40+ Charities That Provide Bras, Sanitary Products, & Other Necessities to Homeless & Low-Income Women

According to research from the National Women’s Law Center, one in eight women in the US lived in poverty in 2016 — which can make affording bras and menstrual products can be a massive burden. Here are the organizations that are providing bras, sanitary products, and other necessities to people in need.

For folks who have stable housing and economic security, purchasing menstrual products and undergarments is a routine fact of life, if a sometimes expensive and frustrating one. In fact, The Huffington Post estimated that people who menstruate may spend over $18,000 on menstrual supplies alone during the course of their lifetime. But, for low-income, homeless, and economically disadvantaged people who menstruate, the high price of affording these necessary items can take a devastating toll.

According to research from the National Women’s Law Center, one in eight women in the US lived in poverty in 2016, with women of color, single mothers, and women over 65 experiencing disproportionate rates of economic insecurity. It’s also important to note that menstruation impacts non-binary and transgender people who, in the US, experience homelessness at more than twice the rate of their cisgender counterparts. For these people, affording bras and menstrual products can be a massive burden. 

In the US, government benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) don’t cover pads and tampons. To make matters worse, 37 states that exempt sales taxes on items for medical use such as ChapStick and dandruff shampoo don’t extend those exemptions to menstrual hygiene products, an injustice that many activists refer to as the “tampon tax.” 

For menstruators who are economically disadvantaged, the tampon tax is more than a simple inconvenience: it can keep them from accessing the items they need to attend work and school and can cause serious health problems. And, unfortunately, because so many people are unaware of this issue, homeless shelters, food pantries, and other organizations that support low-income and homeless folks often struggle to stock these items.

The good news is that many feminist activists have recognized this injustice in recent years and have developed nonprofit and charitable endeavors to ensure that these crucial supplies get to the people who desperately need them worldwide. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate list of 40+ organizations that provide bras, sanitary products, and other necessities to people in need. This list can help you find out where to donate feminine products and where to donate bras near you.

Let’s take a look at these awesome projects!

Charities that donate bras to women in need

If you’ve got a new or gently-used bra kicking around that you’re not wearing, send it along to one of these amazing organizations:

