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.

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

In honor of the Buy One, Get One Free sale happening now at econutssoap.com (through 1/25/15), I want to promote them and give my tips for use.

Eco Nuts soap nuts are, in a “nutshell”, organic laundry soap. Technically, the “nuts” are berries, so they are nut allergy safe. The soap, called saponin, is naturally produced in the berries.

Something my husband has had a hard time wrapping his head around is this: Bubbles and foam do not make clothes clean. Commercial laundry soaps have artificial foaming agents. These soap nuts do not produce foam or bubbles. I am here to tell you, the clothes still get clean!!

The website recommends 4-5 soap nuts in the cloth bag. I always use 5 for more cleaning power. I don’t have to tie the bag – I used to and it got difficult to untie when wet – but the bag stays closed if you just pull it shut thanks to the cloth strings. (Disclaimer: The website recommends tying the bag shut.)

I use the bag about 7 or 8 times before checking the status of the soap nuts. When they look broken apart and just…dry, I will throw them away (you can also compost them) and replace them with a new 4-5 soap nuts (in my case, 5) in the bag. If they don’t look quite broken up yet, I’ll just add 5 new ones to the bag and have 5 new and 5 old inside. HERE is a chart and video on the Eco Nuts website to help you know when the are used up.

It is impossible for me to remember from day to day how many loads I have washed with the current bag, so I have a small dry erase board (I attached magnets to the back) and I make a tally mark when I do a load. When I add new soap nuts to the used ones, I start a new line of tallies under the old tallies just so I know how many the old soap nuts went through altogether. (SIDE NOTE: Dryer lint makes for an awesome dry erase board eraser!)

In the corner of the dry erase board I add up how many uses I got because I’m curious! The box I’m using is for 360 loads. However, I rarely use all ten because you can use it “up to” 10 times and I, wanting the ultimate clean, replace before 10 loads all the time. Plus, I always use 5 nuts instead of the also acceptable 4. I’m not worried if I don’t make it to 360 loads.

What i love about soap nuts is the cost-effectiveness. Check out this chart (link) for the price per load of Eco Nuts Soap Nuts compared to other brands. Not to mention, the various other selling points – Eco Nuts Soap Nuts are fragrance free, SLS free, no dyes or optical brighteners, and have a natural fabric softener. That chart also says that the 360 load box is 9 cents per load. Until 1/25/15 you can buy 2 boxes for the price of one, and that would be 4.5 cents per load! Pretty impressive, considering the free and gentle I used to buy is 29 cents per load according to the chart.

My tips for using Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Soap

For my cold laundry, which is at least 4 loads a week, I make a soap “tea” by putting the bag into a mug filled with hot water and letting it soak for the amount of time it takes to add clothes and fill the drum up with water. Then i pour the whole thing – “tea” plus soap nut bag – into the washer. This is recommended for hand wash and heavy soil, but because I want my clothes to get the cleanest clean and the soap nuts are better activated in hot water, I go ahead and make the tea every time I use not-hot water to wash anything.

The website says you can leave the bag in for the rinse cycle, so I do. It does not leave clothes soapy, and in fact continues to provide the natural fabric softener. You can also remove the bag to get more use out of your soap nuts. I don’t usually have time for that! 🙂

Since I have been using the Eco Nuts soap nuts, my clothes smell clean but not like an artificial fragrance, and they look clean, too. I have seen some bad stains remain and my next adventure will be trying oxygen bleach sold on their site as well.

I highly recommend Eco Nuts Soap Nuts if you have sensitive skin – like me, or if you want to save money (who doesn’t?), or if you want to be more eco conscious (I do!). 

Would you switch to an organic laundry soap? 

Uses for the Magic Eraser (and product review)

Uses for the Magic Eraser (and product review)

 

 

 

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Before today, I had never used a Magic Eraser. I bought a 2-pack not too long ago and still hadn’t used them. I wasn’t sure how – was there a trick to it? What if it didn’t work? Tonight, I decided to give one a whirl…

I read a bunch of blog articles and found lots of uses for the Magic Eraser. Here are the ones I tried tonight that I was super pleased with.

