How to Clean a Menstrual Cup
Diva cups and other period cups are considered to be a more hygienic option over traditional sanitary pads or tampons. Menstrual cups are made up of medical grade materials like silicone, which is non-absorbent. This means that it doesn’t absorb the essential vaginal fluid.
Proper Cleaning is Required
Using disposable pads and tampons is very easy. After using them, you just throw them into the trash and don’t have a second thought about it. Of course, they are expensive, and not great for the environment, which is why we recommend making the switch to a menstrual cup.
But if you use a menstrual cup, proper cleaning is required in order to avoid the chance of infections or itching. Since it is reusable, it has to be washed between uses and cycles in order to ensure hygiene and durability of the product.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: Wash your Hands First
The first thing to remember while inserting or removing a menstrual cup is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. You don’t want to introduce foreign bacteria into your vaginal canal because this can lead to things like yeast infections.
DivaWash or Pixie Cup Wash?
For the purpose of cleaning the menstrual cup, it should be washed thoroughly with something like the DivaWash, Lunette Feelbetter Menstrual Cup Cleanser, or the Pixie Cup Wash. You should do this every time you remove and empty your cup. Then, reinsert the clean cup after being sure to rinse any cleaning residue off of it.
These menstrual cup cleansers are usually made from all-natural ingredients and smell great. Of course, they are a little bit more expensive than this next option.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: Use Plain Soap and Water
You can also use warm water along with unscented, mild, water-based soap if you prefer not to spend money on another product for your bathroom. However, the DivaWash really does get it squeaky clean in a way that plain soap and water doesn’t.
Oil Free Soap/Water Based Soap Recommendations?
Menstrual cup companies recommend using an oil free soap (water based) to clean the cup. That’s of course if you don’t want to use a special menstrual cup cleanser like the DivaWash. Honestly, both work very well and it really is up to you.
Oil free soaps are around, but they’re not that easy to find. You could try going to a natural food store and asking the staff for their recommendation for a water based soap.
Failing that, check out Ivory Soap. It’s cheap, works well, and doesn’t irritate even the most sensitive skin. The key is to wash off any residue from your hands or menstrual cup very well before putting anything up into your vaginal canal.
Check out Ivory Soap on Amazon:
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: It’s Up to You
Menstrual cup companies that make a corresponding wash or cleanser usually recommend using this product. Companies that don’t, usually suggest plain soap and water, with an emphasis on an oil free, or water based soap. The choice really is yours!
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup
Don’t use Harsh Chemicals on a Menstrual Cup
ALL menstrual cup companies will specifically tell you to not use harsh chemicals or cleansers on a menstrual cup. Using things like abrasives, products with micro-beads, or bleach will destroy your cup quickly and easily!
So, unless you want to buy a new menstrual cup much sooner than you need to, just stay away from these things.
The only things that you should be using to clean your period cup are mild soap, or a special menstrual cup cleanser.
Why Does Cleaning a Menstrual Cup Matter?
There are two reasons why you should care about keeping your menstrual cup clean and in tip-top shape. The first reason is that keeping your menstrual cup clean can prevent things like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
The other reason to clean your menstrual cup well is to extend the lifespan of it as long as possible. Menstrual Cups aren’t cheap, so it only makes sense to take care of them so you don’t have to replace them sooner than you might have to.
Medical grade silicone cups can last for 5-10 years with proper care. If you don’t take care of them? A year or two perhaps. It really does make a difference.
The most important thing to getting the longest lifespan possible out of your menstrual cup is to NEVER store it in an airtight container. This breeds bacteria like nothing else! Keep your period cup in the cloth bad that came with it, or wrapped loosely in a paper towel in your drawer.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup Away from Home
If you are not able to wash your menstrual cup at home, for example while using public restrooms, the contents should be emptied in the toilet and wiped with a dry or damp tissue. You can carry a small package of baby wipes (or Lunette Wipes for example), in your purse or bag in order to make things easier.
Another specific option for menstrual cups is these wipes from Pixie Cup.
Only Potable Water
If you are travelling in second or third world countries, it is advisable to wash it with only drinking water. Water that is not potable can contain bacteria that is not advisable to introduce into your vaginal canal.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: Can I Lubricant?
Some people recommend using a bit of lubricant if you find it difficult to insert your menstrual cup. But, in our experience, it’s not a great idea.
