Sea sponges are plant-like organisms that grow on the ocean floor. In their natural, unharvested state, they have a hard outer shell and basically look like rock or coral. The sponges are rooted permanently to one spot their entire lives and survive by taking in nutrients from the gallons of water that flow through their numerous pores every day. Once harvested, the hard outer shell is removed and the soft sponge inside the shell is cleaned, cut, and shaped before being sold as sea sponge tampons.
What's the Sea Clouds™ Sponge Difference?
There are over 5,000 varieties of sea sponges in the world, but less than 15 are harvested and sold for personal care use. Of those different varieties, only 2 have ever been used as tampons due to their density, texture, and absorbency – Atlantic Silk sea sponges (harvested from the Gulf of Mexico) and Mediterranean Silk sea sponges (harvested from the Mediterranean Sea).
Mediterranean Silk are considered the best of the two options due to their exceptional softness and superior absorbency. As a quality-focused company, this is why we at The Sea Sponge Company™ have chosen to offer only the Mediterranean Silk sea sponges as Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons.
In addition to selecting the best variety of sponge for tampon use, we also go to great lengths to ensure that the sponges we sell are the highest quality of that variety and extra care is taken with the cleaning, trimming, and testing of our Sea Clouds™ sponges. We would not recommend any other sponge as safe or ideal for menstrual use. We use the descriptor "Premium Hygienic" to help emphasis the cleanliness, safety, and superior quality of this particular product.
Is Harvesting and Selling Sea Sponges Kind to the Sea?
People have asked us in the past if the sea sponges being sold are living sponges. In short, when sea sponges are harvested, their top portion is cut off, processed, and sold to the public, and that portion ceases to function as a living organism. However, the bottom portion of the sea sponge that is still rooted firmly in the ocean floor continues to live and actually regrow even fuller and healthier than before. Additionally, spores are released from each sponge upon harvesting that settle and grow into all new sponges. We like to think of the act of harvesting sea sponges as similar to a gardener pruning his tree. It doesn’t hurt the sea sponge, but in fact promotes growth and new life. So you can see why sea sponges are, in fact, a very sustainable and renewable resource.
Please note that because Sea Clouds™ are not manufactured synthetically but are instead grown and harvested from nature, each sponge is unique in shape and size and will have slight variations in texture and color. Once they've been thoroughly cleaned, cut, and shaped, they are ready to be used as tampons and will look similar to the sponges in our pictures but may not look exactly like the ones you see on our website or the ones that you may have received in prior orders.
Sea Mineral Coloration
Notice a red-orange tint on the bottom of your sponge? All sponges from the sea are rich in sea minerals that your body loves and needs, including sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and so much more! Some sponges, but not all, will have sea mineral coloration or staining on the bottom as a result. Consider it an extra dose of wholesome sea mineral goodness!
In recent years, scientific studies have revealed various health risks associated with conventional tampons and pads. These mainline products contain harsh synthetic fibers like rayon, cotton sprayed with pesticides, and chemicals such as Dioxin – a byproduct of the chlorine used to process cotton. The unintended consequence of introducing these foreign chemicals to a part of your body that rapidly soaks them in is a greater risk for ovarian cancer, low fertility, and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), to name a few. Additionally, the synthetic fibers and chemicals left behind put male partners at a greater risk for low sperm count, prostate problems, and testicular cancer.
Our Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons are a healthier and safer alternative, containing no synthetic fibers, pesticides, or chlorine. They are completely natural sponges sustainably harvested by hand from the Mediterranean Sea. They are exceptionally absorbent on their own and even contain naturally occurring enzymes that inhibit odors and the growth of bacteria in addition to containing healthy sea minerals.
Sea sponge tampons are also incredibly comfortable and convenient. Once moistened, they are silky soft and conform to the vaginal wall, thus preventing skin irritation otherwise caused by rough, synthetic materials. Sea Clouds™ are easy to insert and remove, and you won’t even know they’re there.
