Eco Femme cloth pads review

After knowing about the harmful chemicals present in the disposable diapers and constantly adding to the garbage pile, I switched over to cloth diapers for my babies. Only then, it had occurred to me that I have been adding to the pile every month during menstruation. I imagined that cloth would be very messy to use. But after reading some experiences of cloth pads and getting a recommendation from my friend, I was game for trying it out.

I had ordered 3 Eco Femme cloth pads through Shycart (I had blogged about that experience earlier over here). It was an order of 2 day and 1 night pads. I had purchased this to see if it was really possible to use cloth pads after years of using disposable sanitary pads.

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To be honest, it was a hassle when I tried this in the last cycle. It was not because of cloth pads itself but because of the small number of pads I had to begin with. From what I read, advice is to start with around 6. But I was not ready to invest in 6 pads without being sure if I would like it. After using it last month, I placed another order. Now I have a total of 5. Yes, these pads are here to stay with me, as far as I am concerned.

Things I liked:

  1. Soft: As we know, the disposable sanitary pads that are sold in India are nowhere near as soft as it would be in the US. This actually felt soft, softer than any pad I has used before.
  2. Stays in place always: Press buttons are sewn on to the pad to secure them to the underwear. Surprisingly, it stayed in place throughout. Did not bunch up as I had perceived. It was a little bulky than the Ultras I was used to, but not as bulky to feel uncomfortable.
  3. No smell: I was really skeptical about it. There is actually no odour emanating from this after use, unlike the disposable napkins. And, if the pads are soaked, rinsed and washed as per the washing instructions, they get clean and fresh as new.
  4. No overflow: For years, we were made to believe that only disposable pads absorb the liquids quickly and there was no way that a cloth could absorb even half as much. Well, this is absolutely wrong. There was no overflow of any sorts when I used them. I wonder why the advertisements by the major brands portray this in that way.
  5. Minimum carbon foot print: Finally felt good that I am not adding to the trash. Due to the rains and the small number of pads I owned, I had to use disposable for a couple of times.

I really liked using these pads and hence I took the pain to wash them whenever possible to ensure that I did not have to use disposable. There were a few things which I found it difficult to handle.

Things I did not feel comfortable with:

  1. Washing and drying: Though the steps were simple, it was a bit of a hassle. I think this feeling is mainly because I am not used to this and also because I tend to not tell anybody about my periods. That would no longer be possible as these have to be hung outside to dry. In fact, my mom in law spotted it last time and was having a look from all angles. Thankfully she did not ask me about it! Being a shy person does not help here J
  2. Long drying time: Due to layers of cloth sewn together, it took quite a while to dry. The cloudy skies and the occasional rains did not help. A machine wash would have definitely brought the drying time down.

Apart from these, I really liked everything else about the product. I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family.

If you are here wondering if this will work for you, I say why not try it first. You could try these on days where you would be home (on a weekend or something) or on light days. Once you gain confidence in the product, I think you would definitely use it regularly.

Detailed washing instructions and encouragement to try these cloth pads can be found here

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My GMD red edges are here finally!

After reading ravishing reviews about Green mountain prefold diapers, I wanted to try them for my first child. But I found it expensive as I had to a pay for shipping too. So finally settled for cotton babies’ Indian prefolds which were in the affordable range with free shipping (of course not to India )

I liked them in the beginning, but somehow I felt that it did not hold up well and failed the test of time. This could have been because I was washing with powerful detergents that damaged the fabric. Or it could be because it was washed every other day for nearly nine months.

For my second child, I wanted to try GMD at any cost. I had to see if it lives up to all the hype. When I came to know that my friend is making a trip to India, I promptly ordered for 1.5 dozen at GMD website and had it delivered at her place (I paid for shipping). My daughter is already thirteen months now. So I am hoping that this and the 10 pocket diapers I have now would be sufficient until potty training (My stash size reduced dramatically after all my flats and flip organic inserts were torn into bits with excessive washing)

My friend reached Chennai last night and I got the stuff from her this morning. I was very excited and wanted to prep those immediately. But the incessant rainfall dampened my spirits. I am sure that it would take one full day to dry them. I’ve only one dry rack and it is already full with my children’s clothes that were washed this morning. So with a bit of disappointment I’ve decided to wait until rains recede a bit.

I’ll post the before and after images of the prefolds once I prep them.

Shycart shopping experience and Eco femme cloth pads

Shycart.com is a website that helps you order items which you would normally be shy to ask for at the stores. They have a whole range of products under personal care, woman’s care and sexual care. While many online retail stores sell most of these items, some items like pregnancy test kits, ovulation kits, tampons, menstrual cup, sanitary cloth pads etc are only available in a very few websites.

Usually the delivery box of e-commerce sites have the invoice copy with product details like description and cost affixed. Anyone who collects the delivery on your behalf as well as the delivery person would be aware of what is inside. While this is not a big deal when you order electronics, toys, books etc, it makes us self conscious when ordering items like lingerie, sanitary products etc. Shycart promises privacy for the person right till the product is delivered. The invoice copy that will be displayed on the delivery boxes from Shycart claim to just contain the numeric product code, quantity and cost. So neither the delivery person nor the person accepting the box will have a clue of its contents.

The Shycart package

The Shycart package

Now, why I needed to place an order from Shycart. I wanted to try out cloth pads. After using the sanitary products sold in the US, one can easily make out the poor quality (comfort and efficiency) of the same products in India. This despite being sold under the same brand name. Hence inline with my going green initiative, I wanted to try cloth pads. But I was ignorant of their availability in India until a friend recommended it to me and let me know that these are available at Shycart.

