How to Care for Your Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups aren't cheap and they do a very important job for us. Let's take excellent care of them shall we? Properly caring your menstrual cup is essential to keeping your body healthy and happy. Cup care is self care!
1. Wash your hands with a mild ph balanced soap before touching your cup and/or before inserting your fingers in your vagina.
2. Rinse the blood off of your cup with cold water. Using hot water on your cup when it still has blood on it can cause staining.
3. Many people just rinse the cup if they are going to reinsert it. However, based on a study done in 2018 that looked at the connection between menstrual cups and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), we recommend staying on the safe side. The study recommends owning two cups so you can sterilize each time you need to empty one. The author of the study recommends boiling for 5-10 minutes.
Cup Spa mimics a small autoclave by allowing pressure to build up inside the device and superheating the steam and raising its temperature to above 120 C (or 250 F). As such, it is more effective in killing harmful bacteria compared to boiling.
Read about the study here:
4. Regarding soap, many cup users do not use it. Certain soaps, like soaps with oil or heavily-fragranced scents, can irritate the vagina. If you prefer to use soap, look for a mild cleanser that is pH balanced, organic and free of dyes and fragrances. Again, the above referenced study claims that soap is not effective enough to protect against harmful bacteria and TSS.
5. Even if you’re washing your cup with soap between cycles, you’ll want to steam it. Steaming kills 99.9% of bacteria and is gentle on your cup. It's also 100% natural and doesn't require you to use any products on your cup!
Just add 5-10 ml of water to the Cup Spa reservoir, place your cup on top and push the button. Cup Spa will steam and turn off when it is finished. Wait for it to cool before removing your cup, because the hot steam is still sterilizing. A fully detailed instruction sheet is available here.
Pro tip: If your cup has any stains or odor, a squirt of organic lemon juice in the Cup Spa reservoir before steaming can take care of that!
6. Dry your cup completely after washing or steaming it. It's important to ensure your cup is completely dry before storing it. Storing your cup with any leftover moisture on it could encourage bacteria to grow. When in doubt you can always steam your cup next month before using it, just to be sure.
7. Store your cup in a dry and clean place! Use a breathable pouch that will air it continuously until you use it again. Most cups come in drawstring bags for storage, but I fold mine into a washcloth or cloth napkin which I then throw in the laundry while I'm on my period.
When it comes to cleaning your menstrual cup, a natural option is almost always the best form of sterilization. Avoid bleach, scented or fragranced soaps, oil-based soaps, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soap, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing detergent or soap, and the dishwasher. If you don’t clean your vagina with it, don’t clean your menstrual cup with it!
Your vagina is self-cleaning, but it’s sensitive to foreign and harsh substances. If you’re feeling any irritation or noticing a foul-smelling odor at any point during your use of your menstrual cup, take a pH test to assess your vaginal health and find the cleaner that leaves your vagina in the right pH range. Or try going without cleanser and let your Cup Spa do the work!