Let’s say you own a menstrual cup and are preparing to use it for your period. That’s great! You need to keep a few things in mind before you get started. Remember: Since the menstrual cup is reusable, so you should learn how to clean and store the menstrual cup properly.
The Do’s and Don’ts
To clean the menstrual cup, use a gentle, unscented, oil-free soap. Cleansing products for menstrual cups can be found, but if you don’t have one of them, don’t worry. Wash with a mild, oil-free, fragrance-free soap.
However, there are a few things you need to avoid.
Many common cleaning products can cause serious irritation if used on your menstrual cup.
You should avoid:
- Antibacterial soap
- Oil-based soap
- Fragrant soap
- baking soda
- Bleaching agent
- Washing liquid
- Rub alcohol
- A vinegary substance
Cleaning the menstrual cup (before first use)
Congratulations on buying a menstrual cup! Prepare it before using it for the first time.
First, wash your hands and the cup with a mild, unscented cleanser.
The next step is to boil water and let the cup sit in the water for no longer than 10 minutes.
You must monitor the cup to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Once you have successfully prepared your menstrual cup, be sure to keep it clean daily. The cup needs to be cleaned to remove bacteria and prevent stains and odors. Before and after inserting the cup, you should always wash your hands.
When at home
Empty the cup and flush the blood down the toilet.
After that, rinse it out with clean water and use a mild, fragrance-free, oil-free soap to wipe it clean. Reinsert the cup after it’s been cleaned.
In a public bathroom
While on your period, it may be harder to rinse your cup when you’re out and about. If you can’t rinse the cup and use a safe cleanser, you should remove and empty it as normal. Instead of rinsing, wipe the cup clean using toilet paper, ensuring that you get rid of any small pieces of tissue.
Go back to your normal schedule once you’ve reinserted the cup. Once you get home, give it a good rinse and clean.
In the outdoors or on a trip
At times, you might not be near a source of clean water. To clean the menstrual cup, you should bring bottled water. Pack a travel-size version of your favorite oil-free, unscented soap as well.
You can put the blood in a cathole (a small hole in the ground) if you are hiking or camping. Rinse the cup off with water from a bottle, and then wipe it with a clean tissue before re-inserting it. Be sure to pack a storage pouch as well, so the cup stays sanitary when it’s not in use.
Sanitizing after periods
Rinse the cup thoroughly and boil it for a few minutes after your period is over. Once the cup is boiled, let it cool and dry completely.
If not in use, how to store
In most cases, cups come with a bag or pouch for storing them when not in use.
If yours did not come with a pouch, you could use any breathable purse. Ensure to protect the cup from dirt and germs while allowing plenty of airflows.
Put the pouch in a cool, dry place to properly dry out before the next use.
Cleaning vs sterilizing
Cleaning the cup daily will remove only some of the surface bacteria, and odor.
However, sterilizing the cup completely eliminates all bacteria and prepares it for storage for future use.
Here’s what to do if…
Taking care of your menstrual cup isn’t always black and white. The following situations may arise.
The cup smells bad
Some vaginal smells are completely natural. You can do several things if you notice your cup has a sour smell.
Take note of the amount of time you are wearing the cup. It can develop an odor if worn for too long. Ideally, you should change it every 4 to 8 hours. It should never be worn longer than 12 hours.
After each use, rinse the cup with cold water. Hot water can seal the smell in. You can then scrub the cup with an unused toothbrush. Be sure you sanitize your cup after each period. It’ll prevent odors from taking hold in the long run.
Discoloration or stains on the cup
Some discoloration will likely occur over time. With continual sanitization and thorough cleaning, some discoloration can be avoided. While doing your daily cleaning, you can also use a clean toothbrush to remove stains.
You should get a new cup if you see extreme discoloration. Replace the old cup with a new one and recycle or dispose of the old one.
The cup has a white substance on it.
Do not worry if your cup has a white film after boiling. It is perfectly normal. The white film is caused by hard water in some regions. Wash the cup to remove the residue.
The cup fell in the toilet.
Do not reinsert it immediately. You can likely handle it after sterilizing the cup in some boiling water if it fell into clean toilet water in your bathroom.
However, if the cup was dropped in a public restroom or if there was pee or faeces in the toilet, you should probably replace it. In these instances, home sterilization may not eliminate the bacteria.
If it is not cleaned properly, what can happen
If you don’t clean it properly, you can get bacteria, odors, stains, and erosion on your cup. Irritation or infection may result. This will likely mean that you will have to replace your cup more often. For this reason, you should keep up with your daily cleaning and sterilization once a month.
How to treat an infection after or during use
You should contact a doctor if you develop an infection while using the cup. Only a doctor can suggest the best way to proceed.
The following are signs of infection:
- Vaginal discharge that seems unusual
- Itchy or painful vaginal skin
- During urination or intercourse, you feel burning
- An unpleasant odor coming from the vagina
Maintaining daily cleaning during your period, as well as monthly sterilization, will ensure your cup stays clean. To buy a new quality cup, Fairy Menstrual Cup is the best option.