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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.

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Menstrual Hygiene Day is May 28th

May 28th, 2014 marked the first annual Menstrual Hygiene Day. Celebrations were held all over the world, from India to Uganda to Germany to right here in Portland, Oregon. We held our own event at a local feminist bookstore, where we screened the film Monthlies and held a group discussion about periods–check out photos from our event here!

We celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day because menstruation matters. Why? Because every girl deserves to go to school, even when she’s on her period. Because every woman deserves to live free from shame. Because menstruation is part of the process that creates life. Why wouldn’t menstruation matter?

And yet, we so rarely talk about menstruation! Maybe in hushed tones, in the ladies’ room, when we ask a stranger for a tampon. Or shyly, to our mothers, when we start our cycles and need supplies. Maybe it’s time we speak up.

This May 28th, we invite you to host a gathering in your community to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day with us. The way you celebrate will be unique to your community, but we’ve collected some ideas for you below. We hope you’ll announce your event on the official Menstrual Hygiene Day website and get in touch with us to let us know what you’re up to. Make sure to take photos at your event and tag them #gladragspads on social so we can see them!

Not up for hosting? Help a friend make the switch to cloth pads. When you spend $20 on GladRags.com for yourself, we’ll include a free GladRags pantyliner for you to pass on to someone in your community. Just enter coupon code MHDAY during the month of May to redeem your pantyliner.


Get Involved

  • Use #menstruationmatters on social media and start the conversation about why periods are important.
  • Host a gathering and use these handy 28+ conversation starters to get a dialogue going! Pro tip: start by establishing some boundaries that help participants feel safe sharing. Creating a judgment-free space — and assuring participants that their viewpoints will be treated respectfully by all — goes a long way in having an engaging discussion.
  • Share the Menstrual Hygiene Day infographic (see below) on social media to educate your friends about why menstruation matters.
  • Download activity guides and templates here and here.
  • Follow GladRags on Pinterest for boards and pins to motivate, inspire, and share.
  • Official GladRags Ambassadors can contact us for demo products, door prizes, stickers, etc for their event once they have a confirmed guest list with a minimum of 8 attendees.

MH DAY infographics

In my mind, our cycles are like well-worn paths through time and space. The moon circles the earth. Seasons follow one another. Tides come in and recede, yin transforms to yang. Each month our bodies reflect these natural rhythms.

Our cycles are one of the top indicators of overall health. For the most part, things flow smoothly. When they don’t, most of us reach for our old friend ibuprofen–hey, I’ve done it myself from time to time! But I’ve learned over the years that by engaging with my cycle I develop this amazing relationship with it.


Showing my body the honor and reverence it deserves have helped me heal my cycle beyond measure. Here are the top thirteen ways I give back to myself every month:

1. Create a special place for yourself. This could be an altar dedicated to your moon time, a quiet corner of your home with a comfortable chair, or a place outdoors. Whatever it is, make it yours and return to it each month. Use it as you will: you can sit quietly, journal, meditate, enjoy a cup of your favorite herbal tea… whatever you need to do! By creating this space that you return to monthly, you send a subtle message that when you are in this space, it is “you” time.

2. Follow your cycle with a calendar. Engage in the entirety of your cycle: learn how long it is and how many days you bleed. How do you feel when you are ovulating or just after your period ends? Over time, this gives you insight into your unique cycle. You won’t have surprises month after month, and you’ll gain insight into how to shift what needs shifting.

3. Keep yourself warm. According to Chinese Medical Theory, when we are bleeding our blood moves deeper into our bodies and then begins to flow, leaving our outermost layers more exposed. Cover up! Try wearing a red scarf or hat. Focused heat on your lower back or abdomen can help ease cramps as well.

4. Take a gentle walk in the woods or other favorite outdoor spot….by yourself! This one kills two birds with one stone: you get some much-needed alone time to relax, reflect and just be, and the gentle exercise keeps your Qi flowing smoothly.

5. Eat healthy, nourishing meals. You may try to incorporate some red foods. Or (bonus points!) cook yourself up a big pot of something BEFORE you start bleeding. This way you can take it easy and take care of yourself all at once.

6. Notice how you think and feel about your bleeding time. Do you love it? Hate it? Would you just rather not think of it at all? Where did these feelings come from?

7. Return your blood to the earth. Our monthly blood is full of nutrients and stem cells that plants and microbes love. This is an opportunity for you to consciously give to the nutrient cycle. You can soak your reusable cloth pads in a jar of water and use that water for your garden or houseplants, or simply empty your menstrual cup into a container that you use to water plants.

