Dubious hygiene, cramped spaces, and public sinks are all common worries. But now that you know how to use a menstrual cup, it’s time to take the next step in your zero-waste journey.
Our best methods on how to clean a menstrual cup in a public bathroom will show you that managing your cup on the go is not as daunting as it seems. Read on to discover the advantages and methods of using a menstrual cup in public restrooms.
Want a zero-waste and fuss-free period? For every Ruby Cup purchased, we donate another one to a person without access to safe menstrual products. Get your Ruby Cup now.
Benefits of using a menstrual cup anytime, anywhere
Whether you’re traveling, exercising, or working, the benefits of using a menstrual cup like Ruby Cup are endless:
- Protect the environment. Don’t abandon your environmentally friendly choices when you’re on the go. Menstrual cups are reusable, which means zero-waste. Cleaning your menstrual cup anywhere is possible once you know how.
- Save time. Gone are the heavy-flow-day bathroom trips every two hours. With a typical 8-hour usage time (versus around 2 with a tampon), a menstrual cup allows for greater work productivity and freer leisure time.
- Feel free. Are you afraid of staining B&B sheets, leaking during long trips, or spotting gym clothes? With Ruby Cup, you can sleep peacefully, travel without hassle, and even do headstands. You’ll always feel at ease whether you’re wearing a bikini, leggings, or yoga pants.
- Feel fresh. How many times have you fidgeted in a meeting because of itchy, sticky skin? Our bleach-free medical-grade silicone cups allow for cleaner and fresher periods. Ruby Cup is a body-friendly choice.
- Save money. Say goodbye to buying monthly supplies of traditional menstrual products. One Ruby Cup provides 3x more capacity than pads or tampons and its 10-year life span means long-term savings you can spend on hobbies or travel. Use our impact calculator to discover more.
- Feel empowered. Your choices are your superpower. The next time a friend or coworker asks you for a pad or tampon, you can start life-changing conversations. Be an agent of sustainable change wherever you go.
Top tips before changing your menstrual cup in a public restroom
We get it. You’re wary of using public restrooms. Some are super clean and others less so—to the point you can almost see germs and bacteria lurking in every corner.
While there's no safe way to sterilize a menstrual cup without boiling it, that’s something you can do at home between menstrual cycles. During your period, however, you can clean your menstrual cup under any sink or anywhere there’s clean running water. So cleaning it in a public bathroom is perfectly doable.
But we care about your safety, too, which is why we’re sharing our sure-fire hygiene tips to clean your menstrual cup in public restrooms:
- Wash hands before entering a public stall
- If there are paper towels, wet a couple for hand or cup cleaning, then dispose of them in the waste bin (never the toilet)
- To keep both hands clean, use tissue or toilet paper to open and close the stall
- No tissues? Use one hand to open and close the stall and keep the other clean for removing your cup
- If your hands are dirty after cup cleaning, use a piece of toilet paper to wipe them down. Use another piece to open the stall. Toss both pieces into the toilet and flush
- Give your hands a final scrub in the sink
6 ways to clean your menstrual cup in a public bathroom
Now that you’re prepared, you’ll feel more confident to try these 6 ways to clean your menstrual cup in a public bathroom:
1. Use a water bottle
We know you’re worried about not being able to rinse your cup in the safety of your own bathroom without your sink nearby.
But a simple and safe way to clean your menstrual cup on the go is to keep a small bottle of water with you during your period.
Once you’re inside the stall, set your bottle of water on the floor and open it. Use one hand to remove your menstrual cup and empty its contents into the toilet. With your other hand, take the bottle and rinse the cup with water over the toilet.
You can also use the clean water left in the bottle to rinse away any blood on your fingers. Then, reinsert your cup and you’re done.
2. Wipe the menstrual cup with toilet paper
You may not always have a water bottle handy when your period arrives unexpectedly.
In this case, use toilet paper or a tissue to clean your menstrual cup. Just remove and empty the contents of your cup with one hand. With your other hand, wipe your cup clean with toilet paper, then reinsert.
Keep in mind that toilet paper is biodegradable and will quickly disintegrate as it gets wet, with the risk of leaving little bits of paper sticking to the cup’s silicone. While you can easily brush away bits from the outside of the cup, removing wet paper from the inside can be tricky.
Instead of rubbing or wiping, try dabbing and blotting to avoid paper breakdown. Though a more delicate motion, patting your cup clean is just as effective and will avoid leaving behind paper residue that might cause infections.
On days when your blood is thicker or more abundant, one-time blotting may not be enough. Use fresh squares of toilet paper a few times to pat your cup clean. Once back home, you can scrub your cup clean with a soft sponge.
3. Carry an extra cup with you
What do you do if your period arrives early and you’re stuck at the office, or your cup falls in the toilet of a public bathroom? Always be prepared. Having an extra sanitized cup with you is one of the best methods. Since the Ruby Cup is soft, lightweight, and easy to carry, you can hide one in your bag, your pocket, even the glove compartment of your car.
Next time you’re on the move, carry an extra cup for priceless peace of mind. Ruby Cup offers a Duo Pack that you can buy to never be caught off guard again.
