I am a forty-something mom, knitting instructor, novelist, and freelance writer.
I Love My Cup! But Must It Be So Gross?
Try not to cringe when you look at that before picture. My husband thought it was dried menses, but it's not; it is stained. Between every switch, I washed with soap and water, and between cycles, I threw in a boil. It was clean—as far as germs were concerned. But blood is a powerful stainer, and the silicone becomes a victim.
I thought that maybe that's just the way it was. Eventually, my lovely, frosted-looking Diva Cup would more resemble a brand new Keeper. I'd have to hide it in a bag instead of leaving it conveniently on my medicine cabinet shelf. How could I advertise all its wonderful qualities to new friends when they won't be able to look past the staining? Because let's admit it: despite the fact that just about every woman on the planet deals with blood on a monthly basis, we still cringe when it is admitted in public (unless you're me, and friends of mine will agree: it's how I roll).
I couldn't live with that. I love to show people my Diva Cup and tell them all about it's absolute awesomeness. But my best marketing tool was turning ugly. I needed to act.
The Problem, Up Close
Yes. I'm going to do it. You're going to see it. See that? STAINING. BIG BAD STAINING ON MY MENSTRUAL CUP! The horror...
Things I tried that did not work (I admit, it's not a long list, but I avoid chemicals when I can, so my due-diligence has boundaries):
- baking soda
- white vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- castille soap (distilled and undistilled)
- boiling with vinegar
- baking soda and vinegar together
These did not work. Obviously.
Don't hate me for drawing this out when the answer is so simple:
Hydrogen Peroxide, 3%
That's it. Pour some hydrogen peroxide into a clear glass (so you can watch the magic happen, though I suppose your fascination may be less than mine, so an opaque container will work just as well, if you must), drop in the cup, and wait.
Like the photo shows, after an hour and a half, I could already see a drastic difference. After three hours, even more. By five hours, only a little staining was still apparent around the lip of the cup and the end with the stem (I've cut my stem off). By the time I looked in the glass again at the end of the day, my cup was ready.
Some Things to Note
I rinsed my cup thoroughly after soaking in the hydrogen peroxide and may boil it once more before using it during my next cycle. However, I feel it's worth noting that hydrogen peroxide is naturally occurring in a woman (think yellow staining), and is perfectly safe for your body. That doesn't mean go crazy with it, but rinsing your menstrual cup in water will probably be just fine after the hydrogen peroxide soak.
Please be sure you use only the 3% solution; it is what I used and if you're going to follow my advice, please be sure to do it exactly. I have no idea what effects using a stronger solution will have.
It is worth noting that this trick may only work with silicone cups. I do not own another, so if you try it on something not silicone, you do so at your own risk.
I Love My Menstrual Cup
I love my Diva Cup. Truly. I also own a Lena cup and love it just as much. Check out your options and read reviews.
Any Diva Cup user should know that the Diva Cup company does sell a wash specifically designed for your cup. It can fit in your purse and used right over a toilet should you need to change it while out and don't want to use the sink in the public restroom (teaching opportunity, anybody?) I have not used this cleaner; I prefer knowing exactly what is being used on the products I rely on, especially those as personal as a cup, so making my own makes me happy.
Have any questions? Please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments! I will respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Want more about menstrual cups? Check out my Menstrual Cups 101 article.
The Lena Cup 2 Pack
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Monika on March 23, 2020:
Thank you for share this tip. Right now my menstrual cup is clean :)
Candy on August 07, 2019:
Thanks for the great advice! My Diva Cup is turning 3 in a few months and was considering replacing with a coloured cup (I'd have bought brown if they sold it!). Looks like I can happily get another 3 years out of my cup!
TashPro on July 04, 2019:
Oh thank you! I've been searching for tips on how to get stains out of my cup. I have a vida and I love it, best I've tried so far and I've tried a diva and lunette they are not a good fit for me.
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on May 28, 2019:
Hydrogen peroxide that you are buying in stores is already diluted. The 3% refers to the amount of peroxide, and the remaining 97% is water. :)
Cristina on May 24, 2019:
Great tip, thanks a lot!
Shouldn't the hydrogen peroxide be diluted with some water as well? That's what I read on my OrganiCup website as recommendations to get rid of the stains.
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on February 26, 2019:
Tell me how it works for you. I tried it on my pink cup and it still worked great, but definitely seemed to last longer with my clear one.
Emma @ Menstrualcupaholic.com on February 26, 2019:
Fascinating, and definitely a great tip! I've got a clear JuJu menstrual cup, and it's only ever so slightly discolored. So far it's been fine, but I'm going to keep your advice for it and when it gets worse!
