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?

30 Comments on “Sustainable cotton swaps

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

  2. 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 |

    • Thank you, I totally think so to! I think helping each other by sharing information on alternatives is the only way to get to the best solutions. Hope you’ll find great swaps that work for you 🙂

  3. 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,

    • Thank you so much!

      I had exactly the same, but every time I threw the plastic in the trash I felt guilty. Those biodegradable ones are interesting as well, I think I’ll try them next month!

  4. 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.

    • Thank you so much! I do think it’s actually one of the main features to look for, otherwise I just know I won’t be using them every day! Hope you’ll find the right ones for you!

  5. 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!

  6. I’ve been really curious about the reusable cotton swabs, so thank you for your honest review! I love using my reusable sanitary pads. They feel so much better than the disposable ones! I’m still finding disposables necessary for some days too, but every little bit that we can change to a sustainable option really does help! Thanks for sharing your experience with these products!

    • No problem! I wasn’t sure because although I’d love for people to swap out cotton swaps, I do want to be honest about how much of a swap it is. And I totally agree with the menstrual pads, they’re so soft! And thank you very much 😀

  7. I switched to menstrual cups way back but I also use washable pads from time to time. It’s a good alternative since I don’t have to use any single-use items.

    As for makeup pads, I got the Makeup Eraser one & I love how I only need water to remove my makeup. I only wear light makeups though so not sure if it works well with heavy makeups!

    There are so many things I want to switch to reusable ones but some are so expensive so I’m taking it slowly.

    • Wow, you’re doing great already! I didn’t use to use tampons so menstrual pads seemed the logical swap for me.

      I’ve heard amazing things about the make-up eraser as well! I do use similar ones as well, but also for tonic or normal face wash I prefer the pads. But it’s a great solution for make-up I think!

      And I totally have the same with the price. That’s why I divide my swaps into categories like this one and then swap everything out over time. Little steps are a great way to do it and it’s awesome that you’re doing your part already!

  8. This is such a good post! I’ve made the swap from cotton pads to a makeup eraser, and it’s been great!

  9. This is a great post! I recently invested in some bamboo reusable cotton pads because I realised how many cotton pads I was going through each night for my micellar water, and my toner!

    Roni |

  10. These are some great suggestions – I’ve just invested in some reusable cotton pads and they are great, although I need to be careful as to what I put them with in the washing machine! Thanks for sharing these alternatives!

    Paige // Paige Eades

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