Crochet Tampons…Really?!

By Rachel Choi – 46 Comments

Of all the things that I find online, yes, I found a crocheted tampon!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the idea of crocheting a tampon and reusing it makes me cringe! I’m sure at some time before tampons and pads were invented, women must have used something and probably did reuse them. But today, when we do have nicely engineered things to stick in specific places, why in the world would you want to crochet one? Maybe to prove that anything can be crocheted? Or to save the environment from waste? To save money?

Whatever the reason is, I’ll stick to the store bought ones, I like those!

By the way, sorry for grossing you out if I did.

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46 Comments

  1. Meg P. says:

    Some people actually do find this environmentally friendly, but i think the water used washing — and the bleach — must be equally bad for the planet. BTW, Rachel, it was mid-20th cent. when all the disposable stuff came in; prior to that it was a cloth diaper-like thing that had to be washed and re-used — triple yuck!!

    • Rachel says:

      Very interesting! Thanks for the info Meg!

    • Sheila says:

      It takes a whole lot more water to make industrial, disposable products so no, they are not even on par as far as water goes. Think about billions of pads/tampons in landfills and then tell me what’s gross. lol Re-usable tampons seems a little weird, even to me—a bona fide cup diva and cloth pad use—but I see the appeal. There are surely ways to disinfect/clean them that are perfectly healthy and not as gross as you might imagine. Personally, I find the idea of enormous heaps of used pads and tampons all over my planet a whole lot grosser than someone crocheting a panty liner. Most of the crocheted liners I’ve seen are meant to hold a cloth insert, anyway. FYI. They’re pretty neat. :)

  2. Sarah says:

    thats grim, I’m all for the environment but thats one step too far. I thought those moon cup things were grim enough!
    Sorry world but I will use disposable.. I’ll make it up to the planet in other ways heh

  3. Cecelia says:

    Just when I think I’ve heard everything! Too gross.

  4. Charlotte says:

    wow…and I was cringing at finding cloth ‘sanitary napkins’…I applaud people’s attempts to go green, but that is too yucky for me :(

  5. Kate says:

    Hey! Don’t diss reusable menstrual pads until you’ve tried them. While I admit that the idea of crocheted tampons sounds a bit gross, reusable menstrual pads are the BEST THING EVER! Before you discount me as a crazy hippie (which I’m not!), do listen to this.

    When I read an article that said how great they were and I was very sceptical about the whole thing and thought – “reusable? YUK!” However, I couldn’t believe that the author of the article would think they were that amazing if they were actually all that disgusting, so I bought a couple to try them out. They were so brilliant that I have no intention to use disposable ones again. I didn’t think I found disposable pads awkward or uncomfy. I only realised how wrong I was when I tried cloth pads. They are so soft and comfortable! You can get them all kinds of patterns (this really makes me smile when I have my period). They don’t stick to you – there’s nothing worse than getting a pad stuck to you then having to rip it off – OUCH! And you know what? They don’t smell! It turns out, the reason disposable pads smell so much is because of the chemicals they put in them to “make them smell sweet”. All you have to do with them afterwards is soak them in cold water and then throw them into the washing machine with everything else. I thought dealing with that part could be a bit icky, but it’s really easy and takes no time at all – you can soak them in a wee plastic box or a cute pot with a lid – it can be very discrete! There is nothing negative to say about reusable menstrual pads AND it’s environmentally friendly! They are truly fantastic! :)

    Well there you go, those are my thoughts on reusable menstrual wear. Even if one more person decides to give them a shot, this won’t be a lost cause!

  6. Donna says:

    In my book, this is certainly a YUCK topic but I would rather read about it because I clicked on it. Rather than have it streamed into my living room via TV commercials at dinner time.

