I’m going to begin this post with a warning. This is a post dealing with feminine product choices. If you know me in real life and/or are male, consider yourself forewarned. If you think this may distress you or affect our in person relationship, please, by all means, DO NOT READ THIS! Now that I have warned you, we’ll be moving on.

For the past few months I had been toying with the idea of trying out reusable menstrual products. This is not something I ever thought I would consider doing. I thought it was gross, creepy and frankly, disturbing.  But as a cloth diaper mom I realized how much cloth diapers were saving us money and I wondered if I could do the same with menstrual products. I have always had irregular cycles so I don’t have to deal with menstrual products as often as most women, but I also have heavy cycle. So when I buy them, I have to buy a lot. I hate how much they cost, I hate how they feel and I hate disposing of them.  I have been trying to pursue a greener lifestyle in concert with frugality. I’m not going to spend more to be greener, but I’m happy to reuse and avoid buying new whenever possible.

The first aspect of reusable menstrual products, also known as mama cloth, I decided to investigate was cloth pantiliners. I’m one of those women who use pantiliners on a daily basis. I have been doing this since I was a teen and I have to use a specific unscented brand or I have a bad reaction. That being said, I was distressed at the thought of how much money I had spent and waste I had produced in panty liners alone in the last 15 or so years. I began investigating my options. I was a bit distressed at how expensive many of the popular products seemed. I really wanted to try Lunapads and Gladrags, two popular brands but both were very pricy not to mention shipping. I did the math and figured out it would take me five or more years to break even. At least one of the points of this was to save money. Then I discovered that I could buy a three pack of Fuzzibunz liners for $11 and a three pack Gladrags liners for $22 on Amazon.com. While the Gladrags still seemed too expensive I went for it.

Fuzzibunz $11 on Amazon.com (now $15) with free shipping

Fuzzibunz pads are made with the same quality as their diapers. But I quickly learned that I preferred cotton for daily wear rather than micro-fiber. I was also distressed to find the pads too short for any real use. My daily use disposable panty liners are 8 inches long, these were barely over 6. They slide around too much and the microfiber was sweaty. But I was pleased at how washable they were. Let’s just say they didn’t exactly do the job I bought them for.

GladRags $21 for 3 from Amazon.com with free shipping

GladRags were definitely more comfortable from a breathability perspective. But I felt the construction was not a sturdy as I’d hoped. They seemed like they might wear out too quickly. I had read marvelous reviews of the Gladrags pads, but mixed reviews on the panty liners. I guess now I know why. They did slide around a bit, but not as much as Fuzzibunz. They were longer too, around 6.5 to 7 inches, but still too short. There were also too narrow. When I snapped them onto my panties the center panel was bunched up, and I only wear a size 6 or 7 panty. I can’t imagine how these would work for a larger gal. I will continue to use them, but I still wasn’t completely happy, especially with the price. If I had ordered directly from the GladRags website I would have paid closer to $29 for three panty liners, plus shipping!

Etsy Seller: Caroline’s Creations – 3 pack for $8.99 (now $9.99) with free shipping

Then I decided to take a risk on Etsy.com. I found a seller who makes 8 inch pantiliners and I could get a three pack on sale for $8.99 (usually $9.99). This seemed like a phenomenal deal, especially since she offers free shipping on any order. So I took a risk and ordered a three pack. My husband was getting slightly annoyed at me by this point since he thought the whole thing was a little weird to begin with and was concerned about how much money I was potentially putting towards this endeavor. But my risk paid off. These pads were wonderful and so much more economical. The flannel was soft, the size was perfect and they almost never bunched up or moved around. The seller even pre-washes the fabric so that they shouldn’t shrink when washed (which is what happened with the Gladrags). Yes, they do feel different than a disposable panty liner, but after a couple of days I hardly noticed anymore. I actually missed them when I had to start using disposable pads while traveling over Christmas. All of a sudden the  disposable pantiliners seemed itchy and uncomfortable. Sometimes the cloth pads do still move around, but so did my disposable panty liners from time to time. At least with the cloth I don’t have any hair being pulled out by sticky adhesive. Ouch!

I wish I could recommend this Etsy seller to all of my friends (that is assuming I could even bring up the discussion given that most of my friends think I’m crazy just for using cloth diapers). Her shipping my fast, the quality of her items was great and she even included a coupon to use off my next order. I recently ordered more pantiliners and some menstrual pads from her. While I haven’t had a chance to try out the pads yet, I was again pleased with the quality of work and service provided by this seller. Check her out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ericmandybarnett?ref=seller_info . I absolutely love this seller! I can’t say enough about her products, her prices and her service. She even custom created light colored pantiliners for me. They ended up being a perfect match for my favorite pale peach panties.

Check out Part 2