Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big menstrual sponge test 2021. Here we present all the menstrual sponges we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

With this, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best menstrual sponge for you. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a menstrual sponge.




The most important facts

  • A menstrual sponge is an inconspicuous and healthy alternative to tampons. It protects the environment, saves money and your vaginal flora benefits from the natural monthly care.
  • The Levantine sponge is reusable. For double leakage protection, the menstrual sponge can be used in combination with a Menscup.
  • When buying a menstrual sponge, you should not only consider the type and shape, but also the origin of the product.

The Best Menstrual Sponge: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a menstrual sponge

What is a menstrual sponge?

A sponge is one of the oldest hygiene items and is inserted into the vagina like a tampon, where it absorbs your menstrual blood without releasing harmful substances into your body or drying out your vagina. A menstrual sponge from the Levantine coast is suitable for use during menstruation.

This is why it is called Levantine sponge, as it is mainly grown there. Each sponge is unique because it is refined by maceration. Like any other sponge, this sponge is a multicellular living being and during maceration the soft body of the sponge was mechanically separated from the skeleton.

However, attention is paid to species conservation and sustainability, and the root is preserved so that it can grow back until the next harvest.

What are the advantages of the Levantine sponge?

A menstrual sponge is free of chemicals and can be used over several menstrual cycles. It is completely free of harmful substances and can even be combined with the use of a menstrual cup. It also offers you the following advantages:

  • It is 100% natural, sustainable and skin-friendly
  • You can cut it to your individual size with scissors
  • Does not dry out the vagina, as only excess liquid is absorbed
  • Saves money, waste and the environment
  • No knowncases of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome)
  • Easy to insert and removeeven on weaker days
  • It is comfortable to wear and remains invisible in your vagina because there is no retraction cord hanging out.

How long does a menstrual sponge last?

A menstrual sponge usually lasts as long as a tampon that is suitable for the amount of bleeding you have. Experience shows that the Levantine needs to be washed out and reinserted about every two to three hours on the first heavier days.

At the end of the period, it will be sufficient to reinsert it every four to six hours. You will quickly find out when it is fully absorbed, because then it automatically slides towards the vaginal entrance. If you still feel a little insecure, you can also use a small backup in the form of cloth pads or panty liners, or combine it with a menstrual cup.

You should cut it so that it fits into your menstrual cap. If you are bleeding a lot, you could even insert two sponges one after the other .

How do I use a menstrual sponge?

A menstrual sponge is inserted into your body like a tampon and removed after it is fully absorbed. Before using it for the first time, we recommend soaking it in a 1:2 mixture of vinegar and water and letting it dry. When you want to insert it, you should wet it with water and squeeze it out.

It is best to insert it with two fingers first, and then push it deeper into the vagina with your index or middle finger, as you would with a tampon. If you have a vaginal infection, you should not use the sponge or use a new sponge after the treatment.

Circumstances Use
Vaginal infection Do not use. Risk of infection increased, or use new sponge
Postpartum Do not use. Risk of infection increased
Menstruation Regular use, as usual

What about removal and cleaning?

It should be cleaned at least every eight hours or when it has soaked up your menstrual blood. Removal is best done in a squatting position with two fingers in a tweezer grip.

If it hasn't slipped out on its own yet, you can push it down using your pelvic floor muscles and remove it with two fingers. Then rinse it out under cold running water until no more blood remains. Be careful not to use warm water. Warm water makes the blood coagulate and then you can no longer remove it from the sponge.

If you want to use the sponge again, you can put it straight back in after you have squeezed out the water.

At the end of your period, rinse it thoroughly and soak it in a mixture of vinegar and water for a while (preferably overnight) to kill any germs. After drying, you can store it safely in a cotton bag until the next use.

What should I expect to pay?

The cost of a sponge is incredibly low compared to all the hygiene products mentioned so far, as it is cheaper than a menstrual cup or cloth pads and can be used over and over again. Its price depends mainly on the size. Sponges in the size of about 7 cm are available from 5 € upwards.

An 18 cm sponge costs about €38. Therefore, our recommendation to you is to buy smaller sponges instead of a big one that you then cut to size. A menstrual sponge can be reused for up to a year, after which you should replace it.

Decision: What types of menstrual sponges are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of menstrual sponges:

  • Menstrual sponges made of foam
  • Menstrual sponge made of natural sponge

Menstrual sponges made of foam are now offered by many manufacturers of traditional menstrual hygiene. They are manufactured industrially and often sold under the product name "soft tampons". The foam tampons are usually offered in a soft pink shade and in different sizes or thicknesses.