Personally, one of my favorite things about sea sponge tampons is that they can be worn safely and comfortably during intercourse to stay mess-free while on your period. Many women even choose to use our Sea Clouds™ with or without a spermicide of choice as an optional contraceptive aid.
Finally, sea sponge tampons are totally earth friendly and economical. Did you know that the average woman uses about 17,000 disposable pads and tampons throughout her lifetime? But because sea sponges are reusable and biodegradable, we don't have to worry about filling up our own trash cans, sewer systems, and the world with used feminine hygiene products. And because Sea Clouds™ can be reused for three to six months or more, you get to save your hard-earned dollars that would normally be spent on monthly disposable pads and tampons.
Using sea sponges as tampons is really very simple. To get started, you’ll want to sanitize your Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons before the first use. Sea sponges intended for tampon use are carefully hand processed and cleaned of sea debris and coral. However, because this is a natural product from the sea, we recommend moistening and inspecting your sea sponge tampons yourself to ensure they are still clean and ready for internal use. Like regular cotton tampons, sea sponges are not considered “sterile.”
Step-By-Step Instructions for Using Your Sea Sponge Tampons
1) Before inserting vaginally as your choice of tampon, wash your hands thoroughly.
2) Then wet your sponge with warm water to soften it, and squeeze to remove excess water.
3) Squash the sponge with your fingers, and carefully push it upwards into your vaginal canal until it feels secure and comfortable.
Most women will find the sponges easy and comfortable going in, but if a bit more help with insertion is needed, you can put a small drop of any organic oil (like grapeseed oil or coconut oil) on the sponge to act as a lubricant.
If you sit down and it feels like you’re sitting on a lump, your sponge is probably not in far enough. Try pushing it upwards a little more. If the sponge still feels large or uncomfortable after being properly inserted, remove it and trim around the perimeter to create a smaller, more custom fit.
4) Generally, sea sponge tampons should be removed every 3 to 4 hours, or whenever they feel full, to rinse and then reinsert.
To remove your sponge, simply feel for the perimeter and tug gently. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, squeeze out the excess water, and push it back in.
A sea sponge may be left in place safely overnight. For days when bleeding is heavier, two sponges may be safely and comfortably used at the same time.
How to Sanitize Your Sea Sponge Tampon
You can sanitize your sea sponge tampon using a very mild, natural soap or by soaking it for 15 minutes in 1 cup of warm water plus your choice of:
a) 1 Tablespoon baking soda,
b) ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide,
c) ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar,
d) 4-6 drops tea tree essential oil, or
e) 1 teaspoon colloidal silver.
Hydrogen peroxide will both naturally clean and perfectly whiten a sea sponge tampon that has become discolored from use. You may need to soak your sponge for longer to whiten it depending on the amount of discoloration.
What I like to do is remove my sponge every day in the shower and gently wash it with Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Castile Liquid Soap. At the end of my shower, I make sure the sponge is thoroughly rinsed of any soap residue, squeeze out the excess water, and put it back in.
Once my period is completely finished, I soak my sea sponge tampon in a solution of warm water and hydrogen peroxide for 1-2 hours. This removes all discoloration and the sponge looks as fresh and clean as a new, never-used sea sponge. Easy-peasy!
Important to Note: Never place a sea sponge in boiling water, the microwave, or the dryer. This will harden your sponge. Never use strong bleach. This will weaken your sponge. Squeeze but do not twist or pull apart your sponge. Silk sponges are reusable, but must be treated gently to get the most use out of them.
How Often to Clean Your Sea Sponge Tampons
Sea Clouds™ are reusable and do not need to be cleaned every time they are removed, rinsed, and reinserted. It’s best to sanitize your sponge before the first use, once a day during use, and before storing it away at the end of your period.
How to Store Your Sea Sponge Tampons
Every package of Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons comes with a natural cotton bag for storing your sponges between uses. Remember to clean your sponge and allow it to dry completely before storing in a cotton bag.