  7. Remember the good old days when they advertised tampons on TV, without showing one or even really alluding to what they were or what they did! Everything is WAY to graphic for me these days! My mother had to make her own pads and wash them and all when she was young, and she quit doing that when the disposable ones came out….so, I guess SHE didn’t think it was such a good deal! Of course they didn’t have the state of the planet to worry about back then. (I’m 66, and I wasn’t born till my mother was 39, so, do the math!) :)

  8. missy says:

    hmmm were these for actual use or just a novelty thing? i would deff. make one for fun and some giggles, but never for use! thats just weird. lol

    p.s. rachel, you should make up a pattern for crocheted earrings! (im very into these lately) using thread and a teeeny tiny hook :]

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Missy, there were for actual use. Although making them for giggles would probably be fun too, lol. I haven’t tried making earrings yet, that would be an awesome adventure :) Gotta go get some supplies.

  9. missy says:

    :D im SURE you can come up with a super fun design :]

  10. Jodie says:

    Not gonna use one… YUCK-O! But what a fun gag gift. Just might have to make a couple…

  11. Renee says:

    Ok, I googled , I gagged lol and I said noooooooooooo way GROSS!

  12. Sara says:

    Okay – I’m all for the environment too – and I’m all for comfort, but I’m also too lazy to handle reusable sanitary napkins OR tampons! I don’t need one more chore around the house – plus it being one that most certainly NO ONE will do accept for me, lol!!! :) Love the idea if I could get around the “ick factor” but I have to say I don’t think I could pass on the convenience of just tossing away my used one…

  13. Nancy says:

    Hey Rachel,

    This made me think of my Granny. She was born in 1899, and used to regale me with tales of her childhood. When a girl came to the “time she became a woman”, her mom and sisters would help her sew pads. They washed them and reused them. This always sort of freaked me out. But your post today reminded me of Granny, so even if I would never ever use a crocheted tampon, I thank you for the post.

  14. Sandy says:

    I agree with Nancy, Grandma would sew the pads out of rags (hence the phrase “on the rag”, and soak them in cold water. When washed, they were hung on the inside of bushes so the “men in the family” would not see them. I was with her my first time, so got the benefit of her wisdom. I also have heard of American Indians using the “fluff” from inside the cattail plants that grew in MI, but no proof.
    Thanks for the post…but I will stick to the commercial products!

  15. Karen says:

    Interesting thread, I remember an older friend saying on laundry day, she was mad that women had to scrub those pads and men didn’t have to do that. Jealous of the boys!

    I am thinking of using some washable pads to keep my undies clean as I am inbetween -and -going into menapause so never know what to expect these days!

    Also my hubby is older, just retired, & our budget woes are ‘impossible’ so actually can’t afford to buy as much of anything after bills are paid, so washable is just what i need, to step back into time, and use the old way, but maybe with a fun fabric as I have lots of fabric to make them from. Always have to do laundry anyway. So I’m going to give the pads a try, but make them myself. Would never use a tampon anyway.

    But a wonderful topic to remember the past & the coping skills of ladies of all generations. And I too, wish TV would stop being so graphic about sensitive topics of all kinds, it just isn’t necessary. BTW, I just turned 50.

  16. Wânia says:

    Hi Rachel
    My grandmothers also were doing her tampons (here in Brasil, ‘absorbent hygienic’).
    We cannot deny … everything that goes, one day returns, but I never imagined the turn of original tampons.

    Please, excuse the possible mistakes in your language. I don’t speak English … I use translators.

    Have a happy new week!

  17. Carmel says:

    Hey, I’m only 31 and I have been using cloth pads for almost a year now. I was using enough pantiliners that the pads have actually started saving me money, and since I put them in with other loads of laundry do not cause me much extra work. I have never been a big tampon fan and started to hate throwing all the plastic away day after day. (So I am not sure if I would try a crocheted tampon, but when that last box of them I got to go swimming runs out I will be tempted.)

    My experience matches Kate’s in that they are much more comfortable. It is also easier to wash and dry them than go out to the store when you run low. I use more water with mine because I rinse mine out- but you are NOT supposed to use chlorine bleach with them because it will make the fabric break down and not absorb as well. So I am not poisoning the earth for them.

    Now, for the ick factor. Really. This is something that is supposed to come out of you, and is infinitely cleaner than the other two things that come out of the area. I have spent almost all of the past 8 years changing diapers (3 kids will do that to you), sometimes several times a day. Rinsing my pads is a lot less icky than that- or the accidents I have to look forward to as I potty train kid #3. Menstrual blood does not carry bacteria, and surfaces it touches do not have to be bleached afterward.

