Welcome to Episode 4 of the Aunt Flo Show whereby Jackie + Tracy talk in excruciating detail about how to care for and clean a menstrual cup. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know, and more. You can find it here:
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Show Notes for Episode 4
Jackie and Tracy give you all the details you need to know about how to care for and clean menstrual cups, along with the famous TMI moment.
Find out what to do during your cycle, as well as after. And, are menstrual cup washes really worth the money, or should you just use soap? Finally, does anyone really need two menstrual cups?
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Where To Find the Aunt Flo Show:
You can find the podcast in all the usual places you normally go to for audio content, including iTunes.
Episode 4 Transcript
Jackie: Hey, everybody, this is Jackie.
Tracy: And this is Tracy.
Jackie: And welcome to Episode 4 of The Aunt Flo Show. So, today, we’re going to talk about care and cleaning of menstrual cups. It’s a very important topic.
Tracy: You don’t want to forget about that.
Jackie: That’s right. But first of all, we have…
Tracy: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding…
Jackie: The TMI moment. And so this one comes from me.
So, when I was first getting started with menstrual cups, I had quite a difficult time inserting them. And honestly, I know it takes people a while to figure it out, but I feel like it actually took me longer than the average person to figure out. But thankfully, I didn’t give up.
But when I was first starting out, I just like I couldn’t understand how to get it in there and my girlfriend at that time was a very experienced menstrual cup user. So, she helped me out with that. I’ll just leave that up to your imagination. She just was like, “Oh, you’re putting it in front of your cervix instead of under your cervix.” And I was like, “Oh, it all makes sense now.” So, I was so thankful that she helped me out with that.
Tracy: That’s one kind girlfriend.
Jackie: It sure is. Yeah, I was so thankful. All right, Tracy. So, let’s get into care and cleaning of menstrual Cup.
So, first of all, why do we need to do this? Why is it important?
Tracy: Because if you don’t clean your cup, then you’re going to get bacteria growing on it. What else?
Jackie: Well, there’s definitely the possibility of toxic shock syndrome. That’s probably the main reason why you would want to clean a menstrual cup because if you like just don’t, it’s like all the bacteria breeds and grows.
Their kind of official recommendation is that you take it out every 12 hours or less, depending on your flow, obviously. You don’t leave it in for a maximum of 12 hours or longer. Kind of same as tampons; you wouldn’t want to leave a tampon in for longer than 8 hours. It’s similar with menstrual cups.
Tracy: And how do you recommend washing them?
Jackie: Well, let’s talk about during the cycle and then after the cycle. So, Tracy, what do you use to clean your menstrual cup with during your cycle?
Tracy: I use soap.
Jackie: All right. That’s quite a simple answer. So, kind of the official recommendation is using like a very mild soap. So, don’t use one with all those like micro beads or like kind of harsh chemicals or oils.
Tracy: What about antibacterial products?
Jackie: It’s not really recommended. I think it’s going to damage your cup. And then also (Sorry, excuse me). And then also if there’s any like residue of that stuff kind of left on the cup, it can kind of give you some infections and bad things.
So, that’s just one thing to comment on. Definitely rinse your cup well, whatever product you use. If there’s any residue and you put it inside your vagina, you can throw off the pH balance and that kind of leaves you more susceptible to things like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections or that kind of thing.
Tracy: Okay. So, what you’re saying then is during your cycle, don’t leave it in for more than 12 hours. And when you do take it out, you should be rinsing it with mild soap or…
Jackie: Or a menstrual cup wash.
Jackie: So, Tracy, have you tried those menstrual cup washes before?
Tracy: I have. They seem really nice.
Jackie: Yeah, I mean, I get lots of free samples from companies that send them to me. So, I mean, I’ve tried (I want to say) like probably five or six or seven different ones and, I mean, they all smell really nice. My menstrual cup seems really clean.
But if I was spending my own money, I don’t know, Tracy, you tried some of those, too. So, do you think it’s worth the money or not worth the money?
Tracy: I find that using my mild soap is good enough. I don’t really find much of a difference personally. But I guess the one benefit would be to have one dedicated product.
I do worry about, you know, bars of soap or soap just sort of sitting around. I just kind of feel like it’s cleaner to have one dedicated thing to wash your menstrual cup with. So, I think that’s one advantage. I don’t know if that’s all in my head or not.
Jackie: Mm hmm. Yeah. So, basically, I think if you have like some money to burn, you know, and you want to buy like a cool product, then get yourself a menstrual cup wash. But if you’re frugal like me, then maybe just opt for a mild soap and you could look for like a water-based soap is kind of a good recommendation that the companies make or just any other sort of mild soap like Dove or Ivory or any of those things without a ton of chemicals in them.
Tracy: Okay. Now, here’s the question on my mind and maybe you, being the expert, will be able to answer it; is what happens when you are in a public restroom or (gasp) we’re camping this summer outhouse?
Jackie: Oh, well, I mean, camping is a little bit tricky.
Tracy: Do you have any expert tips for us?
Jackie: Well, I would almost say, like when you’re camping, I mean, I almost don’t want to admit this because I’m all about menstrual cups. But I would almost spring like tampons for camping; I don’t know.
Like, if you’re using a place with like a flush toilet, it’s kind of more reasonable because you can like wash your hands super easily before and after. But if you just literally have an outhouse; just like a pit toilet and you don’t really have a ton of access to like places to wash your hands and stuff like that, I mean, it is a little bit tough going and a tampon is kind of going to be a lot easier.
