Cup Care & Cleaning
Please note – this is general advice, please check with the cup manufacturer of your particular cup to see what they recommend, as different cup companies recommend different cleaning methods.
When to clean the cup
You should clean your cup when you first receive it, to make sure it is clean of any particles from manufacture/storage.
When you are using it, you may like to clean the cup at the end of every day, or each time before reinserting it after emptying it. It is up to you.
When your period has finished, make sure your cup is properly cleaned, then store it in a bag or non-airtight container. Some people like to boil their cup or soak in sterilizing solution – either at the end of their period, or before they use the cup again the next time they have a period, or both. If you only boil/sanitize at the end of your period, the cup may pick up dust or other particles while being stored for a month (and the pouch you store it in should probably be washed occasionally too), so you may also like to clean it again before you use it when your period starts.
Do I need to Boil or Sanitize it?
Some people feel they need to boil the cups or use a sterilizing solution – this is completely up to you.
It is not recommended to boil the rubber keeper.
If boiling the cups, make sure you use enough water to completely cover the cup, and do not allow it to boil dry or you may burn the cup. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to boil the cup for – but usually 5-10 mins is recommended. You can pop the cup into a metal wisk to hold it above the bottom of the pot while boiling! (Photo)
If microwaving, the cup must remain fully submerged or it can burn. Do not wash cups in the dishwasher!
If using a sterilizing solution, make sure it is of a type that the manufacturer recommends using. Some cup companies recommend Milton sterilization tablets. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer for advice. Make sure you rinse off any sterilizing solutions so that it cannot irritate the skin of your vagina.
You can use a rubbing alcohol (which is likely what cup wipes are) – pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and wipe it all over the cup, allowing it to fully dry before storing the cup in the pouch or reinserting it.
Do I need to clean the cup before reinserting after I’ve emptied it?
Some people like to wash the cup with soap or cleaning solution each time it is reinserted. Some people like to just rinse with water. Some like to wipe with toilet paper or a tissue/cloth. Some reinsert without cleaning. You can choose whatever method you feel most comfortable with.
If you will need to empty and reinsert the cup while away from home, you can carry a moistened face cloth, a bottle of water or one of the special cup cleaning wipes with you, if you don’t want to leave the toilet stall to rinse it in the sink. Or you can wipe it with toilet paper, or just reinsert it as is. DO NOT rinse it in the water from the toilet bowl! (and not even with the water that comes from under the rim when you flush)
Cleaning the Airholes
Some of the cups have large airholes that come clean very easily. Some have very small airholes that can trap the blood. To clean the airholes, fill the cup with water, place your palm on top and squeeze the cup – this should force the water out through the holes.
For some harder-to-clean airholes, you may need to soak the cup in warm water. You could try stretching the silicone to enlarge the holes for cleaning. Or use a toothbrush, toothpick or pin (cup companies don’t recommend a pin, as it could damage the cup – so be careful) to clear out the holes.
Stains and Discolouration
Often the clear silicone cups will take on a “golden” colour with use. This is perfectly fine and does not mean you need to replace the cup (unless the silicone looks damaged), but some people find this unattractive. Some people recommend soaking the soak the cup for a few minutes in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Or using vinegar or lemon juice.
What to wash it with
When washing your cup with soap or other cleaning products, make sure they are designed specifically for cups or for silicone “toys”.. or that they will be safe to use with your cup. If using soap, use a plain (unscented) soap, preferably as basic as possible (oil free soap is recommended) – this is both to protect your cup but also to protect your vagina from anything that could irritate the skin.
Some brands of cup sell cleaning wipes and washes, sterilizing solutions and other cleaning products to help you clean your cup. While these are not necessary to purchase, you may find something like the wipes to be useful while away from home.
Claripharm sent me a tube of the Clarigyna along with the Claricups to review, so I have used it. It is a liquid-soap like product. Other than it being a little bit too liquid, so it can leak when stored standing upright resting on the lid, I have had no reaction from using it and I find it easy to use. Because I only use a small amount, the tube will last a long time, so it seems good value. I do think a bottle or pump bottle like the other brands use would be more convenient to use however. While I wouldn’t normally bother buying a special cup-cleaning product, I do admit that it is convenient to use something I know will be fine on the cups – so I have found it very useful.
Diva Cup recommends:
“When cleaning your DivaCup be sure to avoid using: vinegar, tea tree oil, scented/fragranced soap, castile/peppermint soap or any other oil based soap, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, pre-moistened wipes, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing soap, bleach or harsh chemicals as some have been known to damage or compromise the silicone (may leave a sticky or powdery film, etc.) and may need to be replaced to avoid irritations, burning, etc.”