    I rinse mine to prevent staining. It works well for the most part, but does use more water. :( Travelling can be easier or more complicated, depending on if you are staying with your in-laws! I have momentarily considered crocheting pads, but want to get better at crochet and investigate more first.

    If you still consider the concept icky, think on this: Those pads and tampons you buy may be individually wrapped, but in no way at all are they made with sterility in mind, much less to actually BE sterile. It is possible that the cloth could be cleaner, even after it was used and washed. Your clothes are clean, right?

    To those who are interested: Shop on Etsy over eBay. The materials are better. I would suggest you get a variety of styles and materials to see what works best for you. After you examine what you already buy to see what you already like! If you are on Ravelry, there actually is a group discussing this sort of thing called Period Pieces.

    I hope this helps and that I have not further grossed anyone out! (or gone on too long, which I tend to do….)

    • Susan Hoag says:

      Yay, Carmel!

      You said exactly what I wanted to say! Having raised four children and working with animals all my life, cleaning menstrual pads is probably one of the LEAST “icky” chores in my life! I am glad you mentioned the fact that bleach is discouraged; after reading one comment about bleaching the tampons, I got a little hot under the collar. I don’t want bleach inside me! Unfortunately, disposable products are VERY bad for the environment, not just because of the plastic. The fibers are bleached so they “look” sanitary, but they are not sterile, and the bleach is bad for the environment. Turns out, the only reason these products are white in the first place is that companies did a survey back when they first started making them and the survey indicated that “white” was the color most associated with “clean” so they have been bleaching ever since. I will take the reusable natural fibers any day. The stories from our grandmothers are horrendous because they lived a hundred years ago before everyone had a washer and a dryer. I would much rather have stains on my menstrual products (which nobody else is going to see anyway) than contribute to landfills that are overflowing as it is with waste that won’t break down for centuries. Thanks!

  18. Bookworm says:

    I was at an anime convention this weekend and one of the Artist Alley tables was selling crocheted tampons. Though they were just for entertainment purposes, not for use (They had cute little faces on them:-D)

  19. Tammy says:

    Thanks for the information on reusable pads. I’ve seen them and never heard anyone’s opinion about how well they work. Kate and Carmel’s experiences were well written and gave us a lot of unasked answers – thank you, ladies!

    One other thing Carmel mentioned I agree with wholeheartedly. Sadly, we were taught that menstruation was something to be disgusting, inconvenient, “the curse”. For me, I’ve come to discover that it’s a way to affirm my femininity, my place in the world as a woman and it is another way for me to be comfortable in my own skin. I hope I’ve taught my daughter, and my soon to be menstruating granddaughter, to be comfortable with how our bodies work.

    And…when I’m crampy, I try to envision my son or my husband dealing with cramps! I feel better right away…

  20. Charlotte says:

    now Rachel, did you think you’d inspire this type of conversation when you made your posting? :)

    i can definitely see using the reusable pads if you have a light flow or in place of panty liners, but would they work well for someone with a heavy flow? i would think that the disposable kind might provide more confidence/comfort in that regard…or would it?

  21. Kate says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    Reusable pads are also great for people with a heavy flow (I have a heavy period). You can get/make ones of different thickness and width and they don’t leak! – I was so impressed. You can buy them with wings attached, which have a wee popper that joins them in the middle – you do not notice this once you have attached the pad to your knickers. I thought it might be uncomfortable to sit on, but you don’t notice it at all. The wings ensure that the pad stays in place – unlike the wings on plastic pads, which did little else apart from sticking to my legs!

    I bought my pads from Renee in Canada –
    She is fantastic and responded very quickly to my emails. It’s also great to be able to support a stay-at-home-mom rather than an anonymous company benefitting from the money on plastic pads you’re going to throw away.

    Renee has different sizes available: Maiden, Moon Light, New Moon, Full Moon and Sleeper. I use Full Moon and New Moon and haven’t had any problems at all. With plastic pads, I always found that I was worried about leaks and, especially at night, the pad seemed to curl up/move which led to leakage. Renee’s pads are actually quite long – almost 11 inches – which, at first, I thought was a bit excessive, but actually it ensures that there really are no leaks and they are soooo comfortable I won’t be parted from them! On the confidence front, reusable pads win hands down!