  • Be A Dear, Donate A Brassiere. This San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit has donated over 26,000 bras to homeless and at-risk people since starting operations in 2009. In addition to giving recycled bras to local women’s organizations throughout the Bay Area, they accept monetary donations to purchase bras for folks who couldn’t find a fit among the donated bras. If you’re in the Bay Area, check out their OctoBRAFest event coming up this month.
  • BOGO Bras. The BOGO in this company name stands for Buy One, Give One. True to their name, for every bra purchased from them, they’ll donate one to a person who has survived sex trafficking to help them find a job or start a business selling bras in their community. You can also reuse the box your bra ships in to send back gently used or unworn bras that they’ll also donate.
  • Bras For The Cause. Serving people in Iowa, Bras For The Cause is a slightly different model than most of the other organizations we’ve listed here. They accept decorated bras to be auctioned off and displayed at their Gala events. All donations and proceeds go towards providing breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured women throughout Iowa. If you’ve got a creative flair, send them a decorated bra here.
  • Breast Oasis. Breast Oasis currently accepts new and lightly used bras for donation during October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. They have drop-off centers at many locations throughout the US, and they also accept financial donations online. 
  • Brem Foundation. The Brem Foundation was started by Dr. Rachel Brem to raise awareness about and encourage early screenings for breast cancer. Through the Foundation’s Re-Bra program, folks who’ve undergone breast surgery can donate their pre-surgery bras to low-income people in need. You can donate your bras via mail or drop them off at one of their D.C.-area locations.
  • Bringing Resources To Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS). Based in Virginia, BRAWS accepts brand new bras with the tags still on to distribute to women’s shelters. You can mail in your items, purchase bras from their Amazon wishlist to donate, host a donation event, or bring your donations to one of their collection sites. They also host an annual OctoBRAfest event to raise awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness month, a Mardi Gras event, and an annual fun run.
  • Dianne’s Mastectomy. This company donates gently-used and new breast prostheses, post-mastectomy bras, post-surgical camisoles, wigs and head scarves, and compression and lymphedema products to people in developing countries who’ve had cancer-related breast surgery. To make a donation, email info@diannesmastectomy.com.
  • Dignity Matters. Dignity Matters is a nonprofit based in Framingham, MA that donates bras and underwear to homeless adults and children around the Boston metro area. They have many different ways to get involved, including running your own bra drive, hosting a bra donation party, or volunteering with them directly. Find a drop-off location near you here.
  • Distributing Dignity. Distributing Dignity donates new bras to kids aging out of foster care, people who’ve experienced domestic violence, homeless veterans and teens, and people displaced by disasters. You can bring items to one of their drop-off locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, or donate money directly to them on their website.
  • Donate Your Bra. This nonprofit donates bras and other items to people with breast cancer, especially those in difficult financial situations. You can ship your items directly to them by following the instructions here. All donations to Bras For A Cause are tax-deductible and come with an IRS tax receipt.
  • Dress For Success. Dress For Success helps women achieve economic independence by providing professional attire and career development training to women worldwide. Although their focus is not specifically on bras, they will accept donations of new bras if they still have the tags on them. You can find your local donation center by clicking here.
  • Forty Winks. This lingerie company accepts donations of gently worn bras which they’ll send out to organizations including The Bra Recyclers and Free The Girls. For every bra donated, they’ll also make a $1 donation to the nonprofit or organization they’re supporting that month.
  • Free The Girls (FTG). FTG donates used bras to women in developing countries so they can start their own business selling them on the second-hand clothing market. Their objective is to empower women economically so they can be free from human and sex trafficking. Find ways to donate your used bras here
  • Girls Giving Girls A Lift. A project of Girls Helping Girls Period, you can donate your washed, gently worn bras to this organization. Check here for their mailing address.
  • Goodwill. Goodwill accepts gently used clothing which they sell at their stores throughout the US. They do accept bras and while they aren’t donated directly to folks in need, profits from their sales go directly to providing job and career support for folks in need. Plus, shoppers can purchase donated bras at much lower prices than new items.
  • I Support The Girls. A bra donation organization with drop-off locations across the US, I Support The Girls provides undergarments to people who are homeless, fleeing domestic violence, in transitional housing, or refugees. You can mail donations directly to Dana Marlowe, founder of the ISG, or find a drop-off location near you here.
  • Journelle. Journelle is a luxury lingerie store based in NYC. They partner with Free The Girls to host an annual Bra Drive where you can donate your gently used bras and receive a coupon for 20% off a new item.
  • Local shelters. Many local women’s and homeless shelters accept clothing donations, including bras and underwear. Check out this directory of women’s, domestic violence, transitional housing, and family shelters to find a location near you.
  • Oxfam. For folks based in the UK, Oxfam accepts donations of new and gently used bras. All donations are sent to Frip Ethique, a social enterprise based in Senegal where predominantly women workers sort donations and sell them to local traders. You can donate items at your local Oxfam shop.
  • Soma. Soma is a popular bra and underwear retailer that has collected and donated over 1.8 million used bras through their Soma Bra Donation program. They partner with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNDEV) and I Support the Girls (ISG) to provide bras to women who’ve experienced domestic violence and homelessness. To donate, simply bring your new or gently used bras to your local Soma store or make a direct financial donation to NNDEV or ISG on the Soma website.
  • The Bra Recyclers. This organization is a for-profit textile recycling company that takes new and used bras as well as new underwear. You can mail in your items or find a drop-off location near you here. While the Bra Recyclers do not supply bras and underwear directly to people in need, they send recycled items and offer support to nonprofits that work with women who’ve experienced domestic violence, human trafficking, drug addiction, and breast cancer. All unuseable bras are recycled, reducing textile waste.
  • The Undies Project. The Undies Project supplies bras and underwear to low-income folks in Lower Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY. They accept new or gently used bras as well as new underwear. You can drop off your donations at one of their locations or mail them in, host a donation event in your area, or purchase items off of their Amazon wishlist to donate.
  • Uplift Project. Uplift collects bras in Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand for distribution to people in developing countries. You can check out their Donate Bras page to find out more about how to donate your used items. They also accept financial donations which are tax-deductible if you’re an Australian taxpayer.
  • Vanity Fair Lingerie. This lingerie company offers an incredible program where you can not only buy one bra and get one free for yourself, but they’ll also donate one to Dress For Success with your purchase. So grab yourself some new bras and help them reach their goal of donating 50,000 bras.

