How to Use a Menstrual Cup: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
Switch to a Zero-Waste Period

What is a menstrual cup?

How do menstrual cups work?

Menstrual cups are soft, reusable bell-shaped cups that fit easily and sit comfortably in your vagina to collect your period blood instead of absorbing it. You can wear them leak-free for up to 8 hours during the day, while you sleep, and when working out. And it's easy to learn how to use a menstrual cup. Say goodbye to sanitary pads and tampons. Hello, unparalleled freedom.


What is a Ruby Cup?

As menstrual cup experts, we make Ruby Cups from soft medical-grade silicone that can last up to 10 years,⁠ saving around 10kg of plastic waste from ending up in landfills. So far we've saved the planet 12,814,900 kilos of plastic period waste. We don't test on animals and work with a Buy One Give One model—for every Ruby Cup sold we donate another Ruby Cup to a person without access to safe menstrual products. 

The life-changing benefits of using a menstrual cup

Here's why more than 250,000 people who menstruate have chosen Ruby Cup:


*Protect the environment. You're leading a zero-waste lifestyle.
*Change 2 lives. Your purchase automatically donates a Ruby Cup to a person in need.
*Breathe easy. Period cups won't dry out your skin like pads or tampons.
*Stay healthy. Ruby Cup is free from the dioxins and bleach found in tampons and pads.
*Wear whatever you want. Goodbye, bulky pads. Hello, tight jeans.
*Experience peace of mind. Enjoy leak-free nights, travel, and activities.
*Save money. One reusable Ruby Cup can last you up to 10 years.
*Feel carefree. It's so comfortable you'll almost forget you have your period.
*Discover newfound freedom. Fewer trips to the bathroom mean more time to enjoy life.

Choose the perfect menstrual cup for your body

Each body is unique, and each menstrual flow is different, which is why Ruby Cup offers two sizes designed to meet your body's needs. Take our size quiz to discover the perfect cup for you and your menstrual flow. 

Whether you have a light or heavy flow, high or low cervix, we have the right cup for you. 

Still unsure? Read our step-by-step menstrual cup sizing guide.

How to use a menstrual cup

Using a menstrual cup for the first time may seem daunting, but it's entirely doable. We know there’s a learning curve, but with our guide, you’ll get the hang of using a menstrual cup in no time.

Just follow our 4 simple steps to begin living a fuss-free, zero-waste period.

1. How to insert - 2. How to fold - 3. How to remove - 4. How to clean

How to insert a menstrual cup
1. Fold
1. Fold

Wash your hands, fold your menstrual cup, and hold.

2. Insert
2. Insert

Sit, squat, or stand. Then insert your menstrual cup into your vagina, rim first.

3. Release
3. Release

Release your hold. Your cup will unfold, creating a seal to keep it from slipping or leaking.

Beginner's Tip #1: Relax and enjoy yourself. Experiment with different positions before inserting your menstrual cup for the first time to help you feel comfortable. 

How to fold a menstrual cup

The easiest and most popular fold. Just fold the cup in half lengthwise so its rim makes a C-shape.


Fold the cup in half lengthwise, then fold down one side to make a 7-shape with the rim. Has a smaller insertion point than the C-fold.

Punch Down Fold
Punch Down Fold

Punch down the rim of the cup, then squeeze the sides together to create the smallest insertion point yet.

Beginner's Tip #2: Experiment with the 7 and punch-down folds first. With the smallest insertion points, they're great for beginners.

How to remove a menstrual cup
1. Get comfortable
1. Get comfortable

Wash your hands and stand, squat, or raise one leg.

2. Release the seal
2. Release the seal

Find the base of your menstrual cup and gently squeeze it to break the suction. Don’t pull the stem!

3. Remove your menstrual cup
3. Remove your menstrual cup

Keep a firm grip as you gently pull your cup down to remove it. 

4. Empty & Reinsert
4. Empty & Reinsert

Empty the cup's contents into the toilet, rinse your cup under clean running water, then reinsert.

Beginner's Tip #3: Always pinch and pull the base of the menstrual cup, not the stem of the cup as this could reinforce the suction. Removing a menstrual cup is easy once you know how.

How to clean a menstrual cup
1. Before and after your period
1. Before and after your period

Sterilize your menstrual cup in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

2. During your period
2. During your period

Empty your cup, rinse under clean running water, then reinsert.

3. In a public bathroom
3. In a public bathroom

Use a bottle of water to rinse your cup over the toilet. Or wipe clean with dry or damp toilet paper, then reinsert.