    I would really encourage you to have a look at Renee’s website and see what you think. If you have any questions, I’m sure she would be happy to answer them – she answered mine! They may seem a bit on the expensive side, but if you factor in that they last for 10 years, it’s really an economical option!

    The final thing, perhaps what I love most about reusable pads, is something nobody ever talks about…so here goes. I, like all other women who have been through puberty, am hairy. I found that every time I had my period, my pubic hair would, well, get all matted. It really annoyed me and is actually quite uncomfortable, but I just assumed this was the way things were. Not so! Reusable menstrual pads are made of fabric, not plastic, so your hair stays soft and un-matted. There! I said it. I am just so passionate about reusable menstrual pads and horrified that I bought into the disposable ones for so long!

    Rachel – what an inspiration you have been for an interesting debate! :-)

    • Rachel says:

      I just love seeing different points of view, especially if I can learn from them :)
      I think the idea of homemade pads is growing on me. I might have to try it out soon! I love experimenting. But reusable tampons is still in my yuck category, I’ll have to think about those some more.

  22. Wânia says:

    Hi girls!
    Sorry!
    I committed a mistake. My grandmothers were doing her pads, not tampons.
    Problems with the language…
    Happy Thursday for all

  23. Amy says:

    The crochet tampon thing worries me because of yarn fibers and TSS.. How would you clean them and get them seriously clean and not use any chemicals that are harmful for the inside of your body?

    Also a question I’ve had about the cloth pads…. They seem like a good idea if you’re a work from home woman but if you’re out and working away from home. However I am a HEAVY bleeder and it’s one thing to throw a pad in the garbage and be done with it but how are you storing a reusable until you get home?

    • Chelsea says:

      About crochet tampons – They are rectangular that you roll into a tampon shape so they wash out just fine when unrolled. As for fiber… LOL.. organic cotton is completely harmless in every way. Your disposables are made of the scary stuff that is harmful to you. They actually include chemicals that make you bleed heavier and longer so you have to buy more tampons. Look it up if you don’t believe me. The FDA does nothing to stop them.
      About cloth pads on the go – You buy or make a waterproof zipper bag. I bought one for mothers to put diapers in their handbags. It’s on Amazon still I think. If you don’t mind using the plastic you can also tuck ziplock sandwich bags in there so each one is individually sealed up. After all what do you think purses are for? Decoration? LOL

  24. Kate says:

    Hey Amy,

    What you do is put the used cloth pad in a waterproof draw-string bag (or ziploc bag) and then put that in your handbag/whatever bag you have with you. Then you can wash it when you get home.
    Lots of the sites that sell cloth pads sell the waterproof bags and also cloth pouches/bags to put a spare unused pad in.

    You could also make the cloth bag yourself if you fancied. :)

  25. Cathy says:

    Hey Rachel,
    I don’t use tampons only pads but this sounds as some of the other women said yuck. About as intimate as I get with crochet is a washcloth lol.
    I have made a bikini before but that’s close enough to my whowho as it gets.
    I am almost 47 years old and like you Karen I am on a very fixed income but also going thru the change. I have to wear pads everyday. The cloth ones sound comfy but not convenient. I feel for the women who had to wear them and wash them but I’ll stick to disposables. My daughter in law thinks the government should give women their products for free lol.

  26. Kerstin says:

    Though liking crocheting very much, I would not crochet a tampon… partly, because (as someone has pointed out above) of the fibre that could loosen and stay in (and then cause heavy illness), partly because since last year I use a menstruation cup [Lunette Selene, small size; I cut off the stem] and would never give it away again!
    You don’t feel it, it does only need a change every 6 – 8 hours (or longer in the weaker days), there is no smell, you can clean it with a bit of water (and after the period with a bit of cleaning alcohol or a very small pot of boling water), and it will last at least for 10(!) years.

