The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Menstrual Cups: The zero waste choice for your period.

This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2020

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Righto ladies – Periods, the bane of our monthly existence, am I right? Dealing with your monthly period is a right pain in the belly. But I have some news for you!

Menstrual cups are a new clean, green, plastic free way of dealing with your ol’ Aunt ‘Flow. Here is  the ultimate beginners guide to menstrual cups – how to use menstrual cups, what to look for in them, and how to care for your cup as well as a FAQ section right at the end.

Brands – What is the Difference?
Popular Brands – Menstrual Cup Comparison
Menstrual Cup Benefits – why you should try one!
Choosing a Size of Menstrual Cup
How to use a Menstrual Cup
How to remove a menstrual cup
Help I can’t get my menstrual cup out!
How to Clean a Menstrual Cup
Frequently Asked Questions

Menstrual Cup History

In the 1930’s a lady named Lenoa Chalmers invented the menstrual cup, and it has been pottering away in the background until picking up popularity significantly in the last 10 years.

Thanks to society finding any discussion about periods and menstruation to be ghastly and inappropriate for the public domain, menstrual cups have been kept on the down low.

But now, thanks to the invention of the internet, you can Google whatever you like, and we can publish whatever we like and suddenly menstrual cups are getting popular.

RELATED: Zero waste bathroom

Beginners Guide to Menstrual Cups: Menstrual Cup Brands – What is the Difference?

There are many brands of menstrual cups available these days and they all claim to be the best.

The reality is that for some people they are the best, but for another person, a different size or shape will be slightly better. Because of the hundreds of brands available on the market women are overwhelmed, and too scared they will choose the wrong one, so they don’t choose any.

How do I know what menstrual cup to choose?

Can I let you in on a little secret? They are all much of a muchness. So just pick one and give it a go.

There are variations in length, width and stem (handle) length on different menstrual cups. And most brands come in a small and a large. The smalls are for women under the age of thirty or women who haven’t had children. The large are for all ages that have had children and all women over the age of thirty.

It doesn’t matter if you delivered vaginally or by caesarean section, as it is the widening of the hips that occur during pregnancy that affects the menstrual cup fit.

Popular Brands – Menstrual Cup Comparison

No beginners guide to menstrual cups would be complete without a good ol’ product comparison!

Anigan EvaCup Menstrual Cup 

The Anigan Evacup, menstrual cup offers a wide-array of options to suit any woman’s feminine menstrual hygiene needs. The cups are made from FDA-approved, medical-grade silicone and come in a hypo-allergenic variety of 8 fresh colors.

Additionally, there are 2 size preferences available that assure an ideal fit for any women. The Evacup is also available in combination with a sterilization cup, and in an Evacup gift set that includes: One Evacup, a sterilization cup, a heart-shaped heating pad, and carrying pouch. (Made in USA – FDA Registered)

Keeper cup

menstrual cups review

The-Keeper company offers 2 types of menstrual cups: The Keeper and The Moon Cup (USA), and Gladrags Company is one of their main distributors. Each of these menstrual cups are well-used by women everywhere and have unique traits which make them ideal for any woman’s preference when looking for a viable feminine hygiene solution.

The Keeper is made out of rubber, and The Moon Cup model is comprised of silicone. Some of Gladrags products are manufactured in the US and all products are available in 2 sizes.


menstrual cups review

The Lunette Menstrual Cup has been manufactured in Finland since 2004. It like many other brands of menstrual cups is made from a silky, medical-grade silicone.

The Lunette is available in two sizes (Model 1 & 2) and an array of colors. This is the cup I have. I love it.


menstrual cups review

Designed using FDA approved, medical-grade silicone. Softer than Diva Cup, lovelier than Moon Cup or Lunette. Comes with a handy, discreet carrying pouch to keep it clean, hygienic and ready for use.

Available in 2 sizes and 4 colors.

Beginners Guide to Menstrual Cups: Menstrual Cup Benefits – why you should try one!

  • Using Tampons/Sanitary pads have risks of developing TSS – toxic shock syndrome – a systemic illness that can kill. Using menstrual cups does not have this risk.
  • Once you are used to using a menstrual cup, it doesn’t ever leak.
  • Set and Forget – Most people only have to empty their menstrual cup 2-3 times per 24 hours.
  • Buy Once – it is a bigger outlay to get a menstrual cup, but think of all the other products you won’t have to be buying every month. A well cared for cup should last you 15 years! And could save you $120 per year in other products!!
  • Menstrual  cups are unable to be felt when they are inserted correctly.
  • One menstrual cup will significantly reduce how much plastic and other rubbish you are contributing to the landfill. They are the clean, green solution to your period!
  • You can go swimming, exercise and sleep wearing your menstrual cup.
  • Many women find their periods get shorter and less painful when using a cup.
  • With so many options available these days, you can try one of the cheaper ones without a huge upfront cost.

Choosing a Size of Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups come usually in two sizes:

Small – For women under 30 years old who have never had children
Large – For women over 30 years old and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by c-section

If you want to see an amazing shape and size comparison chart – look here.  But most of us don’t have much to compare our own size and shape to, so I suggest you get a regular shaped one first and go from there as they fit most women just fine.

How to use a Menstrual Cup – A Beginners Guide

Step-1: Sterilize your cup.

Wash the cup with water and a mild soap, then boil it in a pot of water for about 15 minutes before using it for the first time.

