In continuing my posts this Earth Week on Mama Cloth and other reusable menstrual products, I reviewed GladRags this morning, along with an estimation of the kind of money you can save when you make the switch.
Tonight I’m talking Sea Sponge tampons from Jade & Pearl.
I purchased my Sea Sponges from GladRags in a package that came with 2 pantyliners – my total was $30.99 before discount. If you purchase directly from Jade & Pearl, prices start at $13/sponge.
When I first saw these on the GladRags sight, I thought they were super weird – probably the oddest product I had come across so far.
But I figured, what the heck…I’ll give them a try.
These ended up being my favorite thing out of everything I purchased and tried during my period!
Jade & Pearl was founded in 1974 by Gloria Starita – she was selling sea sponge tampons before they even knew how bad disposable tampons were!
Though I didn’t purchase directly through their website, I can see just from looking around it that there’s a lot of great information and products – I’m just glad they distribute through GladRags or I wouldn’t have known they existed!
Sea Sponges are a totally natural reusable tampon sustainably harvested through working closely with the University of Florida Sea Grant Extension Program; they also ensure that child labor is never used in the work of harvesting.
My order came with 2 sponges and a small cotton bag.
Upon first opening the bag, the sponges felt a bit less soft than I would have liked…I thought, “How is this thing gonna work?“.
But the instructions were very clear and easy to follow – basically, you hold the sponge under warm water for a few seconds, squeeze out the extra, and insert it like you would a tampon (the water made them much softer).
One thing I didn’t like was the cotton bag – I put one of the sponges in it and it came out covered in strings – not terribly enjoyable to pull them all off, so I probably won’t use it anymore (I’m sure I could find a nice little wet bag that would work just as well).
The sponges I received were a little large, so I trimmed them a bit – it is no problem to do that if necessary to fit them to your needs – you just need to ensure that you trim evenly all the way around.
I used the Sea Sponges several times, both day and night, and I didn’t come close to experiencing a single leak – these things are absorbent!
Cleaning them took a little while to get used to (same as with the Diva Cup) but it soon became old hat. When you take them out you just need to rinse them clean; there are multiple ways to sanitize, including soaking in water with baking soda, apple cider vineger, tea tree oil, and more – they give quite a few options, so you’ll probably already have at least one around the house.
For the most part I found them quite easy to get in and out, though I did experience some pain before trimming – they are definitely wider than a tampon and can take some getting used to (the Jade & Pearl site sells different size options).
The thing I loved most was how secure they made me feel – every time I used them I marveled at the absorbency power. I cannot count how many leaks and messes I have had with disposable tampons – even the super extra fluffy plus ones! So having that security was such a huge relief for me – I am definitely never going back to tampons again!
All in all, I was thrilled with this product – I am happy to recommend it and hope you give it a try if you are a tampon gal.
A few more interesting details about sea sponge…
- It can be worn during sex (some even use it as a contraceptive – but don’t quote me on that!)
- They are soft and structured like the vaginal wall
- They contain no fibers or dioxins
- It’s rumored that Cleopatra used them for her period
If you have any questions about Sea Sponge tampons, please leave them in the comments section.
So How Much Mama Cloth do You Need?
This is highly debatable depending on your flow, but from what I’ve read the average woman uses 4-6 pads a day during her cycle (I usually used more!) and/or 4-6 tampons a day.
If you’re planning on using mama cloth alone, you would probably need at least 6 pads to get you comfortably through a day – and that means washing every day. If you’re using the Diva Cup or Sea Sponge as your main product, you could probably get away with 3 or 4 pantyliners.
I personally ended up with about 16 pads (varying between pantyliner, regular flow, heavy flow, and overnight), 2 Sea Sponges, and 1 Diva Cup, which I found to be more than adequate – I didn’t have to do laundry every day (even though I practically do anyway!) and I had no fear of running out.
My grand total for everything – tax, shipping – all of it – was $207.56 (whew! Don’t tell my husband!).
But wait – I could easily spend that much on disposable menstrual products in one year, and many of these will last me up to 5 years! I’m definitely thinking it’s worth the investment…
What About Going Out in Public?
I didn’t find using any of these products while out and about to be a problem.
I got an adorable teeny wet bag for my pads, but even if you don’t want to buy one most of the pads just fold up easily into a square and snap – the perfect storage until you can get them home to your laundry.
With the Diva Cup, it actually doesn’t need to be removed that often (it can be left in up to 12 hours) so you can generally plan your day so you’re only using it at home. If you DO need to empty it while in a public washroom, the Diva Cup website recommends emptying the cup and using a dry or damp tissue to wipe clean before re-inserting.
With the Sea Sponges, you can carry a Ziploc or wet bag and simply switch a used one out for a clean one in a public washroom, waiting to clean until you get home.
End result? Totally not complicated.
Would you have worries about using Mama Cloth, menstrual cups or reusable tampons in public?
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.