This is part of my comparison chart for the menstrual cups I have tried.
See here for the chart and links to the other sections.
This is looking at what markings are on the cups (and their potential to collect blood and make cleaning harder). None of the cups were “hard” to clean, but those without anything inside were slightly easier to clean and/or have less potential for being difficult to clean….
- Claricup – No markings.
- Diva – Raised name, country, size & capacity lines.
- Femmecup (old) -Website, capacity lines.
- Femmecup (new) – Very slight capacity lines
- Femmycycle – No markings, the anti-leak spout part means you can give the cup a good shake/swish to help cleaning inside.
- Fleurcup - No markings
- Juju – Very light indented name & size
- Keeper – Name, country and capacity lines?
- Lady Cup – No markings
- Lily Compact – No markings. The base of the cup does go down into a small recessed section, which may make cleaning more difficult, also has the slightly bumps from the folding design.
- Lily Cup – No markings. Does have the lip which will require a little more care when cleaning to ensure it is clean under there.
- LunaCup – No markings
- Lunette - No markings
- MeLuna – No markings
- Miacup – Name.
- Mooncup UK – Website, sizing, dots and capacity lines.
- MPower – No markings
- Ruby Cup -Raised name and capacity lines on both sides.
- Sckoon Cup – No markings
- Yuuki – Name, size and capacity lines.
- Vcup – Very slightly raised logo and measuring lines
Keeper has “The keeper made in USA” in raised capitals all around the inside of the rim (I hate the typeface.. looks large chunky and less professional) and 2 rings around the inside. Not sure if they are measuring lines or not. Mooncup UK has their website in larger letters, their sizing in raised letters on the flat inside bottom and raised dots beside the size (not sure why). Some of the cups use indented writing, which seems less likely to catch blood than smaller raised lettering.
I found none of the measuring lines collected any blood really… not as much as I’d thought it would. Though it did make it a fraction harder to clean inside (one lazy wipe cleans the smooth inside cups and I had to wipe a bit more carefully to clean the others) – but rinsing with water (which is how I normally clean the cups between use) seemed to clean them with the same amount of ease.
I noticed once that there was dried blood in the writing that hadn’t washed off properly when I’d rinsed it after use (oops). So the potential for blood catchment in the writing/markings is there, so having no markings is better than having the chance to be harder to clean IMHO…
So score one point for smooth(er) inside that is easier to clean, half a point to Juju, Lily Cup, Lily Compact, Yuuki Femmecup (new) & Vcup because the markings/details are only very slight.
This is looking at what markings, ridges and writing is on the outside of cups – excluding grip lines on the base of the cup (and their potential to collect blood and make cleaning harder). I found the more pronounced ridge (where the cup has the “stepped” sides near the top rim) to be slightly more likely to catch blood (and other vaginal secretions) than the smoother sides.
- Claricup – No ridge, no markings, slight indentations up the sides.
- Diva – Pronounced ridge, no markings.
- Femmecup (both)- Pronounced ridge, no markings.
- Femmycycle – No markings, no ridge
- Fleurcup - No markings or ridge
- Juju – No ridge or markings.
- Keeper - Pronounced ridge, no markings.
- Lady Cup – No ridge or markings.
- Lily Compact – No ridge or markings, does have bumps from the foldable design.
- Lily Cup – No ridge or markings
- Luna Cup – No ridge, size mark and raised capacity lines.
- Lunette – Slight ridge, indented writing and raised capacity lines.
- MeLuna – No ridge or markings.
- Miacup – Pronounced ridge, no markings.
- Mooncup UK – Pronounced ridge, no markings
- MPower -Slight ridge, no markings.
- Ruby Cup – Slight ridge, no markings.
- Sckoon Cup – No ridge, no markings.
- Yuuki – No ridge, no markings.
- Vcup – very slight ridge, No markings.
Score 2 points to the cups who have no ridge and no markings. 1 point to cups with slight ridge and no markings. 0.5 points to cups with no ridge and markings.
