How to clean a menstrual cup

Read on to discover how to clean a menstrual cup with our super simple step-by-step guide.

Updated 9 September 2019

Cleaning menstrual cups: everything you need to know!

Key steps

  • Wash your menstrual cup before each insertion and after every removal.
  • Make sure you sterilise your cup before first use.
  • Sterilise again at the end of each cycle.
  • Dry thoroughly before storage.
  • Store your cup in a breathable container such as a cotton bag to allow for air flow.

Menstrual cups like Mooncups are becoming rapidly more and more popular as awareness around sustainability and zero waste grows. Arguably the most important preparation for making the switch to menstrual cups, however, is knowing how to clean and sanitise them regularly. Here you can find out how to clean a menstrual cup in our step-by-step guides to cleaning a Mooncup, Diva cup or other menstrual cup in three different situations.

To prevent mould or damage to your cup, always store it in a cotton bag or other breathable container which will allow for air flow.

How to clean a Mooncup or other menstrual cup before your first use

To make sure that your new menstrual cup is sanitary and safe to use before the first day of each cycle, you will need to sterilise it at the end of your period. Ensure that you pay attention to these steps, which apply regardless of whether you are using a cup for the first time or simply cleaning it at the end of your cycle:

1. Boil some water. You will need enough water to cover the entirety of your menstrual cup.

2. Put the boiling water into a bowl. Place your menstrual cup into the water and leave it for 5–10 minutes.

3. You can also use sterilising tablets. These are often used for baby bottles and more but are also recommended in the official cleaning advice by menstrual cup brand websites.

4. Let the cup dry thoroughly before storage. Once dry, place your cup into a breathable container such as a cotton pouch, ready for the next time you need it.

Cleaning menstrual cups: what not to do

There are a few things you should avoid when cleaning menstrual cups:

  • Don't place your menstrual cup into a pan of boiling water. The hot pan could cause your menstrual cup to melt and affect the integrity of your cup.
  • Avoid using products like vinegar or bleach, which could compromise or damage the silicone cup. You should also avoid hand sanitiser, dishwashing liquid, and any other products which may cause irritation.
  • Use a clean pair of tongs, rather than your hands, to take the cup out of the water.
  • The dishwasher is not a safe or appropriate way to clean your menstrual cup.

Cleaning your menstrual cup during your cycle

Removing your cup during your cycle to empty it is only half the story. It’s important you know how to clean your Mooncup or other menstrual cup each time you take it out. Simply follow these steps:

  • First, ensure you empty your cup. This can be done by tipping it into a toilet, shower or sink.
  • Next, you need to fill the cup with warm water.
  • If possible, use a little mild, unscented, water-based soap with the warm water.
  • There are suction holes on your cup; cover the top of the cup using the palm of your hand and squeeze water out through these.
  • Repeat the process but without the soap; simply use plain water.
  • If you have more than one cup, you can dry this one and store it for later. If it is the only one you have, you can now refit it.
  • If you are going out, you may not want to wash your cup at the sink in a public toilet. Instead, take a bottle of water to clean your cup in the cubicle.

How to clean a menstrual cup which has become stained

Menstrual cups may become discoloured over time. To combat this, you can use the same steps as sterilising before your first use.

N.B. Just because your menstrual cup is stained doesn’t mean that you need to replace it! If it still works, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like!

Originally published 22 August 2019