Which is the best method for sterilizing a menstrual cup?
In my opinion, the best way for sterilizing a menstrual cup is by boiling it using a pan or a pot on a stove in a kitchen.
Because it's convenient, environmental-friendly, and it saves you a few dollars compared to other sterilization methods.
Actually, I've been thinking about this question for a while now, so I did a little research.
What I discovered were six excellent methods for sterilizing a menstrual cup (you'll love method number 6! 🤯).
I've placed them in a numbered list below.
Can You Sterilize a Menstrual Cup in a Microwave?
The answer is it depends.
Always follow the instructions that came with your menstrual cup before thinking about microwaving it!
When in doubt, boil your cup in a pot on a stove.
Is It Safe to Boil a Menstrual Cup in a Microwave?
If done properly then yes.
If you freestyle then things could go wrong.
There are always risks involved when dealing with hot contents so you need to be extra careful and again follow instructions of whatever method that you are using for sanitizing your cup so that you don't hurt yourself or damage your cup.
Why Do You Need to Sanitize Your Menstrual Cup?
Sanitizing your cup means removing debris and killing bacteria.
This prevents you from getting an infection and keeps your menstrual cup in perfect condition.
6 Proven Methods for Sterilizing a Menstrual Cup
There are several techniques for sterilizing a cup.
Here are the ones that I could find, and that I think are the most common:
- Boiling a menstrual cup in a pan or a pot on a stove.
- Boiling a menstrual cup in a sterilizing cup in a microwave.
- Steam-cleaning a menstrual cup using a reusable microwave steam sterilizer bag.
- Disinfecting a menstrual cup using sterilizing tablets.
- Sanitizing a menstrual cup using a steamer.
- Staying germ and bacteria-free using an antibacterial menstrual cup.
1. Boiling a Menstrual Cup in a Pan or a Pot on a Stove
This is what most menstrual cup brands will tell you to do.
Both before you use your cup for the first time, after your period, or before your next period, depending on what you prefer.
As long as you boil it in between cycles.
I’ve seen quite a lot of instruction manuals on how to boil a menstrual cup and I have to say that most could do a better job at explaining the process better.
It’s easy to just say "Boil your menstrual cup in a pot for 5 to 10 minutes.".
But as a first-time user, it's difficult to completely understand what they mean by that.
For example, here are some questions that I’ve had flying through my head the first time I had to boil my cup:
- What is the minimum amount of minutes for boiling my cup?
- What is the maximum amount of minutes that I should boil my cup?
- Can it melt?
- Should the cup be completely submerged? If so, how should I do that without burning my fingers?
- How can I be sure all the debris and/or bacteria have been completely eliminated?
- How hot does the cup get immediately after boiling?
- Can I burn myself on the silicone?
- How long do I have to wait before I pick up the menstrual cup from the pot?
- Is it okay if the cup touches the pot?
- What if I boiled the cup too hard and it gets stuck on the pot for a second? Will I need to buy a new one?
- And what happens exactly if I happen to damage the cup whilst boiling it? Will bacteria start accumulating in that area?
- Can I use any type of pot? What if it’s been used for cooking?
- I think it’s kind of gross boiling the cup in a pot that I will later use for cooking — are there any other alternatives?
- Can I boil the water first, then pour it in another container where I have my cup?
- What type of tool should I use to pick up the cup from the pot after I’ve boiled it? Or can I just use my fingers? Won't my fingers contaminate the cup?
- Where should I put the cup immediately after I pick it up from the pot?
- Can I dry it with some toilet paper?
- Can I dry it with a towel?
- Can I dry it with a hair blower? Not that I would do that but I think you get my point 😂.
- Can I immediately put it in the bag that the cup came with?
And I could go on and on.
I imagine that could lead to unhappy customers, extra unwanted operational costs, etc.
I think however that in the future these companies will change their opinion as over time more and more people will be using cups and boiling a cup will become second nature in people's monthly menstrual cycle routine.
2. Boiling a Menstrual Cup in a Sterilizing Cup in a Microwave
Many menstrual cup brands offer cleaning products in their product range.
One such product is a sterilizing cup for menstrual cups (Tap/Click the link to check out the current price on Amazon — The link opens in a new tab).
You might have seen one at some online retail store or on a menstrual cup brand website.
They are often shaped so that it will fit a cone-shaped or v-shaped cup but basically any cup will most likely fit.
They come with a lid and some models are foldable.
The procedure goes something like this:
Fill the sterilizing cup with water, put your menstrual cup in it, close the lid, put the sterilizing cup in the microwave, and boil it.
If you’re a beginner I would definitely recommend this product.
Compared to just boiling your cup in a pot there are way fewer questions concerning how you’re supposed to sterilize your cup using this method.
And the things you need to think about before and after sterilization.