Tracy: Okay. One thing I have tried was washing my hands before going into the outhouse and then bringing a bottle of water in with me and using that to rinse the cup, which I thought worked really well. Yeah.
Jackie: Yeah. That’s like a really good tip. So, yeah, that’s another thing to consider for sure. But let’s talk about public bathrooms.
Tracy: Yeah, public bathrooms because we all have used them.
Jackie: And so, my number one recommendation I make is if you can find like a “private” public bathroom, and I mean by that, like the ones like Starbucks, for example, where you have like your own stall or not your own stall, but your own little room with like a toilet and sink together. It’s just like doing it at home; it’s super simple to do that.
But what about if there is like a row of toilets and then a row of sinks? Tracy, how do you handle that?
Tracy: So, again, I have, and it is a bit noisy, but I have just taken a bottle of water in with me and rinsed my cup and then put back in. I have also just put it back in; emptied it and put it back in.
Jackie: Yeah. I mean, it’s not going to kill you for sure if you just like skip like one time of washing it. It’s not a big deal or even two times, if you’re out of the house for 12 or 14 hours or whatever, then just dump it off or dump the contents out into the toilet and then you could wipe it off with a toilet paper or like a water bottle like Tracy mentioned.
Tracy: And of course, I’ve got to add a disclaimer.
Tracy: We are not stating this as medical facts. So, make sure that you make your own safe decisions for your own body.
Jackie: Yes. That is of course true. The official recommendation is cleaning it with like soap or a menstrual cup cleaner every 12 hours at the minimum. So, you can make your own decision about that.
But one thing to keep in mind about the public bathroom situation is that definitely wash your hands before going into the stall; I know it’s kind of a weird habit to get into. But yeah, you don’t want to put your fingers who have been out in the world touching all sorts of things, into your vagina. You can get things like yeast infections and whatever from that.
So, just keep that in mind and then insert your cup and then just wash your hands like normal after. And you should be good to go for the most part.
Tracy: Okay. And I’m just wondering too, since you’re the expert.
Jackie: Tracy, stop saying that.
Tracy: What about like right before you use it for the first time during your cycle or after you are done using it for your cycle?
Jackie: Yeah, kind of the standard recommendation is to boil it for about five minutes in a pot of boiling water on the stove.
Tracy: And who has left their cup for longer than five minutes because they forgot?
Jackie: Yes who has ruined their cup?
Tracy: Ding, ding, ding…
Jackie: Ding, ding, ding. So, many people have; that’s probably the number one way to ruin your cup besides leaving it in an airtight container between periods where the bacteria grows. So, that’s the number two way.
Tracy: Jackie, I’ve never done that before.
Jackie: Oh yeah. Well, my recommendation is actually setting a timer like on the microwave or whatever, say for five minutes, and then just stand next to it and then play like a little cell phone game or whatever and just keep a close eye on things.
Okay, Tracy. So, there’s some menstrual cup companies that say you should get two cups, so that you can like clean one and then wear one during your period. Do you think that’s necessary or what are your thoughts?
Tracy: I personally have never found the need for that. I find just washing my cup in between has been adequate. And yeah.
Jackie: Yeah, I think it’s fine too. Yeah. If you just like every time you take it out when you’re at home, you just wash it super well with like soap or cleanser, you should be good to go and then it’s boil it at the end of your period. I also find it’s not really necessary and not a big deal.
In reality, I mean your risk of getting toxic shock syndrome from anything (tampons included) is actually super, super low. I mean, it’s very rare that that actually happens to people.
When it does happen is that people wear a tampon for like two days or three days or whatever or someone wears them… There’s been a couple incidences of where people have gotten TSS from a menstrual cup.
It kind of happened like they cut themselves at the beginning of their period, when they were inserting it, and then they left it in for like four days or something like that.
So, if you follow the instructions from the companies of changing it every 12 hours and making sure it’s clean and you wash your hands, actually the risk is quite low. So, yeah, I mean, getting two cups to kind of combat that actually isn’t a huge deal.
Tracy: Okay. So, if people have questions about anything that we’ve talked about, is there a way for them to comment and have an answer from us?
Jackie: Yes, sure. They can just head over to our website auntfloshow.com. So, A-U-N-T-F-L-O-S-H-O-W.com. And you can also contribute your TMI Moment.
Tracy: We need your TMI moment.
Jackie: Yes. We need your help, please. So, feel free to send them our way. All right, Tracy, any final thoughts about cleaning and care of menstrual cups?
Tracy: No. I feel like… Oh, where do you store years in between your cycle?
Jackie: Oh, that’s right. That’s an important question.
Jackie: So, kind of the key thing is to never store it in an airtight container; like in a Tupperware container, for example. So, just like the cloth bag that comes with it, then you just want to like put it in a cloth bag and you’re good to go. And just put it in your bathroom drawer or whatever. And yeah, it should be no problem.
Tracy: All right. So, where can people go to find more information about menstrual cups, cleaning products, etc.?
Jackie: Oh, sure. Yeah. You can just head over to my website at reusablemenstrualcup.com. All right. Hope to see you there. Bye, everybody.
Tracy: See you later.
Where Can I Find the Other Aunt Flo Show Episodes?
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Have your Say about Care and Cleaning of Menstrual Cups
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