Cleaning and Caring for Your Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups are made from non-porous materials such as medical grade silicone or TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) and are ideal for internal period care. Menstrual cup cleaning is simple. They wash easily and will last for years with proper care.

A menstrual cup can be worn safely for up to twelve hours — unless you have a heavy period, and are changing more frequently, you won’t need to clean your cup more than twice a day. If you find that you have a heavier flow, you may opt to rinse with water in-between your twice daily washes.

How to Properly Wash Your Menstrual Cup

It’s easy! Use warm water (as hot as you can stand) and a gentle, vagina and cup safe soap. Not sure which soap you should choose? We would recommend a soap formulated specifically for the purpose of washing cups to be safe (brands such as Lunette and Elevated make washes that we love). If you prefer not to use a cup specific wash look for gentle soaps free of harsh dyes, perfumes, and additives that may cause irritation to your skin or harm the cup.


Tips for Washing Your Menstrual Cup

  1. Empty and change your cup in the shower and keep a cup safe soap handy there.
  2. Fill the cup with soapy water and place your palm over the opening. Flip over and squeeze water out through the suction holes to remove any remaining gunk.
  3. Rub cup between hands while washing under water to remove any gunk left in suction holes.
  4. Take a soft bristle toothbrush and scrub any residue left around grip rings or suction holes on occasion.
  5. Use interdental cleaners for cleaning out suction holes if needed.

Worried about what happens in between removing, washing, and replacing your menstrual cup? Typically the blood flow isn’t heavy and fast enough to leak onto your legs or floors while you have the cup out. If you do find this is the case for you try laying a couple of squares of TP inside your underwear to catch any spots while you wash your cup. {video for other ideas}

How to Wash Your Menstrual Cup in Public

When and if you find yourself in a public restroom stall in need of cleaning your menstrual cup don’t panic! You do not need to take your soiled cup to the row of public sinks! Instead, simply remove the cup, dump contents into the toilet, and wipe the cup out with a few squares of toilet paper.

If you know you will be changing your cup in public regularly it may be worth purchasing “cup wipes” to keep in your bag. If you are changing your cup in a single person restroom with a sink we recommend not using the soap they provide, just to be on the safe side, and simply wash out with warm water until you get home.

Menstrual Cup Cleaning

How to Sanitize Your Menstrual Cup

Do you have to boil your menstrual cup? No. But, if you prefer that your cup be sanitized before or after each cycle you can safely do so. We suggest placing your menstrual cup inside of a metal whisk when leaving inside a boiling pot of water for 1-2 minutes. Frequent boiling could be a contributing factor to the silicone softening and thinning over a long period of time.

Other ways you could sanitize your cup? If you would rather not boil, you can place the cup in a “steam bag” (often sold for use of sanitizing breast pump parts), use Milton tablets and soaking, or buying a specific menstrual cup container for steaming cups in the microwave (Yuuki Cup makes one). Though sanitizing isn’t required on any routine basis you should sanitize your cup before using again if you’ve had any sort of infection.

Menstrual Cup Cleaning

How to Remove Menstrual Cup Stains

Stains are an unavoidable side effect of using a menstrual cup. A stained cup does not need to be replaced, but if you prefer to use a cup without staining you can do a 3% hydrogen peroxide soak overnight. Soaks should not be done too often, but once every few months is ok. Be advised that most menstrual cup manufacturers do not recommend soaking and it may void your warranty, if applicable. We love using the little Wean Green glass containers for our soaks.


How to Know When to Replace Your Menstrual Cup

If your cup shows any signs of cracking or splitting, if your cup gets a chalky residue or feels sticky to the touch, these are signs you need a new cup. In all likelihood you will replace your cup because you’re excited to try a new brand before you ever NEED to replace the cup. Ruby Cup accepts cups for recycling or you can simply burn your medical grade silicone cups to ashes.


Did you know that your menstrual cup can last well over 5 years? Some users have used their cups successfully as long as 10! That’s a long time to not lose something so small but if you can keep track of your cup that long you’ve saved yourself a LOT of money! If you clean your cup and occasionally give it a good scrub there’s no reason your cup can’t last you just as long.


  • Hi! I’m new to using cups. Just last period I was able to successfully “install” my cup. This month when I started my period I was excited to use my cup again, except for last night when I took it out to empty, there was a horrible smell so I left it out and boiled it. Did some research and read I could clean it with alcohol which I did but the smell is still there. I inserted a second cup and when I went to empty it I washed and it too has the smell. Help! What can it be? And how can I get the smell out? I should add that I got the “off brand” cups from eBay because I wanted to try first to see if I could make it work for me. TIA for your help!

  • 1 off-brand cup may not actually be made of silicone, 2 soap you used may be mixing weird with your blood so try different soap, 3 you might not be used to your period smell, tampons and pads often hide the smell 4 possible STDs or yeast infections could be causing the smell, yeast infections get worse smelling when there is no air flow.

  • Hello!
    I love your website and everything you do!
    Do you have any thoughts on devices that use steam or uv light to sterilize your cups? I’ve seen a few out on the market and would love your advice!

  • Thank you! This was very helpful! I am a first time cup user and am experiencing some leaking. I wonder if the suction is not tight enough…

  • Very helpful,thank you.Just one point in your gif showing how to wash the cup,the faucet is left open ,the water going straight down which is plain wastage.

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