How to clean a Menstrual Cup
Each Menstrual cup brand will come with it’s own specific instructions for cleaning. While the types of cleaners you can use may vary depending on the brand, the below cleaning recommendations are suggested as a good guideline by most of the brands we stock.
Cleaning your menstrual cup during your cycle
It is important that you wash your menstrual cup at least twice a day during your cycle (every 12 hours), and ideally every 4-8 hours. After removing your cup and emptying the contents, simply wash the cup under cold or warm water and then re-insert. You may also use a scent free, water based (oil free) soap, or one of the specially designed menstrual cup wipes or wash options. If you can’t seem to find a suitable soap for cleaning your menstrual cup, you may find our article ‘When you can’t find an oil and scent free soap‘ helpful.
Helpful Hint: You will find that rinsing your cup first in cold water, then followed by warm water will help prevent discolouration, since warm water can cause some colour to set in the silicone.
If cleaning your cup in a public restroom, simply empty the contents into the toilet and wipe clean with a menstrual cup wipe or with some wet paper towel or toilet paper. Re-insert as normal.
Be sure you clean all holes and the rim of the cup thoroughly. You can usually stretch the silicone carefully to wash these areas under running water. If needed, use a soft toothbrush (dedicated specifically to the cup), or a toothpick (dispose of after use) to help remove stubborn debris.
Cleaning your menstrual cup at the end of your cycle
It is usually recommended that you sterilise your menstrual cup before and after each cycle. In order to sterilise and store your menstrual cup at the end of your cycle, simply rinse as normal. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Place your cup in the water, ensuring it does not sink to the bottom (where it could melt when coming into contact with the saucepan base). Boil for 2-10 minutes (depending on the specific brand) and then remove and allow to air dry. To prevent the cup from touching the base of the pot, you can try sitting it inside a whisk that is sitting in the boiling water. Try drying the cup in the sun (not somewhere that it could melt!), as this can help reduce the chances of discolouration. If your cup gets burned or damaged on the base of the saucepan during boiling, you may need to replace it. (Please note: The Keeper cup is the only brand that advices against boiling, as it may lead to more rapid deterioration of the product).
Other boiling/steaming options which may be more convenient when cleaning your cup at the end of each cycle include silicone menstrual cup sterilisers and also microwave sterilisation bags. These are used in the microwave and will usually clean your cup in under 5 minutes. Please take special care when using these items as they contain boiling water. They should be kept out of reach of children while being used.
You could also sterilise your menstrual cup by dissolving a Milton sterilising tablet in a bowl of water and then sitting your cup in this solution for the recommended time.
Once dry, store your cup in the accompanying carry pouch. It is not recommended to store a menstrual cup in a air tight container or plastic bag, as it is important that air be able to circulate around the cup, allowing moisture to evaporate properly.
Care & cleaning of menstrual cup carry pouches
The carry pouches for each of the cups can usually be machine washed as normal.
What not to use
Depending on the brand of Menstrual cup you use, it is generally not recommended that you clean the cup using the following products:
- scented/fragranced or anti-bacterial soaps
- tea-tree oil
- oil based soaps
- rubbing alcohol
- hand sanitizer
- pre-moistened wipes
- hydrogen peroxide
- other harsh chemicals
Avoiding these types of cleaning agents is important as they are not designed to be used internally and may also compromise the condition of the cup.
It is also not advised to wash your menstrual cup in the dishwasher. Although it would come out of the wash cycle clean, it would still have the chemicals from the dishwashing detergent on it’s surface. These are not chemicals designed to be placed internally!
How to clean a menstrual cup to prevent odour
Silicone doesn’t have an odour in itself; however, in some cases your cup may begin to develop an odour. This may be caused by certain cleanses or by factors unique to each women. You can try boiling your cup as explained above. If the odor is still present, you can continue to use your cup. However, you may decide that you would rather purchase a new one. You may find our tips on removing menstrual cup odor helpful.