The answers to all your questions about period cups
Marimar and I get more questions about menstrual cups than anything else we sell. And there’s nothing that makes us happier than seeing a person get up the courage to ask us about the cup and say they’re ready to make the switch.
Because can I be honest? You’re only going to regret not doing this sooner.
Here’s the low down.
You can leave them in for 12 hours. (Yes, we said 12.) No cases of TSS have been positively linked to menstrual cups to TSS. Less risk for you and your health. No nasty used tampons to deal with disposing. No more midnight runs for period products. No leaking. They’re so comfortable you don’t even feel them. And no more worrying about stray strings at the beach!
Q: But are they difficult to insert?
If you’ve ever used a tampon, it’s sort of like putting in a tampon for the first time. A little foreign, and maybe you don’t get it right the first time. But once you figure it out, it’s a breeze! Simply fold the cup in half, fold again (see photo below for our favorite folding method), insert, and twist to pop open. Make sure to relax while you put it in. You’ll feel when it’s right.
For those of you who are curious, Marimar does a demonstration of how to fold them in the video later in this post.
Trust us, relax, and try it yourself!
Q: Is it gross dealing with period blood?
A: No. Let me repeat, Noooo. They’re way cleaner than tampons (organic material is a host for bacteria), and you get a better understanding of the flow of your cycle. The stereotypes surrounding periods are annoying, but there’s something really transformative about being connected to your cycle and understanding the hormonal changes your body experiences. You start to get in touch with your body, which is a great thing.
Q: How do you clean it?
A: Every 12 hours, you take it out, empty it in the toilet and then rinse it with unscented soap. Unscented Castille or a little suds from a bar of soap will do the trick. Clean and reinsert.
After each cycle, you should boil it in a pot on the kitchen stove to sanitize it. And while you’re there, do us all a solid and talk openly about it with your boyfriend, partner, husband, wife, roommate, sister, cousin, niece, daughter, son, whoever's in your home. Every one should be given an opportunity to become comfortable talking about women’s health.
Every one should be given an opportunity to become comfortable talking about women’s health.
When you go to boil your cup, put it in the pot before bringing the water to a boil and add some Castille soap for its cleansing power. You could also add a little natural laundry detergent and essential oils, but be mindful of what you use to clean your cup; the vagina is one of the most absorbent organs in your body.
The best tip I’ve ever gotten is to add some baking soda when you boil your cup. Works wonders! What the baking soda does is to whiten or brighten your cup, helping to remove stains, and it also works to neutralize odors.
Q: But how do you use it when you’re in public?
A: Sometimes you have a heavy flow day and need to empty your cup more than once every twelve hours. So how do you empty it when you're not at home? It’s actually quite simple. When you’re in a public restroom and it's time to empty your cup, you can remove it, dump it out, and reinsert. It may not be the tidiest thing, but just use a bit of tissue to clean your hands, and clean your cup more thoroughly next time you’re able to take it out in private. Or, if you’re feeling bold and would prefer to rinse, take it out of the stall and rinse it in the damn sink and let every one get used to it ; )
Just make sure your hands are clean.
Q: Do you have any tips for using it when you’re outdoors, hiking or camping?
A: We adore this question. One of the biggest reasons we support menstrual cups is that they level the playing field outdoors. No more hiking out extra trash, dealing with tampon strings when you’re in a swimsuit, or missing out on an amazing experience just because of your cycle.
I’ve used a menstrual cup for the last five years, and it has been absolutely life changing. When I’m competing in a sailing race, I don’t have to go down below to awkwardly put in a new tampon. When I’m camping, I don’t worry about dealing with or packing out used tampons.
Our best tips?
When you’re camping or backpacking, empty your cup in the same hole you dig to bury your waste. Make sure to dig the hole 6" deep and about 200 feet from your campsite as well as your water source to avoid contamination or critters.
Bring extra water and camp soap to clean your cup as well as your hands. Practice menstrual health and be prepared: anytime you’re emptying your cup, your hands should be clean. Biodegradable or reusable cotton wipes also come in clutch.
Check out this amazing video of our co-founder Marimar showing you how to use a cup when you’re camping.
Q: Zero Waste Remedies for aches and cramps?
A: Here's some of our favorite homeopathic remedies for cramps:
- Willow’s bark (“nature’s aspirin")
- Chamomile tea
- Dark chocolate
- Hot bath with bulk epsom salt (try Central Co-op)
- Reusable heating pad
- Orgasms (we’re not kidding!)
- Essential oils like lavender or clary sage
- Cramp bark, an herbal supplement in a glass jar
- Blackstrap molasses
- Fennel seeds
- Candied Ginger
- Nettle leaf tea
Q: Why Lunette?
A: Lunette uses the highest quality medical grade silicone and colorants for their cup. Their menstrual cup is slightly larger so we find it leaks less than other brands, but it’s still a comfortable fit. Plus, they ship entirely plastic free - the whole box, even the window, is compostable!
Take it from us. Using a menstrual cup is kind to your body, your wallet, and the planet. There are so many reasons to go for it. And if you’re not comfortable with taking the plunge, there’s other options like reusable pads and period underwear like Thinx!
If you appreciated our article, share it with your friends who have periods and care about the planet. Cheers to removing the stigma around period health and talking openly about the beautiful thing that is our menstrual cycle.