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Gina Florio
March 10, 2017 4:03 pm

One of the most convenient inventions to ever show up in the menstrual health world is the menstrual cup. However, a big question many users tend to have is how long menstrual cups actually last, because they seem like the most durable things in the world. They’re soft, flexible, and they’re easy to clean. But we keep seeing different accounts online when it comes to how often we should replace our menstrual cup, leaving us scratching our head in confusion. We’re here to help you solve this mystery, though.

If you poke around online, you’ll see a lot of claims that menstrual cups will last you for “years.” Some even say it can last up to 10 years, although that seems like a stretch. The most popular accounts seem to be between 2-4 years. The more you dig, though, the more you learn that there isn’t one set shelf life of menstrual cups. Each of them will probably last a different number of years, depending on how it’s taken care of — how it’s cleaned, how it’s stored, how it’s used, etc.

We’ll tell you this much. If your cup starts to look discolored, smell funny, or feel sticky, it’s been compromised and it’s time to change it.

The popular brand Diva Cup officially recommends you switch out to a new one when you see "deterioration such as a sticky or powdery film, severe discolouration or odour, etc. If you detect any of these signs or if you experience irritation we recommend you replace your DivaCup with a new one."

Diva Cup also says many women report their cups lasting for 2, 3 or 4 years. The biggest problem you’ll probably run into after a couple years is discoloration of the menstrual cup. Your menstrual blood is pretty potent, and over time it will stain the silicone material, even if you’re cleaning it regularly enough.

However, a little discoloration alone isn’t going to affect the quality of your cup. In order for you to replace it, it either has to have extreme discoloration, or it has to be paired with another sign, like an unpleasantly strong scent.

In order to make your menstrual cup last as long as possible, give it a solid clean after your period is over every month. We don’t just mean a long rinse in the sink.

Clean your menstrual cup by putting it in a pot of rapidly boiling water for 5-10 minutes, without letting it touch the bottom of the pot.

There are little holes in the cup around the top — make sure there’s no gunk stuck in them. If there is, you can take a toothpick and lightly pick them out. Finally, let it sit in a dry, sunny place for a little while before you tuck it away safely in a breathable bag.

Follow this ritual after every period, and your menstrual cup should last you for a few years. Before you use it each month, inspect it in the sunlight (with clean hands, of course). See how it looks, how it feels, and yes, how it smells. The more you know about your cup, the better. You’ll be able to make an educated decision about if and when your menstrual cup needs to be replaced.

Good luck and happy perioding!

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