How to Clean and Care for Your Menstrual Cup

This is part 2/2 in my series on the menstrual cup. Part 1, 9 Reasons Why I Chose a Menstrual Cup, can be found here.

The Diva Cup website really has a great explanation of how to insert the Diva Cup, so rather than restating everything they said, here’s the link: http://divacup.com/how-it-works/how-it-works/. For the record, I use fold option 2, the “push down” method, as pictured:

How To Clean and Care for Your Menstrual Cup

Image courtesy of http://www.divacup.com

Now. What I really wanted to talk about was how to clean and care for your menstrual cup — hence the title of this blog post!

  • While you are menstruating, you need a quicker clean between dumping your cup out and reinserting it. Divacup.com advertises a Diva Wash, but to be honest, I haven’t felt the need for that. I use a non-fragrant soap (Ivory bar soap) and warm water to wash out my Diva Cup.
  • In between cycles, I boil my cup in a small pot that I use ONLY for this purpose! (In fact, it stays in the bathroom when not in use.) Boil for at least 10 minutes… make sure not to boil all the water away or the cup will burn.
  • If at any time there is blood in the little holes around the rim of the cup, you have to clean that out, because it is the little holes that create the suction and hold it in place. To do this: Fill the cup with water, hold in one hand, cover the large opening with other hand, turn upside down, and push down on opening. The pressure pushes water through the holes and cleans them out. Just be careful where the water squirts (I hold it down in the sink.) Do not use toothpicks or any other way to clean the holes, as those can damage the cup.

Lastly, storage of your menstrual cup. The Diva Cup comes with a cotton bag. Be sure not to store your cup in a plastic bag. It’s important because the cotton is breathable.

Have you made the switch to a menstrual cup yet? Let me know!

The opinions stated in this blog post are mine alone. Facts and photo were obtained from http://www.divacup.com.

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9 Reasons Why I Chose a Menstrual Cup

If you menstruate, or know someone who does, this post is for you. I used to wear tampons and pads during my time of the month, until 3 years ago when a friend introduced me to the idea that something better was out there. In this two part series, I am going to write first on why I chose a menstrual cup, and in part 2 (HERE), I will write about how to use and care for your menstrual cup (should you choose to accept it.) First, a quick explanation: a menstrual cup is a silicone cup that you fold and insert into your vagina when you are menstruating. The cup holds the blood until you remove it, dump the contents into the toilet, wash out, and reinsert. That really is the gist of it!

Why I prefer a menstrual cup – specifically, the DivaCup.

  1. You can wear the DivaCup for up to 12 hours. The cup holds 1 oz of menstrual blood, and most women only have about 1-2 oz PER CYCLE! No worries about it not being big enough.
  2. Unlike with tampons, there is no risk for toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with the cup. Therefore:
  3. …You can wear the cup overnight.
  4. It is safe enough to wear when you think you might start your period but haven’t yet.
  5. Cost-effective. One of the main things that drew me away from tampons in the first place: The DivaCup (my cup of choice!) costs about $30 (It is $29.99 + S/H on drugstore.com) and lasts a whole year.
  6. Tampons (and pads for that matter) contain tons of chemicals to make them absorbent. Who wants chemicals up there?
  7. Environmentally friendlier, as you are not throwing away a ton of paper, cotton, etc.
  8. You can track your periods easily with the DivaCup, should you ever need to tell your doctor how much blood you put out monthly. There are measuring lines on the outside.
  9. In my experience, periods became shorter and lighter with the use of the DivaCup. (Not an FDA approved and evaluated statement, although other women have said the same thing.)

