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Sea Sponges (also known as "Sponge tampons") are an alternative to tampons or menstrual cups.
Any natural sea sponge (not your manufactured dish washing kind) can be used to absorb menstrual blood. You can purchase sponges that are specifically designed for this (cut the right size, and include instructions and storage pouch), but you can also purchase sea sponges for cosmetic/art use (from chemists/pharmacies and art/craft supply stores). If you buy a sponge from an alternate source to those designed as menstrual sponges, you may need to trim it to a desired shape and size, and there is no guarantee they are free from impurities.
The Museum Of Menstruation has images of older sponges, including ones that were inside a net with a long string. There would seem to be no reason why you could not use cotton gauze or other soft netting to make a pouch with a string to help removal (however these may pose more risk for TSS) Some women sew dental floss to the sponge as a string.
Once you have purchased a sponge, you should wash it thoroughly to remove any sand particles or other debris. Some sources say to boil the sponges in water for 10 minutes to sterilise them. Boiling the sponges can shorten their lifespan, so some sources do not recommend this, and suggest using other methods, such as soaking in vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solutions. (See below).
Before insertion they should be wet with clean water to make them soft, and then squeeze out the excess water so that they are just damp. Insert to about "midway" in the vagina, or where it feels right. To remove the sponge you will need to use your fingers to locate the sponge and carefully remove it without squeezing it too much. Rinse it out well with water, squeeze out any excess and reinsert it. If you have 2 sponges you can use one while the other is being cleaned.
You can wear 2 sponges together on heavy days, however they may not be suitable for women with a very heavy flow. You should remove and wash the sponges every 3 hours. Between use you should clean the sponges. Some recommendations are:
Remember that the sponge will be reused, so you will not want to use harsh soaps and chemicals that may irritate your sensitive skin. You should rinse the sponges very well to remove traces of the cleaning products used. Store them in a clean dry place, but not in a sealed container (They need to "breathe")
I've written up my thoughts on sponges Here
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