The videos are hilarious and clever, some evoking a Mel Brooks-esque Robin Hood: Men in Tights and others reminiscent of a cross between “My Little Pony” and “Care Bears” – depending on the brand.
FACT: spray that claims to neutralize the most noxious and permeating bathroom disasters is a real thing.
there are currently 3 unique brands: Poo-Pourri, Unicorn Gold, and V.I. Poo
one brand even appeared on Shark Tank for another product and won investment from Shark Lori
these brands sell their product online individually
some of these brands sell their product on a subscription, so you’re never out
all of these brands sell in stores, some boutique but up to being carried by Target
there is an entire DIY movement already in full swing
Before I go on – and before you read on – know that I have not tried any one of these products either as a retail purchase, a donated item, a conditional trial, or even a DIY. I first thought the videos I started seeing about 3 months ago were spoofs, and when I finally saw an actual television commercial, I added this idea to my stocking stuffer list for my parents – one for home and one for travel.
Of the three, V.I. Poo’s graphic is the simplest:
HOW THEY WORK
So far, there are two chemicals method for neutralizing the odors of poop:
Poo-Pourri and V.I. Poo uses natural essential oils to create an oil film on top of the water that will trap the poop and its odors under the surface of the water. Because oil is hydrophobic – hates water – it stays on top and, even when broken by the poop, will quickly close the rift so as not to mix with the water. One instance of verbiage on the V.I. Poo website seems to indicate that the scents are from Air Wick, and I can confirm that the V.I. Poo line of products is carried directly on the Air Wick website, listed under the Products menu heading.
Unicorn Gold uses gold nanoparticles to create a neutralizing reaction with sulfur, the main mineral causing the worst of poop odors; after that, your chosen scent takes over to product a pleasant experience. The product claims to use essential oils for the pleasant scent, and also claims to be the only marketed product that works below and above the water line – which means this one may have some effect sprayed even after the “incident.”
IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
As I mentioned in the Evidence section, one way to verify that a product has market traction is by the size and breadth of the DIY community. A simple Google search for “DIY poop spray” reveals what one site claims is the Poo-Pourri recipe; this is the very first search result, by the way.
While the essential oil version of poop spray is pretty simple to crack and copy, the formula using gold – incidentally the only one claiming to work on poop rising above the water line – is less simple, less easily DIY-able, and likely less cost effective to accomplish by DIY.
HOW ABOUT A PRICE COMPARISON
They all recommend 3-5 sprays per use, before doing the deed.
They all come in a 2 oz size; some come in larger sizes as well.
The average price for the 2 oz size is $10.07 – ranging from $9.95 to $10.25.
I have to assume that the 3-5-spray recommendation is designed for low-water toilets because I simply cannot imagine that’s enough oil+carrier solution (it’s a 100% oil solution) to create a uniform film over the often 8″x8″ water surface of an old fashioned toilet. Perhaps trying will out the truth.
WHAT WILL CECE DO?
Because Poo Pourri is available at four local stores within 5 miles of my home, I am most likely to purchase my first bottles as the stocking stuffers I first intended them to be. All of these stores are locally-owned and operated independent businesses, not part of chain stores small or large.
NOTE: The following account of my trial of THINX is completely unsolicited and unpaid; I paid regular price out of my pocket for these period panties and have had no communication with THINX other than the purchase transaction.
Here’s why I tried them:
Aside from performance, I’m always looking for a more sustainable way to manage hygiene, and these are reusable with no solid waste to cause biodegradability concerns.
That comes with the added benefit of being more cost effective in the long run; I estimate it will take 2 months per pair of panties for the cost equivalency of my current disposable method.
And then there’s the education and supply mission of the company: for every pair I purchase, they donate a pair to a woman in a country where period products are simply not available, where girls are banished to a shed for their week a month, missing school, work, income opportunities, etc. Like Tom’s shoes in that way.
Here’s what I chose as my trial kit:
For starters, I got 3 pair (best discount) of the hiphugger style to try; it’s one of two styles designed for “heavy days”. If I don’t like them (doesn’t seem like that will be the case), I simply send them back for a refund – even if I’ve used them.
I ordered the 2x, which is currently their largest size. For sizing comparison, I wear a 22 or 24 in pants without stretch, 20 in pants with stretch.
Here’s my period profile:
So that you can judge how THINX would perform for you, it’s necessary for me to disclose my period profile. I’m a 100% free-bleeder, using pads exclusively.
My period lasts almost exactly 5 days:
First 12 hours: comparable to spotting
Next 24 hours: what I consider regular, using 1 pad per 12 hours
Next 24 hours: what I consider heavy, using 1 pad per 6 hours largely due to clotting – really tricky for the overnight
Next 48 hours: return to regular, sometimes with a 4-6 hour period with no bleeding at all
Next 12 hours: spotting through completion
THINX has attempted to give guidance on how long you’ll be able to wear a particular pair, but as they only use standard tampon size as their guide, those of us who free-bleed (especially those who have only ever free-bled and not used tampons at all) have no frame of reference. I will attempt to provide that below, even specifying the brand and size of pad I typically use during different phases of my period.
Here’s how they performed:
Day 1: since I started midday, and my first day is just spotting, I used a pad. No sense in wasting one of my three precious pairs of THINX on spotting IMO.
