Today on my facebook newsfeed I found a story about a woman who found a moldy tampon.
I'll let you go read that.
Okay, back? Sufficiently horrified? Terrified of what you might have put into your vagina over the years hidden by the little plastic casing?
So gross - I can't even think about it.
As many of you know, I use cloth diapers.
What you may not know, is that before I had a baby to put cloth diapers on, I was using cloth menstrual pads. I will similarly sing the praises of them. You never run out, you don't have to buy the every month (and remember to buy them every month), they're so much greener than disposables, you don't have to worry about carrying out a used pad in a bathroom that doesn't have individual trash cans in the stalls, and they're pretty, which surprisingly matters.
If you're an anti-pad sort of girl, there are also several cup options, such as the diva cup and the moon cup. (There's also some sort of natural sponge thing but that kind of freaks me out too so we don't talk about that).
I originally started using cloth pads for environmental reasons and laughed at all the stuff about getting in tune with your cycle and understanding your body. My relationship with my period was basically one of undying hate. I had a period to punish me for being a terrible person who deserved to spend 1/4 of her fertile life in pain. It was something I had to put up with for 7-8 days every month. I would be in pain, I would pop Advil like candy, I would get those portable heat patches and I would get the fuck through it and try to forget about it until the next month.
Cloth pads (and some therapy for the terrible person who deserves nothing but pain thing) changed a lot of that. I stopped dreading my period so much. It's still not my friend (I had a friend in high school who called it "my little friend." I'm not even kidding.), but it's much less horrible somehow. I think the pretty patterns help.
Everyone always asks about washing them (because it's gross to deal with menstrual blood, right). It's super easy. Now I wash them with diapers, they get a cold rinse, then a hot wash with detergent, and then some hot rinses (that's mostly for the diapers) to remove any left over detergent. I usually throw in a little bleach, or some vinegar, or some tea tree oil to kill any nasties. If you're not also washing diapers, you can just throw them in the washer with a small cold rinse, then either wash them by themselves with a hot wash with detergent and your favorite germ killing liquid, or just add them to a socks and underwear load.
And really, isn't it less gross than using a moldy tampon?