ! replacement for a tampon , natural & you can easily use it to collect your cycle blood if you like to do that . here in Canada they legally cannot be sold as menstrual sponges doe to the issue of TSS . Personally I don't believe this is about the health safety of women at all but more about money in the pockets of big manufacturers . However you cannot purchase an actual menstrual sponge here in Canada . Yet what is a menstrual sponge anyway ? A sea sponge of course ! & Yes ! We can purchase sea sponges . You can find them at cosmetic counters , women use these sponges to remove makeup . I did when I needed a new sponge went to purchase one at the local pharmacy . I ended up not buying it there because the sponges were not quite big enough for myself . So I went to the pet store & purchased a hermit crab sea sponge . The important thing about sponges is to clean properly & store them properly . sterilizing is easy , you boil the sponge !You can find different cleaning instructions online . I will share what I do . during my cycle I actually boil my sponge before first use . insert like a tampon . remove & save blood in a jar . again you can cut mucus by rinsing the sponge in salt water . I then rinse the sponge using laundry bar soap . .remember to rinse well so all soap is removed because some of us are sensitive to detergents .
squish dry as best you can & re-use . you can also dry really well by rolling in a clean dry towel .
ok so when finished your cycle , I clean once again with the laundry bar soap & rinse but I then boil the sponge again then dry then store in a dry dark space . waiting for use again come next cycle .
I know this is rather long but really it is so very Simple !