4 Alternatives to Pads and Tampons

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In today’s day and age, it’s so important to look for eco-friendly alternatives to the things we use everyday. *Steps off soapbox* Ok, I’ll try not to get too preachy here 🙂 But seriously, in addition to helping save the environment by producing less waste, these period alternatives can also help you save some serious cash! According to one article, the average woman will spend over $1,700 on tampons in her life. She will also spend close to $500 on panty liners, and another $2,200 replacing ruined underwear! That’s a lot of cash that can be saved with some of these eco-friendly alternatives.

Thinx Underwear


Thinx Underwear are great, in my humble opinion. These undies can be a bit pricy upfront, but think about all the money you can save never having to replace a pair of underwear due to that not so friendly time of the month. In my opinion, the underwear sort of feel and look like swimming suit material, with cute lace accents. They’re much more comfortable than wearing a pad. As of right now, these underwear come in black and tan. They vary in price range from about $24-$34 per pair. They’re created to absorb blood like a pad does. The underwear hug your body and do a great job in catching all the menstrual fluid. Each pair holds a certain amount of blood (as listed on their site), from your lightest to heaviest days. They can be worn with other products (such as tampons or menstrual cups) or on their own. A lot of women love wearing these overnight! No more worrying about wearing a tampon overnight or shifting pads and ruining underwear or bed sheets! Care for the underwear is pretty straightforward.


You simply rinse the underwear before throwing them in the washing machine (cold setting) and let them hang dry. Easy! If you’re concerned about costs, there are discounts when you buy more than one pair at a time. There is also a 60 day money back guarantee if you don’t like them! And best of all, Thinx uses some of the profit to help educate women in Uganda about menstrual health, keeping young women educated and healthy! What’s not to love? If you’re interested in purchasing a pair (or two or three) CLICK HERE to save $10 off your first order! Using these underwear over the course of your lifetime will easily save you over $1,500 in ruined underwear replacements, plus, you may never have to buy pads again! Win!

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual Cups Wayfaring Wanders

While there are a whole host of menstrual cups, the Diva Cup seems to be the most popular (at least in the United States). A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is very flexible. Here’s the gist: you can get one of two sizes. One is for women under 30 who have not had a child. Two is for women over 30 or women who have had a child. You fold and insert the cup into your vagina. Click here to see a picture of how to insert it. The wonderful thing about a menstrual cup is that it can essentially last you forever! The typical cost of a menstrual cup is from $20-$50, though I bought my Diva Cup for $25. Not going to lie, it was a little nerve wracking getting it out the first time! There is no long string you pull, like with tampons. Suggestion here: practice makes perfect! If you’re nervous, read the directions (probably a good idea to do regardless). The Diva Cup can last for around 12 hours. You then remove it, rinse/wash it, and re-insert it if needed! It’s great because it helps keep you fresher than tampons or pads. There’s no cotton or other material to dry you out, keeping you pH balance in check. Huzzah for healthier va-jay-jays! (Did I seriously just say “va-jay-jay”?!) Let’s talk money! Even if you buy more than two of these, the saving on tampons over the course of your lifetime will be over $1,500!

Washable Pads

Washable Pads Wayfaring Wanders

If you’re not totally sold on the idea of Thinx washable period panties, consider wearing washable pads and liners! Lunapads offers a huge collection of options with choices from light to heavy, longer to shorter, regular to organic and everything in between! These are also really helpful for women who may have bladder leakage, especially after giving birth. To me, these sort of represent the cloth diaper to the disposable diaper. They will definitely save you money in the long run, and create far less waste than traditional pads and pantyliners. The pairs of pads/inserts run anywhere from about $6-$26 depending on your style preference! Even spending $100 on these will save you $400 in your lifetime (or more depending how often you use pads). Plus, they’re way cuter than traditional pads!

Menstrual Sponge

Menstrual Sponge

Ok, the menstrual sponge is a little more out there, but if you’re looking for eco-friendly periods, look no further! Holy Sponge provides the Moon Kit, pictured above, but there are other sites you can browse if the sponge catches your interest. Essentially, you use a sustainably harvested sea sponge and insert it like a tampon to absorb the blood. There’s no string or anything to pull it out, so my understanding is that you just sort of… fish it out. Let’s look at a little infographic for more information, shall we?

Sea Sponge Directions

From what I’ve read of the women who use these, they’re insanely comfortable to a point where you can’t even tell you’re wearing one. They can also ease menstrual cramping, as you can rinse them with warm/hot water before insertion and it’s like having a little heating pad inside of you! If you’re intrigued by the idea of the menstrual sponge, but don’t like the sea sponge, you can check out Beppy, which is more of a tampon sponge and cannot be washed or re-used (so it doesn’t really save you money, though it is still a tampon alternative!).

Menstrual Sponges Wayfaring Wanders

The sea sponges are very organic and eco-friendly. No more tampons in landfills, and they can last 6 or more menstrual cycles! These kits cost around $22 and can last a year! That is $1,000 in savings off of tampons in your lifetime. And unlike the menstrual cup or tampons, you can totally still have sex while wearing the sponge, as it feels like the soft lining of your vagina anyway. Your partner (supposedly) won’t even be able to tell! The downside is that the cleaning is pretty rigorous for the sea sponge and they can rip. I’ve also heard that you can leak a little with these (like tampons) so pairing with a pantyliner (of sustainable cloth of course) might be a good idea.

Georgia O'Keefe Flower of LifeWould any post about vaginas be complete without a Georgia O’Keefe painting?

So while helping the environment by reducing waste, we also just saved over $3,000 in menstrual care! Where are you going to travel to with all that extra cash?! In addition, there are also birth control options that may help stop your periods completely (and safely). With Obamacare, women’s health is basically covered (thanks, Obama!) so take advantage of the free birth control! Yay!

Do you use other forms of eco-friendly birth control? Have to tried any of these alternatives? Did you love (or hate) them? Let me know in the comments!

2 Replies to “4 Alternatives to Pads and Tampons”

  1. […] Cuatro alternativas a los tampones y toallas higiénicas. […]

  2. Lots of great choices these days for feminine hygiene products that aren’t disposable. Things are getting cheaper too–there are lots of good menstrual cup on the market for under $20. You can also make your own reusable cloth pads. Basically, awesome! No more pads and tampons for me every again.

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