So, women like me in India we have the option to use Eco femme cloth pads are manufactured by women’s self help groups that are encouraged by Auroville Village Action Group, an NGO. They have three products viz. panty liner, day pad and night pad. After months of procrastination, I finally placed the order last week.

Due to unavailability of certain products, they shipped out only a part of the order so far. The customer care representative who contacted me for this was polite. As promised, the delivery envelope was white with invoice copy affixed on it. Again as promised, only the product code was printed and hence we get the privacy that was promised. In fact, it was my mother who accepted the parcel. She later asked me what was inside 🙂

The final verdict is, It was a pleasant experience ordering from shycart. Would definitely visit again when need arises. You can check them out here.

The Green beginning

Most of us want to be kind to the environment. But we just do not know how and where to begin. I was in the same state of mind until I decided it is high time to make that dreaded first step.

Hurdles:

In simple words, I was worried if I would be laughed at. Would my friends think why am I making so much fuss over mundane things? Would I be able to convince people around that I am spending these extra money to actually reap benefits for my family and our planet earth? This was the main hurdle. Another thing was all the go green methods seem to be extremely daunting not to forget that they seemed to be expensive too. When weighing your family’s health against money, health wins hands down. The only niggling part in decision making for me was that the processes seemed to be “daunting” and difficult.

Then I convinced myself to go slow and take up one at a time. The first step I took was switching over to cloth diapers when my first son was almost a year old.

My first step:

Switching over to cloth diapers was one of the best decisions I took for my children. Though my first child wasn’t exclusively cloth diapered, my second child was almost exclusively cloth diapered (Had to use disposable during periods of incessant rains). Just by reading a few posts about benefits of cloth diapers over disposable, I was convinced to try cloth diapers. The difficult part was finding and purchasing those cloth diapers from India. I would write a detailed post about cloth diapers, where to find them in India etc at a later time.

Progress after the first step:

I was mostly stagnant after the first step. I did not do anything that I could call a ‘green initiative’. I tried to convince my house help to segregate wet and dry (recyclable) wastes. But my efforts proved futile when the garbage collector mixed up everything right at our door step soon after the garbage was collected.

But I kept reading and re-reading a lot of articles that advocate many ‘green initiatives’. Home composting was on top of my list. But there was space constraint (my maid and I share the balcony and there is not much space apart from that) and lack of the same enthusiasm from my husband. This meant that this plan was never going to see the light of day.

Now after staying at my parents’ place for a few months, I have convinced my mother to separate recyclable stuff. She was on board when I tried to explain her that this little something meant little less garbage being dumped at dump yards. Hence the recyclable stuff goes into the recycle bin. Every month people from http://www.kuppathotti.com/ collect the stuff from recycle bin. This is a Chennai based organization that comes home to collect the recyclable items like Newspaper, plastic bottles, glass bottles, batteries and anything that can be recycled. We just have to register at their website and place a request. They even call to confirm that we would be available to sell them our recyclable stuff.

Recent ventures:

I have read about soap berries some time back. But I had no idea where to source them from. Adding to the fact that I am at home ALL the time, I never have a chance to venture out and start inquiring at the local herb shop (Naatu marundu kadai). Then I read about Krya detergent powder which was made from organic soap berries and yes they can be ordered online and they can ship to anywhere in India. All of these meant that I had to try it immediately. I registered at http://krya.in/, placed the order and it was available at the door step in 2 days.

Detailed review and usage instructions will be available soon. Of all the detergents I have tried for my children’s cloth diapers, I liked this the most. I was very happy with the results from using this detergent powder for my children’s laundry as well as mine.

Their website is very informational. They have free recipes for household cleaners online. Do check it out.

I have also started using Khadi’s soap and shampoos. The soaps are glycerine based and I have started loving them. Shampoos are mild and nice. The only problem I have is they have not listed all the ingredients in the soap. It says Key ingredients and lists a few. So I am not 100% sure if they are SLS free. These are available online at Flipkart.com

Next on the list:

  • Try Krya’s dish wash powder
  • Try to use tooth powder (home made or ayurvedic) to ensure that SLS does not get inside our system.
  • Try not to use or buy products that contain SLS
  • Try cloth pads for my sanitary needs instead of disposable.
  • Try home composting. dailydump.org would be the first place to check out if you are based in India.
  • Try Leaf composting/Mulching at my native place where my house help burns the dry leaves that fall off the trees every day.

Suggestions of things to do for beginners like me:

  • If you have babies in diapers, do try out cloth diapers. They are as convenient as disposable. Please refer to scores of information available online. Just by making this switch we can save tonnes of waste in getting into the soil. For Indian scenario, my suggestion would be to read through information in mommygyan.com for how and where to buy cloth diapers.
  • Segregate waste and gather all your recyclable stuff into a separate card board box or bin. Just place this bin in the kitchen so that you can just throw it inside this instead of your usual dustbin. When selling your old newspapers, you can sell these too. Please try http://www.kuppathotti.com/ if you are in Chennai.
  • Try to use soap berry based detergent for your laundry. You can easily place an order online at http://krya.in/ This is going to cost less than 300 rupees. Just a pizza delivery for two would cost more than that. So you are not losing out money in trying this. Further this can be literally done without moving your butt off the chair 🙂
  • Try home composting if you have an open balcony or back yard. I think it would make an interesting science project.

I will keep adding stuff to this list based on my experience.

Thanks for taking time to read!