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From cloth to disposable, and back to cloth: the evolution of sanitary products

There’s never a dull day in the IzzyWizzyRoo house. Never, at all. Period!

Take yesterday, for example. I started off my day talking to a lovely lady who was interested in trying cloth menstrual products. She hadn’t used them before, and wasn’t sure where to start. So, we chatted about her periods, her menstrual cycle, and various other things before I made some recommendations to her.

After this, I headed into my workshop where Flo, my trusty sewing machine, was waiting for me. Together, we stitched more than 35 reusable pads. There were a few more calls dotted throughout the day, some emails and messages to respond to, three kids to calm down, and two young kittens who needed the odd cuddle and tummy tickle.

Flo our vintage sewing machine.

No period dramas here!

So, after a full day of talking, sewing, and breathing – not literally! –  periods, what did I do? Well, after getting the kids settled for the night, I sat down and started flicking through the TV. I came across an old episode of Downton Abbey. Not my usual cup of tea, I’ll be honest, but… well, lockdown TV just hasn’t been too great, has it?!

My husband couldn’t quite believe that a period drama was my choice for the night. Neither could I, quite honestly. I zoned out, and I couldn’t tell you – if my life depended on it – what happened.

How things have changed

While I was ‘watching’ this episode of Downton Abbey, my mind started wandering. True to form, I started wondering how they coped with periods. I mean, those dresses don’t look the easiest to manoeuvre, and I can’t imagine sanitary products were all that back then. 

Next thing, I know, I’m Googling period protection throughout the ages… and here are some interesting facts that I found:

A 120 year cycle

  • Pre 1900s – Homemade cloths were the period protection of choice. Periods were still a very taboo subject, and there was a lot of concern about menstrual hygiene.
  • 1900s – as a result of the concerns around hygiene, patents for new products continued to be taken out as demand for period protection became clearer.
  • Despite the introduction of menstrual cups, rubber-lined bloomers, and more, many people were still hesitant to buy menstrual products thanks to that taboo we mentioned earlier.
  • World War 1 – the increase of women in the workforce meant the need for – and, therefore, the acceptance of – sanitary products grew.
  • 1920s (Downton Abbey era) – Kotex sanitary napkins, made out of cellulose, became the first successfully mass-produced menstrual products.
  • 1930s – modern tampons were introduced to the market.
  • 1950s – sanitary belts were all the rage.
  • 1972 – the first beltless pads hit the shelves.
  • 1970s – there was an increase in demand for biodegradable options as concerns for the environment grew.
  • 1980s – maxi pads, and pads with wings were introduced
  • 2000s – more and more options become available on the market – from pads to tampons, menstrual cups to ‘Go Commando’ yoga pants. 
  • 2010 onwards – reusable period protection starts to make a real comeback as focus on the environmental (and financial) impact of disposable products intensifies.

It’s all just a little bit of history repeating

So, we’ve almost come full circle. Cloth sanitary products are on the rise – yay! Of course, there have been many, MANY improvements since the Downton Abbey days, and we continue to see more and more revolutions being made in this area. 

Today, cloth sanitary products offer an eco-friendly, zero-waste alternative to disposable pads and tampons. They come in a range of colours, patterns, shapes, and absorbencies. Some – ours! – have even been scientifically tested for their absorbency, so offer real peace of mind for customers – even those with a heavier flow.

Tee Cloth Sanitary Pads.

Once you try cloth, you’ll never go back

I’ve been using cloth sanitary pads for over five years now. I’m going to be honest with you here… I wasn’t totally sure about the idea at first. Now, though, I swear by them. In fact, I love them so much that I’ve built an entire business around them. And I am so confident that you will love them too, that I’m offering all customers 10% off their next order with IzzyWizzyRoo – just quote discount code NoPeriodDrama.

Terms and conditions

Discount code expires 7/8/20. Minimum spend of £15, excluding delivery. Discount applicable to cloth sanitary products only.