How To Clean A Menstrual Cup

 

Fresh out the box, your menstrual cup will be covered in cotton fibres from the storage pouch and in need of disinfecting. So let’s get to it:

Method 1: Boiling The Menstrual Cup

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stove-top. When the water begins to boil, add your cup to the water and boil for 10 minutes, or as instructed by the manufacturer. Carefully remove the cup and set aside to cool and dry. The photo above was only taken for demonstrative purposes. In reality, the cup should NEVER touch the bottom of the pot which becomes hot enough to melt the cup.

For extra-security, you can hold the cup in place with a pair of tongs, protecting it from a premature death.

It’s recommended that you boil your cup before it’s first use and at the end or beginning of every new cycle. But… of all the things to possibly gross me out about using a menstrual cup, this was it! I just pictured myself with a pot of food on the stove, happily cooking away… until I suddenly drop the spoon as I realize that I’ve accidentally used my ‘special pot’ to prepare my family’s meal.

Ummm… No thanks.

Let’s take a look at my accident-free method of cleaning my menstrual cup.

 

Method 2: Milton Sterilizing Fluid

Milton sterilizing solution is a chlorine product used to sterilize baby toys, bottles, nipples, etc. It’s mainly used in the first year of a baby’s life to protect it from harmful bacteria and viruses, until their immune systems have matured enough to take over the job.

Instead of a pot, I have a dedicated mason jar that I use to clean my cup. The steps are pretty simple:

  - Fill the mason jar with one cup of water
  - Add ¼ tsp of Milton sterilizing fluid to the water and stir
  - Submerge menstrual cup, set your timer and walk away

After 15 minutes of soaking, the cup is all squeaky clean. Remove the cup from the solution and set it aside to dry.

I rest my cup on top of the storage pouch it came with.

There’s no need to rinse off the Milton solution. As it dries, the chlorine evaporates and the solution safely breaks down to water and sodium chloride (salt). You may notice white spots on the cup after it has dried, these are only salt deposits and are easily removed by rinsing the cup with water before inserting it.

Some ladies prefer using the tablets because they have a longer shelf-life. The ratio is basically the same:

¼ tsp milton liquid or ¼ milton tablet to 1 cup of water

Boiling or soaking the menstrual cup is ideal after the end of your cycle.

Method 3: Soap for Daily Cleaning

You’ll need a gentle soap for a faster cleaning method while on your period. This cleaning method has the opposite risk of boiling the cup. Instead of damaging the cup, you run the risk of irritating your insides if you chose the wrong product for daily cleaning. For a quick clean before re-insertion, it’s important to avoid anything with soaps, scents, oils or lotions; anything that can leave behind a film of residue on the cup.

A few of the more popular cup brands offer sanitizing wipes and washes that have been tested to be safe for use with their cups. For peace of mind, some ladies avoid the guessing game and use these products with their cups. But there are cheaper options available.

Rubbing Alcohol

Lunette cleaning instructions

Rubbing alcohol is a staple in most houses. Soak a Q-tip or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and thoroughly wipe the cup. Allow the alcohol to completely evaporate before re-inserting.

 

A Gynecologist's Recommendation

Not willing to risk a yeast infection, I decided to consult a professional to find out the best options for safely cleaning my menstrual cup. I asked for a good soap and scent-free product safe for use on silicone and this is what he recommended:

If you’ve watched ER or any other medical TV show, it’s the product doctors use to scrub their hands before performing surgery. It’s an iodine solution that’s safe for mucous membranes, including the eyes, mouth and genitals and is commonly used as an antiseptic for cuts and infected skin.

I can’t remember the exact price, but I got 500 ml from my local pharmacy for around $3 US and a little goes a looooong way.

I fill my menstrual cup halfway with water, then add 1-2 drops of Videne. Stir it all together, then pour some of the solution into the palm of your hand and rub it over the outside of the cup.

At the end of my cycle, my cup gets a thorough cleaning with the Milton solution, and for a quick clean I use Videne.

What’s your favorite accident-free method to clean your cup?

 

 

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