I am a menstrual cup user living in India celebrating my first cup-anniversary with what else—a post on menstrual cups!
Cleaning Menstrual Cups - What You Should Know
Cleaning a menstrual cup need not be a nerve-wracking affair. The vast number of tips online on how to clean a menstrual cup can overwhelm you. That was the case for me. I wasn’t sure which ones to follow. There were some contradictory statements as well – some tell you to use a bar of soap or menstrual cup wash for cleaning whereas others don’t. Some tell you it is better to boil your menstrual cup every time you empty it, whereas others tell you to wait till the end of your period cycle.
So what works? Let's find out.
Tip #1 - Use a Wire Whisk
You can clean a menstrual cup by boiling it in water for around 5 minutes.
If you opt for boiling your menstrual cup, then do so inside a whisk. This prevents your cup from getting damaged by keeping it away from the bottom of the pan.
Tip #2 - Use a Menstrual Cup Steamer
This is the tip that proved the most useful for me. A menstrual cup steamer will save you a lot of time. You can simply put your cup in the machine and forget all about it. I have never boiled my cup over the stove. I started off with a menstrual cup steamer because I needed something I could use even on my work desk. A product that wouldn’t require my full attention while I am engaged in more important things.
I am in India and the one I use is from Sirona.
Steps to follow:
- Clean your menstrual cup completely with water.
- Pour some water into the container of the menstrual cup sterilizer. I use filtered water.
- Place your menstrual cup on top of this container.
- Put the lid of the menstrual cup cleaner back on.
- Plug the appliance.
- Turn the appliance on. A red light indicates it has started working.
- The menstrual cup sterilizer automatically shuts off after a few minutes (around 3 minutes).
- Wait for a few minutes before you take it off the menstrual cup steamer. It is going to be hot!
- Hold the menstrual cup by the stem and shake off the excess water. Place it on a clean cloth by your window so that it gets enough sunlight.
- Store it away in a breathable cotton bag once completely dry.
Tip #3 - Use A Menstrual Cup Sterilizer/Holder
Another way to clean a menstrual cup holder is to use a menstrual cup container. It is more affordable than a menstrual cup steamer sterilizer. Cleaning is done using a microwave oven.
How to clean a menstrual cup using a menstrual cup container:
- Place your menstrual cup in this container.
- Fill the container with water.
- Put the container lid back and keep it in the microwave oven for 3 minutes to sterilize your cup.
Tip #4 - Use a Toothpick
Some dried up blood stuck in your menstrual cup suction holes? Use a toothpick to scrape them off.
Tip #5 - Deep Clean Your Menstrual Cup Air Holes with Water
Fill your menstrual cup with water. Close the menstrual cup with one hand. Turn it upside down and start squeezing the cup lightly. The water will squirt out, cleaning the holes on the way.
Tip #6 - Use Only Cold Water to Wash Your Cup
I have heard of menstruators in menstrual cup communities advising not to use warm water for washing your menstrual cup as this can set the stains in your cup. I know there is a temptation to wash with hot or warm water at first as you feel this might disinfect your menstrual cup. But let that be the second step. Always clean your menstrual cup with cold water first.
Tip #7 - Do Not Use Any Anti-Bacterial Soap to Wash Your Period Cup!
I cannot stress on this enough. Many cuppers have used anti-bacterial soaps (our obsession with cleanliness!) and said they got infections. Our vagina is not a sterile environment, and washing your menstrual cup with an anti-bacterial soap can disturb its pH balance.
Preferably, no soaps should be used. If you must, use ones that are specifically meant for menstrual cup cleaning. Cleaners with oil and silicone should be avoided. They are said to degrade the quality of menstrual cups.
Do not be afraid to use just water for cleaning your menstrual cup. It is perfectly safe as long as the water is clean. Boiling or steaming also has deodorizing qualities and removes any odor (if any).
Tip #8 - Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Stains
Over a period of time, stains might start to set on your menstrual cup. An easy way to remove menstrual cup stains and make it look like brand new is to soak it overnight with 3% hydrogen peroxide. A lot of cuppers vouch for this cleaning method. It is completely safe.
In India, you can try using the rustic art menstrual cup cleaner as well for cleaning up your cup.
This method is to be used only when your cup has deep stains that are difficult to remove using other methods. Regularly using these products might damage the material of your menstrual cup.
For Menstrual Cup Beginners:
- Overcoming your Fear of Using a Menstrual Cup
I got a severe rash that limited my activities. I was looking into other options when I heard many women complaining about the same issue with sanitary napkins. I finally took that step towards a more economically viable and healthier alternative.
- Menstrual Cup Guide for Beginners - What You Need to Know
Lessons I learned from my own experience of using menstrual cups for a year, after tons of research, blunders and experimentation. A few tips and facts about menstrual cups I wish someone had told me earlier.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Kalpana Iyer
Kalpana Iyer (author) from India on October 02, 2020:
Thank you so much Dora. Your comment made my day. I have been advocating menstrual cups for a long time now. Got some of my friends to shift to menstrual cups. I hope I am able to motivate a lot more to make that change.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 01, 2020:
Your instructions are very clear and sensible. You're a great advocate for the product.
Kalpana Iyer (author) from India on October 01, 2020:
Thank you, Pam. I hope these menstrual cup cleaning tips will prove useful for someone.
Pam Morris from Atlanta Georgia on October 01, 2020:
Thank you for sharing this Hub, a lot of helpful tips