It is important to never to use lubricant for inserting the menstrual cup inside in order to reduce wear and tear of your cup. Use a bit of water if necessary when inserting it. It seems to work just as well and you don’t run the risk of damaging your cup.
You can buy the Pixie Cup wipes easily on Amazon:
How to Clean your Diva Cup Away from Home
Never use These Things to Clean your Diva Cup
You should never use products like vinegar, scented soaps, hand sanitizer, tea-tree oil, bleach, dish-washing detergent, or harsh chemicals for the purpose of cleaning your menstrual cup. If they are used, they’ll harm your period cup and degrade the silicone.
Also don’t run your menstrual cup through the dishwasher. This will cause the silicone to warp and significantly reduce the lifespan of your cup.
Pay Attention to the Holes
While cleaning your Diva Cup (and other similar period cups), it is important to pay attention to the holes under its rim. Not all sanitary cups have them, but many do. These help in creating a seal in order to secure the cup in proper position. However, fluid gets stuck in them quite easily.
Soaking, or a Toothbrush
You can soak the diva cup in warm water for some time and then clean the holes with a soft toothbrush, kept separately for this purpose. In case the holes require extra cleaning, they can be washed under lukewarm running water in order to remove debris. A tooth pick can also be used for clearing the debris; which should be discarded after this. But, a pin should never be used for this purpose as it may damage it and cause you to have to replace it sooner than necessary.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: Check out the Stem
Another problem area is the menstrual cup stem. Some of them are flat, but others are hollow (the Diva Cup for example). If the stem of your menstrual cup is hollow, be sure to clean the inside carefully. You can use an old toothbrush or a wet Q-Tip.
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: End of Cycle Cleaning
At the end of the cycle, your menstrual cup should be washed with mild soap and warm water. This can optionally be followed by boiling of the diva cup in an open pot for about five ten minutes.
Menstrual Cups should be never kept unattended while boiling, as it might get burnt and would require replacement. Use a wide, deep pot to ensure this doesn’t happen and keep an eye on things quite closely.
How to Sterilize a Menstrual Cup
How Long to Boil a Menstrual Cup?
A common question that people have is how long to boil their menstrual cup that is made from medical grade silicone.
You won’t want to veer on the end of too short because you won’t actually kill the bacteria on it. But, you also don’t want to do it longer than necessary because you can cause your menstrual cup to break down faster than it normally might.
We’ve seen some menstrual cup companies recommend as little as 1 minute, while some recommend up to 10 (the Diva Cup for example). We recommend 5 minutes. It’s a good middle ground between killing all the bacteria, and not boiling your menstrual cup to death!
What about Cleaning my Menstrual Cup in the Microwave?
The Yuuki Menstrual Cup is a bit unusual in that it also includes an “infuser” box. This allows you to deep clean your menstrual cup in the microwave instead of on the stove, reducing the risk of damaging your cup.
It’s kind of cool, but in our experience, not really necessary. It really is not that hard to boil your menstrual cup on the stove, as long as you keep an eye on it.
However, the Yuuki Cup is a great menstrual cup, so why not go for it if you like the idea of cleaning it in the microwave? It’s made in the Czech Republic from top-quality, medical grade silicone. It also has some excellent user reviews over on Amazon.
You can check out the Yuuki Cup, as well as the infuser box that comes with it on Amazon today:
Dropped Menstrual Cup in Toilet: What to Do
Okay, so you’ve just dropped your menstrual cup in the toilet. Sorry to hear that, particularly if you’re in a public bathroom.
You should NEVER just rinse it off and put it back inside you after dropping it into the toilet. There are all sorts of germs and nasty bacterial things in toilet that can cause some serious vaginal infections.
If you’re at home, dropping a menstrual cup in the toilet is less terrible. When you drop your menstrual cup in the toilet, pluck it out. Wash it off well with soap or menstrual cup wash and water. Then, boil your menstrual up in a pot of water on the stove for 5 minutes to sterilize it.
You should be good to go!
Not at home? Hopefully you have a pad or tampon backup. Put that on or in. Failing that, make a “toilet paper pad” to tide you over until you get home, or to the store to buy some tampons.
Wrap your menstrual cup in some clean toilet paper and put it into your bag. At home, follow the same steps as above. Wash it well, then boil it for 5 minutes.
