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Menstrual cups

Hands holding two menstrual cups

Friday 17 September 2021

A menstrual cup or menstrual disc is a small flexible cup usually made from silicone or rubber, which is folded and inserted so that it sits just below the cervix. Cups can be washed simply with soap and water at the end of the day. Generally, if you are used to using tampons, the cup could be a good option for you. And the best part about cups is that you only need to buy one!

How do I use it?

Before you insert or remove your cup, make sure that your hands are clean. Once you’ve bought your new cup, you’ll want to clean it before you first use it. Put your cup in a mug or bowl and fill with boiling water. Leave it to bathe for a few minutes, and always make sure it’s air-dried and cool enough before using! You can wear your cup safely for up to 8 hours at one time. There are a few different ways to insert your cup safely, but some of the most popular include:

  • The C fold – fold the cup in half to create a ‘C’ shape from above
  • The Punch-Down fold (or Tulip fold) – press down one side of the cup inwards to create a tip, it should look a little closer to the size of a tampon
  • The 7 fold – cross one side of the cup diagonally over

Once you’ve found the fold that works for you, insert the cup and rotate it to form a seal. If it’s time to empty your cup, hold the bottom of the cup with your fingers and push the side of the cup slightly to break the seal. Then gently pull the cup out. Tip the contents out into the toilet and rinse out with clean water. It is perfectly safe to reinsert then and there for another wear.

How do I clean it?

It’s a good idea to always sterilise your cup before your first use and after your last use. You can rinse the cup with clean water in-between changes and then reinsert.

If you’re in a public bathroom, it can be a bit trickier to rinse your cup. If you’re unable to rinse the cup and use a safe cleanser, remove, and empty the cup like normal. You could bring a reusable water bottle with you to rinse the cup out into the toilet. But if this isn’t convenient for you, you’re safe to reinsert the cup and go about your day without rinsing. Just remember to give it a proper rinse and clean once you get home.

After your period, you’ll need to sanitise your cup ready for your next period. To do this, clean and rinse the cup in warm water and soap. Then pop it into a bowl and fill it with boiling water - leave it to sterilise for a few minutes and you’re good to go!

What do our residents say?

“I am conscious of how much waste is created with disposables and I wanted to do something about it. So I bought the cup. It didn’t take me long to learn how to use it and it’s so good to know that I don’t need to buy anything – I always used to run short of disposables!

Using the cup also means I don’t need to get changed as often as before, which is great when I’m out in parks, woods, the beach, anywhere without a toilet at every corner. Without doing the maths, in two years of use I’ve definitely got my money back so I can say that it’s convenient, clean, easy to use and cheap: no brainer!” - Gabriella

Find out more

Make your pledge to switch to reusables

Reusable sanitary pads

Period pants

Perimenopause, pregnancy and incontinence