Below, you’ll find 23 of the most practical menstrual cup tips the Ruby Cup team could come up with—everything from what size to choose, how to clean gunk from air holes to the best place to empty your cup and what to do when you have to empty your cup in a public toilet.
We've learned a lot over our years of use - and so will you.
Here are our best tips and tricks for using a period cup
1) Read the instructions. You might think it is quite simple to use a cup (and it is!) but reading the instructions carefully will make it even easier. Which neatly brings me to...
2) Don't forget to pinch. If you are a tampon user, you might think that the stem of the cup is just like the string of the tampon and that all you have to do to remove it is to pull it out. Don't. Remember to pinch the base of the cup to break the vacuum effect and THEN pull out. You might get it out by just pulling it, but trust me, it is not super pleasant. Pinching makes it super easy.
3) Try different folding methods. The very popular punch down method does not work so well for me, I can insert my cup in the smallest toilet, in the dark, if I use the C-fold method. It is really worth it to try the method that works best for you. Our beginners guide covers different ways you can try inserting your menstrual cup to see which works best for you.
4) Do your research when it comes to size. I am 39 and I have a child and size small works best for me, the traditional age/virgin-not virgin/children-no children method is not the most reliable. Read our period cup size guide.
5) If you are a bit nervous, start by inserting your cup during your shower. You will be more relaxed and warm and less worried about any potential mess. Find your method, find your fold and in no time you will be able to remove, empty and reinsert your cup anywhere.
Amaia Arranz, COO & Social Impact Director
Related Post: Got a Menstrual Cup That Doesn't Fit? Here's What You Can Do
6) Insertion. If you experience leaking, try another folding method. That could really make the difference!
7) Removal. If you have a high cervix, it could be difficult to reach the cup with your fingers. Don't freak out, your vagina is not the Bermuda Triangle where things can simply disappear inside it. It is very important to stay relaxed and use your pelvic floor muscles to push it down. Once you reach the stem, slowly pull it down until you can pinch the base of the cup and squeeze it to break the suction.
8) Cleaning. Nothing better than a relaxing hot shower with your Ruby Cup. Absolutely the best way to clean it: easy, quick and fuss-free!
9) First time. For the very first time I suggest using double protection such as a panty liner or period underwear until you perfectly know how to handle it. In this way, you don't have to worry and check the back of your trousers every 10 minutes.
10) Be patient. Sometimes it won't work out perfectly on the first periods you use it. It is absolutely normal! There’s a learning curve but it’s totally worth it.
Valentina Carrara, Customer Care & Community Manager
11) Public toilets. Just take your bottle of water with you if you need to get changed and rinse your cup with water before inserting again
12) Frequent travelers. I have 3 cups: 2 that I use regularly at home and one "safety" packed in my travel necessaire, so I am never at a loss wherever I am. Just like with my toothbrushes!
13) Insertion. I prefer inserting and removing in the shower. I even got used to this beautiful contrast of red on white when emptying it, I find it artistic and comforting, my special relationship with my monthly blood.
Stephanie Ruelle, Head of B2B Sales
Related Post: Where Should a Menstrual Cup Sit & How to Insert It
14) Practise run. If you're a beginner, you can practice insertion and removal of the cup to become a bit more familiar with it before you try it on your period. Just make sure it's lubricated.
15) Removal was the hardest part for me in the beginning, so I can recommend allowing yourself time for trial and error. Most important, don't panic and don't stress if you can't get it out right away. It's not doing you any harm staying in a bit longer, so take your time and relax before you try again.
My best removal tip is to:
It seems like a hassle in the beginning but it was only a few periods until I could do it without even thinking.
16) Clean. Use the squeeze and flush method to clean the air holes of your Ruby Cup, they are hand drilled to be completely circular and at a perfect 90 degree angle, so squeezing water through the holes will do the trick to remove anything stuck in them.
17) Go with the flow. The flow of my period is not always the same so even though I've been using a cup for almost 10 years now, I still have to change techniques sometimes. It can be annoying if you think you got the hang of it and all of the sudden you experience leaking without anything seemingly wrong with the cup. It happened for me a few times, changes in the flow, changes in the position of my cervix or similar. What has worked for me in those cases is changing the fold and the position for insertion e.g. inserting while squatting works better for me on my heavy flow days than inserting while sitting.
18) On the fence. If you're thinking about it but still doubting if you should take the plunge and try it out, think about this: It's like riding a bike or using contact lenses. It has to be learned but you'll end up doing it without thinking and then it's for life. And at least what happened for me is that I feel a lot better about and more in control of my period - I still think periods are annoying but they annoy me less than before when I was using tampons.
Related Post: Tampons vs Menstrual Cups: Which Is the Right Choice for You?
Julie Weigaard Kjær, CEO & Cofounder
19) Weigh up the pros and cons. I heard about a cup a year or so before I actually found the courage to try it. The cup has so many advantages, but it was also something unknown, and from the first sight it didn't look very comfortable to be honest. So I came up with a pros and cons list: what do I lose if I try and don't like it? Not much, since Ruby Cup offers Money Back Guarantee, so maybe I will just have one weird experience more in my life. What do I gain though?- Less expenses, being able to go swimming with no problem at all any day of the month, when travelling-no need to bring a huge stash of tampons & pads of all sizes, less fuss and cleaner feeling altogether. This way the decision was easy to make.
20) Shower. When removing the cup for the first time, do it in the shower, you will see that there is usually not enough menstrual fluid to make your bathroom look like a crime scene, and it will give you one less thing to worry about, and less stress means easier removal.
21) Pinch and Twist. If you find it difficult to remove the cup, try pinching the base and turning it a bit and then pull it down, it helps to break the vacuum seal and the cup will get smaller diameter so will be easier to remove
22) Public bathrooms. Take a small water bottle with you if there is no sink in the bathroom stall, that way you can wash your cup and reinsert it again. Remember to wash your hands before and after.
23) No silly questions. Always ask if you aren't sure: either your friends, OBGYN or our customer support, there are no silly questions when it comes to the cup use. Some people after having problems during their first use just leave it be and go back to the products they already know, even if they aren't 100% happy with them. And more often than not they only require a simple tip/advice/suggestion to get the hang of using the cup and it becomes an indispensable part of their lives.
Alla Shoman, B2B Sales Manager
We hope these menstrual cup tips & tricks help you.
Looking for a high-impact, beginner-friendly menstrual cup? Ruby Cup is the #1 choice for first-time menstrual cup users and the world’s leading menstrual cup donor. For every cup you buy, we give one to someone without access to safe menstrual products. Get your Ruby Cup now.
If you are struggling to use your cup and have a question not covered in our period cup user guide or period cup FAQs then email our Menstrual Cup Coach Valentina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve also been sharing our “first time with a menstrual cup” stories over on IG stories. Come join us and share how it was for you.