    But crocheting a panty liner would be good, because sometimes (but very very seldom) little drops of mucosa get out of the cervix before you have inserted or reinserted the cup, and this can cause little stains.

    I think, that will be one of my future projects: a cotton-yarn rectangle of 20 x 7,5 cm with decreasing and increasing stitches in the middle part, plus additional half-circles (with a button), which can be sewn to the liner, as „wings“ to fasten the liner to the panty.

    So, thanks for bringing up the subject – otherwise I would probably not have thought about a crocheted panty liner! :-)

    Greetings,

    Kerstin

    • Chelsea says:

      Well by all means don’t crochet a tampon if your crochet skills are so bad that your tampon is falling apart. Although you don’t sound to me like a beginner that would make such mistakes. I really don’t see how loose fibers can happen when it’s one continuous cotton string you crochet with so there isn’t any loose pieces anywhere. I guess it depends on your level of crochet skills and your knowledge of appropriate crochet thread. But you are right the moon cup and other similar devices ( I have one such ) are pretty good. Mine slips down and that little handle thing is uncomfortable and at just the right sitting position it downright hurts. I’ve tried all sizes and every advice… nothing works. I think it all depends on your age and if you’ve given birth before. Everyone’s lady parts are different. :D

      • Susan Hoag says:

        Yeah, I can’t use “cups” because I have always had a “tilted” uterus, and now that I am 50, the ligaments which hold it inside are starting to give way, and there is no way I could be comfortable with something like that. I could also never use a diaphragm. Everyone’s body is different.

  27. Danie says:

    A lot of people are grossed out by this, the mooncups and reusable cloth pads, but the truth is, there’s a group of us out there that doesn’t use these things to save money OR for environmental reasons. Personally, I can’t use store-bought pads or tampons. The products they use to bleach them and all that jazz really irritate me and I end up with a lot of discomfort because of it. Even the ‘organic’ ones seem to bug me. I’ve never really attempted to crochet tampons, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I have, however, made pads, and they’re totally awesome. I also found that they’re better for my heavy flow…you can make ones that have a lot of absorbency if you use the right materials!

  28. Sanguine says:

    While I wouldn’t use a crocheted tampon (can you say chafing and OUCH!!!!) I am considering making up some reusable pads. If not simply for the enviromental factor, then look at it from a ‘We can barely afford food, ho the hell can we buy disposable feminine needs?’ standpoint. It may sound gross, but some people literally can’t afford to be squeamish about such things.

    • Chelsea says:

      The cotton of crochet tampons is extremely soft if you get the right type. You can’t feel it at all. It’s a lot more comfortable to insert than the OB tampons I used to use. There is no chafing if you know what you are doing. That’s the key… know what you are doing. I think maybe this is something for expert crocheters who really understand how to make appropriate crochet items correctly. It’s not for beginners and Red Heart acrylic yarn and a H hook! LOL

  29. Dana says:

    Reusable menstrual products for the win! I’ve been using them for 6 years and LOVE them! I wouldn’t be opposed to a reusable tampon either.

  30. Chelsea says:

    Crochet tampons are great. It’s actually not a bullet shaped thing. It’s a crochet rectangle type shape that you roll up & has a string on center. It’s exactly like the OB style safe tampons that prevent Toxic Shock or whatever they call that deadly disease these days. To correct all of you… These tampons are SAFER and more sanitary than your gross disposables that leech dioxins and chemicals inside of you. Obviously not many of you are mothers or you’d understand that carrying around gross stuff in discreet plastic zip bags is just a part of female life. What you do is simple place a small diaper pail with a solution of 1 cup vinegar, 1 gallon water and a few drops of tea tree oil next to your toilet. Remove, open the pail, give the string a couple shakes to unroll the tampon, then drop it in. At the end of the cycle drop them into a washing machine. I also use baby washcloths as moist towelettes so it all goes in together. I add some of the safe bleach alternative. Dry in the dryer. Roll them back up and put them in a pouch for next month. No more infections, no more risk of toxic shock, no more spending hundreds of dollars per year and I’m saving the planet. It’s only one wash load so the environmental impact of that little water/soap is negligible. You gals need to get in touch with your body and stop thinking something natural is something yuckie. What is yuckie is the filth and pollution you are inserting in yourselves. Sorry but it’s true. Google dioxin and see what it does to you. Sometimes I wonder if dioxin effects on the brain are not the cause of all this illogical thinking that dismisses perfectly good ideas without thinking about them.