Charities that donate pads, tampons, and other sanitary products to low-income women

Whether you’ve got a little extra money to contribute or some pads or tampons you don’t need collecting dust under your bathroom sink, these great organizations can put your donations in the hands of folks who need them:

  • Alliance For Period Supplies. This group is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network that is funded primarily by U by Kotex. They connect with diaper banks and shelters throughout the US to get menstrual supplies into the hands of homeless and low-income people who can’t afford them. You can send them a one-time or monthly donation directly on their website. Folks are also encouraged run period supply drive events in their neighborhoods to collect items for people in need.
  • Conscious Period. Conscious Period sells 100% organic cotton tampons that you can feel good about buying. Why? Well, for every box of tampons sold, they donate a box to a person in need. They’re currently on hiatus, but you can sign up for their mailing list to get updates on their next ventures.
  • Cora. Cora is another great company with a cause. They sell monthly subscriptions of their 100% organic cotton tampons and pads, and for each one sold, they provide pads and health education to people with periods in India, Kenya, and the US. Check out their free trial program to get one month of tampons or pads for just the price of shipping.
  • Days For Girls. Started in 2008, Days For Girls provides kits with hand-sewn, reusable, washable pads and menstrual health education to people across the globe. Through their enterprise program, they help folks in developing countries set up businesses to sell menstrual products and educate their communities about menstrual hygiene. You can join one of their many local chapters across the globe, sew kits on your own or with friends, or simply make a one-time or monthly donation.
  • Dignity Matters. This Boston-area nonprofit donates menstrual products in addition to accepting bras. You can donate items to them by purchasing products directly from their Amazon wishlist or by buying products at your local store and either mailing them or bringing them to one of their drop-off locations.
  • Girls Helping Girls Period. What started out as an idea for a single charitable party turned into a major nationwide movement for Girls Helping Girls Period. They supply people in need with a full year’s supply of menstrual products plus critical education about menstrual health. You can either donate items to them directly for them to put in their kits or make a $50 donation to supply one person with a year’s worth of products. Folks can also donate their time as local or college GHGP ambassadors.
  • #HappyPeriod. Part social movement, part grassroots nonprofit, #HappyPeriod’s mission is to provide menstrual hygiene kits to people who need them, especially people who are low-income, homeless, veterans, LGBTQIA+, folks with disabilities, and teens. You can donate money, mail in menstrual products and unused underwear, or purchase items off their wishlist. They’ve got chapters in many major cities, and are looking for folks to start new ones!
  • Helping Women Period. Based in Lansing, MI, Helping Women Period gives menstrual products to homeless and low-income women in the Lansing area. You can donate money, send in donations by mail, or bring in products to one of their many drop-off locations.
  • I Support The Girls. In addition to accepting bra donations, I Support The Girls also takes and distributes menstrual hygiene products to women in need. They’ve donated nearly two million menstrual products in just two years and aim to donate that many in the next year alone. You can find a listing of their drop-off locations throughout the US here or donate money online via PayPal.
  • Odeeva. Odeeva is another subscription-based menstrual product service where you can build your own custom monthly box of supplies. For each purchase made, they send a donation to Girls Helping Girls Period to help pay for menstrual products for folks in need. You can also get a 20% discount on your first order when you sign up for their mailing list!
  • Pads4Girls. From the founders of LunaPads, this project provides reusable cloth pads to menstruators in developing countries. In their 15 years of service, they’ve provided more than 100,000 reusable pads to over 17,000 different people. They accept financial donations here through Tides Canada.
  • PERIOD. This national nonprofit provides Period Packs to folks in need and advocates to eliminate excessive taxes on menstrual products at the state and federal level. For just $2, you can purchase a monthly supply of nine tampons and six pads that will be given to someone who lacks access to these items. In addition to donating money, you can provide support by joining one of their 150+ chapters throughout the US or by starting your own new chapter in your area.
  • Ruby Cup. Ruby makes menstrual cups and has an awesome Buy One, Give One program where they’ll send a menstrual cup and educational information to a person in need. The great thing about menstrual cups is that they’re totally reusable can be used for up to 10 years, so you’ll be investing in a sustainable product for yourself and someone else! Get a 5% discount on your cup when you join their mailing list.
  • Share The Dignity. For Australians, Share The Dignity is a great place to donate menstrual products, including cups, cloth pads, period underwear, and more. You can give them items during their April and August drives, or make a purchase at one of their partner businesses to donate. They also accept monetary donations to help provide a monthly supply or menstrual products to a person in need.
  • Simply The Basics. Simply The Basics is a San Francisco-based charity that has opened the nation’s first Hygiene Bank, a donation-based bank of menstrual items and other hygiene products that helps supply homeless shelters and low-income folks with their basic needs. You can donate money to them, purchase items from their wishlist, or contact them directly to give them products.
  • Tampon Tribe. Tampon Tribe is one more monthly subscription box that gives back. For every monthly supply of their 100% organic cotton, chemical-free, and hypoallergenic products you purchase, they supply a person in need with a one-day pack of menstrual supplies. They’re also working to employ formerly incarcerated folks, veterans, and people with intellectual disabilities as part of their mission. Get 15% off your first purchase when you sign up for their mailing list.
  • The Cup. This nonprofit organization provides menstrual cups to people in Kenya and other developing countries while also offering empowering educational programming on gender roles, safer sex, pregnancy, human rights, and sexual violence to communities in these countries. You can help them reach more communities by donating here