8. Use this as a time of self-reflection. Is there anything you need to let go of?

9. Look at the big picture. Notice how you feel throughout your cycle. Take time for self care BEFORE you need it.

10. Get some rest. Your body is doing some intense work. Not only are you experiencing a blood loss but Qi moves the blood. Allow space for both to replenish.

11. Look at the moon. What phase is it in? Was it in this phase the last time you bled?

12. Give thanks. You experience an amazing microcosmic representation of the unending cycles of birth, growth, death and rebirth! Inside your body! You bleed–without getting sick and dying! Your monthly bleeding represents you ability to create new life, or whatever creative endeavor you like.

13. Just be.

About the author of this post:

martha eden

Martha is a Chinese herbalist and woman’s health educator. She draws on a background in Chinese medicine and ecology to give woman the information they need to heal them selves. Martha started www.jade-circle.net as a resource for women to find the information they need to connect with their innate beings.



Happy Earth Day!

Our annual Earth Day Sale starts today: pick up any of the fabulously eco-friendly items on GladRags.com by Monday at midnight and automatically get these discounts applied to your cart:

$5 OFF orders of $40
$10 OFF orders over $75
$20 OFF orders over $150


Win a Pantyliner

We’re giving away a pantyliner every day this month! Just make #onesmallchange to build a healthier world, then share it on social. Full giveaway details on the GladRags blog. Here are a few of our favorite submissions so far (your posts don’t have to be this cute, but it sure doesn’t hurt!):


(click to embiggen)

Celebrate our Planet

We’re spending part of today volunteering with C.R.O.P.S. (Community Reaps Our Produce and Shares), an organic farm built on vacant land owned by the county. We’ll be helping with weeding and harvesting the produce that is donated to the Oregon Food Bank by this community farm. Follow us on Instagram to see us getting muddy for a good cause, and leave us a blog comment to tell us what you’re doing this Earth Day!


Here at GladRags HQ, we stumble across a lot of “fun” facts about disposable pads and tampons. Such as:

“In California, it is now illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short fibers of cotton known as ‘gin trash’ to livestock, because of the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, swabs, cotton balls and tampons.

The cotton is too tainted by pesticides to feed to animals, but is totally fine for your hoo-ha?! Ugh. This delightful tidbit inspired Meagan to do a little extra research on the pesticide residues left in conventional tampons.

In her research, she found that NaturallySavvy.com sent a conventional tampon to a third party testing facility to test for pesticide residue.

Horror ensues, as the following pesticides are discovered: Malaoxon & Malathion: 1 ppm, Dichlofluanid: 1 ppm, Mecarbam: 6 ppm, Procymidone: 37 ppm, Methidathion: 5 ppm, Fensulfothion: 5 ppm, Pyrethrum: 66 ppm, Piperonyl Butoxide: 1 ppm.

Naturally Savvy breaks down each pesticide in their article, but here’s a nasty tale of only one of the pesticides found in tampons:

Procymidone: Found in relatively high amounts in our sample, it’s poisonous if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or swallowed. It’s a possible liver and testes toxicant, which may also cause reproductive and developmental toxicity. It causes birth defects in some animals. Procymidone is listed on the State of California Propositions 65 Carcinogen List and the EPA’s carcinogen list. It’s also listed on the EU list of potential endocrine disruptors.

Meagan’s conclusion? “If I was stranded on a desert island upon which a lifetime supply of tampons had spilled and I was without my Moon Cup and GladRags, I would choose to free bleed on the sand. I would rather subject myself to a sticky, plastic pad than a tampon. I wouldn’t offer a tampon to my worst enemy. #byetampons”


A note about organic tampons: After learning about the uglier side of conventional tampons, you may think that organic cotton tampons are the best solution – and they’re certainly much better! But better doesn’t mean best, especially when it comes to caring for the planet. Most are made of biodegradable ingredients, but because they’re a disposable item you’re going to need to eventually buy more. And more. And even more. If you consider the energy used in an organic tampon’s lifetime, from creation in a factory to transportation to your local store, then you’ll realize that they’re still much more of a drain on our natural resources than reusable pads or menstrual cups.


    1.  Article 2, Section 2678 of the California Code of Regulations via http://www.bodyfueling.net/ARTICLES/cotton1.html
    2. http://naturallysavvy.com/care/is-there-pesticide-residue-on-your-tampons-our-independent-testing-gets-specific
    3. http://naturallysavvy.com/care/conventional-cotton-tampons-and-pesticides


We’re all about reusables here in the GladRags office, and you’d be hard pressed to find a disposable item (whether a paper tissue, plastic water bottle, or a tampon) in any of our purses or bags. But there is one final frontier for even the most die-hard reusable advocates…. TOILET PAPER.