Dry erase board: Lots of smears on the one on my fridge. Came out much shinier and nicer, completely clean! (Of all the experiments, I was most pleased with this.)dryerase

Keyboard. Grime between the keys and on them. Gross. Came out really well. I might go over it again, in fact.  

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The refrigerator door. Not too bad, so it’s hard to tell, but near the handle there was some food grime. fridge

 

Stovetop. This mess just happened tonight. I usually use a rag and baking soda with water like in this post, but I thought I’d give the Magic Eraser a try… I had to wipe remaining smeared grease up with a rag after, though. stovetop

Toaster. The outside was really dusty, including the metal in the center, the little crevasses on the sides, and around the knob.toaster

Range head. It was SUPER dusty, had never been wiped off since we moved in. I’m not used to it since I’ve not had a range head in my adult life. Hard to tell, but it was perfect and shiny afterwards.rangehead

Wall. From moving furniture though this part of the hallway, there were some scuffs. In the first picture it looks like there’s a wet spot… there is: I wiped some down before snapping the first picture.

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Bottom of wall, more scuffing. I think I rubbed to much here – although the scuffing lifted, I think I lifted some of the white paint, too! (Where you see blue in the bottom picture.) Not good!wall3

I’m pleased with the Magic Eraser, but I won’t be so rough on the walls next time. Also, I would like to point out that it started falling apart pretty quickly (possibly related to how hard I scrubbed?) 

This is a new one compared to the one I used tonight. And I had the “extra power” type, too!DSCN1302

I would not use it on grease again, even though it worked fine, because it got SO dirty and would not rinse out completely. I am fine with a rag and baking soda for those situations!

Do you use a Magic Eraser? Where else should I try it? 

*This post was not sponsored or endorsed by Mr. Clean or anyone else. The opinions shared are the author’s alone.*

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Product Review: Yonanas

Last Christmas, J bought me a Yonana. I have the regular version, which costs $49.99 on their website.

yonana product review

Yonanas is a product made by Dole – you know, they put out fruits and vegetables, etc. They also make Yonanas, which the website describes as “The healthy dessert maker”. I used to be addicted to ice cream. I ate a cupful nightly. I saw recipes for banana in a blender and I tried to make it, but it didn’t work out that great. J bought me Yonanas to try their one-ingredient ice cream.

Ingredients: Frozen banana.
That’s it.

So all you do is feed the frozen banana into the machine, and out pours a creamy substance with consistency similar to ice cream. But no cream, no ice. Just banana.

Even neater, you can add other frozen fruits and make different desserts. The Yonana came with a few recipes. Strawberries and bananas is a simple one. I liked it even better than the banana only!

The banana dessert alone is amazing, though. And so easy. I recommend peeling and cutting up the banana into a few pieces (I’ll do 4) before freezing. Just makes things even easier. Also, you are supposed to use a ripe banana.

I will warn though, cleaning a Yonana can be a little obnoxious. The machine breaks into several pieces so you can scrape out all the banana-y goodness; this also makes cleaning easier. You have to clean the pieces almost immediately because if creamy banana dries in all those nooks and crannies, it’s a major pain later.

These are the pieces you wash:

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Regardless, I am in love with Yonanas and I still use it 6 months later. It’s small and easy to store. I like to use lots of bananas at once and put what I don’t eat in the freezer to save. That way I don’t have to clean the pieces of machine as often. (Cleaning really is the only complaint I have. I also dislike cleaning my blender.)

This is what one banana made, which looks small but it’s so creamy and rich it is a good amount:

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Here’s 1 and a half bananas with 5 frozen strawberries, which was way too much to eat at one time:

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I give Dole 5/5 stars for their Yonanas product, because the desserts made are healthy (as advertised) and delicious. Clean up takes time but that is expected, and clean up is made considerably easier by the parts that come apart. Also, as I mentioned, Yonanas is very easy to use. Love it!

 

*This post is not sponsored or promoted by Dole. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.*