Hopefully the day when bras and menstrual products are truly accessible to everyone who needs them isn’t too far in our future. But, until that time comes, you can do your part to ensure greater equity for women, non-binary, and trans people who are in need of these items by making a contribution to the organizations listed here. Whether you donate money, supplies, or simply your time, you’ll be making a big impact.

Want to find out more useful information like this along with some great ideas for saving money on all of your favorite items? Be sure to keep up with the Knoji blog, and pop over to our homepage where we’ve answered thousands of your burning questions about how to get discounts and promo codes with tons of the top retailers out there.

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Posted on Jun 25, 2014

Related Articles

Cloth Pads or Menstrual Cups? The Complete Beginner's Guide to Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products & Tampon Alternatives

Whether you're just starting your period, or you're interested in reusable, eco-friendly feminine products, we reviewed the best menstrual cups, cloth pads, reusable tampons, & period panties on the market today.

Ladies — did you know most disposable sanitary napkins aren't fully biodegradable? Or that several top tampon brands contain potentially harmful chemicals? Turns out there's a lot we haven't known or thought about regarding our menstrual product choices, much of which can impact the earth as well as our health. 

According to the book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman tosses out up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene-related garbage in her lifetime. Although this only makes up .5% of the personal landfill waste in existence, it's still an unnecessary addition when healthier, eco-friendly options exist. 

Plus, chemicals related to the manufacturing of many commercially produced feminine hygiene products are not only known to be toxic, but some have even been linked to endometriosis and other health problems. Some even say switching away from these brands to more natural, reusable products alleviated their menstrual cramps, skin rashes and infections, as well as returning them to their regular problem-free cycle again.

So what can we do? Thankfully, there are numerous feminine hygiene product alternatives showing up on the market for women to try. From reusable cotton pads and tampons to menstrual cups, period panties, DIY feminine products, or even 'free bleeding', the options are remarkable. Join us as we discuss the benefits of switching to eco-friendly, reusable menstrual products — and find out which ones are right for you.

Reusable pads

According to reusable feminine hygiene products reviews, pads are used by the majority of women who make the switch to reusable — mainly chosen for their absorbency, convenience, comfort, and disposability. Some women also choose pads to allow the flowing out of fluids believed to flush toxins from their bodies, which tampons absorb but temporarily hold inside. 

The problem with disposable pads is twofold: 

  1. Pads are most often a single use product, discarded when maxed with blood and replaced with a new one, making them very environmentally un-friendly.
  2. Recent testing has shown that some top pad brands emit toxic chemicals including those identified by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the State of California EPA as carcinogens, as well as reproductive and developmental toxins — and none of this is disclosed on the products by the manufacturers.

Hearing about those two issues is usually enough for women to start seeking alternatives in the form of reusable cloth pads. And when they do, they'll find plenty to sort through. Our favorite? 