A lot of folks refer to reusable toilet paper as “family cloth” but I have to say, I’m not a fan. The name is a spin-off of “mama cloth,” a term used for cloth pads (versus cloth diapers). I’ve never loved the phrase “mama cloth” because menstruation isn’t just for mamas! So for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll skip using the phrase family cloth and instead use the much classier terms: “pee wipes” and “poo wipes.”

Okay, so we’re clear on the terminology (you can’t get much more straightforward than “pee wipes,” honestly), how about the concept? It makes sense, especially to those familiar with the concepts of cloth diapering and reusable menstrual products: why waste paper when you could use cloth? Excessive toilet paper waste is expensive, wasteful, and can cause septic system problems. So sure, I can see why using cloth wipes makes sense.

In fact, I actually tried to use pee wipes for a while. I thought about poo wipes, but I just… couldn’t. In small part because it squicked me out, but largely because I share a few very old, awful washing machines with my neighbors and it seemed rude. I figured my pee was sterile and no one would be the wiser… and they wouldn’t have known, if I hadn’t loudly proclaimed to all of them “guess what I’m trying now!!!”

My pee wipes set up was pretty similar to most people: I had a little basket full of cloths (they were GladRags inserts, the perfect size!) next to the toilet, along with a small wet bag. Initially, I had to train myself not to drop the inserts right into the toilet, but it was a pretty quick learning curve. I washed the inserts as needed, but the cost of my coin-op laundry added up quickly and it was kind of a pain compared to washing my cloth pads once a month.

My verdict: I’d totally go back to pee wipes in the future, if I had my own washer and dryer. I’m still unsure about poo, which I’m totally okay with.

We asked our Facebook community about reusable toilet paper and got some great responses! Here’s a small sampling what our followers had to say:

“I use family cloth for myself (pee only) and you would be shocked at how much tp we save!! Instead of going through 3-4 rolls a week, we only go through 1 or 2 at the most.” – Allie

“9 years and counting! There’s a basket of cloth in front of the toilet and when they are used they go in a basket on the side of the toilet. They are washed in hot with an extra rinse (because my washer has a setting. I’ve made the wipes from flannel (old sheets, old pajama pants, flannel fabric, sometimes old towels but they never last, etc) for these 9 years.” – Amanda

I haven’t had any stains. If there’s a lot of “residue” they get treated like poopy diapers, which is they get scrubbed in the toilet with a toilet brush to get it off first before they get thrown into the pail. Washing (since they are washed with the diapers) entails a prewash with a little bit of a detergent and then a heavy duty wash with a full cap.” – Robin

“We use family cloth. Started out with cloth diapering, then cloth wipes, then family cloth. WE LOVE IT! Just use the wipes and toss them in with the diaper laundry and we are good to go. When we don’t have anyone in diapers anymore we will continue. It is so much nice for our skin, better for the environment, and saves a ton of money on toilet paper. Give it a try if you are skeptical. You will be amazed at how nice it is.” – Tricia

“Yes we do!! And I hate “going” away from home because of it. We have baby washcloths as wipes, kept under the sink, and they go right in a wet bag (left over from our cloth diaper days). I wash on hot with towels.” – Amy

I don’t use tp OR cloth — I use my bidet, and I adore it! Clean water beats wiping with anything every time. They are cheap and easy to install, they go right in your existing toilet and hook up to either hot or cold water sources. Flip of a switch, and fresh, clean water rinses away all excrement from your privates and you are cleaner than if you wiped, because there are no smears left behind anywhere. I wish bidet toilets were mandatory in all toilets everywhere! I hate having to use restrooms in public or at other peoples’ houses now!” – Josie

“I usually use paper but I’ve got the wipes set up and wet on the back of the toilet for anyone to use. Ironically I use them most often for #2 and I see most don’t. Ha!” – Sam

“My daughter and I have used it for years, love it! I keep a basket on the back of the toilet with clothes wipes stacked in it, and a small wetbag hangs from the toilet paper holder. I wash on hot when the bag gets full. Saves so much TP!” – Julea

What do you think? Have you tried it?

What would you say if an organic, ethical fashion boutique asked you to help model their new selection for spring? Um, YES PLEASE. Our little team was lucky enough to show off woman-owned and Portland-based Gaia Couture’s elegant and comfy spring selection.