I repeat: DO NOT just put your menstrual cup back in after dropping it into the toilet. DO NOT even consider it, no matter what.
How to clean a menstrual cup after dropping it into the toilet? Just wash as normal, and then sterilize.
I Dropped My Menstrual Cup in a Public Toilet!
Menstrual Cup Storage Between Cycles
After cleaning, your period cup should be dried and kept in a place which allows proper circulation such as a breathable cotton pouch. A pouch is often included along with your menstrual cup when you buy it.
Menstrual cups should never be kept in an airtight container or plastic bag because it would not allow moisture to evaporate and it can grow harmful bacteria. This is one of the quickest ways to ruin a menstrual cup!
Menstrual Cups can Last for Years
With proper care, a menstrual cup can be used for 5-10 years. The Keeper, made of latex instead of silicone can even last for longer than that.
What’s the Best Cleaning Product for a Menstrual Cup?
The best product for cleaning your menstrual cup is the DivaCup DivaWash® Natural DivaCup Cleaner.
You can easily get this top-quality menstrual cup cleaning product on Amazon:
Why Does My Menstrual Cup Smell Bad?
A common question that people have is, “Why does my menstrual cup smell bad?” This is despite washing it with soap and water, using something like the DivaWash, storing it NOT in an airtight container and perhaps even boiling it between cycles. Yet the smell persists.
This can be a frustrating experience. Menstrual cups aren’t cheap, and you want them to last as long as possible before you have to replace them.
Here are a few possible reasons why your menstrual cup might smell bad:
- You have the Meluna Cup. Thermoplastic Elastomer seems to hold odours more than silicone (most other cups) or Latex (the Keeper).
- You might have Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), which causes a fishy smell. This can get onto your menstrual cup as well.
- You are leaving your menstrual cup in too long. Remove it more frequently, and clean it well.
- Get in those nooks and crannies. Use an old toothbrush to wash the stem, and holes well at least once per cycle.
What Can I do to Remove Menstrual Cup Odours?
Okay, so we get to the important information here. It doesn’t really matter why your menstrual cup smells bad, what matters most is how to get rid of it. Here are a few things you can try:
- Let your menstrual cup dry in the sun after washing. Don’t do this with the Meluna Cup (the sun is not a friend of TPE).
- Boil your cup in a pot of water on the stove for 5-7 minutes.
- Get in the habit of rinsing your cup with cold, before warm. It’s similar to how you want to wash your stained clothes in cold water because hot water sets the stains.
- Get an old toothbrush and scrub thoroughly.
- Soak in a solution of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water for one hour. Rinse VERY thoroughly before using again. It’ll burn if you don’t!
- Use a few drops of lemon juice on your cup. Rub them around, and let them sit for a few minutes. Again, rinse very thoroughly (or boil) before using again.
- Try a menstrual cup wash for a cycle to see if you have better results than just using soap.
Does the Diva Cup Smell Bad?
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: The Summary
The moral of this story is that it’s actually not to difficult to keep your menstrual cup clean and in tip-top shape by following a few of these simple rules as mentioned above. Soap and water, or something like the DivaWash is all you need.
And of course, don’t leave your menstrual cup in an airtight container between periods. A bit of air and you’ll be fine. Take care of your menstrual cup and it will last for years. That’s some eco-friendly, frugal awesome right there!
We hope you found the answer to your question, “How to clean a menstrual cup.”
What are Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual Cups are bell-shaped cylinders that are used in place of tampons and sanitary napkins. They are usually made of medical grade silicone and collect menstrual fluid. They are reusable and can last for years if looked after correctly. You’ll learn more about Diva Cup cleaning and care in the rest of the article!
The use of the right vaginal products is of utmost important to avoid the chance of discomfort and infections. Products like tampons which are made up of cotton and rayon absorb the protective fluid of the vagina, leading to disruption in normal pH levels.
There is also the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) associated with tampon use. This is not the case with menstrual cups.
What’s the Most Popular Menstrual Cup?
The most popular menstrual cup in the world is the Diva Cup. Manufactured in Canada, it’s been around for years and has thousands of satisfied customers. This is a top-quality period cup from a company you can trust.
You can check out the Diva Cup for yourself on Amazon:
Have your Say about How to Clean a Menstrual Cup
Please leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on how to clean a menstrual cup. Or give us your top 1 or 2 tips for keeping your menstrual cup in the best shape.