4. Use the handicap stall
Nowadays, most businesses and workplaces provide accessible stalls or private bathrooms, all equipped with a sink. While we don’t recommend using accessible bathrooms as a norm, they are ideal during that time of the month when you’re on the move.
However, not all disabilities are visible. When you’re waiting for the restroom, one best ethical practice is to ask before using the accessible stall to avoid unwanted attention in public lines. If you’re in line at the office, be brave enough to ask and explain. It’s the perfect opportunity to share your socially conscious lifestyle with coworkers and promote change.
5. Reinsert without rinsing
Let’s get real here for a moment. How many times have you walked into a public bathroom that had no toilet paper, paper towels, and soap? And you realize you’re out of tissues, too...
It happens. But it’s not the end of the world. Because if eight hours have passed and you don’t foresee having access to a private bathroom anytime soon, you’re going to have to make do with what you have.
Don’t think too much about it. If you can wash your hands with water, great. If not, don’t worry. Just empty your cup, then reinsert it as is. We know it’s not the best method, but it’s better to empty your cup in less-than-ideal conditions rather than waiting too long.
Once you’re back home, put your mind at ease and rinse your cup well. You can even use a soft body sponge to scrub away any hard-to-remove buildup that might have accumulated on your cup when you emptied it without rinsing.
6. Be bold and use the sink
Use the sink. Because once you’ve emptied your cup in the toilet, what’s keeping you from washing it as you usually do?
Yes, you’re afraid of people seeing your monthly blood and they might stare and gawk at you, but you’re not alone because they bleed too. Choosing to use the sink to clean your menstrual cup is the best opportunity to break down the stigma around periods.
You can transform the conversation.
Be brave and explain. Because when you share your lifestyle choices with courage and pride, you become an agent of change. And the more you talk about your period with others, the more you turn taboo into normal talk.
If you fear losing blood as you go from the stall to the sink and back again, don’t worry. Studies show that the average menstrual blood per period equals two tablespoons. The maximum amount is a third of a cup. Plus, menstrual blood flows in waves and is not constant, which means you’ll have plenty of time to clean your cup without dripping.
But the best part? The more you use your cup, not only will your confidence using it increase, but you’ll gain a better understanding of your menstrual flow.
Maybe you’ll opt for lighter flow days. Or, to be extra safe during heavier flows, you’ll pad your underwear with toilet paper to prevent spotting as you move between stall and sink. Whichever time you choose, be bold and wash your menstrual cup in the sink. You got this.
Live the change you want to see in the world
Now that you know how to clean a menstrual cup in a public bathroom, you’re free to keep your active lifestyle intact. And to lead the way for others to follow.
You’re ready to be a game-changer because you know that cleaning your cup in public restrooms isn’t as scary as it first seems and is downright liberating. And when you let other people see you owning your healthy lifestyle choices, you empower them to do the same.
Now, use these key takeaways to live your zero-waste periods on the go:
- Protect the environment wherever you go.
- Use best hygiene practices to avoid infections.
- Keep a water bottle with you during that time of the month.
- Carry an extra cup for emergencies.
- Use toilet paper to pat your cup clean.
- See no paper, think no problem. Empty, then reinsert. Scrub later.
- Use accessible stalls when they’re free (ask first).
- Rinse your cup in the sink and share your zero-waste lifestyle.
- Free yourself and others from period stigmas.
- Enjoy the freedom of using your cup anytime, anywhere.
FAQs about how to clean a menstrual cup in a public bathroom
How do you clean a menstrual cup discreetly?
To clean a menstrual cup discreetly, keep a small water bottle hidden in your bag.
When you’re safe behind closed doors, remove your cup and empty its contents in the toilet. Then use your water bottle to rinse the cup over the toilet. When you don’t have a water bottle handy, toilet paper is another discreet option to clean a menstrual cup.
How do you sterilize a period cup on the go?
Boil your cup in a small pot or the Ruby Sterilizer if you have access to an oven or microwave.
If sterilizing your cup in boiling water isn’t possible, wash your cup under running water, store it, then sterilize when you can. Remember, you only need to sterilize your cup between periods, or if it falls in the toilet or on the floor. Otherwise, just empty, rinse with water, and reinsert.
Is it a good idea to clean your cup with wet wipes or menstrual cup wipes?
We don’t recommend using wet or menstrual cup wipes because:
- most wet wipes are not biodegradable.
- all wipes create unnecessary waste.
- menstrual cup wipes are designed to clean the cup, not your vagina.
To avoid creating waste or risking infections, steer clear of wipes.
Are menstrual cups good for travelers?
Menstrual cups are ideal for travelers. Here’s why:
- save luggage space,
- save money you could use for museums or tours,
- save time to sightsee instead of searching for drugstores,
- save your peace of mind to enjoy your trip,
- save the environment.
Also, the Ruby Sterilizer is the perfect solution for sanitizing during travel as it’s discreet, microwaveable, and foldable.
What to do if your menstrual cup drops on the floor or in the toilet of a public restroom?
When you drop your cup in the toilet or on a public bathroom floor, don’t use it again until you can sanitize it. Fish it out and wrap it in a paper towel or in the cotton bag that came with your Ruby Cup. Then store it until you can boil it again.
Carry an extra cup with you for emergencies. Better to be safe than sorry.