Menstrual Hygiene Day: Tips to clean menstrual cup before, during and after periods

Yes, menstrual cups are easy to use, hold more blood and great in general but how do you clean it properly? Here's how you should clean a menstrual cup before, during and after your periods.
View All Images A woman putting a menstrual cup in a pouch
Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Arushi Bidhuri Updated: 26 May 2023, 21:56 pm IST
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You’ve probably heard of menstrual cups by now! They are eco-friendly, easy to use, and can last up to years. They are believed to be great disposable period products, which work better than pads and tampons. While there are so many pros to using menstrual cups, if the thought of cleaning them still scares you – fret not! They are easy to clean as well and don’t worry it won’t end up looking like a crime scene once you are done cleaning it. Plus, you need to keep it in perfect shape if you want to reuse it over and over again. Let’s learn how to clean a menstrual cup this World Menstrual Hygiene Day!

So, the first thing you need to know about cleaning menstrual cups is that it is for your own safety and health. Cleaning them may seem like a hassle, but you will find that using a menstrual cup is perfectly achievable once you get a hang of it. Shall we give you another reason why you should use menstrual cups – it lasts up to 12 hours in one go! Plus, it works well as a standalone period product for about 10 years. All you need to know is how to use a menstrual cup and how to clean it.

What is a menstrual cup?

For the unversed, a menstrual cup is an alternative period product that you can use during periods. A menstrual cup is a soft, silicone device that you can use during your period instead of disposable pads or tampons. Your menstrual cup can be used again, but you must clean it in between uses. Empty your cup after each use, wash it, and then re-insert it. It is important to prevent bacterial growth and sterilise your menstrual cup at least once each cycle.

Also Read: Can menstrual cups make your uterus drop? Let’s bust 7 such myths

Use of menstrual cups
Here’s everything you need to know about menstrual cups. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to clean a menstrual cup?

Dr Astha Dayal, lead consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram shares the right way to clean a menstrual cup before, during, and after your periods.

1. It is important to sterilise or boil the menstrual cup if you are using it for the first time. The easiest way is to boil it in water for about 5 minutes to 10 minutes. You must be careful to ensure that the cup does not burn and should not touch the surfaces of the pot.
2. You can also sterilise it using special microwave containers or tablets used to sterilise it with cold water. However, the easiest way to sterilise a menstrual cup is to boil it in a pan at home, and there should be a separate pain for sterilising, adds the expert.
3. During periods, you should remove the cup, unclog the blood and wash it before using it again.
4. Wash your hands before inserting or removing the cup.
5. Clean the cup using plain water. However, one can also use oil-free and fragrance-free mild soap or the special washes that come along with the cup.
6. Avoid using strong detergents or things that have fragrances or hydrogen peroxide or strong chemical-based things, which are used for washing clothes as it can spoil the silicone of the cup.
7. Sometimes you might need extra care in washing the holes or if there is a foul smell in the cup. Then after washing it properly, you can reinsert it.
8. After your period is over boil it again, dry it, and then store it till your next period.

Also Read: A menstrual cup is for everyone! Or maybe not if you’re facing these 5 issues

menstrual cup
Know how to clean menstrual cups properly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When to replace the menstrual cup?

Yes, menstrual cramps can last up to 10 years but should you wait for that long before changing yours? Regardless of how much you clean it or keep it safe, it can get damaged – what should you do in such cases? Replace it? Yes, says Dr Dayal. The cups can be used for several years, but you should replace them in one or two years if there are any signs of damage. You should also dispose of it if you notice any scratches, permanent staining, or white flakes.

You should also replace the menstrual cup if you notice the texture of the cup has changed or there’s a foul odour that is not going away. Any leaks in the cup are also another reason to switch to a new one. Having said that, menstrual cups are easy to use and easy to clean but there’s no hard and fast rule that you need to use them for 10 years. Change it when required and also consult your doctor using it.

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Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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