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A blog from the women of GladRags and our customers too.

Discussions on menstruation, environmental living, women's health, relevant politics, and other interesting matters - we like to go with the flow around here.

You know what’s hard to photograph? People using our products! Any shots of our products in action are really just photos of people doing their thing. So we have to get a little creative, which inspired our most recent photoshoot of GladRags in their many natural habitats: the bathroom at home, the laundromat, in a purse at work, a dresser drawer…

We’d like to introduce you to our wonderful models — who are also honest-to-goodness GladRags fans: meet Carrie, Rujuta, and me, Kate!



Name: Carrie
Age: 36
Occupation: Writer, Social Media Manager, and Recipe Generator at Our Stable Table and weekly contributor to The Leaky Boob

What was modeling like?  When I was 11, I was in a fashion show for JC Penny at my local mall. The guy who was styling us told me to “suck it in” and tightened my hot pink belt so tightly, I could barely breathe. That was the end of my modeling career because I liked breathing more than modeling.When my fantastic friends at GladRags asked me to do a little photo shoot for them, I said HELL YES. Because redemption. And I’m happy to say they never asked me to suck any thing in.

What do you like best about GladRags and reusable menstrual products? The Moon Cup has changed my whole perspective about what I’m putting IN my body. I love that I’m no longer inserting mystery chemicals and synthetic materials into my vagina.  I mean, how scary is that?  Give me washable silicone or latex any day.  I also really love how I don’t have to worry about changing anything every couple of hours.

Tell us one funny period story!  Well, that will take way too long.  I wrote it for you on my blog instead.



Name: Kate
Age: 21
Occupation: Full time student / college admission intern

What was modeling like? Pretty easy, actually! I was expecting it to be a little bit awkward but it felt really natural, and surprisingly quick.

What do you like best about GladRags and reusable menstrual products? Besides being easy to use, GladRags are really pretty. I’m all about period positivity and they make getting my period more fun. Plus, the reduced environmental impact of reusables means a lot to me– I’m an environmental studies major, so I think a lot about how to reduce the amount of trash we all make!

Tell us one funny period story! A few years ago my partner and I were at his mother’s house, fooling around on her very nice white couch… and of course, I got my period and left a huge red stain on the pristine white cushion! We flipped the cushion, and luckily she got a new couch before ever noticing. Close one!



Name: Rujuta
Age: 42
Occupation: Public Health/Social Justice

What was modeling like? Easier than I thought. The lovely women of GladRags were so great to work with.

What do you like best about GladRags and reusable menstrual products? Knowing that I’m not putting toxic things in my body, and then trashing the environment with them after I’m done.

Tell us one funny period story! When I first got my period in 7th or 8th grade, I freaked out and wanted to stay home from school. My mom didn’t know how to handle it, so she contacted the school counselor, who happened to be a socially awkward 70 year old man. He called me into his office and we had “a talk.” Thanks, mom?!

Thanks to all of our wonderful models for helping us spread the word about reusables! We love taking pictures of real people who love our products. If you live in Portland and want to be considered for our next photoshoot, get in touch!


kateAbout the author of this post:
Kate is a summer intern at GladRags, and a feminist with a passion for period positivity. She starts her senior year at Reed College this fall, where she’ll write her thesis on climate change policy.


I have a confession to make: I have sneezed with such force while in a grocery store that I peed. I PEED. Just a little bit, but enough for me to frantically whisper at my boyfriend, “look at my pants! did I just pee myself?!?” in the aisle of QFC. This incident definitely ranks in one of my top five embarrassing stories (although judging by the frequency with which I tell it, you’d probably never guess).

Many of us are aware that pregnancy, along with all of its other effects on the female body, can cause what we quaintly call “leakage.” The icing on my mortification cake is this: I was not, nor have I ever been, pregnant. My sneeze-pee in the candy aisle of the grocery store was a wake up call.

Urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men, and the most common form is stress incontinence (aka leaking when you sneeze, dance, laugh, etc). Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can all contribute to stress incontinence, which affects millions of women in the U.S.