Beginner's Tip #4: For a more comprehensive look, we recommend our complete guides on how to clean a menstrual cup and how to clean a menstrual cup in a public bathroom

Cleaning your menstrual cup is easy with Ruby Sterilizer

Made of 100% medical-grade silicone, the Ruby Sterilizer makes cleaning your menstrual cup easy and hygienic. 

- Practical: Just fill with water, insert your menstrual cup, and close the lid. Then pop it into the microwave or oven for a 3-minute boil. Yes, it's that simple.

- Foldable: Its collapsible and lightweight design makes the Ruby Sterilizer easy to store whether you're at home or traveling the world.

- Discreet: With Ruby Sterilizer's modern design and handy lid, no one will know you're cleaning your menstrual cup. Perfect for when you're traveling or sharing a living space.

Why Ruby Cups are great for beginners

If you haven't tried a menstrual cup yet and are on the fence, we hear you. This is why all Ruby Cups come with a 120-day money-back guarantee. Try your Ruby Cup for three or four menstrual cycles. Whether you exchange your cup for a different size or return your cup, we're there for you. 

Duo Pack

The best combination if you're not sure which size to start with or your flow varies during your period, which means you might need two. 

Ruby Cup Starter Pack

The perfect combo if you're just starting to use a menstrual cup. The Ruby Cup Starter Pack includes the Small and Medium cups plus the Ruby Sterilizer. Customize the size combination if you prefer two of the same-size cups. Having an extra cup handy is ideal when your period shows up unexpectedly and you're on the go. 

Buy One, Give One

When you buy a Ruby Cup, you take part in our life-changing menstrual cup donation program. For every purchase, we donate a Ruby Cup to people in need without access to period care products.

In many countries, girls miss out on school once menstruation starts because they lack facilities and sanitary products. Instead, your purchase can change all that. 

Buy a Ruby Cup today to support a young person's chance at continuing their education and having a better future.

FAQs about how to use a menstrual cup

If you still have questions about how to use a menstrual cup, we're going to answer them here.

Are menstrual cups good for beginners?
Every person who menstruates can start using a menstrual cup at any age, any time. This includes whether your hymen is intact or not. Read our take on the best menstrual cups for beginners if you need help to choose the right cup for you.

Is a menstrual cup safe?
Recent studies prove that menstrual cups are safe. They're also safer than using tampons when it comes to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Because a menstrual cup doesn't absorb menstrual blood, the risk of TSS is very low. All menstrual cups are body-friendly, and Ruby Cup's medical-grade silicone is vegan and free from plastic and bleach.

Can you sleep with a menstrual cup?
You can sleep with a menstrual cup leak-free and no longer worry about staining your bedsheets. We recommend emptying your menstrual cup every 8 hours during the day and as soon as you get up in the morning.

Does using a menstrual cup hurt?
When inserted and placed correctly, your menstrual cup shouldn't hurt. Most people forget they're wearing a cup because it's so comfortable. If you experience any pain, check if your cup is open and positioned correctly, or try a softer cup. Always check with your gynecologist first to rule out any health issues before changing cups.

How far up should a menstrual cup go?
A menstrual cup should sit lower than a tampon in your vaginal canal, below your cervix. Also, inserting a tampon vs a menstrual cup is different. Instead of inserting a cup vertically and up like a tampon, insert your menstrual cup horizontally and back toward your tailbone.

Does a menstrual cup get stuck?
A menstrual cup can't get stuck and you can't lose your cup inside your vagina. If you have trouble removing your menstrual cup, always remember to release your cup's suction by pinching its base or pressing a finger between your cup and vaginal wall.

How do you clean a menstrual cup?

During your period, rinse your menstrual cup under clean running water every time you empty your cup. Between periods, sterilize your cup in boiling water for 5 minutes. When using a public bathroom, use a water bottle to clean your cup over the toilet, or wipe your cup with tissues or toilet paper, then reinsert.

Do menstrual cups leak?
Menstrual cups won't leak when inserted correctly. A leaking cup is a cup that hasn't opened and formed a seal. To prevent leaking, run your index finger around the base of the cup. If you feel any creases, your cup hasn't opened. Just gently grip the base and rotate your cup until you feel it open.

How do you know when to change your menstrual cup?
Our medical-grade silicone Ruby Cups can last up to 10 years. Heavy stains, cracking, and changes in texture are signs to replace your cup. Emptying your menstrual cup every 8 hours, rinsing after each use, and sterilizing between periods will help your menstrual cup last for as long as possible.

What's the best eco-friendly period product?
Menstrual cups are the best eco-friendly period product because they are reusable for up to 10 years. Even when you compare menstrual cups vs reusable pads, cups are easier to care for and clean, using less water than any other reusable period product. A menstrual cup is the most responsible zero-waste choice.