Sustainable cotton swaps

Sustainable cotton swaps

Living sustainably is often about changing some little things in your life, since they can have a large effect. This is why I decided to share some of my most recent sustainable swaps with you that all have to do with removing single use cotton out of your life!

Let’s start with an actual swab

And to be more precise, the Last Swab. I bought the coral ‘normal’ Last Swab to switch out normal cotton swabs forever. Or at least, that was the initial idea.

I have the swab for a month now and I must say, it is definitely a different sensation. The swab is firm, whereas cotton is obviously more flexible. Therefore, the Last Swab feels a little bigger than usual cotton swabs and therefore, it is harder to get it where you want it to go. This is a little annoying, but it’s probably for the best, since it also makes you less likely to go to far and damage your ears.

To be honest, I am not completely sure if the swab works as well as usual swabs. It doesn’t leave me with that ‘clean’ feeling and if I look at it, not much seems to be on it afterwards. If I go in with a usual swab afterwards, a lot comes off still. This is why I use the Last Swab twice per ear and in between, I wash the dirt off with a little soap and water. The white part is well connected to the stick, so you don’t have to worry of washing it to roughly. After using and cleaning it, you can stick it back into it little box, which prevents it from getting dirty very well, so that’s definitely a plus. It is also fairly easy to travel with because of this (easier than normal swabs!)

Overall, I do think I will keep using the Last Swab now that I have him already. However, I will also keep buying bamboo normal swabs as well. If you don’t use swabs regularly and your ears are naturally pretty clean, this may however be a good solution for you!

Cotton pads

Another single use item in the bathroom are cotton pads. I use about 2 big ones or 4 smaller ones per day to remove make-up and put on toners and essence lotions. This means I can save a lot of waste by using reusable cotton pads, which I why I bought a bunch. I started out with the cotton pads of Holland and Barrett. Although they are great when I want to scrub my face a bit, they get way to rough after washing them one time, especially since I tend to use them mainly around my eye area.

After feeling a little defeated by not being happy after my first try, I decided to put some work into it and research better ones. This is when I found the ones from Imse Vimse. The reviews were pretty great, so I ordered them and I was happily surprised! Although they still aren’t as soft as normal pads, I can use them to wipe off make-up around my eyes if I use low pressure. I bought them in black, so they also will stay looking fresher than white ones will. They are also pretty big, which is nice, since I don’t want to use two of them per evening (since I don’t wash that often, so I’d run out of them).

I also have the black ‘make-up eraser’ and this one is a bit softer. However, they are pretty expensive and you only get one. Therefore, I tend to only use that one if I really have a full face on or when my skin feels a bit more sensitive than usual.

I do think that these reusable pads are not ideal for putting toner or essence lotions on. They absorb a lot of product right away. This leaves you using much more than on normal pads. However, I now just use my fingers and that is the most efficient way that makes you use the least amount of product. You do have to wash your hands beforehand, but that is a good idea anyways if you’re touching your face.

On to the last product…

Another single use product containing cotton are sanitary pads or tampons. I personally don’t like tampons, so for me, the menstrual cup doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. I already bought pads from sustainably sourced cotton. However, they are very expensive, so I wanted to find another solution. Then I found washable pads (or washable underwear). Since I don’t want to bring more pairs of underwear everywhere I go, washable pads seemed like the best solution.

I thought of buying black again, to see less stains later. However, that way I wouldn’t be able to use them when I’m wearing lighter pants, so I bought white ones. What I like about the Imse Vimse pads, is that they have a large range of shapes, sizes and prints. You can get whatever fits your needs.

Since I often sleep at my boyfriends house a few days a week and I can’t really wash them there, I can only use them when I am sleeping at home. Therefore, I still use normal ones, just less regularly as I used to. However, if you are able to wash them every day or every two days, this is a perfect solution! You don’t have to change them during the day and they feel soft and thin. Since I use one per day and one per night and I generally need them for 4 days. Therefore, I need 8 to be able to switch to these one completely. I bought a pack of 3 to try them, but I think I’ll buy more of them next time I place an order.

I hope these swaps will inspire you to have a critical look at what your most used single-use items are. How you can swap them to a more sustainable alternative? If there is anything I learned from this, it’s that going green is a journey. It’s fine if you don’t find a product you love the first time. It also made me realise how high my standard is from some products that I never thought of before. What are your favourite sustainable swaps and which ones would you like to try in the future? Let me know in the comments below.  Also, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, or subscribe and get an email every time I upload!

Lots of love,


Ps. I have put a couple of affiliate links in this article. This means that I earn a small commission if you buy something. This way, I can keep this blog going. However, if you don’t want to buy from my link, don’t feel pressured to do so!

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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[…] Face towels and cotton rounds: I have a stack of face towels in my bathroom and I’ll always take one with me when staying somewhere. I find nothing to be as annoying as having to dry my face after cleansing it with a paper towel. Paper towels always break up and then, some white pieces are always left on my face to pry off. No thank you, I’ll bring my own sustainable ones. For many things like wiping off make-up and putting on toner, I also use the cotton rounds described in my sustainable cottons post. […]

Pip Tips
Pip Tips
3 years ago

The sanitary pads are a great idea. It’s good to be mind of the choices we make.

3 years ago

These are some really great swaps! It’s about time we moved to a more sustainable lifestyle and it starts with a few small steps! Thank you for sharing, I think more people need to read this an become educated. I have reusable pads as I am a little scared to try a moon cup. It’s interesting what you say about the last swab. I’ve seen it advertised a lot and wasn’t sure if I should try it!

Em |

Holly Choules
3 years ago

This is such a wonderful post.

I’ve never thought about changing my cotton pads before, but this has encouraged me to give it a go and make less waste! I’ll keep the products you’ve featured in mind.

On the other hand, I’ve been searching for sustainable pads lately which means I’m glad to have found this post. Menstrual cups scare me and tampons aren’t my thing. That means I’ve had to find a pad alternative! Those reusable pads look promising. I also came across a biodegradable pad brand named TOTM – I’d say they’re worth checking out too.

Much love,

3 years ago

Great post.. It time to use reusable products. Whether it’s a bottle or a cotton pad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Sam Gravener
3 years ago

This is a fantastic post and has reminded me I really must invest in some reusable cotton rounds! Thank you!

The Queensights
3 years ago

I still feel weird about reusable menstrual pad ever since I’ve heard of it but it looks okay upon reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

Jenny in Neverland
3 years ago

This post has definitely made me realise that I need to be more eco friendly in the bathroom. Especially with cotton wool pads and balls x

✨Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog✨ (@TeresamariaThe)

Thank you for the honesty in this post! The toughness of the reusable pads in comparison to cotton pads is something I’ve never seen anyone else pointing out, but which is very useful information. I’m on the lookout for good reusable pads and will be focusing on this from now on as well, having such delicate skin.

Liz Hartley
3 years ago

This is a really great post! I feel the same about cotton pads, I bought some online and after a few washes they do feel a little harsh on my skin so I think I need to look into getting some softer ones! Also I wrote a blog post on grace and green which are a company selling eco-friendly period products. Their pads are all made of organic cotton and they are super comfortable and I thought they were at a really low price, you can even set up a subscription for them to deliver monthly!