Menstrual sponges made of natural sponge, often also known as Levantine, are a natural product made from sponge cultivars that are mostly imported from the Mediterranean region. Each sponge is therefore unique. Appearance, colour and shape can vary.

How does a menstrual sponge made of foam work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Soft tampons are made by moulding soft foam pieces into an ergonomic, slightly tapered shape. They can be moistened before insertion, but this does not have to be the case. Some products also have a light moisturiser, which makes insertion easier, especially on weaker days.

A small grip tab at the lower, wider end of the tampon makes it easier to remove from the vagina.

Did you know that bath sponges can also be used instead of menstrual sponges? It is inserted like a traditional tampon. You should try to insert the sponge as deep as possible, right up to the cervix. It is removed by squeezing it and removing it with two fingers.

You can usually buy foam menstrual sponges in multi-packs, because each sponge is intended for single use only - unlike natural sponges, which can be used several times.

Advantages
  • Hardly noticeable during intercourse
  • Single use
  • Homogeneous appearance
  • No retrieval cord, therefore invisible
  • Some products with moisturiser/lubricant
Disadvantages
  • Relatively costly
  • Not environmentally friendly

Of course, this increases the costs, because the purchase price of soft tampons is significantly higher than that of conventional tampons. And unfortunately, the foam period sponges are not particularly environmentally friendly. But period sponges also have many advantages.

For example, they are hardly noticeable during intercourse, both for you and your partner. And because they don't have a retraction cord, many women also feel more comfortable using them during their period in the sauna or swimming pool than with conventional tampons.

How does a menstrual sponge made of natural sponge work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Sponges are multicellular organisms that grow or are cultivated in water. Accordingly, each Levantine is a unique natural product. This is accompanied by a yellowish to brownish colouring, which is not perceived as appealing by all users. And the shape of the sponges can also vary.

Accordingly, they do not have a practical loop that you can grasp when removing them. This can make the application a little difficult, especially for beginners. Pressing out and grasping the sponge requires some practice. Without the tab, it may be necessary to insert two fingers to pull on the sponge.

This is not only a coordination challenge for many women, it can also be quite uncomfortable during menstruation, when the abdomen is sensitive to pressure anyway. Natural sponges have to be cleaned and disinfected by a vinegar bath before the first use or after each application interval. This slightly increases the handling effort.

On the other hand, the natural sponges can be reused over several cycles. This makes them particularly inexpensive and environmentally friendly despite relatively high purchase costs.

Advantages
  • Hardly noticeable during sexual intercourse
  • Reusable and very hygienic
  • Natural product and environmentally friendly
  • Inexpensive
  • No retrieval cord, therefore invisible
Disadvantages
  • Regular cleaning with vinegar solution, therefore high effort
  • No retrieval loop
  • Washing out in public toilets not always pleasant

Washing out the sponge is necessary several times a day. So before you decide on a reusable menstrual sponge, you should also consider whether your daily routine allows for this handling. For example, if you had to do the washing out in a publicly accessible space - whether at work, school or university - you should be aware of whether you might feel embarrassed by it.

Especially if there are only unisex toilets, many users feel uncomfortable washing out the sponge. But Levantine sponges have many of the same advantages that make foam sponges so convincing: they don't interfere with sex during your period and remain completely invisible in the swimming pool, at the beach, in the sauna or in nudist areas.

Did you know that almost 50% of women avoid sex during their period? This can be for a number of reasons. Many couples don't talk about sex and menstruation, others find it unhygienic, others simply don't feel like it.

In addition, natural sponges are particularly hygienic when used and cleaned correctly. They do not dry out the vagina and thus leave the vaginal flora intact. Unlike conventional tampons, there is also no risk of small pieces or lint remaining in the vagina.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate menstrual sponges

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate menstrual sponges. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Origin
  • Shape and type

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Origin

You should make sure that a manufacturer states its origin (e.g. from the Mediterranean), that the name Levantine is mentioned in the article description and that it really is a natural sponge.

Just because a sponge is brown and has pores does not mean that it has a natural origin and has been carefully treated without chemicals.

Shape and type

A Levantine sponge does not have a uniform shape because it is a purely natural product and is not industrially manufactured. Thus, the size can vary from product to product and can have a round to slightly oval shape, with a diameter of 5 to 7 centimetres.

Menstraution sponges are available in two different colour shades: They are naturally slightly brownish in colour and turn yellow after a bleaching process. When choosing, you should pay attention to the type of bleaching process or opt for an unbleached sponge if you want it to be as natural as possible.

Photo source: 123rf.com / olegdudko

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