Day 2: roughly 9 am – 11 pm – regular flow
Today is my regular flow day on the front end, and I’ve been wearing the first pair since about 9 am. The only time I feel wetness is when I pull them up after going to the bathroom. It’s a fleeting coldness more than wetness that lasts less than 15 seconds. I’ve also paid particular attention to smell, and so far, I’ve had to put my nose within 12 inches of the panties to smell anything at all and even then it’s faint. No leakage at all, and again, I’ve had one pair on for almost 12 hours now.
I’m not at my heaviest flow yet. That will start overnight tonight and continue through tomorrow, so I’ll let you know on that. For reference, during my heavy flow, I use two long, overnight Always pads as the same time with an overlap right in the middle. And I clot pretty significantly during that 24 hours.
Day 2 Overnight: roughly 11 pm – 10:30 am – Transition from regular into heavy
The overnight went great. It wasn’t until the morning wake up when I get a little restless that the panties slipped and sagged in the butt, allowing 1 small leak onto the bedsheets. The panties are comfy, but I didn’t really register that the material is much more slippery, silky almost, than my regular cotton panties. So they slide easily. In addition, I’m a side sleeper and it was easy to see how the side (around the leg toward the outer hip where there’s no absorption planned) has more blood than the front panel (where there is absorption planned). This likely won’t be a problem for back sleepers as that’s where the full coverage absorption is in the hiphugger panty.
Day 3: roughly 11 am – 3 pm – Heavy day
This day was the truest test. I deliberately checked frequently (went to the bathroom) and tried to keep them on as long as possible to really test capacity. Just as when I wear pads during heavy days, the THINX filled quickly and started slipping off, creating the same saggy butt problem as I experienced when first waking up. It’s the same problem babies have with a full diaper. I had 1 leak while sitting, but to be fair, it was right as the panties hit capacity, not any kind of deficit in the design or concept.
They lasted 5 hours, just shy of my double-pad 6 hour stretch, so I consider that a huge win for capacity.
With only one pair left to test, I switched to regular panties with double pad because first pair were not yet dry to wear (not surprising, just noting). I’ll address my laundering experience below.
At this point, I estimate the capacity to be as follows: 2 regular tampons (THINX estimate) = 4-5 hours on heaviest day = 1 tampon per 2.5 hours.
This is pretty consistent with other accounts of THINX performance by both paid and unpaid trials. (Reminder: my trial is completely unpaid; I paid regular price out of my pocket for these period panties and have had no communication with THINX other than the purchase transaction.)
Day 4: are they dry yet?
I mentioned laundering earlier, and it is actually the part of the THINX concept that elicited the most varied criticism, with users reporting anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days for the washed panties to dry enough to be worn. So here’s what happened with mine:
The first pair I wore (day 2), I rinsed in the sink (as instructed before washing) and hung them to dry; I didn’t wash them immediately because I really wanted to find out about the drying. I’d read that the panties took up to 4 days to dry, so there would practically no way to wear a pair twice in one cycle. Thankfully, I can confirm that roughly 36 hours after rinsing (they were thoroughly soaked) the first pair is completely dry. I suspect that, as with the “feeling of wetness” issue, the panties dried in an air conditioned setting were simply cold, not actually wet.
I started them drying in the bathroom overnight, hung from a hook in the shower where they didn’t touch the wall or anything. In the morning, I moved them to a hanger and hung them from the door jamb so they could continue to benefit from full circulation. By 8 am this morning, they are completely dry and ready to wear again.
For comparison, the two other pair stayed in the bathroom and are still quite wet. It should be no surprise that hanging dry in the least humid room of the house will speed up the drying, but it was worth the comparison.
So after a brief switch back to pads during the heaviest phase of my cycle (since all three pair were in rinse, clean and dry mode), I’m back in the first pair and also back to a regular day and expect to be able to wear one pair for the day.
Here’s what I’ll try during my next cycle (September):
I want to test the hiphuggers a little further during my heavy days/nights, especially the sagging and leakage to see if it was/is a result of capacity or if the panties just won’t stay put. So in September I’ll be using pads in THINX during the heavy phase.
This is pre-emptive of simply purchasing the only fuller coverage panty available from THINX.
Here’s what I really want to do when my budget allows:
I intend to purchase six more pairs
three pairs of the high waist for the heaviest day and for overnights
three pairs of the hiphuggers to round out the set
That should allow me to get through my entire cycle without having to worry about laundering and drying when it’s not convenient.
Costing It Out:
The site runs a special discount when you purchase three pairs that basically makes is $100 for a 3/pack. With the basic economy pack of pads coming in a $7 and lasting (me, at least) 2 months, that’s $3.50/mo in pads. At that rate, it will take 7 years and 2 months to break even on the panty investment ($300/3.50/12).
I don’t necessarily foresee a need to replace the panties before then if they’re only being used 12 times a year (assuming I get my full 9-pair collection) – that’s roughly 85 times over that period.
In that same amount of time, I would NOT be using and disposing of approximately 1,600 pads.
Special Shout Out to a Man
I doubt I would have the candor or even simply the idea to be this open and natural about my own period or the process of managing a period if I hadn’t had one specific man-friend many years ago ask as part of the sexual history part of our getting-to-know-you. Thank you to the unique men who recognize that physical processes and activities are not shameful, are part of a shared life with a female partner, and respect that many choices result from those conversations.