Step-2: Wash Your Hands.

Make sure you wash your hands before using a cup.

Step-3: Fold

There are different ways to fold a cup, see which one you feel most comfortable with.

Folding a menstrual cup, beginners guide to menstrual cups
This is the ‘C’ or ‘U’ fold. Simply fold the cup in half, length ways to form a ‘C’ or ‘U’.

This fold requires you to hold the top of the cup and push down on its mid-section, to form a triangle shape with the cup. This should help you make the rim smaller.

Step-4: Hold

Firmly grip the cup with your thumb and forefinger. Ensure the stem is toward your palm and the opening facing you.You could try using water or a water-based lubricant over the end of the cup to help you insert it.

Step-5: Insert and Rotate

To insert a cup, you need to relax. You could sit, squat or stand whatever is comfortable for you. The cup will sit lower than a tampon would in your vagina.

Help the cup open up by rotating it in the vagina. Do one full rotation to be sure it opens completely. Some women find that some water or water-based lubrication is needed, especially the first few times that you use your menstrual cup.

How to remove a menstrual cup

Before you remove the unit, wash your hands. Gently, pull the stem of the cup till you can reach its base. Break the seal by pinching the base. The moment you feel the suction release, while holding the base, use a slow side-to-side motion to dislodge the cup.

Tip the contents into the toilet and then rinse the cup under running water – or if you are in a public toilet, you can just wipe it clean with toilet paper.

Help I can’t get my menstrual cup out! (it’s stuck or I can’t reach it)

If you are struggling to reach the end DON”T PANIC! Sit on the toilet and bear down like you are going to do a poop.

After a couple of pushes try and reach the end again. Getting down in a squat or one leg squatting the other leg kneeling will help you reach better. The menstrual cup cannot get lost, the vagina is only so long and it has an end, you won’t lose it in there!

How to Clean a Menstrual Cup

At the end of your cycle, you can boil your cup for 10-15 minutes, air dry then store it in its fabric pouch until next month, where it is ready to go without re-boiling.

There is natural staining that occurs with regular use over time. To remove these you can soak in a 1-1.5% Hydrogen peroxide solution for 24-48 hours. However, I know that a lot of the companies do not recommend this, so this is an “at your own risk” tip.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a menstrual cup stay in position?

A correctly inserted cup will pop open and form a firm seal when inserted. Your cup is inserted into the vagina right under your cervix and the vaginal muscles help to hold it in place as well.

What is the best way to wash the included storage bag?

It is safe to wash it in the washing machine, either hot or cold is fine.

Is it messy to use a menstrual cup?

Let’s be honest, periods aren’t tidy affairs. The cups do get a bit of getting used to, but if you can remove it and tip it into the toilet before looking at it, you won’t have too much mess to deal with.

*Bonus Tip* put some toilet paper in the toilet before emptying your menstrual cup to avoid that telltale blood in the bowl after you flush.

How often do I empty my menstrual cup?

You will need to get used to your cycle, but most people only need to empty their cups every 6-12 hours.

Where do I store my menstrual cups?

The cups need to be stored somewhere that they can get air (not a sealed container). Many cups these days come with a pouch/bag are made of fabric, so it’s breathable.

What is the capacity for the small and large menstrual cups?

They do vary between brands but generally the small holds 15-20 ml before leaks will occur, the large holds 20-30ml before you will have trouble with leaking.

Can I wear a menstrual cup at night while I sleep?


Can I wear a menstrual cup while I run/dance/swim/bathe/do yoga?


Is it difficult to insert and remove a menstrual cup?

It is a steep learning curve, that does take a cycle or two to get used to and that can be frustrating for some. It takes practice to get it perfected to where it becomes easy to insert and remove.

But for the most part, menstrual cup users prefer menstrual cups over the use of tampons and pads any day as once you get insertion and removal down it is hassle-free.

How long will the cup last for?

It depends on how you take care of the cup. If they are cleaned well (you can boil them for 10-15 minutes to sterilise them) and stored in their pouch most will last at least 15 years.

How will I know when to empty my menstrual cup?

Practice and clock watching are usually what it comes down to. For the first few cycles check every 4 hours or so and see how you are going. You will get into a rhythm fairly quickly.

I’ve tried both sizes but I still get some leaking. what am I doing wrong?

Probably the cup is not fully open after insertion. In order for a cup to open fully after insertion, you can hold the stem or the base of the cup, then do the following:
1. Rotate it 360 degrees, or
2. Wiggle it sideways a few times, or/and
3. Pull it up and down a few times.
It can take 1-2 cycles to get used to using them without leaking, for the first 2 cycles you may like to wear a pad as well, just to be safe.

The menstrual cup is uncomfortable, what do I do?

If you have been through the process of checking insertion and making sure the size menstrual cup you have is correct and it is continuing to cause you discomfort- you may not have found the perfect menstrual cup brand for you.

You can discontinue use and search for a softer, shorter size, or differently designed menstrual cup that may work for you better.

Some people find turning the cup inside out is sufficient to make it smaller. Others find that they shorten the stem with a pair of scissors it solves the problem.

So what are you waiting for? Go on, buy one, it is not as scary as you may think, and it really will revolutionize your monthly experience!

Do you use a menstrual cup? Have you got any tips on how to use a menstrual cup? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to use menstrual cups A beginners Guide to Menstrual Cups - The clean, green eco choices for your period. How to

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