Many of our customers, in fact, use GladRags as daily backup against stress incontinence. Cloth pantyliners are a much better alternative than plastic disposables, especially if you’re wearing them daily. The adhesives of disposable pantyliners are a known vulvar skin irritant, and the cost can really stack up when they’re used every day.

Our shipping manager, Eliana, recently quipped “Do you want your GladRags to retire when you do? Then do your Kegels.” Doing your Kegels (aka pelvic floor exercises) is one of the simplest, least invasive ways to prevent stress incontinence, but they must be done correctly to be effective. To perform pelvic floor exercises, squeeze the muscles in your pelvic area as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Only squeeze your pelvic muscles — avoid clenching your stomach, legs, or butt. And of course there is no substitute for visiting your medical caregiver for proper instructions!

Trying to get into a pelvic floor exercise routine is kind of daunting for a newbie, especially when you’re not sure if you’re doing them correctly. When the kind folks at Minna Life generously offered to send me their new kGoal exerciser to try out, I jumped at the opportunity!

The kGoal is unique in that it provides real-time feedback: this little device buzzes when squeezed, so you know you’re using the right muscles. It also connects wirelessly to your phone or tablet so that you can complete ‘workouts,’ which are then scored in the areas of strength, endurance, and control. One of the workouts feels more like a game —  you squeeze and release to allow different shapes to pass through a threshold, leveling up as your strength, control, and endurance improve — which makes the thought of doing pelvic floor exercises way less boring.

The one feature I’d love to see would be to allow users to ‘challenge’ their friends on the app — my pal Erika (read her kGoal review here) and I would like an easier way to report our vagina strength to one another! — but I get that most people are probably not anxiously awaiting this feature. Otherwise, the app and device have run smoothly and intuitively for me every time. It’s still not second nature for me to remember to do my workout, but I’ve practiced more with the kGoal than any other pelvic floor exercise aid.

We’ve partnered with Minna Life to offer a special giveaway for GladRags readers. Use the widget below to enter to win your very own kGoal and a 7-pack of your choice of GladRags cloth pantyliners.*

Enter The Giveaway Here

*winner may choose any combo of seven standard Pantyliners, Thong Pantyliners, or Pantyliner Plus in natural organic cotton or their favorite print. View all pantyliner options here.




not impossible to shop ethically

There’s an article making the rounds on Facebook this week about the “myth of the ethical shopper.” In it, the author tells us why consumer advocacy campaigns and “voting with your dollar” don’t work. What he ignores is one important point: like most things in life, this isn’t an all-or-nothing game.

When you choose to eat healthfully, does one slice of pizza negate a month’s worth of fresh fruits and vegetables? Of course not. When you shop ethically, the fact that you have not single-handedly solved the global garment industry’s problems does not mean your choice didn’t matter. While we do need to take a hard look at the global policies that create horrific working conditions for workers, I’m a firm believer that one life matters. If your purchase (or lack of purchase!) changed one individual’s life for the better, I’m for it. And I hope you are too.

“Shopping ethically” has certainly become trendy, and it’s difficult as a consumer to make choices that align with our own values. Like all-natural or sustainable, we’ve entered into some serious buzzword territory, and it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Below you’ll find the standards by which I shop. They make work for you; they may not. I encourage you to create your own roadmap for shopping ethically, and to remember that being a force for good in this world is never impossible–it’s just not always easy.

1. Define ethical.

Everyone’s definition of ethical is different. For some, choosing vegan products is the most important. For others, vegan isn’t even on the radar. And ethics aren’t static — they’ll change with new information. Sometimes it really is a matter of the lesser of two evils — or, to put it positively, a step in the right direction!

2. Read labels. Ask questions. Then ask more questions.

You might see on a product label that something is ethically produced or natural — but what does that mean? You won’t know until you ask. Any company that really works toward an ethical goal will be happy to answer your questions. Small brands are often easier to work with than larger ones in this respect. For example, everyone who works at GladRags knows exactly where our products are cut and sewn (and have probably even had lunch with the people who made your pads).

3. Look for certifications that are meaningful.

If you know what you care about — where it’s made, how it’s made, what it’s made of — you can look for certifications that measure a company’s impact in that area. Be careful: some certifications can be attained by jumping through hoops and following the letter of the law, without the spirit. Personally, I look for certified Benefit Corporations. It’s a tough certification to earn — I should know, GladRags has gone through certification twice! —  and is holistic enough that a company can’t do well in one area (like making organic products) while simultaneously ignoring something else (like pay equity).

