Disclosure: I received some of these products free for review.
Let’s make one thing clear: this post is a bit TMI (too much information). So, if you dislike discussion of feminine hygiene products, you’ve been warned!
While the choice of cloth diapers over disposables was one I had already made long before actually having a baby, it was not until having a baby that I even considered the idea of reusable menstrual products. A lot of people react to the idea of cloth diapering with a mixture of disgust and/or cynicism: “Eww! You have to do poopy laundry,” mixed with “I don’t think you’re really saving money/the earth by doing poopy laundry.”
Overall, I am willing to accept a measure of inconvenience and upfront cost for products that reduce waste and save money in the long term. I’m a devoted user of reusable bags, coffee cups, water bottles, food containers, nursing pads and of course wipes and diapers. Show me viable, reusable kitty litter and we’d be almost waste free at our house. Almost, because there is one single-use item for which I’ve only recently considered an alternative: panty liners. For now I am still breastfeeding and jolly Aunt Flow hasn’t returned yet, so for the time being I am not discussing reusable pads for menstruation, but for…. (I really hate this word)….discharge. In fact, due to what my gynecologist was delighted to tell me is called leucorrhea, aka: heavy discharge, I’ve been using a panty liner every day since preadolescence. I shudder to calculate how much garbage and how much money have been thrown away in the past 18 years.
I plan on using the a menstrual cup once my period comes back, and using a cloth pad as a back up seems to be the natural choice. After cloth diaper laundry (not as big a kerfuffle as skeptics would have you believe), laundering cloth pads is no skin off my back. It’s less than a week per month, after all. But considering I use a panty liner every single day of my life, any product I try is going to really have to do the job, and that means it needs to be comfortable.
Discreet: I don’t want to notice I’m wearing it and it needs to stay in place so other people don’t know I’m wearing it! (Picking out a wedgie in public is bad enough, I don’t want to also be trying to adjust my cloth pad!)
Functional: It needs to keep me feeling dry for a good part of the day. I don’t want to change my cloth liner any more than I would change a disposable: usually once per day and once before bed.
If I can find a cloth pad that meets these criteria, I’m saving about $125/year (based on the average price of Always dri liners and 3 liners per day). But honestly, like with cloth, I’m not actually that concerned about the financial savings. I’m keeping more than 1000 liners (and all their non-biodegradable components) from touching my skin and from hitting the landfill if I make the switch to reusable liners.
Well, guess what? I’m happy to announce that I’ve found a reusable panty liner that exceeds my “comfort criteria.”
Presenting the Öko Creations line of cloth pads…
I have been using the mini panty liners and panty liners in place of my usual Always liners for over a week now, and the only time I’ve reached for a disposable liner is when I was away from home and ran out of my 10 reusable liners. I’ve worn my Öko Creations liners at home but also out and about all day, every day. The best endorsement I can offer is that I completely forget that I’m wearing a cloth pad at all!
Yes, they are comfortable!
The difference between Öko Creations’ two liners (I haven’t tried the two larger pads which would be more suited to menstruation or bladder leakages) is size (as shown below, with two sizes of Always liners for comparison) and composition. The mini panty liner does not have a waterproof layer, so it is not water proof. The top layer of hemp fleece is the smooth side (like Blueberry hemp inserts). The regular liner does have a hidden, waterproof layer, is slightly longer, and the top layer of hemp is the fuzzy side of the hemp fleece fabric (feels like AMP hemp inserts).
Overall, I prefer the regular liner with the “fuzzy” hemp side up and the slightly longer length. I find it keeps me feeling dryer, and stays put better. The mini is ever so slightly thinner, but the regular style can do double duty as a menstrual pad for light days (or back up when using a cup or tampon) thanks to its hidden waterproof layer. The regular liner is by no means too bulky for everyday use: I honestly do not even notice I’m wearing it.
No cloth pad can really stay in place exactly like an adhesive-backed disposable liner. However, my Öko liners don’t bunch up at all and I don’t find I’m having to adjust them during the day or night.
As for function, I really do feel dry and comfortable wearing Öko liners. In fact, when I went back to Always for a couple days since I didn’t have access to laundry facilities, I actually noticed I felt more dampness than with my Ökos! Hemp has true “feel dry” properties, something I’ve always noticed when using them in cloth diapers.
The mini liner is slightly cheaper ($25 for a 5-pack compared to $35). Since the regular liner has the waterproof layer and can therefore also be used during your period, if you just want one type, that’s the one I’d choose. I feel like I have enough liners with my two sets of five, as long as I can do laundry every few days. If you want to have enough holidays away from home, I would recommend buying a couple more sets. Spend less than what you would in a year on disposable liners and get yourself fully equipped: every year you are able to keep using them will be an added bonus!
I really can’t believe it’s taken me this long to adopt “mommy cloth.” Now I’m stuck with three unopened boxes of disposable liners that will probably remain unopened. (I used to stock up during sales since I used so many.) And did I mention how pretty these liners are? I almost want to have them out on my dresser, on display like all of my son’s cloth diapers!
Öko Créations is based in Québec and owned and operated by sisters Marie-Noël and Melanie. They were kind enough to provide me with a 5-pack of liners for this review. The other set I received in return for my revision services.
Gotta pay the bills...