Maintaining good menstrual hygiene is vital for every woman to keep the vagina clean and healthy.
Today, along with cloth pads, there are plenty of menstrual hygienic products available in the market like sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups, and studies show there is an increasing demand for menstrual cups.
WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP?
A menstrual cup is a flexible bell-shaped cup made of medical-grade silicone or rubber to insert into the vagina to catch and collect the menstrual blood during periods.
Menstrual cups are easy to use, safe, and cost-effective, and unlike the sanitary napkins and tampons that are disposable, menstrual cups are long-lasting and reusable.
The cost of a menstrual cup would be roughly equal to the cost of 7% of 12 sanitary napkins, making it cost-effective. A woman typically disposes of over 10,000 tampons/pads in her menstrual life cycle. A cup can last up to 12 years based on how you use it and how you clean and store it.
Menstrual cups are eco-friendly and sustainable, unlike a sanitary napkin which is made of plastic or non-biodegradable material that may take up to 800 years to decompose.
HOW TO CLEAN AND STORE YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP?
Cleaning your menstrual cup is vital to minimize the risk of infections and keep your vagina healthy and hygienic.
If you are the one who made a switch from sanitary napkins to menstrual cups, you might be wondering how the menstrual cup should be cleaned, sterilized, and stored.
Many women aren’t comfortable washing out their cups. It might seem a daunting task to clean the menstrual cup, but the efforts are always worth the results.
Here is a handy guide for you to take care of your menstrual cup, no matter where you are. With proper care, your cup can last for several years!
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP?
Whether it is your first time using a menstrual cup or buying a new one, you must clean it and sterilize it before, during, and after your cycle to prevent any infections.
1. Take a bowl of water and boil it on the stove. You can also use a kettle or a microwave to boil water, but make sure not to cover the lid over the microwave container.
2. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add your cup to it and wait for 3-5 minutes. The boiling water will remove the unpleasant odor and discoloration. Make sure that there is enough water in the bowl.
3. Wait for the water to cool down. Take the cup out of the water and wipe it with a piece of clean cloth and let it dry.
Apart from the boiling method, you can also use specific cup wipes available in the market to clean your menstrual cup.
Clear the Air Holes
The most important thing to pay attention to while cleaning your menstrual cup is to ensure that the small air holes on its rim are clear without any residue.
The tiny holes play a vital role in creating the suction of the cup. Blockade of these holes makes it difficult to seal when you reinsert the cup, increasing the likelihood of leakage.
1. Fill your cup with water.
2. Place your palm over the opening of the cup to seal it.
3. Turn the cup upside down.
4. Squeeze the base of the cup to force water out through the holes.
You can also rinse the cup by bending it under the running water and gently stretching the holes to remove any debris. You can also use a toothbrush dedicated to this purpose.
Do not use any sharp objects like needles or pins to clear the holes as it will do more damage than good!
Store the Cup in a Breathable Container
Do not store your menstrual cup in an airtight container or a plastic bag. Menstrual cups need to be stored in properly ventilated and dry containers until the next use. It is better to use a dedicated breathable pouch that provides ventilation or store it in the pouch in which the menstrual cup comes. If you do not have one, you can wrap it in a clean, cotton handkerchief. Keep away from extreme heat, cold, or sunlight.
How to Remove Menstrual Cup Stains and Odor
You are bound to run into some staining and smelling issues after using your cup for several months.
The stains and the odor are unavoidable side effects of using a menstrual cup.
Do not worry. There is no need to replace your cup with the new one.
These simple hacks can help remove the stains and restore the color.
1. Rinse your cup in cold water before washing it in hot water.
2. Put the cup under sunlight for 2 hours to restore its original color.
Though not recommended, most of them prefer to soak the cup in 3% hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol for one hour to remove the stains and get rid of the lingering odor.
If you want to go with the natural kitchen items, soak your cup in lemon juice for one hour.
Remember to boil the cup for 20 minutes after you soak it in any of the methods mentioned above to remove any residue!
Can I use cleansing products like soap to clean my Menstrual Cup?
The answer is an absolute NO!
Harsh cleansing agents, like oil and fragrance-based soaps, can irritate the vagina and compromise the quality of the menstrual cup.
Things to avoid cleaning your Menstrual Cup
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antibacterial soap
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dishwashing soap
If you have used any of these products to clean your cup, it’s better to replace it with a new one.
Remember that plain water does the best job without disturbing the pH balance of your vagina.