4. Consume less or buy used.

Simply put, the easiest way to become an ethical shopper is to shop less. Buying used or bartering with friends doesn’t bring new items into the waste stream, and reduces the need for more production. Buy only what you need, choose items that will last for years, and care for those items well.

Yes, shopping ethically is more work than giving up. But your choices and your actions matter. Never, ever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

The idea of making next to zero trash can seem incredibly daunting to many people. When most of everything we consume comes packaged and wrapped, the idea of living a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t seem possible. What most people don’t realize is that many of the steps towards reducing one’s trash are actually incredibly easy and money-saving!

If you have ever been curious about how you can shrink your trash footprint and live life a whole lot greener, than keep reading as I dispel the common myths of living a zero-waste life!

3 myths about zero waste living

Myth #1: I have to be 100% trash-free.

First we have to ask ourselves, “why is there trash in the first place?” The reason: poor design, and poor recovery. Currently, the way most goods are produced falls into linear production model. In general, that means products are designed and manufactured to not be recaptured and put cycled back into the production system. Basically, goods are made, consumed, and then disposed (another new addition to the landfill family). This linear production economy equals trash and avoiding it 100% of the time—unfortunately— is just not realistic. Even the best zero-wasters still produce bits of trash. Don’t beat yourself up if you make some trash. The goal is to become an empowered, informed, and conscious consumer! By voting with our dollar we put the heat on industries to design goods to be fully recoverable, which means every part of the product can be introduced back into the cycle once again.

The term “zero waste” is an industrial term. It is the opposite of the current linear production system we are all a part of. A zero-waste economy is one where design, manufacturing, consuming, and recapture are all on the same page for recovery. We call this a circular economy.

Again, the best we can do is be super-empowered consumers and avoid as much trash as possible by flexing our consumer muscles and making choices which drastically eliminate needless waste. This way we send a powerful message to companies to make shifts in how their product is designed and recovered.

The zero waste lifestyle is not about perfection; some trash will happen!


Myth #2: It’s expensive to have a zero-waste lifestyle.

The illusion of a greener lifestyle is that it’s more expensive, but in our family we have saved money! Because we simplified our wants and needs, decluttered, and have bought less packaged products and foods we have eliminated so many common purchases. For example, we no longer buy paper towels, napkins, tissues, plastic baggies, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, razor blades, and pre-packaged foods. Instead, we have durable and lasting reusable products.

We even save money by eliminating the need to buy cleaning and personal care products by making our own from simple and inexpensive ingredients. Even just hang-drying our clothes has saved us nearly $50 from our monthly energy bill! That’s $600 dollars a year! For the ladies, by choosing reusable menstrual pads and cups, you’ll save roughly $90 dollars a year! It all adds up!

When you move from a disposable lifestyle to a reusable lifestyle you clear out the unnecessary items and waste from life and make room for better health, less stress, and less need to buy things we don’t actually need. Instead, we look for meaningful experiences rather than stuff.


Myth #3: Changing my habits won’t really make a difference.

“Does it really make a difference?” is the one question I get asked the most. While it seems as though all of your efforts go to waste every time you pass an overflowing trash can, we are all in this together and we all inspire change through our individual actions. One of my favorite quotes says: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale


AndreaSandersPhotoAbout the author of this post:

Andrea Sanders lives in Boulder, Colorado where she helps individuals, families, and businesses reduce their environmental impact. Learn more about Andrea and her zero waste mission at www.bezero.co. She shares daily zero-waste inspiration on Instagram (@BeZeroWasteGirl).

2 ways to wash cloth

When people first start using GladRags, they’re often worried about cleaning them. Do I have to do anything special? Is cleaning them hard? We’re here to put all those concerns to rest! Cleaning your cloth pads is super easy, and there’s more than one right way to do it. While stains might happen, there are easy ways to prevent them. But rest assured, even if there’s light staining, once laundered your cloth pads are indeed clean and sanitary! Here are two cleaning methods we like:

The Relaxed Method:

Use a washing machine and dryer, and wash your cloth pads with all of your other dirty laundry, like usual. Cold water is best for combatting stains (and better for the environment!), and a low heat on the dryer will keep your pads from shrinking and wearing out prematurely.


