How to clean (and care for) your menstrual cup.

August 18, 2021

Moxie reusable period cups - progressive period care

Care for your cup like you care for your closest pal, Moxette. Because like your bestie, a well looked after reusable menstrual cup will help get you through all kinds of (period related) drama for years and years.

 

If you're completely new to menstrual cups (a.k.a period cups), you might want to start here with our 101 go-to guide on menstrual cups, or if you're keen to learn a new way to fold your cup, start HERE.

Once you're up to speed on the basics, read on for how to have a long, healthy and happy relationship with your new planet friendly(er) eco period pal.

 

BEFORE USE

Although brand new, your menstrual cup won't be provided to you as sterile, and neither are your hands or your vagina! But that's no excuse to not practice good hygiene when it comes to intimate care.

It's important to sanitise your period cup before you use it and also in between cycles. You can sanitise it during your cycle if you want to, but over-sanitising it can cause the silicone to wear down quicker - which means your cup may not last you as long (and, if well-cared for, it should last you A LONG TIME). And so, we recommend only sanitising in between cycles (or after an apple cider vinegar soak - more on that later).

Be sure to read the instructions for use that are provided with each cup, and the below tips and tricks to help keep your cup clean and your vagina happy (and healthy).

TLDR: Sanitise your cup thoroughly before first use and in between cycles, and clean it throughout. We explain the difference, below.

Before you handle your cup in any way, remember to thoroughly wash your hands.

 

SANITISING YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP BEFORE USE AND IN BETWEEN CYCLES

'Sanitising' involves the process of removing micro-organisms and bacteria to a safe level. As your vagina isn't a sterile environment, sanitising your cup before use (as in, at the start of each menstrual cycle) should be enough to keep your vagina happy and your cup in ready-to-use condition.


How to sanitise a menstrual cup in boiling water

Moxie menstrual cups are made using medical-grade silicone, which is pretty temperature resistant, non-porous and very durable.

You can't really burn or melt your cup, unless you haven't filled the pot enough and the water evaporates. Just be careful to not leave the pot unattended or on the stove for too long, and ensure that your cup doesn't touch the bottom of the pot.

1.  Fill a small pot with water 2/3 full and place on a stove-top. Allow it to boil.

2.  Once boiling (rolling bubbles!), carefully place your menstrual cup in the water and allow it to boil for 5 minutes (no more than 10). Be sure to keep the lid off the pot so that it doesn't boil over.

TIP: Place your cup in the centre of a whisk (like you would use to whisk eggs) before you put it in the pot. This will help keep your cup submerged but will keep it off the bottom of the pot and melting. It's also an easy way to get the cup out!

3.  Allow the pot water to cool before removing your cup from the pot. If you're using a Moxie cup (because why wouldn't you be) you can also remove it from the pot and rest it in the base of its purse-worthy pod to dry (this has holes for ventilation).

How to sanitise your menstrual cup in a microwave

A microwave is an option for those who don't have access to a stove. This can involve a boiling-type method with water (be sure to use a microwave safe container or mug and not overfill it with water), or a steaming method that uses minimal water or a steam bag.

Every cup is different and some brands will recommend a microwave method over others - we suggest you read their specific instructions for use.

For Moxie period cups, we suggest the boiling method.


How to sanitise your menstrual cup without boiling it

There are other tools on the market you can purchase that claim to sanitise menstrual cups - like UV or steam sanitisers. We can't vouch for any of these specifically as we don't make them, so we suggest doing your own thorough research to find one that suits your needs and the type of cup you're using.

Moxie reusable menstrual cup - Regular

CLEANING YOUR CUP DURING YOUR CYCLE

Cleaning your menstrual cup with water

'Cleaning' means to remove unwanted substances from a surface, object or environment. Plain drinking water will do the job to adequately clean your cup during your cycle (insert, rinse, repeat as needed during your period).

Once you've removed and emptied your cup, rinse it first in COLD WATER to remove the bulk of the flow and to help prevent stains on your cup - then rinse in warm water.

You can dry your cup with some paper towel, rest it in its breathable carry pod (if it's a Moxie cup) or re-insert it whilst it's still a bit wet (water can act as a lubricant to help with insertion). 


Cleaning your menstrual cup with soap

It’s fine to use soap to wash out your menstrual cup - but just make sure it’s mild, unscented, oil-free and pH balanced. Remember to dilute the soap with water and rinse it thoroughly, to prevent any remnants making their way into your vagina.

 

CLEANING YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP IN PUBLIC OR WHILST TRAVELLING, WITHOUT WATER

If you don’t have access to clean drinking water, simply empty your cup in a toilet or sink, and wipe it out with some clean toilet paper.

You might otherwise opt for a water-based intimate wipe which can double as a cup cleaner whilst travelling or on the go. Just ensure that it’s free from oils and fragrances.