Another option - the one that I prefer - is to buy a mesh bag that you can use to both dry and store your sea sponge tampons. A mesh bag allows your sponges to quickly air dry without touching countertops or other places that could have bacteria on them. Once the sponges are cleaned, squeeze out the excess water, and hang them up inside of the mesh bag anywhere you like. They will not drip once the excess water has been squeezed out. If you need a mesh bag for quickly drying and/or storing your sea sponge tampons, we have some great mesh bags available here.
How to Trim Your Sea Sponge Tampons
Every once in a while we get a comment from someone saying the first thing they thought when they opened up their package of Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons was, "How am I going to fit that huge sponge up in there?!" Here's what you can do about a sponge that's just too big:
1) BEFORE you start trimming, FIRST wet your sponge to soften it.
2) Squeeze out the excess water and notice how soft and yielding the sponge becomes.
3) Try inserting the sponge before trimming it down. Even a Super sized tampon (as shown in the picture above) squishes down a lot when squeezed.
4) If the sponge feels tight or uncomfortable when pushed all the way in, remove the sponge. When the fit is right, it should be completely comfortable and unnoticeable.
5) Trim pieces off around the edge of the sponge while the sponge is soft and moist, approximately 1/8" to 1/4" all the way around. Notice how in the pictures above I trim all the way around the edge until the super sized sea sponge tampon becomes the size of a regular sized sea sponge tampon.
6) Try inserting the sponge again now that you've trimmed a bit off the perimeter.
7) If the sponge still feels too large, then remove and trim a little more around the edges - never straight through the center of the sponge. If it feels comfortable to insert after the first trimming, then you're good to go!
8) Enjoy using and reusing your custom-fit Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampon for months to come!
How to Retrieve A Sponge That’s Been Pushed Back Out of Reach
Sometimes, particularly during intercourse, sponges can get pushed back out of reach. First of all, there’s no need to worry, as your sponge has nowhere to go and will not get lost. And while I have never had this happen to me, even after wearing my sea sponge during intercourse, there are some steps you can take if this does occur.
To prevent difficulty with reaching your sponge, you can thread waxed dental floss through the center of the sponge, tie a loop at the end, and gently pull on that until you can reach the sponge with your fingers.
You can also try squatting or lying on your back with your knees to your chest to reach the sponge. Or get a warm bath or use a very gentle douche to fill the sponge with water, which will make it heavy and travel back downward.
Getting comfortable and confident with using your natural, reusable tampon may take a few tries, but I'm sure you will love this amazing alternative once you get the hang of it!
Absolutely! Sea sponge tampons can be effectively worn while swimming just like regular tampons, but be sure to disinfect them after swimming in natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes.
Generally, inserting and removing a Sea Clouds™ sea sponge tampon will be very easy and smooth. If you're having any trouble at all, here are a few things you might want to check for:
Yes, there are a few things you can do to get the most life out of your sea sponge tampons. Sea sponges are durable but must be treated gently. Never pull on them except to remove them. Squeeze to rinse. Try not to over-clean by soaking your sponges longer than 15 minutes per day or every other day as per the instructions. Soaking for too long can cause sponges to deteriorate more quickly. Finally, use scissors to trim off any ragged pieces you start to notice on the sponge rather than ripping them off.
Follow these tips, and you should get a good 6 months or more out of every package of Sea Clouds™ sea sponge tampons!
For working women or anyone concerned about what to do with their reusable sea sponge tampons while they’re out and about, there are two easy solutions to using your sponge.
Option 1: The Water Bottle
Most users prefer to have a water bottle handy in their purse for rinsing their sea sponge when in a public restroom. Remove the sponge, rinse with water from the bottle directly over the toilet (you don’t even have to stand up!), squeeze out the excess water as you would at home, and reinsert.