You can even wash ’em at a laundromat! (Though we can’t guarantee the guy next to you won’t be a little weirded out.) Pro-tip to Portlanders: visit our friends at Spin Laundry, an eco-friendly laundromat with its own attached cafe.



The Hands-On Method:

You can hand-wash your cloth pads in your sink, with some gentle soap. You can also pre-soak with Bac-Out or Buncha Farmers to keep odors and stains away.IMG_1169

You can even air-dry them on a clothesline! The sun will naturally bleach any stains, and it’s more energy-efficient than machine-drying.


Either way, they’ll end up snug and dry in your underwear drawer until your next cycle! Easy as that.


Be sure to check out our posts on how to use reusables in a public restroom, or our tips for making your cloth pads last longer!


kateAbout the author of this post:
Kate is a summer intern at GladRags, and a feminist with a passion for period positivity. She starts her senior year at Reed College this fall, where she’ll write her thesis on climate change policy.

This is our friend, Carrie. She’s at work right now– what’s that cute bag she’s carrying? Is it just her makeup bag?


Nope, Carrie doesn’t need to touch up. Looks like it’s a GladRags Carry Bag! And all her pads and pantyliners can fit right inside.


With her fresh GladRags in the clean pocket (the bag can fit four whole day pads!), she’s off to the restroom for a quick pad-change.


Looks just like a little pocket book. Pretty discreet, huh? No one even needs to know that you’re changing your pad…


Unless, of course, you want to tell your friends all about your pads. That’s totally cool too. We strongly encourage bathroom/cloth pad gossip.


It’s as simple as that– to clean it, just wipe down the laminated sides. (Maybe don’t do that in your office bathroom…) Could it be any easier?


It’s so easy, we probably didn’t need a whole photo essay to explain the carry bag… but we made you one anyway!

Get your very own GladRags Carry Bag here, in your choice of five stylish prints.


kateAbout the author of this post:
Kate is a summer intern at GladRags, and a feminist with a passion for period positivity. She starts her senior year at Reed College this fall, where she’ll write her thesis on climate change policy.

Through our recent photoshoot at Spin Laundry Lounge we met Kayleen, a laundry maven and self-identified “Moon Cup evangelist.” We asked her a few questions about her experience with reusables, and working at Spin.


First, tell us a little about yourself!

When did you first start using a cup?
About a year and a half ago.

What prompted you to make the switch?
I had always been curious about the Moon Cup. When I had my IUD removed after five blissful, period-free years, I couldn’t imagine going back to disposables again. Choosing the Moon Cup was a game changer, and easily one of the best things I’ve done for myself in my 20s so far.

For you, what’s the best part about reusables?
Positivity! Sharing the light I’ve seen with other women, having positive discussions about menstrual health and hygiene, and feeling hugely empowered knowing I’m doing good for my body and the environment.

What’s the biggest change you noticed after dumping disposables?
Sustainability! No more driving to the store for $8 packages of organic tampons, only to wrap them in more excessive toilet paper before throwing them in the trash, or leaving them unused, tossed-around and half unwrapped at the bottom of old purse. The average American woman will throw away around 13,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime. But I’m not average.

IMG_1230 (1)
Any advice for people switching to reusables?
You’re making really good decisions – keep it up!

How long have you worked at Spin?
I joined Spin in the buildout phase, a few months before we opened our doors in March of 2014.

What’s the best part about working here?
It feels really good. The opportunity to work for a female owned, eco-focused, people-focused business in Portland, Oregon is a dream come true for me. I am genuinely excited to come to work every day and effect change in people’s lives and the environment through a seemingly small but impactful practice like laundry.