Cleaning (and info on) the holes
This is going by how large the holes are and how easy they are to clean (or how likely they are to get full of gunk). I’ll describe the holes as “tiny”, “small”, “regular” and “large”. Some holes are punched through on an angle (so the holes are longer) and some are straight through. I don’t know how much difference this makes to cleaning, but an angled hole has more surface area so may be slightly harder to clean (especially if the holes are small)
- Claricup – 4 “regular” straight holes, 7mm from rim.
- Diva – 4 “tiny” / angled holes, 7mm from rim (small). Took a lot of effort to clean.
- Femmecup (old) – “Small” straight holes cleaned ok
- Femmecup (new) – 4 “Large” horizontal angles holes, 17mm from rim. Easy to clean
- Femmycycle – no holes
- Fleurcup - 4 “regular” horizontal angled holes, 7mm from rim (large). Easy to clean
- Juju – 4 “regular” straight holes, 8mm from rim (small & large). Easy to clean
- Keeper - 6 “tiny” straight holes, 17mm from rim (small). Given the colour, hard to see if clean or not.
- Lady Cup – 6 “large” \ angled holes, 17mm from rim (large & small). Easy to clean
- Lily Compact – 4 “small” straight holes, 6mm from rim.
- Lily Cup – No holes
- LunaCup – 4 “regular” straight holes, 11mm(small) 8mm (large) from rim. Easy to clean
- Lunette – 4 “regular” straight holes, 7mm from rim (small & large). Easy to clean
- MeLuna (old) – 2 “regular” straight, easy to clean
- MeLuna (new) – 2 “small” straight holes, 9mm (large) from rim. Easy to clean
- Miacup – 4 “medium” straight holes, 11mm (large) from rim. Cleaned easily, large enough to see if clean.
- Mooncup UK – 6 “small” straight holes, 16mm from rim (small & large). Easy to clean
- MPower - 4 “huge” straight holes, 8mm from rim. Very easy to clean
- Ruby Cup – 4 “small” straight holes, 13mm from rim. Easy to clean
- Sckoon cup – 5 “medium” \ very angled holes, 6mm from rim (small & large). Easy to clean
- Yuuki – 4 “tiny” \ angled holes, 6mm (small) from rim. Cleaned easily
- VCup – 2 “tiny” straight holes. 17mm from rim
The holes of the Diva really bugged me, and I only tried it twice. The only holes I really had a problem with. They would not rinse clean for me, I had to get a pin and poke them clean. I imagine I would take to it with a heated metal skewer to enlarge them if I bought one and had to use a pin each time…. I tried putting my hand over the cup and squirting water out through them (my usual method) , and it doesn’t work to clear them (where it does for the other cups)….The Yukki holes are not much bigger and also angled, but those cleaned fine. I don’t know if it’s because of the direction they angle in? Diva holes angle down, Yuuki holes angled up.
With the Keeper’s brown colour, you can’t see if the holes are dirty though, which is a big turn off for me – given the amount of gunk I’ve seen in the silicone cups holes, if you don’t see it, you might not clean it well enough to remove it…. and not all of us disinfect or boil the cups between uses…. The larger the holes obviously the easier to clean them. The large holes didn’t even need the palm squeeze trick to clean them, they came clean with a rinse under the tap. Miacup’s holes while also opaque like Keeper, are larger so I can see through them, so I’m happy with them.
So I’ll give a 2 points to each cup with no holes or “large” (or “huge”) holes, 1 point to “regular” holes. No points for “small” holes and minus 0.5 for the “tiny” holes. While Yuuki cleaned easily for the, the Diva had incredibly difficult holes to clean, so it’s a potential problem for that size holes….. and -1 to Keeper for the fact that while they seem to come clean ok, you can’t see clearly if the holes need cleaning or not….
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.
You may like to clean the cup at the end of every day, or 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, 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 sully 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, 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.
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.”