Introduction: How to Use a Menstrual Cup

Picture of How to Use a Menstrual Cup

I recently got a new menstrual cup. My first one lasted me about 15 years, saved me at least $1,000 (US). I also avoided creating about 100 pounds of garbage, that would have resulted if I had been using conventional 'feminine hygiene products' for all those years.

A lot of friends who I have turned on to The Keeper or Moon Cup have had trouble using the cup at first. There should be no problem if you do it right, so I hope this little instructable will help as this is a very sustainable solution to our monthly blessing.

Please click here for more information and interesting links on the subject.

Step 1: Before Using the Keeper

Picture of Before Using the Keeper

A couple people I knew had trouble when they first got the keeper, the little gripping bit that sticks off the base of the cup is generally a bit long. Different women are different sizes and the piece is made a bit long to account for this.

This piece is important because if it is too long it will be uncomfortable, but if it is too short or cut off completely it will not be as easy to get a grip on to remove the cup.

One of my friends cut this piece off entirely before using it, this can be scary because, especially for a first time user you will have to push down with your muscles to help to push the cup out far enough to get a grip on the bottom of it. With the little piece sticking out it is easy to grab and pull down on.

So just cut off enough so that you can still get a good grip on it, but will not get poked by it. Start cutting off less rather than more and see how it feels.

Step 2: Folding the Cup

Picture of Folding the Cup

In order to insert the cup you will need to fold it up tightly. Run it under warm water to help to lubricate it. Then fold it in half.

Step 3: Folding

Picture of Folding

Take the cup and fold it in half again so that it is folded up as tight as you can get it. You will have to hold it quite strongly to hold it in place.

Step 4: Inserting the Cup

Unfortunately I cannot show photos of this next step or this instructable will become XXX rated and we don't want that.

Sitting over the toilet, spread your legs open, hold your labia open with one hand and quickly push the folded cup in with the other. It will open up and create a vacuum.

Push it up a little until it sits comfortably. If you try to push it in too far you will soon know when to stop and if you don't push it in at all it will be very uncomfortable as well.

Don't be scared that it will stretch out your muscles or anything, actually it can help to work them out ;-)

Step 5: Removing the Cup

At times if you have a heavy flow or when you wake up in the morning, you may feel the cup move a bit. This probably means that it is full and you need to go and dump it out. It is also good to just check on it until you get to know what your flow is like and how often you need to change it.

Get in the same position on the toilet as you were in to insert the cup. Pull down on the gripping bit of the cup mentioned earlier. I always get nervous here that the vacuum created by the cup will have a suction so great that my uterus will come out as well. This never happens. But I recommend pulling down gently, not with a vicious twist.

As soon as the base of the cup can be gripped use that to pull down with. Slip one edge of the cup out first and then the next. This menstrual fluid is great fertilizer for plants so I usually try not to waste it by dumping it in the toilet, but some people are grossed out by this.

Step 6: Cleaning the Cup

Picture of Cleaning the Cup

Wash the cup in warm water, fold it up and reinsert.

When done with your period for the month, give the cup a good wash with soap and warm water and let it dry. Put it back in it's bag for the next month.

If you think the cup smells you can soak it in vinegar and water to clean it up. The only reason that I had to get a new cup was because the little gripping bit was starting to come off and I had had it for 15 years, so it seemed it was a good time to get a new one.

Comments

Moem (author)2012-06-22

I love that someone took the time to write a I-ble about menstrual cups!
There are so many brands out there nowadays, about 20 of them, and they are slowly getting more and more mainstream.
Thank you for helping to spread the word, cups are great!

HellaDelicious (author)Moem2012-06-25

Thanks so much for your comment! Yes the cups are fantastic and everyone should use them! They save so much money and trash :)

lily22 (author)2011-02-03

Thanks for your tips - I have a kind of strange question that has put me off from using my cup more regularly. How do you manage to clean yours in communal bathrooms? i.e. at my workplace we have stalls that only have toilets in them, and the handbasins are in an open area. Thank you in advance!

HellaDelicious (author)lily222011-02-09

Yeah that is difficult, thanks for asking. I have found you can use toilet paper, but it has to be done pretty delicately and uses a lot of toilet paper. Still it works. As long as you wash your hands before doing this and don't allow it to touch anything else before replacing it, it is fine. Not the best solution but it works.

f1dd13r (author)HellaDelicious2011-04-27

If you cant use the basin in the communal area,you could take a little bottle of water in with you in your bag or (less palava)just pull the flush and clean the cup in the falling water which results(which is perfectly clean as it comes from the same water that fills the non drinking water taps).

billybobjhonson (author)2010-03-22

 you better wash your hands

szasama (author)2010-02-13

When I first used my Moon Cup, it kept leaking. It was very disappointing, but just before I completely gave up on it I realized it wasn't inserted properly. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, so it could be just my strange anatomy, but here's what I discovered:
If just left to slide into place, the cup will usually not sit around my cervix as it should. It will just stay all on one side of it, letting the flow by without catching anything. Now I always try to aim it towards my back instead of straight up. This helps a lot, but I always check by slowly spinning the cup around with a finger. If it turns easily, it has gone to the right place and covers the cervix. If not, I have to pull it out a tiny bit and push it back aimed now more towards my back.

I hope this all makes sense.

HellaDelicious (author)szasama2010-03-19

Thanks so much for sharing this with us! I didn't have problems with leaking but I do find that I turn it once it is in to make sure it is in place. I guess we are all shaped uniquely!

ChrysN (author)2009-07-22

These are wonderful. In Canada they are sold as the Diva Cup and made of silicone instead.

blodefood (author)ChrysN2010-01-31

Outing my gender here, the Diva cup is great.  I got one after my Keeper of 9 years gave out.  The main difference in design is that the Keeper stem is smooth and the holes on the Diva cup are higher up the rim.

Saved a whole lot on disposables over the years!  Less worry about TSS, too.

HellaDelicious (author)blodefood2010-02-01

Yeah definitely save a lot of money and a lot of trash! Thanks for the tips on differences in the cups.

HellaDelicious (author)ChrysN2009-07-27

Thanks for the info... <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.divacup.com/">http://www.divacup.com/</a>. They look great too!<br/>

desertdog (author)2010-01-15

I never heard of the device. (being male)  What a good way to eliminate some landfill bound waste.  I think that many people would be embarrassed to even talk about the subject.  Great instructable.

HellaDelicious (author)desertdog2010-01-20

Thanks for your open-minded comments [especially coming from a male on this topic :-) ]. It is embarrasing but also entirely natural--so true about the landfills!

porcupinemamma (author)2009-08-06

interesting, but you were right-the gardening tip was just too much info

yeah sorry about that! --but my roses especially like it, helps keep black spot away! these days if I have to dump it down the toilet I feel so sad like I have wasted my precious fluids....

insomniaSAH (author)2009-07-22

I've sort of been wanting to get one of these but I don't want to order it online - But I never see them in stores >.<

They are often sold in health food stores. A gynacolagist recommended the product to a friend.

Oh! Awesome, if I spot one in my area I'll be sure to check :D

I saw one in a store for like $99. Insane markup. -But that might have been in New Zealand actually so-- still it seemed a high markup -- but I guess with the exchange rate and shipping maybe it wasn't that bad.

canida (author)2009-07-22

Agreed, these are great!

I'd recommend breaking the suction around the top first before trying to remove it, though. Just gently push in the side (near the top) as you begin to pull the cup out. Much better.

HellaDelicious (author)canida2009-07-27

This is a good point. Thanks for your tip!

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