We thought we’d share some of our favorite shots with you, and give you a little peek into the world of GladRags! Jealous of our outfits? Score your own from Gaia Couture for 20% off during the month of April with coupon code GLADRAGS.

heidi at gladrags

This is Heidi (and her beautiful curly hair). Heidi is our bookkeeper and has the best posture of anyone in the office.

tracy at gladrags

Here’s me. Let’s pretend that my job is to hug cloth pads and laugh about it, because I’m clearly really good at that.

meagan at gladrags

Meagan, our director of customer happiness, has seen nearly every season of America’s Next Top Model, and it shows.

eliana at gladrags

Every time you place an order, Eliana picks up a pad with wings (and then ships it to you).

tracy and eliana

Consider this shot our foray into business stock photos. I think I was saying, “look at this paper, Eliana. I highlighted some things on it for you.” We may be corny, but at least we look cute.


Heidi’s favorite part of her job is definitely when she has to do inventory. Definitely.

team gladrags

This picture is my favorite from the day and honestly gets me a little misty-eyed. I’m so proud to be working with this tiny team of hard-working ladies to make GladRags bigger and better every day. As a little girl, I never would have dreamed of being a “boss.” I’m still learning what it means to be a boss (and more importantly, a good one), and I’m so grateful to have this amazing team that’s growing and learning with me.


Here at GladRags it’s pretty much Earth Day every day, but we like to take the whole month of April to celebrate the planet — and the actions we take to protect it. It’s hard to go a single day without hearing about all that’s going wrong in the world: needless waste and overconsumption of resources, smokestacks belching air pollution, climate change, plastic trash clogging waterways…. the list goes on and on. Sometimes it seems to be an insurmountable hurdle. But it’s not.

Re-building a healthy world starts with every one of us making ONE SMALL CHANGE. Join us this month in taking a photos of the small actions you do every day to make a better world. Pictures must be your own and must include a description and #gladragspads #onesmallchange. Every day, we’ll draw one winner from all the entries to receive a GladRags pantyliner. Together, we can change the world… one pantyliner at a time.

Giveaway guidelines:

  • Pictures must include both #gladragspads and #onesmallchange and be publicly visible (or we won’t be able to find them!)
  • Entries will be accepted via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  • Pictures should be your own and depict Earth-friendly actions (like bringing your reusable bag, hanging your GladRags on a clothesline, etc).

You can watch all the entries come in via the GladRags Social Stream!

This post comes to us via the inimitable Elle Griffin, whose guest post How to Sync Your Menstrual Cycle with the Moon is a fan favorite. Elle Griffin is the founder & editor-in-chief of Over The Moon Magazineand host of Over The Moon Radio. She is a writer, speaker, & Mariology scholar who adores throwing parties and writing young adult fiction novels; and she spends her spare time dancing ballet, sipping champagne, speaking French, and sharing all of the above on Instagram @griffinelle.


It’s Time Our Rituals Get With The Times

You had the moment. The one where you felt like a shaken champagne bottle. You realized there was something more to you, to your body, to your existence, and this existential experience left you craving for ritual.

Oh they’re all the rage these days. The rituals where you burn your intentions in salt, paint your body with your menstrual blood, and sit in a circle outside under the moonlight. You know, the ones that make you feel like you’re an indigenous princess.

I know. I’ve done ‘em too. The thing is, we’re not an indigenous tribe (at least not if you’re reading this). We do not sleep outside under the moonlight on a regular basis and the bulk of our belief systems are no longer pagan (though for some reason we’re always trying to emulate their rituals).

We are connected right now, you and me, via computer screen. It’s amazing. You have access to knowledge that our forefathers would never have known, thanks to the internet. You will live longer than all previous generations, thanks to modern medicine. We get to be a community together, you and me, two girls with likeminded ambitions, though we may never meet in person, or even know someone in person who thinks just like we do.

The past is beautiful (and lord knows I dream of La Belle Époque), but so is the present. That’s why I believe it’s high time we stopped raiding our ancestors’ rituals. They’re great and all, but I also believe it’s high time our rituals get with the times. Here are some of my favorite (more modern) feminine rituals:

Rituals for the full moon

Instead of dancing around a fire with your top off howling at the moonlight and beating on drums. Try this: Grab a sweaty Soul Cycle sesh to spin away that extra energy, then get gussied up and have champagne with a friend (or lover) somewhere out under the moonlight and preferably loud (so you can laugh a lot… or kiss a lot).

