It’s time to talk about proper hygiene and care processes around menstrual cups, menstrual cup sterilizing, and the importance of handling your cup with clean hands. No matter which period product you insert into your vagina, it is important that it is clean and safe so that you avoid infections and keep a healthy vaginal flora.
Remember that the insides of your vagina consist of mucous membranes, just like the gums in your mouth. A mucous membrane is a soft and delicate tissue that protects your body less than your skin - that’s why we find them on the inside and not on the outside of our bodies. It’s important that we are pretty careful in terms of hygiene around our mucous membranes.
After having read this article, you’ll know which options that exist for sterilizing your menstrual cup, and you’ll know exactly how to go about it. Read along to find out how to sterilize your cup in a pot on your kitchen stove, or in a menstrual cup sterilizer the oven or in the microwave.
Sterilize your menstrual cup in boiling water
The best, safest and most efficient means of sterilizing your menstrual cup is to boil it in water for 3-5 minutes. Your cup should be fully rinsed in cold water before entering the water, and when it leaves the water, it needs to get completely dry before you put it away for storage in the breathable cotton bag that comes with it (at least if you choose Ruby Cup).
You can do it in:
- A kitchen pot on your stove: This is a very zero waste approach, as you can just use one of the pots you have at home. There’s no need to allocate a specific pot only to sterilizing your menstrual cup - you can simply use the same pot as you use for cooking. Make sure it’s clean and that you use drinkable water for sterilizing your cup, and stick to a range of 3-5 minutes. As the word sterilizing implies, it automatically keeps your pot safe and clean.
- The Ruby Sterilizer: There can be many reasons to want to find a different solution than your kitchen pot, and thanks to the Ruby Sterilizer, that’s very easy. Maybe you share kitchen utensils with roommates who don’t approve of the idea of sterilizing menstrual cups in them (although it’s completely safe), or maybe you just prefer it that way. The ruby Sterilizer is also made of medical grade silicone, which is non-toxic and safe under very hot temperatures. With the Ruby Sterilizer you can sterilize your cup in water in the oven, in the microwave, or simply by pouring boiling water over the cup. No matter which option you choose, stick to the range of 3-5 minutes. Bonus tip: The Ruby Sterilizer fits with all menstrual cups, no matter which brand you are using.
The Ruby Sterilizer is collapsible, making it fit just about anywhere, and making it a great choice on the run and while traveling.
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. So to avoid creating waste or risking infections, steer clear of wipes.
- Scented/oil-based/antibacterial soaps
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Dishwashing liquid
- Rubbing alcohol
- Washing your menstrual cup in the dishwasher.
Avoiding the chemicals listed will help your cup last longer and protect your body from ph imbalance, irritation, and infection.
Make sure to always handle your cup with clean hands as bacteria on your hands can be transferred to the cup.
Here on the Ruby Cup blog, we already have a full guide on how to clean a menstrual cup, and as we promise in the article: It’s easier than you think. The basics are that you should empty and rinse your cup in cold water every 8 hours while on your period, and that you should sterilize it between periods, shortly after your period finishes.
We also have a guide specifically on how to clean your menstrual cup in a public bathroom, which can seem a bit scary at first, but is totally doable (and doesn’t necessarily entail being bold enough to use the sink).
Is there more to menstrual cup care than sterilizing?
Your menstrual cup is a zero-waste period product that can last for up to 10 years, and which comes with a number of amazing benefits. It is healthier for the planet (much healthier - actually the period product with the lowest environmental impact that exists), it’s made of medical grade silicone that is healthier for your body, it saves you a lot of money in the long run, and you don’t need to worry about running out of products and running to the store every month.
But in order for your cup to make it to its 10th birthday and achieve its full lifespan, you have to take good care of it, rinse it, sterilize it, and a few more things. Don’t worry at all - it’s all super easy and fuss-free, and with all the good your cup does for you and your period, it deserves to be treated well in return :)
Here, we’ve gathered the full list of all things menstrual cup care. Your cup will stay happy when you:
- Sterilize it between periods: To help your cup last as long as possible and to avoid infections, be sure to only boil it for 2-3 minutes. It’s possible that repeatedly boiling it for more than 3 minutes may reduce the lifespan of the cup (and after 2-3 minutes it is already sterilized, it won’t get cleaner by boiling longer).
- Avoid any chemical products you would use to clean your house such as alcohol, bleach or dishwashing liquid
- Handle it with newly washed hands when inserting and removing it.
- Empty and rinse it every 8 hours when you are on your period.
- Store it in a non-airtight environment such as in the breathable cotton bag you got when you bought the cup - and make it a habit to also wash the cotton bag every now and then (e.g. every 4 months).
- Avoid oil-based lubricants and any harsh or oil-based soap and lotion.
- Don’t use your cup together with vaginally injected medicine.
- Go easy on your cup (give it a break altogether) if you get a vaginal yeast infection or bump into bacterial vaginosis.
- Keep away from scratchy surfaces (and cats!).
Read also: Menstrual Cups and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Well done choosing a zero-waste, body-safe period product! If you choose a high-quality menstrual cup like Ruby Cup and stick to good sterilizing and care routines, it will last you up to 10 years. On top of that, through our buy1give1 program, you help someone else have safe periods for up to 10 years too.