Best reusable pad: Joyful Living Naturals

Recommended as the best cloth pads by Wellness Mama, these reusable pads are handmade by working midwives. They come in an assortment of sizes, colors, and prints.

When you're ready to select your reusable pad, consider your usual period flow and how many pads you go through. Select from smaller or larger size pads based on this, and choose how many pads you purchase based on whether you'll be able to do laundry during your period or not. 

As long as they are thoroughly rinsed in cold water, wrung out, and hung to air-dry, you can wait a few days to wash these if necessary. (If you need to swap out pads in the middle of the night when too groggy to wash them, some soak their reusables in vinegar until morning.)

Price: Ranges from $12.00 - $130.00 based upon how many pads are included and their sizes.

Where can I buy this? You can buy them here and they ship worldwide.

Absorbencies/sizes: These reusable pads come in a range of sizes to suit different women. Generally, smaller sizes are for a lighter flow, younger girls or women who haven't had children yet, while larger sizes work best for a heavy flow, overnight use, or postpartum bleeding.

Ease of use: Moderately easy as long as you don't mind rinsing them out after they've reached full capacity. If you don't have your own laundry facilities in-house, you'll likely need to arrange a special trip to the laundromat to get these fully washed out when your period ends.

Materials: Flannel, cotton and/or cotton velour, and PUL, with a moisture-resistant fleece backing. Here's a little more info on how they're made and how to care for them.

Product Lifespan: Assuming you have at least 10-12 reusable pads to rotate, these can usually last up to 5 years or longer if properly cared for.

Pros:

  • Softer and more comfortable than store-bought pads
  • Eco-friendly
  • Healthier for the user
  • Lots of sizes, colors, styles, and prints to choose from

Cons:

  • Those accustomed to disposable pads may not enjoy the transition into washing out reusables
  • More expensive (but cheaper in the long run)

Bottom Line: Give these a try if you're a pad user and want something healthier and eco-friendly. (Keep a few of your regular disposable pads on hand in the beginning just in case you can't get the hang of it right off the bat). If you decide you don't like this brand there are countless others making eco-friendly pads and similar products.

Other reusable pad brands:

Reusable tampons

If it's reusable tampons you desire, to Etsy you must aspire. We saw 32 different kinds at a quick first glance, so upon closer inspection, you'll surely find your favorite from among the crocheted, knitted, flannel, and organic cotton selection.

Our favorites from the reusable tampons they listed were these:

With a solid 5-star rating after 43 Etsy reviews, we knew these were the winning option. And for the fancy ladies, they also come in peach and blue:

You'll get 6 in this homemade pack, and although this ships from Bulgaria, you'll only pay a little over $5 in shipping costs. Nice!

You may also want to consider buying a wet pouch or wet bag like this best seller on Etsy for when you need to remove your tampon away from home. The wet pouch will keep it discreetly tucked away until you can get it home to wash it properly.

Price: $21.22. Wet bags are $8.64.

Where can I buy this? Right here on Etsy.

Absorbencies/sizes: This type is recommended as follows:

  • Heavy Flow/Large: 2.5" Long
  • Medium Flow/Normal:  2.2" Long

Most users say reusable tampons are comparable in absorbency to regular tampons, depending upon their thickness and the fabric used to make them. Super absorbent types can be knit or crocheted from wool, bamboo, hemp, or cotton, and they can be either inserted vaginally like other tampons, or worn inter-labially, kinda between a tampon and pad. Some felt confident using two of theirs at once, but use caution with this.

Ease of use: These are easy to use as long as you don't mind rinsing them after taking them out, wringing them out, hanging to air dry — and then thoroughly washing them in the laundry at your earliest convenience. Some users soak them in vinegar if it isn't possible to rinse and hang them immediately.

Materials: This kind is made from 100% cotton yarn on the outside and 100% cotton flannel for their absorbent core.

Product Lifespan: Over 3-5 years if properly cared for.

