I pledged allegiance to the menstrual cup five years ago, and it has been a trusty companion ever since. Besides the fact that it’s an excellent choice for the environment, it saves me money (each cup is about $10 and Diva Cup’s website says you can swap it out once a year) and relieves me of worry when I’ve got a heavy flow.
Going from tampons to a menstrual cup wasn’t the easiest of transitions, but once I got the hang of it — and got used to getting up close and personal with myself — it became such a breeze I wondered why it took me so long to make the change. If you’ve been flirting with the idea of buying a menstrual cup and you still have some lingering questions, hit me up on Twitter. It’s a decision you won’t regret.
If you’re already a menstrual cup gal, hopefully you’ve figured out a way to properly clean it after your period is all said and done. It’s one of the most important things about having a cup, so you should take the time to give it some TLC. I’ve tried a lot of different methods when it comes to cleaning my cup, but I like to think I’ve finally found the best routine. Experiment with it for yourself, and see if it works for you.
Here are seven steps to washing your menstrual cup.
1. Wash your hands.
No, seriously, wash your hands. It’s the first thing we should do whenever we’re handling any kind of feminine hygiene products. If we don’t stay diligent about keeping our hands clean, we may transfer some gross bacteria to our vagina, and nothing good can come out of that.
2. Use an old pot to boil some water.
I would highly recommend you find a pot you don’t use anymore, or buy a cheap one from the Dollar Store. I don’t think you’ll want to cook spaghetti in it after you’re done with this (but hey, it’s your life). I have a small pot reserved specifically for this time of the month, so I never have to worry about crossover.
Fill up the water enough so that, once you put the cup in, you know it won’t touch the bottom. That could melt it and most likely ruin it.
3. Put your cup in with some baking soda.
If you haven’t heard, I’m a huge baking soda enthusiast. I use for just about everything, from household cleaning to homemade, natural shampoo. Well, it works great here too. Baking soda cleans whatever bacteria is left on the cup, and it also eliminates unwanted scents.
After the water boils, drop in your menstrual cup, and then put in a tablespoon of baking soda into the mix. Use a utensil to roll around the cup and distribute the baking soda evenly.
4. Let it boil for 5-10 minutes.
Set a timer and wait it out. If the cup is a little discolored, go for the 10 minute range to give it an extra boost of clean. Now wouldn’t be a good time to walk off and resume your Netflix binge, though, because if you forget about that little cup, you might end up damaging it. Keep an eye on it until it’s all done.
5. Remove it and let it sit somewhere dry and sunny.
I recommend putting it on top of a clean paper towel by the window. It doesn’t have to be in direct sunlight, but a little bit of light will do it some good. Letting it air out is an important step in the cleaning process. If you seal it in a bag while it’s still soaking wet you may be trapping in some nasties that need to still evaporate.
6. Try to avoid using (most) soap, and definitely keep your cup away from the dishwasher.
Basically anything with harsh chemicals (like scented soaps or washing your cup in the dishwasher) is not good for your menstrual cup, and can damage it. According to Diva Cup’s website, oil-free, water-based, unscented soap is the way to go. If it’s still smelly as well as significantly discolored, it may be time to invest in a new one, as the quality of your menstrual cup might be compromised.
7. Store the cup in a breathable bag.
Your cup came with a little bag, and that really should be its home when you’re not using it. If you happened to have lost it or damaged it, you can purchase another one online. Just be sure you don’t store your cup in a place where it could get dirty or accumulate bacteria. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight, either. Somewhere cool and dry is your best bet — like your medicine cabinet.
Remember to wash your hands after you’ve finished. And if you have any questions, tweet me and we can figure it out!