Option 2: The Wet Bag
Another option for those that don’t want to rinse their sponges in public is to have a wet bag ready to store the sea sponges. Once the sponge is full, remove and place into a small, sealable wet bag. Then insert a fresh, clean sea sponge. Once you’re back in the comfort of your own home, you can sanitize your sea sponges and wipe out the waterproof interior of your wet bag.
You can find tons of cute wet bag designs that are just the right size by searching on Etsy.com for “reusable snack bag”!
The sea sponge tampon has some key advantages over traditional tampons that make it the go-to choice for women that are concerned about TSS and other health issues. Experts believe that the cause of TSS is likely linked to the fact that traditional cotton tampons contain toxic chemicals and, upon insertion, cause microscopic tears to delicate vaginal tissue and thus allow chemicals and bacteria to get into the blood stream more easily. The reason the traditional tampons cause these microscopic tears in the first place is because they are stiff and dry when inserted and contain abrasive synthetic materials like rayon to artificially make them more absorbent than cotton alone would be.
Advantage 1: Sea sponge tampons are much gentler on the body!
They’re naturally incredibly absorbent; no need for abrasive synthetic materials. And once moistened, a Mediterranean Silk sea sponge will become velvety soft, smooth, and squishy, textured much like the vaginal wall itself. The softness and pre-moistened nature of the sea sponge prevents injury to delicate skin, and it can even glide in easily to be used between cycles or when you think your body may be getting close to "that time of the month.”
Advantage 2: Sea sponge tampons contain no chlorine, dioxin, or pesticide residue!
Chemicals exposed to a sensitive part of the body like the vagina will rapidly soak into the blood stream and increase the potential for TSS, cancer, fertility issues, PMS, cramps, heavier blood flow, and more. Instead of chemicals and synthetic materials, sea sponges contain healthy sea minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc that your body actually needs and gets drained of during menstruation. Many women notice a lightening of their flow and cramps after a few months of switching to sea sponge tampons. I did!
Advantage 3: You can sanitize sea sponge tampons!
Traditional tampons are not considered sterile. While they’re bleached and sanitized with chlorine, this process is done in a factory that is not sterile and then they’re placed in plastic wrapping that is also not sterile. You can only imagine what kind of bacteria or other germs could be in the air, on the machines, or on the plastic wrapping when traditional tampons are being packaged. And you can’t do anything about it!
However, with Sea Clouds™ Sea Sponge Tampons, you can sanitize them once you open the package and eliminate all foreign bacteria and other germs that could possibly be on them. And then you can continue to sanitize them as often you like between uses. As long as your hands are clean when removing and reinserting, the concern of introducing foreign bacteria is limited, making sea sponge tampons actually the cleaner tampon choice.
Some women enjoy using Sea Clouds™ sponges as a natural barrier contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. While no studies have been done proving the efficacy of a sea sponge as a contraceptive aid and we as a company cannot guarantee the efficacy, there are users who swear by this method.
1. Moisten with warm water and squeeze out the excess water to soften the sponge.
2. You may then apply a small amount of your spermicide of choice to the sponge.
3. Insert and go have fun!
4. Be sure to leave the sponge in place for 6-8 hours after intercourse for optimal protection.
You can even make your own natural and effective spermicide to use with the sea sponge. Lab tests performed by Roger Short, Scott G. McCoombe, Clare Maslin, Eman Naim and Suzanne Crowe in 2002 titled “Lemon and Lime Juice as Potent Natural Microbicides” showed diluted fresh lemon juice to be as effective as the common chemical spermicide Nonoxynol-9 at immobilizing sperm. And it’s less irritating to the skin too. Sex with a twist!
Recipe for Homemade Spermicide
1) 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel
2) 4 drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Mix well, and store homemade spermicide for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
This post was written by April Hodson. She has used and loved sea sponges as tampons for several years and is always happy to answer questions and provide advice from her own personal experience and from the feedback received from other Sea Clouds™ tampons users.
Do you have any other questions that were not addressed in this article? Please send a message to April at firstname.lastname@example.org