    • Susan Hoag says:

      Well put.

    • Freya says:

      I agree with Chelsea – I actually googled crocheted tampons and ended up here! Just completed one myself and it is the same shape and look as a store bought one, apart from the chrocheted slightly old fashioned look. I have some fabric pads and they are much more comfortable.

      Who needs store bought tampons at €€€s a year, polluting and filling up the landfills…?
      The money ending up in the pockets of greedy corporations…

      When you can make it yourself, or buy from another woman who needs the money?
      I did not know about the allergy/chemicals aspects of ready-made products, but am not surprised.

      This is like home made pancakes vs store-bought ones!
      Sure, it’s a tiny bit quicker (maybe) and your kitchen doesn’t get as messy…. But it’s also healthier and you save money.

      Dare to be different and take a stand, not buying things that you don’t really need to buy. Is your own blood really yucky? Your blood makes you live – it’s like saying that you yourself are yucky.

      Anyone who likes to make their clothes etc, time allowing should seriously consider this. It’s the same principle: Better fit, better value, better style and fulfilling.

      You can crochet one like a tube and stuff it with absorbant material for heavy flow. For a small-regular size, crochet a square, roll it up tightly to a tube and stitch to keep it rolled up. Hemp yarn (absorbant) or cotton is best.

      Hope I managed to swing someone around :-) Greetings from Sweden!

  31. kearsten says:

    The original reusable tampon is a sea sponge!
    Reusable pads and tampons should not be bleached! Soak and wash. You don’t want bleach near your vagina, which is what most throw away pads and tampons are filled with. Bleach and the excess chemicals in/around our reproductive organs is causing so many problems for so many women! Also, you can use the soak water on your plants if you wish…it’s full of nutrition for your veggies (or your flowers)! ;)

    I use a Mooncup. I’ve had it for 6.5 years and it’s fantastic. I was looking for crochet pad patterns to use when I’m spotting at the end when I came across this post. Anyone who thinks a cup or washable pad is gross but uses smelly, nasty throw away ones just haven’t got any idea…honestly! A cup, once you get used to using it, is easier, cleaner and much less smelly than a tampon. Add to that the fact menstrual cups have never been associated with a risk if TSS (and they’ve been around longer than tampons), and it’s a clear winner for me. You can use them for 10+ years when good care is taken. You never run out if feminine supplies at a bad time or if you start early you don’t need to run out with your undies stuffed with TP.

    In short, I love my Mooncup and I would totally use washable pads (but I’ll steer clear of any kind of tampons….too scratchy and anything that absorbs your natural vaginal fluids is a no-no in my book….another with for cups!).

  32. Jenn says:

    I wasn’t so sure about reusable pads, but now that I’ve made the switch I will never go back. Good cloth pads are super soft and very discrete. No crinkly sound when you go to change them! There’s never any gross trash or need to wrap anything in a wad of toilet paper. Plus I save a *ton* of money. I know some women think holding on to them till you get home to wash is gross but they fold up onto a neat little square, snap closed, and you can bury them in the bottom of your purse. No big deal. A make up pouch is a great container. If a friend happens to be fetching a pen from your purse they have no reason to suspect it isn’t full of lipstick and eyeliner.

    I also made the leap to sea sponge tampons. Sponges are *actually* so comfortable you can’t feel them. I can use them day 1 of my period! (I dont know about you but I could never use a commercial tampon on day one. My body would cramp up and try its best to eject the thing). Now and then I try to use a commercial tampon and it’s awful.

    Now that I know how comfortable I *can* be I wonder how I ever put up with the scratchy discomfort of store bought menstrual products.

  33. Michelle says:

    Getting organic unbleached/undyed supplies to crochet tampons and make fabric pads for my sister who has a serious latex allergy. There`s a ton of latex and plastic in feminine products, not just bandaids and gloves. I used to think she just had to worry about condoms…. :)

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