Beatriz on November 22, 2018:
Oh darling, thanks for the tips! I was searching for something like this images for a long time. In others sites, they just say what to do but don't shows any real picture. I'll try it very soon.
Jule on July 10, 2018:
Hey, doesnt all of the mentions above appear to make the silicone porous so it won't last as long as it could? I am actually not confident enough to use any harsh stuff on ti.. not even vinegar :D
Helen on September 24, 2017:
I thiught the staining on my FemmyCycle was due to poorly made silicone until I found your site. I soaked as you outlined overnight and it looks like new!
Sherl on August 24, 2017:
Thank you so much for this tip. I tried everything like you did too and nothing. Went just this morning to get peroxide and I'm seeing a MAJOR difference and it's only been an hour.
Sarah on June 07, 2017:
Thank you SO much for posting this! The staining was driving me nuts! I can't believe I didn't think to try this yet, as I discovered when you leak onto sheets/fabric peroxide removes it like MAGIC. I can't wait to try it this way!
Kris on February 27, 2017:
Thank you so much for posting this. Results were perfect.
Pam on February 04, 2017:
I use an old tooth brush and vinegar which keeps it from getting discolored. I will keep a note of soaking it in peroxide. I've only had it for 6 months.
Kristen on January 31, 2017:
Thank you for this, holy cow it works perfectly!
Ryan on December 26, 2016:
Yes!!! My Lunette cup of 1.5 years is badly stained exactly like your was! Before I even consulted google I decided a nice peroxide soak may help (thinking back to home birth protocol of peroxide removing blood stains on towels). So happy to have a shiny cup again! Truly in love with my simple little (life altering) cup ;)
Amelia on November 12, 2016:
I seriously do not understand why they would say not to use hydrogen peroxide. I've been using the same cup for TEN years. I soak it in HP and water solution between periods. The cup has been unaffected and completely clean. I don't use soap on my cup ever. I just rinse it really well. Hydrogen peroxide disolves organic matter. That's why it's good at cleaning blood stains from fabric without destoying the color of the material.
Alex on November 06, 2016:
Great tip thanks! I've been using the Calla cup for 3 months, I love its frosty white look and I really want to keep it looking that way. Also like the idea of baking soda and coconut oil. My friend told me coconut oil is great for whitening teeth too! x
Erica K. on July 11, 2016:
I used this method for my cup too (I got the Lola Cup on Amazon to try the two different sizes)... this will work for anything that is made of 100% Medical Grade silicone! It removed all of the stains, taking about as much time as it did for the author to remove all the stains. A few notes for people that don't know (in case I need to somehow qualify myself, I'm a chemical engineering student...):
1) Even if the pH balance claims from other people or even manufacturers is true, if you're doing the soak between cycles, by the time you go to reuse the cup, the hydrogen peroxide would have decomposed into oxygen and water, anyways. There's a reason why the stuff you but at a pharmacy is packaged in a brown bottle: exposure to sunlight (specifically UV rays) will cause it to degrade into oxygen and water.
Peroxides aren't generally very stable chemically speaking, and are therefore very reactive or unstable.. this just means that they will easily break down into a more stable state! Therefore, that point is kind of moot with that in mind... or, just to be safe, rinse it off! Problem solved..
2) While sunlight would also work on the cup, UV rays have a bleaching effect on materials (including silicone). If you are looking to remove the coloring from your menstrual cup, then but all means!
I'm also not certain what the Sun's rays would do to the silicone after doing it every so often for several years (or just a long time), versus the effect a soak in a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution for the same time interval.. it probably would take a long time before the UV rays did any damage, though. I would say it's probably safe, but I like having my cup stay the pink color that it is, and I also have limited sunlight in this apartment.
3) The Hydrogen peroxide will definitely sterilize, unstain, AND clean the cup.. there's nothing to worry about in terms of sanitation, dirtiness, germs, etc. using the 3% Hydrogen peroxide solution! Why not simply make the cleaning and sterilizing of the cup easier to manage, and be able to put it where the sun don't shine while doing so..? Lol.
Afriska.ch on October 05, 2015:
If I only washed my menstrual cup with soap and water and boiled it between cycles mine would look this way too. I do believe that the dark lines are more than just stains and even if they are clean, they are ideal for bacteria to settle down there during your next period. To really clean your menstrual cup you can simply rub it with a flat toothbrush and dental brushes for the wholes.
ashley on August 06, 2015:
fyi-peroxide dissolves blood ;-) i use it on panties for any leakage.