Pros:

  • Huge selection to choose from
  • Possibly softer/more comfortable than other kinds of tampons (although some have indicated otherwise)
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Probably not the best for heavy flow
  • Although made with organic cotton or other natural fabrics, tampons of any kind (as well as cups) may still pose a risk for toxic shock syndrome (although some say the risk is lower due to the absence of bacteria-friendly rayon)
  • Some worry about the disintegration of the fabric over time and what that means for the inside of the sensitive vagina
  • Some have concerns about dirt, lint, or other such fragments getting into their vagina from the cloth

Bottom Line:

You'll have your best luck shopping for reusable tampons on Etsy, but there are occasional lucky finds elsewhere, like Honour Your Flow in the UK or ImseVimse in Sweden. You may want to wear them with a pad as backup until you can determine your best type and figure out how long you can go before changing. This type recommends every 2-4 hours, and *never* longer than 6.

Menstrual cups

Another favorite among fans of reusable feminine hygiene products is the menstrual cup. When shopping for a cup, look for the most natural, nontoxic option you can find. A decent quality cup should cost around $30-40, but the good news is you'll probably never need to buy another one — saving yourself hundreds of future dollars when compared to the price of disposable pads and tampons.  

Best menstrual cup: OrganiCup

One of our favorite menstrual cups is the OrganiCup, which can collect 3 to 5 times the amount of fluid absorbed by tampons. (The great part is, the OrganiCup only collects it; it doesn't absorb it — so there's no irritation or dryness and the vagina's pH balance is not disrupted.) 

According to their website, OrganiCup is hypoallergenic, certified vegan, does no animal testing, and complies to all relevant legislation. Additionally, they've received the 'Product of the Year' award for Scandinavia twice.

If you're new to menstrual cups, they also feature this guide for beginners.

For those still comparing menstrual cups vs reusable pads or tampons, know this: menstrual cups can hold up to 28 grams of fluid — and when it's properly inserted, there's sufficient suction to prevent leakage altogether.

You may also want to consider getting some OrganiWipes to carry with you, in case you need to wipe off your OrganiCup when away from home, while using a public restroom, or anywhere the sink isn't right next to you when you empty your cup into the toilet.

Price: 28 Euros, which converts to roughly $32.47 USD.

Where can I buy this? Right here. And even with international shipping, my shipping costs were only $4.00.

Absorbencies/sizes: The OrganiCup menstrual cups come in two sizes: A for women who have given birth, and B for women who have not.

Ease of use: These menstrual cups are super easy as long as you don't mind how it feels being inserted or remembering to use proper cup hygiene (i.e. washing your hands before inserting it every time, and sterilizing it in boiling water at the beginning and end of each cycle)

Materials: OrganiCup is made of 100% FDA approved medical grade silicone.

Product Lifespan: Up to 3 years or longer.

Pros:

  • Easy to use, once you get accustomed to it
  • Eco-friendly
  • Eliminates the need to purchase monthly tampons or pads, or continuously wash reusable ones
  • Keeps odor to a minimum since the suction created when in place prevents leakage (and the odor-inducing exposure to oxygen)

Cons:

  • Can be odd to get used to putting fingers inside your vagina to poke and prod the cup into place, then to remove it later
  • Can seem expensive up front compared to a box of pads or tampons, but if you can adjust to it, it'll save you plenty over a few years of use

Bottom Line:

If you can handle putting your fingers into your vagina to move the cup around and then later remove it, and you don't mind how it feels once in place, you'll be fine with this option. Just be sure to remember to empty it on time (some forget it's in there after they get comfortable), and maintain proper hygiene to avoid infections.

You can also find the latest OrganicCup discount codes here

If you don't like the OrganiCup, you could also try some of the other best menstrual cups available.

Other menstrual cup brands:

Sea sponges

Among the most natural of reusable feminine products is the sea sponge. If you're not comfortable wearing a menstrual cup, but you want a reusable alternative to tampons that you can insert, this might be for you. 

Best "Sea Sponge" / menstrual sponge: Jade & Pearl Sea Pearls

Jade and Pearl Sea Pearls are actual bonafide sea sponges — as are the rest of the brands suggested below. Also called Period Sponges or Sea Sponge Tampons, these are just like the ones in the ocean — in fact, they once were the ones in the ocean (we're told they were sustainably harvested, though). 

To insert them, just get them wet, then wring out and squeeze into a small and comfortable enough shape to insert into the vagina. Once in place, it'll expand and absorb the flow until full. Then, just take it  out, rinse and reuse. Amazing, huh?