Clean your cup with water as soon as you're practicably able to.

 

HOW TO REMOVE (AND PREVENT) STAINS AND SMELLS

First up: it's not uncommon for your menstrual cup to stain with use or discolour over time - this shouldn't impact its performance and doesn't necessarily mean that your cup needs to be replaced (more on when to replace it, further on).

Cups that are clear, white or lighter coloured tend to stain easier, so you might want to opt for a darker coloured cup instead (our Moxie cups come in red and blue for this reason).


Prevent stains with cold water

The best way to keep the original colour of your cup is to try and prevent stains - the simplest way is to be sure to rinse your cup in COLD WATER before using heat (including boiling or steaming).

Hot water can set stains in, whereas cold will help remove any excess. Once you've rinsed in cold water, you can then clean or sanitise your cup as normal.


Remove stains and smells with an apple cider vinegar soak

To help remove stains or odours from your cup, we suggest an apple cider vinegar soak - it's inexpensive, a natural sanitising agent and pretty easy to do! Here's how:

1.  Simply dilute 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water and soak your cup in the mixture for 24 hours.

2.  Rinse your cup in cold water and sanitise it before use (we recommend boiling water).


Remove stains and smells by sun-drying

Did you know that the sun has anti-bacterial properties? Some Moxettes report that leaving your cup out in the sun for a few hours can also help to fade stains and remove odours. If it's a boiling hot day, don't leave it out in the hottest part of the day as the cup might melt! Opt for a morning sun soak, instead, when the sun isn't as strong.


Keep it clean 

Be sure to change your cup regularly (don't wear it for longer than 8 hours at a time) and clean it thoroughly during use, ensuring that the little air holes are free from flow, and sanitise your cup in between cycles.

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY DROP YOUR CUP IN THE TOILET

If you’re new to cups, we recommend removing it in the shower the first few times to avoid any mishaps (or mess). If you do ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve accidentally dropped your cup in the loo, you’ll have some decisions to make...!

Firstly - you'll need to fish it out. Please don't try and flush it, as it can clog pipes or end up in our waterways and cause all kinds of drama. If you have access to some disposable gloves, use those, or any kind of instrument where you don't have to touch the water or bowl (worst case: reach in, fish it out fast and thoroughly wash your hands immediately afterwards).

If you’re at home... and it’s your own toilet and you trust that you clean it regularly and thoroughly, you may opt to fish it out. If you do, be sure to sanitise it thoroughly in boiling water before you use it again (see instructions above). DO NOT insert your cup without sanitising it first.

If you’re in a public toilet... we’d strongly suggest you dispose of the cup and buy a new one.

Our recommendation would be to dispose of the cup irrespective of whose toilet you drop it in - toilets contain all kinds of bacteria and even chemical residues left behind from cleaning products that could wreak all kinds of havoc with your intimate health and vaginal pH. Though we also respect that everyone's personal situation is different and so only you can decide what's practical for you.

 

HOW TO STORE YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP WHEN NOT IN USE

Keep your cup in something breathable - Moxie cups come with a carry/storage pod with holes in the base to keep it ventilated. Otherwise, keep your cup in a breathable fabric bag. Don't store it in an air-tight container or a plastic bag. 

Moxie reusable menstrual cup with carry pod

EXTENDING THE LIFESPAN OF YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP

Your cup should last you years and years (if it's a Moxie one, it should last you around 5 - 10 years. They're made with super durable medical-grade silicone) if well cared for. Here's how to get a long-life our of your eco-period pal: 

  • Follow the instructions for use in pack, and the above instructions for cleaning care.
  • Don't use soaps or cup cleaning products that are oil-based, as these can leave a film and can wear away at the silicone. 
  • Don't clean your cup with bleach, alcohol, peroxide, or other harsh chemicals. These can not only be harmful to your cup, but your vagina, too.
  • Don't put your cup in the dishwasher.
  • If you're using a Moxie Cup (b/c why wouldn't you be?!), keep it in its pod when not in use (like, in between cycles) - the base of the pod is ventilated with little holes to allow for air flow. If you're using another type of cup, store it in the pouch it came in - just make sure it's a breathable fabric.

 

WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP

  • If your cup is torn, cracked or split in any way
  • If the silicone starts to feel a bit sticky/tacky to the touch
  • If you accidentally drop your cup in the toilet (see above)
  • If your cup has a lingering smell that you can't seem to get rid of...

... then it's time to dispose of your trusty period pal and replace it with a new one.

Remember: it's normal for your cup to fade or discolour over time, but if it looks suss to you (like, it started off red and now it's yellow), then it's probably time for a freshie.

 

Got more questions?

Get in touch info@moxie.com.au or check out our post that answers some of your most common period cup FAQs, HERE.



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