Joanne on June 13, 2015:
Great & very useful information! Want to try it. Have a couple of things that I'd like to clarify. Do you have to fully submerge the Diva Cup in the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution? Did you use it at full 3% strength? Or did you dilute it with water? If diluted, what ratio of hp to water? Thank-you!
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on April 29, 2015:
I've had mine for years; the only time I ever replaced it was after I had my son and started using it again, I was leaking. I bought the size 2, and sure enough, no leaking. :) I did eventually buy another cup because I forgot it when I went on a trip and there was no way I was returning to tampons or pads. Now I'm sort of glad I have two. I can keep one at home, and one in my purse - just in case. :D
Renee on March 30, 2015:
This is very handy to know - thanks heaps. I went and bought a new one because after 4 yrs it was lookin to horrid to show off to friends. When I first bought it I thought I would only ever have to buy one - then someone told me of course you have to buy them every couple of years but it sounds like a few people here have had theirs for some time. I couldn't bring myself to actually throw the first one so I'll give it this treatment and have a spare. :)
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on February 10, 2015:
Hi, Grace! Sorry it took so long to reply. I typically just wash mine in the sink with soap and water, rinsing well. I then dry it off and reinsert.
Lum on February 08, 2015:
Well, dring a cycle I also wash daily with soap and stuff, but when it's over I throw my cup into the washing machine, together with towels and stuff and wash it at 80°C - I do this after every cycle and it gets rid of the few stains and also of the smell. Never had a problem so far.
Grace on January 31, 2015:
I was just wondering what you guys do for a daily wash? Like people say there's the Diva Wash but I do not own that and I wanted to know some other ways you could wash the cup after every use? (Just bought mine and haven't tried it out yet.)
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on October 21, 2014:
I have heard that the sun will work as well, yes! I have no tried it. When I leave my Diva cup out, my son uses it as a helmet for his Batman action figure. Really. :)
Susan on October 18, 2014:
i wash my cups ( fleur, yuki and a diva) with soap an water at the end of my cycle, then place on my bathroom window ledge on top of a clean washcloth. That where most of my cups live until I need them again. No staining. The only drawback is that my once purple fleur has faded to a frosted white color after 4 years of sitting in the sun after use. Probably time for a new one anyway!
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on August 26, 2014:
Give it a shot! In the meantime, I'm going to also try the vinegar! :D
Samantha Clarke on August 19, 2014:
This is amazing! I have a Lunette, which is also silicone, and I've noticed it's starting to stain a little too (I boil it in vinegar every month but that only seems to get the majority of it, not the deep yellowing). I'll have to use this!
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on July 28, 2014:
Sorry; though the Diva website says that, peroxide harming your natural pH would only be a problem if you used a strong solution (not available for purchase) and don't rinse the cup after soaking. The body creates a natural peroxide and actually aids in self-cleaning the vaginal canal; not to mention, hair cells on your body produce a natural hydrogen peroxide as well (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/25/bo... Exposure to hydrogen peroxide with your diva cup, that has been washed off, is not a danger.
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on July 28, 2014:
I use any soap and rinse it off. :) Dr. Bronner's castille soap is a great alternative. I will also sometimes use vinegar.
Rachel on July 14, 2014:
Noooooo on the diva cup website it says specifically not to use hydrogen peroxide because it can upset your ph balance and compromise to sylicone of the cup!!!!!
Haven on June 12, 2014:
H! I have only had my Diva cup for about three months, and it is only slightly (if at all discolored), so I bet this will be helpful in the future! What do you use to clean your Diva cup? I a having trouble finding an all natural unscented soap. Thanks!
Suzanne on March 28, 2014:
Thanks so much! I own my diva cup for 4 years and it looks like yours before peroxyde. I was extremely fascinated to see the magic happen as you said it!!
Tango on January 12, 2014:
Hi, there. I had the same problem, but I didn't try with the peroxide.. I just "exfoliate" my cup with baking soda and coconut oil. It remove the whole thing and my cup is clean again.
Christen Roberts (author) from Harrisburg, PA on April 01, 2013:
You're very welcome!!
Sara on March 31, 2013:
Thank you!! Just what I was looking for. I've had mine about 18 months. I use a different brand and use the recommended wash. Perhaps that's why it's only just now, starting to discolour? Anyway, I'd rather nip that in the bud! Hydrogen Peroxide would never have occurred to me (and yes, I would have tired all the others first) so thanks so much for saving me the time!