A question I received when sharing with family members about the Diva Cup was a great one – does it have to be fitted by doctor? Nope, this is a cup made of silicone that forms to your body – you can even buy it on the internet. There are 2 sizes, based on your age and whether you have given birth or not. The only things that I think people might not like about the cup is the “ick” factor, public restroom worries, and time constraints. To debunk:

  • It can be icky to dump the cup in the toilet (TIP: hold close to the bowl) (blood can be thick and I use toilet paper to clean it out fully) and wash out the cup. There’s no denying that. But, if you ask me, it’s really not that bad. I don’t think it’s much worse than the tampon stuff.
  • Public restrooms where there are stalls can be complicated. I read you can bring a bottle of water in to wash out the cup into the toilet if needed. However, given the 12 hours you can keep it in, I have literally never run into this issue.
  • Time constraints are the only thing that get to me. Some nights I wear just a pad to bed because I know I’ll be in such a rush the next morning that I won’t have time to remove, wash out, and reinsert the cup. Instead I wake up and put my clean cup in and remove the pad. I can’t debunk this. It takes less time to rip off a pad than to clean out your cup.

Would you use the DivaCup? What would be your reasoning for making the switch?

The opinions stated in this blog post are mine alone. Facts and photo were obtained from http://www.divacup.com.

Dawn and Vinegar Shower Cleaner

DIY Shower Cleaner

I decided to try the blue Dawn dish soap and vinegar mixture for cleaning showers that was circulating Pinterest for a while. I tried at our old house, but I wasn’t sure about it. I tried using just a little Dawn, and later I tried squeezing the Dawn into the shower first and then spraying vinegar over it and letting it sit. Don’t do that! It doesn’t work.

This time, I put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and an EQUAL amount of Dawn. I shook it up really good and sprayed – rather, saturated – the floor and walls of the shower. I let it sit for an hour. 

I did take pictures before and after, but the truth is, my shower didn’t really look all that dirty to begin with. I was pleased with how shiny the floor looked post-cleaning, though.

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(There are some flaws in my shower, chips and stuff like that, and you might see those in the picture – they are not dirt.)

Vinegar and dish soap are two things I tend to always have on hand. I happen to use blue Dawn as my dishwashing liquid of choice anyway, too. I’m pleased with this cleaning recipe. The shower is one of my least favorite things to clean at home because of all the bending. This recipe makes the bending time spent while cleaning the shower much less!

The only thing I have concerns about is how long the mixture will last. I have some left over from today’s cleaning but I don’t plan on cleaning the shower again for a week or so. I’ll let you know!

NOTE: Right at an hour, my husband came home from work (landscaping) and needed a shower right then. It was really quick and easy (no real scrubbing power required) to wipe down the shower and walls and then rinse. Rinsing took the most time!

What’s your favorite Pinterest cleaning recipe?

Natural Microwave Cleaner: Vinegar

I clean my microwave about every week, and it never gets too dirty as we don’t use it that often. I usually wipe it out with vinegar sprayed onto a rag… but I wanted to write a post about a trick I learned on Pinterest that I’ve used a few times when I need a deeper clean.

My microwave wasn’t all that dirty to start out:

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I used the following Pinterest trick:

Put half water, half vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. (Pinterest says 1 cup of each… I use less. The vinegar smell is awful and lingering if you use too much.) Once I microwaved straight vinegar because I forgot and I had to leave the room because of the smell.

Microwave on high for 1-3 minutes, depending on how stuck on the food is. Some Pinners say 10 minutes. I have not found that to be necessary. 

The steam from the vinegar mixture loosens the food/grime on the walls and ceiling of the inside of the microwave.

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Remove the bowl with oven mitts. Dip a rag in the (VERY HOT!) solution and wipe down walls and ceiling.

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It’s a good idea to remove the microwave plate to wipe it down, or wash with dish soap if you need to. 

I always leave the microwave door open a little while to air it out. I also wipe down the outside of the microwave to disinfect a bit.

VERDICT: This Pinterest trick works nicely. I like that it uses vinegar, which is safe to ingest. I also like how easy it is. I haven’t had the opportunity to use this method on an extra-dirty microwave in a while, but if I remember right, it works well for those too with a few extra minutes of microwaving. If you find yourself needing to scrub too hard, microwave the vinegar/water mixture a little longer. 

Comment if you try it!