One thing that I would like to point out however is that the material that the sterilizer cup is made of should be of importance to you.
You should keep in mind that this product, like any other product, requires lots of resources, such as energy, raw materials, transportation, etc., during its lifecycle.
And also, pay close attention to manufacturing details such as where the sterilizing cup is manufactured and if it’s the real deal.
You don’t want to end up with a cheap counterfeit product that could be both bad for your cup, you or the environment, or a combination of these.
In other words, always do your homework before purchasing such a product.
Pretty much the same way as you would when choosing a menstrual cup.
3. Steam-Cleaning a Menstrual Cup Using a Reusable Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bag
Another option that you have is to use a specially designed reusable microwave steam sterilizer bag for boiling and sterilizing your cup.
I have actually only seen one menstrual cup brand offering this type of product and it’s a company located in Sweden called MonthlyCup.
I remember testing ordering 1 piece on their website but it said something like:
"Sorry, but we cannot ship to this destination at the moment."
My guess is that they’re only targeting the U.S. and maybe some other larger markets evaluating demand before offering the product globally.
Either way, I think it’s an interesting product with great potential and it lowers the barrier even more for wanting-to-try menstrual cup users contemplating how to use or how to clean a cup.
After doing some more research I discovered that there are also microwave sterilizer bags for sterilizing baby bottles, nipples, and breast pump parts.
These bags work equally well so if you would like to grab some and try them out you can do so on Amazon.
4. Disinfecting a Menstrual Cup Using Sterilizing Tablets
I don't know much about these but this product definitely got my attention when I first heard about it.
These sterilizing tablets are primarily used for sterilizing baby products.
But they can also be used for sterilizing menstrual cups.
A tablet can remove bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
A process that only takes a couple of minutes.
Apparently, these tablets have been used in hospitals for many years.
And to me, this last bit of information is very important because it signals that it's a product that has been tried and tested and will most likely not cause me any harm.
5. Sanitizing a Menstrual Cup Using a Steamer
I've been to most menstrual cup brand websites and I can remember seeing only one brand (Pixie Cup) offering menstrual cup steamers in addition to menstrual cups.
The rest I've seen on Amazon.
I haven't checked them out in detail, but they are there.
What I like about these cup steamers is that I don't have to worry about a pot or some miscellaneous kitchen tool damaging my cup.
I just place my cup on the steamer, add a small amount of water, close the lid, push a button, wait for a couple of minutes, and voilà!
And the downside would be yet another home appliance eventually ending up in our landfills.
6. Staying Germ and Bacteria-Free Using an Antibacterial Menstrual Cup
Introducing bfree Cup — the antibacterial menstrual cup.
Equipped with a one-of-a-kind antibacterial technology you can now use a menstrual cup without ever having to boil it.
Heck, you don’t even need water!
Just wipe it clean!
How cool is that?
Bonus Method: Disinfect Your Menstrual Cup Using a UV-Sterilizer
If you want to be extra fancy you can disinfect your cup using a UV-sterilizer.
These appliances are nothing new and are commonly used for sterilizing baby toys, pacifiers, toothbrushes, makeup accessories, nail clippers, razor blades, etc.
In fact, they've been around for a while but now menstrual cup manufacturers have started to include them in their product line as an alternative to microwave sterilizing bags, sterilizing tablets, sterilizing cups, steamers, and the good old pot.
What this product does is that it emits a high-intensity ultraviolet light that destroys bacteria.
The process takes only 5 minutes so it's pretty quick.
How to Use
- Wash your menstrual cup.
- Allow your cup to fully dry.
- Place your dry cup inside the UV-sterilizer and close the lid.
- Plug in your USB cable.
- Switch the UV-sterilizer on.
- Leave it for 5 minutes.
- Remove your cup, place it inside its pouch, and store it in a dry, well-ventilated area.
The UV-sterilizer can be used with all menstrual cups.
Also, note that colored cups can get discolored when exposed to UV light.
- The sterilizer is not a toy. Keep it away from children.
- The sterilizer produces ozone. When you open the sterilizer, let the remaining ozone dissipate, do not breathe it.
- Do not wet or introduce any liquid or wet object inside the UV-sterilizer. It should be cleaned only with a soft cloth.
- Do not expose yourself to the UV-lamp.
- Only use with clean, dry menstrual cups.
The Best Method for Sterilizing a Menstrual Cup
Most people don’t have the luxury of being able to buy a sterilizing cup, microwave steam sterilizer bags, sterilizing tablets, steamer, or a UV-sterilizer.
And most people already own a pot or a pan that they have in their kitchen.
So, in my opinion, your best option is to use a pan or a pot on your stove in your kitchen for sterilizing your cup.
Not only is it convenient, but it's environmental-friendly, and it saves you a few dollars.
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