This month I reviewed something completely different from any of the other reusable menstrual product options. Jade & Pearl Sea Pearls Natural Sea Sponge Tampons. That’s right ~ sea sponges!
Believe it or not, women have been using them all throughout history. We’ve also used rags, grass, cattail fluff, moss, seaweed and many other absorbent materials. Cleopatra is even said to have used sea sponges!
The package insert states:
“Sponges are plant-like creatures that grow in colonies on the ocean floor. With over 4,500 varieties, sea sponges have the ability to regenerate from even the tiniest fragments left from the original sponge. As sponges are harvested, millions of eggs and sperm cells are released into the surrounding water, making the sponge a renewable resource that provides an ecologically sound product for menstrual use.”
What I Received
Jade & Pearl graciously agreed to send me a set of sponges to review for this series! I received 2 reusable sponges with a cotton bag in a package just like you would receive from any retailer.
The insert opens up to reveal lots of information like how to insert them, how to keep clean and care for them and a few facts about them.
I also received a full brochure showing all their products and some specific products card info sheets.
Sea Pearl Sponges don’t really look any different from any natural sponges you can buy for household or cleaning purposes. The only real difference is their size, how they are handled and how thoroughly they are cleaned before you buy them.
They come in small, medium or large sizes. If you need to you can trim them down a little with a pair of scissors. Right out of the package they are a bit hard, like any natural sponge is when dry.
Even though Jade & Pearl thoroughly washes, sanitizes, dries and inspects all the sponges, it is still recommended that you still disinfect them before use. You can do this by soaking them for about 10 minutes in 1 cup of warm water with one of the following items added in:
- 2 drops Tea Tree Oil – a very effective germicide that has been proven to inhibit up to 60 strains of bacteria, including s. aureus. This will also eliminate any odor on your sponge.
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide – this will also remove any discoloration occurring during use.
- 1 teaspoon colloidal silver – there is no pathogenic organism known that is not killed by colloidal silver in 6 minutes or less. It’s use is also beneficial to women who suffer from recurrent candida yeast infections.
I chose the apple cider vinegar method to disinfect mine since that’s what I had on hand.
As I said above, Jade & Pearl sponges are thoroughly washed, sanitized, dried and inspected before they sell them. They carefully package all the sponges by hand, but they do recommend that you check and clean them before use.
You can even add a string to them for easier removal if you would like. Make sure to use un-dyed and organic material for the string though. The whole reason for going natural is to keep chemical laden products away from that area.
In the disinfecting process, I noticed they soften up quite nicely when wet. In fact, you have to wet them to use them. It seems odd that wet sponges would be absorbent enough to catch menstrual flow, but it works I promise!
To use simply wet, squeeze out most of the water and insert them just as you would any non-applicator tampon. Removal is not that difficult ~ reach in with your thumb and index finger to get hold of it and pull it out, much like you would a menstrual cup. Yes, you have to actually touch yourself to insert and remove. On particularly heavy-flow days you can even use two at a time for extra absorbency.
Although they are just as absorbent, in my experience, as a regular tampon ~ they will leak when over full. I know, so do tampons if you have them in for too long, but these are squishier than tampons and when full any strenuous movement will, well, squeeze the fluid out of them quite easily. This is not a problem if you don’t have super heavy flow. Definitely wearing a cloth pad for protection helps a lot. And just not going for too long before rinsing it out is really the key here.
The interesting thing is, when you remove them to rinse them out, they don’t look like much. It’s not at all like you would imagine a blood-soaked sponge would be. It looks like there’s some blood on them for sure, but not usually dripping with it. However, when you are rinsing it out you will notice just how much they can hold. Most all of the blood stays on the inside of the sponge.
When out and about it’s a good idea to have the 2nd sponge or two with you in a wet-proof reusable bag since you can’t always easily get to a sink in public restrooms. Simply place the used sponge into the bag and clean it later when you get home. In the public stall you’ve got plenty of toilet paper to wipe up your hand with so you can get over to the sink to wash your hands. You might even consider carrying a wet wash cloth with you for this purpose. You can also use the larger stall that has a sink in it. Simply put, being out and about while using these sponges was not the hassle I expected it to be.
Rinsing the sponges is a bit messy on your hand(s). You WILL be touching blood, but at the same time your hand is under running water while touching it. No big deal! Your hand is being rinsed at the same time the sponge is. But honestly ladies, who hasn’t gotten a little blood on their hands (or clothing now that I think about it) during their cycle? It happens, we’re women! Haven’t you ever leaked through any product you’ve used, even just once? We deal with blood every month and none of us has an excuse to be squeamish about blood. It’s natural, it’s part of our body and it’s just something we have to deal with.
The draw-string bag that comes with the sea sponges reminds me of all the reusable cotton produce bags I carry to the store with me ~ only smaller with looser weave! The two sponges just fit inside with not much room to spare. At this point I actually have 4 sponges, because I bought some from GladRags as well when they were having a sale plus free shipping. So I’ve chosen to set aside one of my small produce bags for storing my sponges in between cycles. It just has a bit more room.
To sum up here ~ these are great!! They are easier to get used to than the cups since you don’t have to get them positioned just right. They are perfect for someone who wants ease into using reusable menstrual products but is a little intimidated by the cups.
Oh and I almost forgot to add that you can even have intercourse while using sponges! Here’s what Jade & Pearl has to say on this topic:
“It is perfectly safe to use your Sea Pearls during intercourse as long as you rinse and clean your sponge thoroughly afterwards. If you have trouble removing a sponge after intercourse, we recommend relaxing your muscles, squatting or sitting in a warm bath. Some women use sponges as a form of contraception along with a spermicide of their choice.”
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review and my opinions are my own. When reviewing a product I will let you know if I purchased the item or was provided a sample from the company for review purposes. My opinion of the products I review is for information purposes only.
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