What’s something cool about Spin that people should know? (Besides the sweet coffee bar in the back, of course.)
Spin’s washers and dryers are the most energy and water efficient in the entire world! Sure, we’re the laundromat with the beer, but we’re also the laundromat that uses less than a third of the water and energy that a household washer and dryer uses in half the time. Plus, beer.


kateAbout the author of this post:
Kate is a summer intern at GladRags, and a feminist with a passion for period positivity. She starts her senior year at Reed College this fall, where she’ll write her thesis on climate change policy.



We are super excited to bring your our brand new cloth pantyliner — made just for thongs! Our product testers had this to say:

“It fit my thong well, and didn’t move around at all. I think it actually made the thong more comfortable, because it was so soft, I barely felt it while walking around and such. I don’t wear thongs very often, but I might start wearing them more – I wear a lot of running shorts and leggings without underwear, but on my period, it might make more sense to wear a thong with this liner for backup with my Moon Cup or just on its own, depending on flow. So, yes I will definitely use this again!” – Iris

“I tried out the pantyliner prototype today, and I found it very comfortable! I wore it on a light day so all by itself. It fit really well with the thong underwear and stayed in place. I put it on and immediately liked how it made the thong so comfortable because of how soft it is. I would definitely use it again.” – Renae

We can’t wait to hear what YOU think!

P.S. Our product testers are GladRags Ambassadors — click here to learn how you can become an ambassador and be eligible to try new products before they’re released.

thong pantyliner lifestyle

stars name


We can’t wait for this new print to arrive to GladRags.com just in time for Independence Day! Help us name it and you could win a Day Pad in this patriotic print. Leave your suggestions in the comments, and we’ll pick our fave on June 29th.

Not feeling creative? Make sure you follow GladRags on Facebook — there will be an opportunity to win a starry blue pad, no naming required!

The winner is Gretchen, with “First Lady!”

first lady

I’m pretty sure my dad and I never talked about periods. Like, ever. We still don’t (and I’m okay with that), although we did take this photo with Cuterus together a few years back at a GladRags party! My dad and I may not talk about menstruation, but he is 100% behind my period business endeavors. Thanks, Dad!


In honor of Father’s Day, we asked our Facebook followers to share their favorite dad + period story. Here are some of our favorites (there were SO many good ones):

“The first time I ever had menstrual cramps, I was 15 (I had been irregular and spotty for a couple of years before that). I woke up in the middle of the night and thought my appendix was about to burst. I crawled across the house to my parents’ room. My mom said, “It’s just cramps. Go back to bed.” (I realized later we must have been ‘lined up’, so that’s how she would have known.) My dad got out of bed, got me the heating pad and some ibuprofen, helped me back to bed, and sat up with me until I could fall asleep again. Then he just went to work. He took being a father very seriously, and I will always be grateful.” – Amanda

“My first period happened on a trip to New Orleans when I was 13 while driving there. We stopped at a hotel near Memphis for the night. When I announced it to my parents my dad ordered margaritas at dinner to celebrate. I really wished that a.) I could have had one, and b.) he hadn’t announced it to our waitress.” – Kathleen

“The day after I got my period I went to a birthday party where we went swimming. That night, in and out of sleep, I heard my dad come into my room a few times and put his hand on my forehead (I was not sick). Finally, on one of his many trips, I asked him what he was doing. He told me that he was checking to make sure I was ok, as sometimes tampons can absorb water and make you feel bad.

Even though the risk of me acquiring toxic shock syndrome from a chlorinated pool was seriously impossible, looking back on it now the gesture seriously warms my heart. My dad has always been a worrywart, and I’m sure he read about tampons and toxic shock syndrome once and tossed and turned all night long at the thought of me getting sick. Even though his worries seemed irritating at the time, I now realize he does what he does because he loves my sisters and I so much. He is a really good dad!” – Jennifer

“I’ll never forget this: The first time I got my period in school (5th grade), the nurse called home and was letting me leave school. My parents weren’t home so she left a message on the answering machine. A short while later, I was told my dad was there to pick me up. YES! MY DAD! Completely and utterly mortified, my dad started teasing me as we walked to the car.” – Tiffany

“Got my first period summer after 6th grade. Sister and mom were not home. My dad waited outside the bathroom door, calling in periodically with concern ‘you okay?’ and ‘need help?’. Thanks dad. I miss you!” – Kristin

