a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What If . . . you consider going Back to the Basics?

If you have not read my previous post please do so first.
It is the introduction to this one.

1. You will save lots of money --- first on pads for menstruation and by the time you have finished that stage,  if you are like me and millions of other women, you have entered what I refer to as the laughing-sneezing-coughing-leaking stage of life!

2. You would do your part for our landfill problem --- "The average woman will throw away 15000 sanitary pads and tampons over her lifetime. That adds up to about 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons yearly in North America (alone)."

 "More than half and some say as high percentage as 80% use some sort of incontinence product. There are adult diapers, absorbent pads and a variety of products in between. If we estimate only 2 items used daily over a 15 year period, that comes to 10,950 items per person from 65 years- 80 years of age."

and, what was news to me

3. You will be safe-guarding your health --- Although we don't hear about it much "Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is still a risk for anyone using tampons. The risk is much higher with disposable products. This is why they are required to warn you on the label and on the instruction sheet inside the box. Experts agree that TSS is under-reported, despite the fact that all states are required to report all cases."

"Despite the bleached white appearance, tampons and pads are not sterile. They are not sterilized - no disposable menstrual products are sterile.

"The FDA does not require disposable menstrual pad users to list the ingredients on the label so you do not know exactly what chemicals are being placed against your sensitive and absorbant tissues for several days each month."

What started out to be one simple post (as the result of my discomfort and a Wal-Mart discovery*)  has certainly evolved!

Personal Confessions of Simply, Gail

I do sneeze-cough-and definitely laugh regularly. . . therefore I, uhmmm leak I hate putting out the money for incontinence products but more importantly they make me ITCH "down there!" 

No matter how thick it is or how much I pay for it---toilet paper SHREDS!

The internet is an amazing tool --- often with TooMuchInformation! And, we have a filter that blocked some of the sites. Searching the internet I discovered. . .
  •  I am definitely NOT ALONE!
  • Many women suffer much more serious problems than itching.
  • The products themselves, it is being discovered, cause/increase many problems, including increased cramping during periods and increased discharge the rest of the time --- naturally the manufacturer's won't admit it.   
I discovered the new trend toward "homemade" supplies you can buy on line --- if, like the days of the early commercial products --- you can afford them. While there are many offerings, I'll get you started with a couple of examples and you can take it from there:

Retro Rags™ pad measures approximately 14" long by 4.5" wide and is designed for overnight usage with heavy flow or postpartum usage, or plus size women.  $8.00 each

The Committed to Cloth Pad Stash Reusable Set of 24 $128.00

The first site I came across for DIY products is the HillbillyHousewife. 

Admittedly my first thought was "yuck!"  But later thought "why not" and made a few. Most of the pre-made pads on line seem to be patterned after those on the hillbilly site, although there are variations.  


Because I am simple and cheap  my favorite site is 

This site has the most simple ones---but I simplified them further. 

* And, here is where Wal-Mart comes in:

They sell packs of 18 100% cotton, wight, light-weight washcloths for $4.00. Folded into thirds, they work out perfect for me. (The more you wash them the softer they become, but even after one wash they work for me---but do not use fabric softener because it decreased absorbency.) These washcloths are not huge but I am a plus-size woman and they are plenty long enough. 

The cost is 22 cents per washcloth pad. 

You can also use old towels and washcloths---free and already soft!

The pads on the site were stitched to stay pre-folded but I decided they might be more useful (especially for washing and drying purposes) flat. 

At the same store they had soft 45-inch-wide print flannel on clearance sale for $2.25 per yard.  I bought one yard and began experimenting. I cut a few rectangles the size of the folded washcloth and using a tight zig-zag stitch, sewed a piece down the center of the washcloth. On some I sewed it  along one side (eliminating the need to be precisely in the middle) of the washcloth.  Not only does this give you an extra layer of protection but folded with the flannel side up provides a softer pad. 

I also cut and zig-zagged the edges of squares of flannel and folded them into thirds to use as pads instead of the washcloths. They worked also.  

If you need a heavy pad you can layer a flannel square on a washcloth and fold the pair into thirds.

With close-fitting underwear these stay in place really well.  I feel the little bit of readjusting that might need to be made after going to the bathroom is well worth the effort. If you want added "security"  make a small loop of masking tape.   I also read that if you make the bottom section fleece, it will not move around any and it is waterproof. I haven't  checked those claims out yet. I would not put the fleece against your body because it is synthetic rather than 100 percent cotton.

Toilet Paper Replacement 
My research uncovered the following: the average sheet of toilet paper is 4x4 inches and that 5.9 sheets, on the average, are used each time.

I decided to cut another package of white wash cloths in half to use as toilet paper after urinating. A half cloth was too large. I couldn't imagine  1/4 would be enough but it is perfect. A simple blot does the job.  

Not being too precise, I cut each washcloth into fourths and used a tight zig-zag stitch around the two unfinished edges. The cut edges will shed when cutting and for the first couple of washings.

18 washcloths for $4.00 makes 72 reusable wipes at 5.5 cents each!

I toss both the pads and the squares in a covered container under the sink. On wash day I simply empty them into a large mesh bag to launder.

I guess I am another generation of tween.  Not old enough to have gone with the flow using rags but too old to have known about making my own pads during my productive years. 

The economy, as well as the horrible things we are learning daily about how what we eat (and now what we use) are created/manufactured, is making us think twice and---make changes.

What we once innocently thought of as “disposable” is in reality pollution, and what we once accepted as “sanitary,”for our most personal purposes, we are learning are not only without guidelines, but with problems---from relatively minor to deadly toxicity!

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