Rituals for your menstrual cycle

Instead of sitting on bales of hay with your sisters and mother-in-law bleeding your sacred menstrual blood out into the earth. Try this: Invite your girlfriends over for a slumber party and watch movies that make you laugh (and cry). Feel free to order delivery and pamper yourselves with chocolate face masks from Lush. Down comforters and girl talk required.

Rituals to mark a special occasion

Instead of throwing your daughter a period party at the start of her menstrual cycle. Try this: Design a ritual that celebrates and symbolizes a shift occurring in your life. For my 30th birthday I wanted loads of ritual to mark the end of one phase of my life and the beginning of a new one. So I rented ball gowns from Rent The Runway, bought bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, hired a photographer, and invited all my girlfriends to my parent’s vacation home for a decadent weekend at the beach. Soon after, my husband and I moved from California to Utah to further cement the shift.

The point is: Want to host a Great Gatsby party in ceremony of your graduation from college? Go right ahead. Feel like celebrating 30 with ballerina toppers on your birthday cake? It’s all you. Choose old symbols or new, but the important thing is to choose rituals that suit your style, symbolize your significant moments, and help you usher in the new you in a significant way.

gladrags b corp 2

As a certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp), we release an annual report that shows our stakeholders (that’s you) what we’ve done over the past year. First, you might need some background information…

What’s a certified B Corp?

B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. It’s a certification that looks at an entire business — not just individual products. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Why is GladRags a B Corp?

We choose to be a certified B Corp because it holds us accountable for our actions, and encourages us to confront every opportunity with the questions: does this reflect our values? How does this serve people and planet? You can read more about why being a B Corp matters to us here.

Where can I learn more about B Corps?

You can learn more about GladRags’ certification here, and browse general B Corp information here.


2014 Annual Report

You can download our 2014 annual report here (PDF). Here are the highlights from 2014, including our goals for the future.


  • GladRags is owned and operated by women.
  • GladRags has an independent advisory board that reviews financial documents and keep us on track with our mission.
  • In the future, we’ll expand our advisory board and track our mission-related outcomes better.


  • Our packaging contains 75% to 100%  post-consumer recycled cardboard
  • We recycle and reduce waste wherever possible in our office
  • Our products consist of environmentally preferred materials (reusable materials, organic, etc)
  • In the future, we’ll perform in-depth analyses of our products’ life cycle to reduce their environmental footprints even more.



  • GladRags partners with local non-profits to provide employment to marginalized populations (immigrant youth, individuals with developmental disabilities)
  • 75% of medical, dental, and vision premiums are covered for eligible employees
  • In the future, we’ll work to improve the benefits to our employees.


  • Our cloth pads are sewn (literally walking distance from our office HQ!) — not overseas!
  • Most of our major suppliers are women-owned
  • In the future, we’ll focus on improving our supply chain to better benefit our local community.

We’d love to hear what you think about our progress, and what you think we should focus on in the coming years. After all, GladRags exists because of you, our customers. We think that our company practices should reflect what you care about!


One of the most common fears about ditching disposables is how you manage your period while out and about. Fortunately, using reusables in public is just as convenient! We asked our followers on Facebook to share their best advice for changing reusable menstrual products in a public restroom. Here are our favorite tips:

How to use a menstrual cup in a public restroom:

“I have a stash of gynecological wipes like at the OBGYN for cleaning yourself before giving a urine sample that I carry in my purse to just wipe out my cup thoroughly before reinserting. It makes it very simple, I don’t have to leave the stall!: – Veronica

“Use TP to absorb the fluid in a cup – if you just pour it in the toilet, it might take 3-4 flushes to get all the residue to disappear.” – Kristi

“For my cup, at home and in public, I have a small squeeze bottle that I fill with water and squirt it all over (into the toilet) to get all the major stuff off, then I wipe it with a clean paper towel (cause tp breaks apart too easily). Not as quick as a wet wipe, but much less money, less chemicals and about as much waste.” – Shannon

“Have never experienced this because with the cup I only change it twice a day, morning and night. Once when I wake up and once when I go to bed.” – Kaylin

How to change cloth pads in a public restroom:

“I just take my purse or backpack (whichever I am carrying) with me. I have a little pouch for my pads in it; clean pads on one side and dirty pads on the other.” – Kitra

“Wet bag with clean pads inside with a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide inside my purse. Take the dirty pad off, squirt it with hydrogen peroxide, fold it, snap it and put in the wet bag. Rinse and soak when home.” – Jocelyn

“For cloth pads, I have a make up bag to put my soiled pads in and another color make up bag for clean ones.” – Nicole

Share your tips in the comments!