How to Clean Your Menstrual Cup

How to Clean Your Menstrual Cup

If you menstruate (have periods), chances are you’ve tried all manner of sanitary protection – from tampons and pads, to period pants and menstrual cups. Different horses for different courses, as they say. But if you’ve decided a menstrual cup is for you, it’s SUPER important that you learn how to clean it properly.

Menstrual cups, often referred to as period cups or moon cups, have gained in popularity as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional menstrual products. They can, however, feel a little intimidating if you’re new to the party.

In this blog, we’ll talk you through what a menstrual cup is, how to use one, and how to keep them clean – as well as exploding some myths around the good old menstrual cup. 

What is a Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup, or period cup, is a flexible, bell-shaped cup made from medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex that’s inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. Menstrual cups can hold more fluid than tampons or pads, they’re reusable, and if properly cared for, they can last for years.

There are lots of different brands of menstrual cup, but the one we’d recommend is Mooncup [1]. Latex-free, hypoallergenic, and free from dyes, perfumes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches and toxins, Mooncup is a multi-award-winning, silicone menstrual cup made here in the UK.

How to Insert a Menstrual Cup

Inserting a menstrual cup might seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes much easier. Here’s a five-step guide to get you started:

  1. Always start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Fold the menstrual cup into a C-shape to make insertion easier.
  3. Sit on the toilet, squat, or prop one leg up. Choose a position that feels comfortable for you.
  4. Gently separate your labia and insert the folded cup into your vagina, towards your tailbone.
  5. Once the cup is inside, release it and let it pop open. Rotate the cup slightly to ensure it’s fully open and sealed against the vaginal walls.

If you experience vaginal dryness, using a pH-matched lubricant can help to make insertion smoother. Apply a small amount of lubricant – like water-based YES® WB, or oil-based YES® OB – to the rim of the cup or directly to your vaginal opening. Just avoid silicone-based lubricants as they can damage the cup’s material.

Mooncup menstrual period cup

How to Clean a Moon Cup: Dos and Don’ts

Proper cleaning of your menstrual cup is essential for maintaining hygiene and extending its lifespan. Here’s how to clean your cup effectively:


  • Do rinse before first use: Rinse your cup with water and a mild, fragrance-free soap – like pH-matched YES® CLEANSE.
  • Do boil your cup: Before using your menstrual cup for the first time and between cycles, you should always boil it in water to sterilise and kill any bacteria. If you’re wondering how long to boil your menstrual cup, 5-10 minutes is ideal.
  • Do rinse during your period: After emptying your cup, rinse it with water. If you don’t have access to clean water, wipe it with a tissue or a gentle wipe like Natracare Organic Intimate Wipes, and rinse it at your next opportunity.
  • Do store properly: Store your cup in a breathable cotton bag to prevent moisture buildup or mould growth.


  • Don’t use harsh cleaners: Avoid using harsh soaps, detergents, or vinegar as they can irritate the vagina and degrade the cup material.
  • Don’t skip boiling: Regular boiling is crucial. Always ensure your cup is boiled before first use and between cycles to maintain cleanliness.
  • Don’t forget to check for damage: Regularly inspect your cup for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, changes in texture, or extreme discolouration.

If you don’t clean your cup properly, bacteria, odours, stains, and erosion can occur – which can leave you open to irritation or infection.

Exploding Myths About Menstrual Cups

Let’s take a look at what’s true, and what couldn’t be further from it, when dealing with period cups.

Myth: Menstrual cups are dirty and unsanitary.

Reality: When properly cleaned and cared for, menstrual cups are just as (if not more) sanitary as tampons and pads. Boiling the cup and using an appropriate cleanser keeps it hygienic and safe for use.

Myth: Menstrual cups are difficult to use.

Reality: While it can be tricky at first, most women find menstrual cups easy and comfortable to use with practice. Inserting and removing the cup should become second nature over time.

Myth: Menstrual cups can’t be used by everyone.

Reality: Menstrual cups come in various sizes and styles to accommodate different body types and flow levels. With the right cup, almost anyone can use a menstrual cup. If you’re struggling with insertion, a good quality lubricant can make a world of difference.

Your Period, Your Choice

Menstrual cups, moon cups, or period cups offer a sustainable, cost-effective, and hygienic option for menstrual care if that’s the route you choose for your period. By understanding how to use and clean your menstrual cup properly, you can enjoy a more eco-friendly period experience, while pairing with a lubricant or vaginal moisturiser can make the whole process more comfortable.

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[1] Mooncup Menstrual Cup | The Original Silicone Cup