Most menstrual cups are made from silicone. The high-quality ones like the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, MoonCup, and many others are made from medical grade materials.
There are also a lot of cheap menstrual cups that are made from silicone that is listed as “food-grade” or “diamond.” We don’t recommend these periods cups because of safety concerns.
There is one menstrual cup, the Meluna Cup that is made from Thermoplastic Elastomer, or TPE. It’s a popular menstrual cup that has a huge variety of size, firmness and stem options.
Let’s compare medical grade silicone to TPE. Our goal is to help you decide what’s best for you when choosing a menstrual cup.
An Introduction to Medical Grade Silicone
- Expensive to make cups from silicone. After manufacturing, the products have to go through a curing process.
- Very strong and resistant to tearing.
- Not recyclable, but can be ground and made into various sporting surfaces
- Can last for 5-10 years
- Low compression strength—these menstrual cups will retain their shape for their lifespan
- Very high hypoallergenic ratings. It’s the preferred material for many medical device manufacturers.
- Can withstand high temperatures. You can boil these cups for 5-7 minutes to sterilize them between cycles.
- Can be left in direct sunlight
An Introduction to TPE
- It can be cheaper and more energy efficient to produce cups from Thermoplastic Elastomer than silicone.
- Easy to colour and mold.
- Recyclable—can be melted and repurposed easily.
- Menstrual cups made from TPE have a lifespan of 3-5 years. They can be compressed easily and will lose their shape and stiffness over time.
- Feel soft to the touch
- Can be sterilized but shouldn’t be subjected to high temperatures for long periods of time. The Me Luna Cup company recommends cleaning it with mild soap and water when you take it out. Then you can sterilize the Meluna Cup by boiling in water for 3 minutes.
- Must keep out of direct sunlight
TPE vs. Silicone: Which One is Best for a Menstrual Cup?
In reality, both of these materials are a good choice for a menstrual cup. Both silicone and TPE are reasonably durable, easy to clean, comfortable and soft and overall great material for a medical device such as a menstrual cup.
The Slight Edge Goes to Silicone Menstrual Cups
But, if we had to choose one? We’d probably stick with a menstrual cup made from medical grade silicone, even though it may be a bit more expensive. They have a few advantages over the Meluna Cup which is made from TPE, including the following:
- A longer lifespan (5-10 years vs 3-5).
- They retain their shape and stiffness for a longer time.
- Are more durable. For example, you can boil them for longer and not worry about it, or leave them in direct sunlight.
- Although they can’t be melted and repurposed, they can be recycled and made into sporting surfaces.
Which Medical Grade Silicone Period Cup to Choose?
There are more than a hundred period cups to choose from. We’ve made it easy for you though and designed this menstrual cup quiz. There are a few simple questions, and at the end, you’ll get a recommendation for the best menstrual cup for your body type.
Check it out here: Find the Best Menstrual Cup for your Body Type.
Thermoplastic Elastomer vs Silicone Menstrual Cups: Have your Say!
In the head to head battle of TPE vs medical grade silicone, which one comes out the winner? Are you considering the Meluna Cup? Or, a menstrual cup made from silicone.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.