“When my dad had to start buying me tampons, he got frustrated after like, two months and just bought two of the biggest economy packs of tampons he could find so he didn’t have to go back to get more. I only had a period every 2-3 months so they actually lasted me from age 13 to about age 19.” – Veronica

“When I got my period for the first time I was at my dads house for the weekend which was in a very small town and 3 hours from home and my mom. The grocery store and all other businesses were closed. My dad called the owner of the very small grocery store. He met us doen there and let us in. My dad and the owner both stopped at the end of the aisle and pointed down to the pads and tampons. I think my dad said something like “just get whatever you need”. I was on my own!! I was so embarrassed but those two grown men seemed just as embarrassed!! I’m sure every person in that small town heard about it. I will never forget that!” – Jennie

The story below sparked a discussion about what dark purposes one might have for menstrual supplies. I’m still convinced that her menstruating mama just wanted some alone time:

“I remember that when I was really little, when my father would run to the store to pick up pads for my mother, my mother would insist I go too. Like I was proof he actually had a lady at home, and wasn’t just stockpiling menstrual supplies for some dark purpose.” – Saundra

“My dad was a single parent so when I got my first period he was the only one there to explain it all to me. He took me to the store to get some pads but when he walked into the aisle he was blown away by all the choices. He asked me what I needed. I had no idea. So my dad randomly grabbed a few boxes of tampons and pads and we left. After we got home he laid everything out on the table and started trying to explain it to me. He got a glass of water down and tried to tell me how tampons work. He shot the tampon out of the applicator into the water where it swelled up quickly. My dad looked horrified and said “that looks like it hurts”. He then called his mom and had her come and explain it all. Good try Dad!”  – Angela

And a bonus Dad story from George:

“I grew up in a house with my Mom and 4 sisters. I had a vague situational awareness of this subject. At around 12 I realized that the linen closet held a couple of boxes of things that were meant for my Mom and older sisters. Bored one day I explored these boxes and was intrigued, especially by the box of what looked liked torpedoes to me. Torpedoes were launched by submarines so I decided to employ the nearest body of water, the bathroom across the hall. When the content of the torpedo exploded and bloomed in the toilette I was amazed and continued to launch a volley that would have taken out every U-Boat lurking the oceans of the world.

When the supply ran out, I moved on to exploration of other mundane household items I knew nothing about. That night, there was a level of distress among Mom and elder sisters. Apparently synched up by proximity, they all realized at once that they were out of product!

Dad was sent on a supply run, the usual milk, bread…and something muttered by Mom which seemed to irritate him. He turned and looked at me. I had forgotten about the afternoon battle in the toilette, but had the feeling I had done something wrong. Dad told me we were going to the local Bohack’s supermarket for some things. When we pulled into the parking lot, he explained that he would wait in the car and I would fetch the items, not unusual. What was unusual, when giving me the list of items he included “get yourself a candy bar or something”…..? That just never happened! We were not a wealthy family by any means and extra was not in our vocabulary…..He followed with one last item. “Get a box of those lady things for your mother”.

I sat a moment trying to decipher his cryptic message realizing his expression said no questioning…with no clue I had to ask. Before I got the question out he said “ask a lady clerk” and shoved me out of the car. I gathered the items, spent a moment choosing my reward but still had not gotten the “lady” things. I had gleaned from his discomfort it was something to be modest about and approached the lady clerk cautiously.

As I explained in whispers and blush, she quickly caught on and escorted me to a section previously unknown to me in an aisle I had never been. She made some seemingly random inquiries to narrow the search leaving me baffled until she described what sounded like the torpedoes to me. My crimson face must have lit up and she pulled a box from the shelf. We proceeded to check out. I suspect she smiled through the entire transaction, but I can’t be sure. I could no longer make eye contact with her, the source of my shame unclear. I returned to the car.

Dad asked if I had gotten “everything”. I replied that I thought so, and told him I had gotten 2 candy bars, a serious breach of contract, and challenged his obvious annoyed stare with a steely return of my own. He hesitated, then drove home. I suppose the lady clerk was correct in her choice as I never heard another word about it. I no longer cruised the family toilette torpedoing the enemy however.”

Tell us your best story in the comments!