Put A Cup In It

How to Clean a Menstrual Cup (Surprisingly Easy!)

So you want to know how to clean a 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. Knowing how to clean your menstrual cup is important — thankfully cleaning your period cup 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.

Cleaning a Menstrual Cup Day to Day

It’s easy! Use warm water (as hot as you can stand) and a gentle, vagina safe menstrual cup cleaner or 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 period 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.

Image in a bathroom of hands holding a menstrual cup in the left hand and a tissue in the right hand

How to Sanitize Your Menstrual Cup

Sanitizing your menstrual cup is recommended by most brands, especially before using your period cup for the first time. There are a few methods, so choose the one that works best for you!

Menstrual Cup Boiling

Do you have to boil your cup? No, but if you prefer that your cup be fully sanitized before or after each cycle you can safely do so. In fact, it is recommended by most brands. You can boil your period cup in a pot on the stove, or in a specialty container in the microwave (be sure to allow it to cool before opening!) Please note that frequent boiling may be a contributing factor to the silicone softening and thinning over a long period of time.

How Long to Boil Your Cup

We suggest placing your menstrual cup inside of a whisk, to keep it off of the bottom of the pot, and leaving it inside a boiling pot of water for 3-5 minutes (100% recommend setting a timer! You do not want to forget your cup on the stove.)

Sanitize Your Menstrual Cup without Boiling

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). There are evn a number of menstrual cup steam sterilizers on the market — just be sure to choose the cheapest you can find since they are all the same product rebranded (no need to pay more!)

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.

How to Clean a Menstrual Cup: Image of a gas stovetop with a clear pot boiling with a blue menstrual cup inside of a whisk in the pot

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.


Cleaning A Menstrual Cup Without Access to Water

Certain circumstances call for unique preparedness, and we are here to help you have a plan so that you can have a positive period experience wherever you are. To cover it fully we have an article specifically on using a menstrual cup without access to running water.

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.

34 Responses

  1. I’ve been using a cup for years and just use whatever soap is to hand (bars, liquid, antibacterial) and never had any issues. I think as long as you rinse the soap off thoroughly it’s all good. Never bothered sterilising either.

  2. hi, i’m a new menstrual cup user but haven’t started using it yet. i’m 14 and only my mum knows i bought the cup and i dont know how to boil it on the stove without my dad or brother seeing which would be embarrassing. i have no microwave – can i just use hot kettle water?

    1. I have a specific menstrual cup pot that I use; it is tiny and pink 😉 everyone that cooks at my house knows about it.

    2. I have a little menstrual cup steamer that was under $15 that would fit discreetly and easily in your bedroom. It’s like 6 inches.

  3. Hello! I am using Lunette Feel Better cup cleaner that you also suggest. I love it. However, I have concerns about its safety, because almost all cup companies do not recommend the use of soaps containg oil. Lunette wash contains lemon and eucalyptus oil. What do you think? I use Saalt soft cup and i just bought a Kind cup.

  4. Any common brands of gentle fragrance-free and oil-free soap that works for people? Don’t want to have to buy a specific wash for it.

  5. I always wash my cup with gentle soap and very hot water, but then I rinse with cold water to make sure that there is absolutely no soap residue.

  6. Could you find a word to use other than “gunk”? Considering the continuing stigma around periods, that’s not helpful.

  7. I loved this video. You both had me laughing. And it wasnt just funny it was really helpful. And i think im in the cup cult now. I didnt mean to but here i am.

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