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Cleaning menstrual cups: everything you need to know!

Learn how to clean menstrual cups between and during each cycle and see if they could be right for you.


Cleaning menstrual cups: everything you need to know!

In contrast to single-use pads and tampons, a reusable menstrual cup can last for several months or even years. This makes them more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective – but only if you clean them properly. Here’s how to clean menstrual cups safely and easily.

Once your menstrual cup is dry, store it for the next cycle in something that allows airflow, such as a breathable drawstring cotton pouch (not a plastic bag or airtight container).

How to clean menstrual cups before first use

You’ll need to complete a thorough menstrual cup wash before you use it for the first time and at the start of each new cycle (or end of each previous cycle) to ensure it is sanitary.

  1. Boil a pot of water. You want enough water to fully submerge your menstrual cup.

  2. Place your menstrual cup in the water carefully.

  3. Leave it for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Remove carefully from the water, using clean tongs, and dry thoroughly.

  5. Store in a breathable material, like a cotton pouch, before next use.

How to clean menstrual cups during use

You’ll also need to wash your menstrual cup and after every removal when it’s in use.

  1. Empty your cup into a toilet, shower, or sink.

  2. Fill it with warm water and a little mild, unscented, water-based soap if available.

  3. Cover the top of the cup with your palm and squeeze water out through suction holes.

  4. Repeat with plain water.

  5. Dry and store for use later or refit it.

Safety Warning

If you are travelling, always remember to use portable water when washing your reusable menstrual cup to avoid contamination.    

Do these methods work for every menstrual cup?

Yes! If you want to know how to clean Diva Cup (one of the most popular menstrual cup brands) then you can use the same method but should focus on the 4 suction holes under the rim.

Is there anything you shouldn’t do when cleaning menstrual cups?

When cleaning a menstrual cup, you should NOT:

  • Use products that might compromise the silicone such as vinegar, bleach, etc.

  • Use products that may cause irritation such as hand sanitiser, dishwashing liquid, etc.

  • Put it in the dishwasher.

  • Use tap water that’s not safe to drink.

How to clean menstrual cup stains

If you find that your menstrual cup discolours over time, you can try boiling it. A stained cup doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced though.

Advice on choosing and using menstrual cups

Not sure if switching to menstrual cups is right for you? Here are some basic facts that might help you decide:

What is a menstrual cup? And what is it made of?

A silicone menstrual cup is a hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation to collect blood. It should be made of medical grade, non-absorbent silicone.

How does a menstrual cup work?

A reusable menstrual cup works by collecting blood in a small reservoir. It can usually hold more blood than a single tampon or sanitary towel which means it can be worn for longer – sometimes up to 10 hours.

Are menstrual cups safe?

When used correctly, menstrual cups are considered to be entirely safe. They have actually been around for nearly 90 years! Some consider an un-pigmented silicone menstrual cup safer than a coloured one, as it doesn’t expose the inside of the body to dyes and chemicals. Speak to a medical professional if you’re unsure.

Why do some people use menstrual cups?

Some choose them for the convenience of being able to go longer without changes during your period, others because it is cheaper over your lifetime than buying single-use tampons and pads. Another key benefit is that menstrual cups produce less waste for the environment.

Key steps

Remember these core rules to cleaning menstrual cups:

  1. Wash the cup with warm water before each insertion and after each removal.

  2. Boil the cup in water for 5-10 minutes before first use, and after each cycle.

  3. Store it in a breathable drawstring cotton bag that allows airflow.