Whether you already use one or are thinking about making the switch, it’s important to learn how to properly clean your menstrual cup. Knowing how to sanitize your menstrual cup during and between your periods is crucial for both your vaginal health and your cup’s longevity (with proper care, LOLA’s menstrual cup can last up to 10 years!).
Luckily, keeping your cup clean and fresh over the years is pretty easy and straightforward. Let’s dive into the details of cleaning your menstrual cup.
How to sterilize your menstrual cup
You might be wondering, “Do you have to boil your menstrual cup?” We recommend it! It’s an easy way to ensure you’re using a clean, sterile product in your vagina.
When you first get your cup, you’ll want to sterilize it. Drop your cup into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. When it’s ready to take out, let it dry and completely cool on a clean surface (we like to use a clean paper towel or cloth towel for this).
Many cups, like LOLA’s menstrual cup, are made from silicone that can withstand boiling temperatures. Just be sure it doesn’t touch the bottom or sides of the pot while boiling. A common trick for this: put your cup in a wire whisk before submerging it into the water.
Voila — your cup is sterilized! You’ll use this same method at the end and the beginning of each cycle, too, to fully sanitize it before your next period.
Cleaning your menstrual cup
If you want to freshen up your cup between uses, you can rinse it with warm water and a mild or unscented soap before reinserting. You can also use specially made soap for menstrual cups.
Many menstrual cups have tiny suction holes near the rim. These holes help create a seal during insertion by allowing air to pass through. They also make removal easier and more comfortable, since you can break the seal by simply squeezing the base of the cup. To clean out these holes, fill the cup with warm water, place your palm over the top, and flip it upside down over the sink or toilet. Squeeze the water out through the suction holes to clear out any lingering residue. For any remnants, you can use the dull end of a toothpick or a dental floss pick to carefully push it through.
Keep in mind, your cup isn’t necessarily dirty if it starts to take on coloration! To remove any stains or discoloration, you can try scrubbing your period cup with mild or unscented soap and water. If that doesn’t do the trick, try soaking your cup in lemon juice for at least an hour. Then scrub and boil before inserting again.
How to clean your cup in public
Cleaning a menstrual cup in a public or shared bathroom requires a bit of planning, but once you get the hang of it it’ll become second nature.
First of all, make sure you wash your hands before touching your vagina. Once you empty your cup into the toilet, you can rinse it off in the sink, wipe it down with tissue paper, or simply reinsert it. Whichever method you choose, vagina-friendly cleansing wipes are an easy way to freshen up during cup removal and insertion in a public restroom. After you’re done with the wipe, just toss in the wastebasket and you’re ready to go.
Storing your menstrual cup
Between periods, be sure to keep your period cup in a clean place free of dust and debris. Some cups (like LOLA’s) come with their own carrying case that is perfect for both storage and taking with you. These cases keep your cup clean and dry until your next cycle.
It’s not recommended that you store your menstrual cup in cloth or plastic bags as they can collect dust and prevent proper drying, respectively. A lack of proper drying can create a bacteria-prone environment — a major vaginal no-no.
And don’t forget to sanitize and fully dry your cup before storing it away!
Like any product that gets up close and personal with your vagina, you want to make sure it’s clean. If you work these cleaning habits into your routine, you’re on the road to a happy, healthy vagina and long-lasting menstrual cup. Happy cleaning!