You’ve probably already heard of menstrual cups! They are eco-friendly, easy to use, and can last up to years. They are believed to be excellent disposable menstrual products, working better than sanitary napkins and tampons. While there are so many advantages to using menstrual cups, if the thought of cleaning them still scares you, don’t worry! They are also easy to clean and don’t worry, it won’t end up looking like a crime scene once you finish cleaning it. Also, you need to keep it in perfect condition 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 should know about cleaning menstrual cups is that it is for your own safety and health. Cleaning them may seem like a hassle, but you’ll find that using a menstrual cup is perfectly doable once you get familiar with it. Let’s give you another reason why you should use menstrual cups: they last up to 12 hours in one go! Also, it works well as a stand-alone 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 inexperienced, a menstrual cup is an alternative menstrual product that you can use during your 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 between uses. Empty your cup after each use, wash it, and then reinsert it. It is important to prevent bacterial growth and sterilize your menstrual cup at least once every cycle.
Also read: Can menstrual cups make your uterus drop? Let’s destroy 7 of those myths
How to clean a menstrual cup?
Dr Astha Dayal, Senior Consultant, OB/GYN, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram shares the correct way to clean a menstrual cup before, during and after your periods.
1. It is important to sterilize or boil the menstrual cup if it is the first time you use it. 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 must not touch the surfaces of the pot.
2. You can also sterilize it using special microwave containers or tablets that are used to sterilize it with cold water. However, the easiest way to sterilize a menstrual cup is to boil it in a pot at home, and there should be a separate pain to sterilizing it, she adds.
3. During periods, you should remove the cup, uncover the blood, and wash it before using it again.
4. Wash your hands before inserting or removing the cup.
5. Clean the cup under running water. However, you can also use a mild oil-free and fragrance-free soap or the special washes that come with the cup.
6. Avoid using strong detergents or things that have fragrances or hydrogen peroxide or things based on strong chemicals, which are used for washing clothes, as they may spoil the silicone of the cup.
7. Sometimes you may need extra care when washing the holes or if there is a bad 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 until your next period.
Also read: The menstrual cup is for everyone! Or maybe not if you face these 5 problems
When to replace the menstrual cup?
Yes, period cramps can last up to 10 years, but should you wait that long before changing yours? No matter 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 a year or two if there are signs of damage. You should also throw it away if you see scratches, permanent stains, or white flakes.
You should also replace the menstrual cup if you notice that the texture of the cup has changed or if there is a bad odor that does not go away. Any leak in the cup is also another reason to change to a new one. With that being said, menstrual cups are easy to use and clean, but there’s no hard and fast rule that you should wear them for 10 years. Change it when necessary and also consult your doctor using it.