Easy

A menstruation kit for low income women living in urban slums of India.

Due to reasons of unaffordability, only 24% of women in India use disposable sanitary pads. The others instead rely on cloth and rags to deal with their menstruation. In urban slums, washing and drying of cloths comes with it’s own set of challenges.

Easy is a menstruation toolkit that consists of a washer, a transport bag and stencils that aims to assist women living in urban slums to create, wash and carry thier reuseable cloth pads.


The Team
Swasti Sethi, Mante Zygelyte, Peggy Chang





Background



Living in urban slums in India, women face various challenges when dealing with their periods such as limited access to water (only 4 - 5 hours a day) and lack of hygiene facilities, along with menstruation being a taboo subject. Menstrual cloths are usually hung inside the bath area or covered by cloth, remaining damp.



Research

As we were based in Hong Kong, we interviewed 5 women living in urban slums in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune over videocalls. Based on the interviews, we tabulated and organised the information to understand each user’s complete menstrual cycle and how they deal with their periods.
















Design Objectives



Testing

Conducted tests using ketchup and experimented to calculate volume of water and steps required for successful washing and stain removal from the cloth pads.





Ideation Sketches

During the ideation phase we explored several directions from containers and plungers to everyday use and easily available items that can be incorporated to make the product cheaper. The volume of the containers was decided to hold 800 ml of water and have a capacity to wash 3 cloth pads simultaneously.





Prototype #1  Wash Bag 

The bag can be used to transport, store and wash used pads. Woman can soak the pad and scrub against the bag’s textured surface.




Prototype #2  Spinning drum with handle

Everytime the spin handle is pushed, it automatically rotates the inside drum. The cloth pads rub against the drum surface that help clean the blood out of the pad.





Prototype #3  Plunge

The plunger with a lid is designed to be attached on existing buckets found in bathrooms of most urban slum homes. The inside of the plunger is created with ribs so it spins in circular direction each time helping to agitate the blood out of the cloth pads for effective washing.



Final Prototype

We decided to combine the wash bag prototype with the spinnning drum. This way the bag can assist in the storage, transportation and pre wash for the cloth pads. Later, the bag can be fixed on to the drum and washed with the cloth pads simultaneously. We removed the handle feature from the spinning drum as it tires the user after a while and instead added a more efficient pedal.







Scenario

Showering is one of the few situations where the woman can have privacy.

The product is intended to be used in the bathroom setting, where the user can wash her pads as she bathes. This allows her to do the process without being disturbed.






Empty contents of the bag into the washer.
800 ml of water for each process. Pour water and detergent. Soak the cloth pads in detergent water.
Pedal to rinse and later dry spin.

Material & Features




Design for Manufacturing

Keeping the product low cost was one of the main design criterias. For this reason, the washer is manufactured using injection moulding of HDPE Plastic and the parting lines are created around the rims for a one piece mould for the outer bucket.







©Swasti Sethi 2020