Cleaning And Disinfecting Menstrual Cups
When taking care of your menstrual cup or disc there are actually two steps involved:
- Cleaning your Menstrual Cup
- Disinfecting your Menstrual Cup.
The important part is to disinfect your Menstrual Cup Only AFTER you cleaned It. Heat treating a soiled cup may set stains that will be difficult or impossible to remove.
Image used with permission from MeLuna USA
How Often Should You Clean And Disinfect Your Menstrual Cup?
We recommend cleaning your menstrual cup at least every 8-12 hours. Even if it is not full, taking the cup out and cleaning it will prevent bacterial growth and odors.
We recommend disinfecting the menstrual cup after every period before storing it away. Some users also like to disinfect the cup once again right before using it for the next period.
How To Clean Your Menstrual Cup or Disc
1. Wet the cup under running cold or luke-warm water (not hot) for 5 seconds.
2. Use a gentle cleanser made for menstrual cups and rub the cup for a minimum of 30 seconds. You can find several different options in our store here , including cup wash by Hello Period, Lunette and Saalt!
If you don't have access to menstrual cup cleaners Cetaphil Skin Cleanser has also been tested to be safe and effective in cleaning menstrual cups. It's easy to find in most locations in the US.
Do not use any harsh or abrasive cleansers like those made for dishes, laundry, household items or similar. Do not place your menstrual cup in the dishwasher or washer.
You can use a MeLuna brush or an interdental brush to clean the air holes (run the brush through each air hole at least once).
3. Rinse the cup under running cold or luke-warm tap water for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Dry the cup completely before storage. For a perfect place to store your cups and discs, check out our Storage Solutions here.
Menstrual cups should never be stored in an airtight container. This could promote odors.
How to Disinfect Your Menstrual Cup or Disc
Different Disinfection Methods
Disinfection By Boiling Water
Your Menstrual Cup or Disc should be disinfected before your first time using it and after every period.
On the stove: You may disinfect your cup by floating it completely submerged for 3-5 minutes in boiling water (100° Celsius/ 212° Fahrenheit). Take care when removing the cup as the water will be very hot.
The downside to stove disinfection is the risk of forgetting! In order for your cup to not melt, do not leave it lying on the bottom of the pot without water! Do not leave the pot unattended. Using a timer may be helpful. Cooking times of 3 minutes are sufficient.
TIP: It works great if you put the cup inside of a whisk. The whisk (or strainer) keeps the cup safe from melting and you can retrieve it without burning your fingers. Do not use any implements to stir the cup while it is hot and soft though.
In the microwave: Of course, the cup can also be disinfected in the microwave. Be sure to submerge the menstrual cup in sufficient water so that the disinfection procedure is effective. Be careful not to burn yourself when you remove it. The water will be very hot.
Disinfection via Steam:
Disinfection is also possible via use of steam devices. The same time recommendation applies of a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes. Please follow manufacturer instructions for your device. We offer a Steam Device here.
Disinfection Via Milton Tabs:
Tabs like those made by Milton for baby and breastfeeding items have been shown to be effective in disinfecting menstrual cups.
IMPORTANT: you will need one Milton mini tab per 100ml of water. The MeLuna Disinfection cup is perfect for this and holds exactly the right amount of water. You can find a combo set here.
Recommendations for cleaning on the go
Wipe out your cup with some paper or a skin-compatible cleaning cloth and re-insert it. Also cleaning with clear, cold water is possible.
Bringing along cleaning wipes or a bottle of water can be very helpful in public toilets, since you do not have a sink within reach.
Check out our store for helpful 'On the Go' items like the Hello Period spray or Wipes by MeLuna and more!
We do NOT recommend the use of alcohol wipes. Recent studies have shown that alcohol increases biofilm formation of Staph bacteria, the bacteria associated with TSS.
Odor or discoloration of your Menstrual Cup
Slight discoloration may develop over a long period of use and may occur in any menstrual cup brand. With regular thorough cleaning this staining can usually be limited.
Odor formation can be prevented by not wearing the cup for too long periods of time. The maximum time span to wear the cup should not exceed 8 hours to 12 hours in the body. Because of the variations of proteins in the blood it is possible that a menstrual cup suddenly takes on a strange smell, even though it has been cleaned as usual.
TIPS for special cleaning problems
To prevent odors always COLD rinse the cup after removal. The smell is caused by protein compounds in the blood. Unpleasant odors usually disappear when you put your well cleaned cup for a few days in a dry, well ventilated place.
Staining of menstrual cups can be lessened when you treat with vinegar or salt water. Hard to reach places can be reached very well with an interdental brush, to prevent and remedy deposits.
Hot salt water:
You can also add a little salt. This helps to prevent discoloration and increases the cleaning effect.
Adding a little bit of vinegar in the boiling water prevents lime scale and has a natural disinfectant and deodorizing effect. Vinegar water can be used hot or cold at not more than a 3% concentration.
For more info on Menstrual Cup Stains see our Blog Post on Menstrual Cup Stains!