We'd recommend a wet bag or pouch like this for use with your sea sponges as well as your reusable tampons or pads (just make sure it's the right size), especially when you need to be away from home.

Price: Depending upon which you buy, this can range broadly. We recommend this for $21.00, and you can choose from the options provided on size and number of sponges.

Where can I buy this? You can buy them on the Jade and Pearl site here, or on GladRags here, or on Amazon here.

Absorbencies/sizes: You can purchase any size on the spectrum in sea sponges, from tiny to larger than your fist. Get a Multi-Pack from Jade & Pearl for $21.00 to try one of each size.

Ease of use: Extremely easy to use once you get accustomed to moistening, shaping, and inserting them. Rinse with water during use, then sanitize with vinegar or sterilize in boiling water between cycles. 

Materials: Natural sea sponge.

Product Lifespan: These should be reusable for 3-6 months or more.

Pros:

  • Fully biodegradable (can be composted when totally finished with them)
  • You can easily trim them into the size and shape of your liking
  • More comfortable and won't dry out the vagina or irritate it like tampons can
  • Some say users can have sex with these inserted

Cons:

  • Won't last as long as other reusables
  • Sponges are actually categorized as animals, not plants - although they are arguably the most simple form of animal, and are sessile, or non-moving, like plants. So if that weighs against your ethics, you may want to opt for a different reusable
  • Tricky to swap out for a new one in a public rest room


Bottom Line:

These are great if you want into reusable eco-friendly feminine hygiene and don't mind inserting things into your vagina, but prefer not to use a cup. If you don't like the Jade and Pearl sea sponges we suggested, you can also try these:

Other period sponge brands:

Period Panties

Period panties are just like any of your other underwear, but with a pad and leak-proofing thrown in. Some people wear them as a backup to their regular menstrual products, like tampons or a cup, while others wear them for straight-up free bleeding (well, er, except for the built-in pad part). Other folks mix it up by wearing them only for the light days of their period or only when away from home or on gym days, etc.

Best period panties: HestaOrganic

Anyhoo, there are many ways to wear them and many types to choose from. Our favorite type? HestaOrganic Cotton Period Panties.

At 3 for $44.90, they're about $15.00 each. This isn't bad when you consider some period undies are $30/each or more

Comprised of GOTS-certified cotton with elastic waistbands and leg bands, and polyester film for the leak-proofing, HesterOrganic panties are made with only natural colors, free of dyes and bleaches.

While they make other types of panties too, their period panties are breathable, provide great coverage, and are cottony soft. 

Price: $44.90 for a 3-pack.

Where can I buy this? Here on their site or here on Amazon.

Absorbencies/sizes: HestaOrganic period panties come in 2X-Large, 3X-Large, 4X-Large, X-Large, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large.

Ease of use: As easy as putting on and taking off underwear — only you'll need to rinse and wring these out and hang them to air dry after putting on a new pair.

Materials: These are chemical-free made with organic cotton, elastic in the waist and leg bands, and polyester for the leak-proof barrier.

Product Lifespan: 5-10 years with proper care.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Made with soft organic cotton and spandex
  • Can also be used with (light) incontinence
  • Available in packs of 3 (buy 2 packs and most of your period is covered)
  • Available in black or beige

Cons:

  • Some say they make a noticeable sound when you walk
  • Although you could try it for light days, HestaOrganics period pads are not designed for free-bleeding, (unless you don't mind leaking through)
  • Not much different than wearing a pair of panties with a pad
  • Leg holes are elasticized, so consider your thigh size when choosing your panty size
  • Some say there is insufficient leak protection in the front, only has it in the back

Bottom Line:

HestaOrganic period panties are great if you plan to wear them on light period days or as backup to a tampon or cup. Otherwise, they may leak. Available in several sizes and two colors, there should be something for you to try here. You only have 30 days beyond the confirmation of shipping email to return them for a refund, so check them out ASAP. 

You can also find HestaOrganic discount codes here.

Other period panty brands: 

So what do you think? Planning on trying any of these or do you already have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below! 

Note: We've seen several other new options for feminine hygiene products which work similarly to cups or sponges but are slightly different, such as SoftCup menstrual discs, but these are not reusable so therefore were not included in our reviews.