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October Unprocessed 2012
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Oh Darling…You’re a Woman Now!

GladRags

GladRags

The average woman uses 12,000+ disposable pads/tampons in her lifetime. If all 2,772 of you fans switched to GladRags halfway through your menstruating years, together we’ve kept over 16.5 MILLION disposables out of landfills! Whoa!

That was a recent status update from the Gladrags Facebook page (quite relevant during Earth Week!), another Mama Cloth review I’ll be sharing today, along with my experiences with Jade & Pearl Sea Sponge Tampons. If you’ve missed the earlier reviews from this week, go start off with Moms Crafts 4 U, then head on over to Lunapads and the Diva Cup.

GladRags

GladRags was founded in 1992 as a home based business in Portland, Oregon (it’s moved to its own building now) with a pretty awesome Sustainability Pledge.

I purchased 1 GladRags Day Pack – a cotton flannel pad with 2 inserts (they fit into the envelope style pad). I also bought the Sea Sponge tampons from them – they came in a package with 2 pantyliners.

The pad with inserts was $13.99; the 2 sea sponge tampons and 2 pantyliners together came to $30.99. I used a discount code, so my total with shipping came to $48.36 ($12 shipping to Canada!).

GladRags was something of a mixed bag for me.

I have to say I don’t really like their website for one annoying reason – you have to click 3 or 4 times to get an actual price. My personal preference? That’s the first thing I want to know, so they did lose some points from me for that. Otherwise, they do have a great selection of all kinds of products, and they offer a donation opportunity for girls and women in Uganda who are in need of reusable menstrual products.

Price-wise, I would call them mid-range. Shipping was fast (I was particularly impressed because I’m ordering from Canada, and US products can sometimes take WEEKS to get here!). I ordered March 22nd and they were at my house by the end of the month.

The GladRags are a similar design to the other pads I tried in that they close with a snap around your underwear. They do have the somewhat unique ‘envelope’ style of fitting in inserts for extra absorbency – something that felt more comfortable to me than the Lunapads method of laying them on top of the pad, fitted under ric rac straps.

You can add one or two inserts, depending on the absorbency you’re looking for, and the pads must be changed as often as you would a disposable. The pad seemed a bit thick with both inserts in, but once I had it on I couldn’t feel it there; it was quite comfortable. I used the pad alone with both 1 insert and 2, and comfortably used the pantyliners as backup to the Sea Sponge and Diva Cup – they were perfectly small and thin for a pantyliner. I did not experience any leaks with the GladRags.

GladRags Insert

GladRags Insert

One thing that did concern me was that the outside stitching of the inserts began to unravel a bit after just 2 washes (and I didn’t even put them in the dryer). It might just be extra thread that’s not affecting the integrity of the pad itself, but I didn’t like to see it all the same!

(Click on the picture to see better up close – sorry – my camera is crap!)

All in all, GladRags wasn’t my top pick – but it’s mostly in the details – the pads themselves were quite functional and fairly affordable, and they do have a lot of great testimonials on their site, so I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who are quite pleased with them. :)

PLEASE SEE my update below in the ‘Cons’ section about the insert issue. Due to the super fast resolution of this issue, I now feel much more comfortable recommending GladRags.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fast Shipping
  • Functional – no leaks

Cons:

  • Not sure about quality- UPDATE – Tracy from GladRags contacted me immediately after seeing this post about the edges of the insert unraveling. She explained that their pads are hand sewn and that’s a pretty rare occurrence; she is sending me replacement inserts and was very kind and concerned that I was a satisfied customer. I now feel much better about this quality issue!
  • Pricing not immediately clear on website
  • Shipping is on the expensive side (at least to Canada)
  • I chose the ‘Surprise me’ option for fabric pattern…but I didn’t think these pads were as pretty as all the other ones I got. ;)

I don’t want to seem unfair (I did only review one pad!), so for another viewpoint on GladRags, please go check out Hobo Mama’s review HERE.

If you have any questions about GladRags, please leave them below in the comments section.

I’m going to push the Sea Sponge review to later today, but just want to address one more aspect of reusable menstrual products before I go.

Cost

OK, math is far from being my strong subject, but I do want to address the issue of cost, because it can seem like a lot of money at first to invest in mama cloth and other reusable menstrual products.

To give you a quick breakdown:

  • Most cloth pads can last for up to 5 years or longer with proper care.
  • Sea Sponge tampons can last up to a year or longer with proper care.
  • The Diva Cup can last up to a year or longer.

Lunapads estimates that 1 cloth pad replaces 120 disposable pads. If you pay an average of $8 for 40 pads, you would be paying $24 for 120 pads.

If you use an estimated 20-25 disposable pads per cycle, you’ll have used 120 pads in about 4-5 months (I know I personally used a lot more than that). So let’s assume 120 pads three times a year – so 360 disposable pads in one year.

If I’m doing my math right, in 5 years, that’s $360 spent on disposable pads (if you always find an average price point and use a minimal number of them).

If you had bought a Lunapad, you would have spent $20. A MomsCrafts4U pad? Around $5.50. GladRags – $13.99. Party in my Pants? $12.99.

That’s a significant price difference!

Diva Cup actually estimates that women spend $150-$200/year on disposable menstrual products (the above example doesn’t include tampons – I know I used both every period!). If you spent $40 on your Diva Cup, you just saved yourself over $100 in one year.

Even if you bought one pad a month (or made your own) until you built up a stock, you’d be saving yourself a ton of money.

Do you think it’s worth it?

Disclaimer: I purchased all the products I am reviewing with my own money (though 2 of the pads were a gift). The giveaway has been donated. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I will be reviewing with the exception of Earth Mama Angel Baby – I do receive a small commission from them if you purchase through my link. I am committed to full disclosure and to offering you un-biased, helpful information in this blog.

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4 Responses to “Oh Darling…You’re a Woman Now!”

  • Hi Kelly, thanks for reviewing GladRags! :)

    I wanted to let you know that the stitching shouldn't be unraveling — that's definitely unusual! Our pads are handmade by a small sewing company here in Oregon, so they are not "factory made" but we definitely want to make sure we are supplying quality products. Get in touch with me and we can ship you some replacement inserts ASAP!

    Also, we're looking into streamlining our website a bit — it's good to hear that kind of feedback, as we'd been wondering if perhaps it's taking too many clicks to get directly to the product page. So hopefully in the future our site will be even easier to navigate!

    And I wish we could figure out some way to make shipping to Canada less costly! Unfortunately, shipping rates just keep going up and up, and at this point we're actually paying more in shipping international orders than we're charging!

    Anyway, thanks again for your review! We've loved reading your reviews of various reusable menstrual products this week! :)
    Tracy (GladRags) recently posted..Support GladRags in stores &amp get a free pantyliner!

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Tracy!

      Thank you sincerely for your kind feedback – I will get in touch with you about the inserts. :)

      It's hard to do reviews on such a limited selection in some ways – I know so many others have had different experiences, but I am hoping to provide just a taste of what people might get when they are considering making the switch to cloth pads – I was happy to link over to Hobo Mama's review for you, and I'll probably put together a little review list for all the companies I'm talking about this week at the end of the week so people who are interested can get more than one opinion. :)

      I definitely appreciate what you're doing and thank you for your kind response!

  • Andrea says:

    Thanks, Kelly! These have been very interesting reads! I never even heard of any of these products or even the idea before, but I did used to wonder what women did before disposable stuff was invented! Fascinating.

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