Menstrual cup stains are super common and are a badge of honor in a way… It shows a lot of use, how you’ve dedicated your cycle to less waste (think of all the products you’ve kept out of landfills!), and that you’re making healthy decisions for your body. Still, they can be an eyesore. So if you love your cup and want to keep it looking like new, don’t worry — it’s possible to remove menstrual cup stains and prevent them in the future!
How do I clean off any staining?
If your cup is dingy or has staining, scrubbing it alone probably won’t be enough to get it looking fresh again. You’ll need to use a product specifically for stain removal. Fortunately, there are several stain-removing solutions that are safe to use, environmentally friendly, and easy on the wallet.
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective stain remover for protein-based stains, which includes period blood. Hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule attached. That extra oxygen molecule is what gives it its stain-fighting power. The 3% solution sold as a first-aid antiseptic can also be used to remove period stains from your cup, as well as from other materials such as cloth pads, sheets, and underwear (but test it on colored fabrics to make sure the colors won’t fade).
To clean your menstrual cup with H2O2, soak it at room temperature for an hour in a glass container or jar with 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide and 2/3 cup water. This should eat the stains away on its own, but if there is anything remaining, take a toothbrush or washcloth and give your cup a good scrub.
Sodium percarbonate, also known as sodium carbonate peroxide, is a salt that also contains active oxygen, which makes it excellent for stain removal and cleaning. Sodium percarbonate can be considered an alternative form of hydrogen peroxide; when added to water, it releases hydrogen peroxide. The Environmental Working Group gives sodium percarbonate a safety score of 1-2, meaning it has the lowest possible health hazard when used as directed.
We developed our new Pixie Cup Dust stain remover with sodium percarbonate for both its effectiveness and convenience. It’s a powder, so it’s easy to use, takes up hardly any space in your bathroom, and has a long shelf life. It also contains sodium carbonate, another gentle cleaning agent made up of sodium and acid. Sodium carbonate also has an EWG rating of 1, making Pixie Cup Dust safe for you, safe for your septic system, and safe for the environment.
How do I prevent menstrual cup stains?
Sterilize your cup regularly. The best way to keep your cup stain-free is to do your best to prevent staining! In addition to washing your cup each day and sterilizing your menstrual cup before and after each period, make sure you are giving your cup a scrub in the areas that often experience buildup such as around the rim and in the grooves of the stem. Also, try to minimize the amount of time the cup is exposed to the air without a thorough cleaning because this can lead to the darkening of the silicone.
Give it a good scrub. You may think your cup is beyond saving, but we want to assure you most stains can come off! Are you ready for one of our best stain-removal hacks? Here we go: grab an old toothbrush and scrub your cup with a little warm water and some silicone-safe cleaning solution! You will be surprised how much of the “staining” comes off with this technique!
Let it soak. We all need a steamy bath sometimes, even your menstrual cup! Squirt a little of the cleaning solution mentioned in Step 2 into a bowl or your Pixie Cup Cup with some hot water and let it soak for a few hours! Pair this with a good scrub and you can say goodbye to some tough stains!
Sunsoaking your cup. Placing your menstrual cup in a sunny location (preferably outside) for a few hours will do a world of good for any discoloration. Sun bleaching has been around for centuries and has never let anyone down yet.
Grab some Pixie Cup Wash and an old toothbrush and go to town scrubbing! Your cup will be sparkling in no time.
“Help, I think my menstrual cup is stuck!” If you’re experiencing menstrual cup removal stress, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and relax. We’re here to help.
It’s important to remember that your menstrual cup can only go so far before it reaches your cervix, and guess what? That’s the end of the tunnel. There’s nowhere else for it to go. Your menstrual cup can’t migrate into your uterus or get “lost” inside you.
That said, sometimes it can be hard to get a grip on your cup or break the seal. This can happen if the cup migrates further up in the vaginal canal, or if it forms a seal right up against your cervix.
If this happens to you, you may be tempted to call your doctor or head to the emergency room. Before you do, try our tips for removing a stuck menstrual cup.
1. Relax and breathe
It can be scary and frustrating when you can’t get your cup out, especially if this has never happened to you before. However, many menstrual cup users have experienced this at one time or another, and have gone on to use their cup happily for many years.
The best thing you can do right now is relax. That may feel impossible if you’ve been fighting with a stuck cup, but take a moment to just breathe. If you’re too tense, all of your muscles will be contracted, and it will make it harder for your cup to come out.
If you need to step away for a few minutes and regroup, go ahead. Do some breathing exercises, make a cup of tea, or do whatever else you need to calm down. It’s okay if your cup has already been in for 12 hours. Nothing bad is going to happen if you need to wait a little longer.
2. DO NOT use a spoon or other item for menstrual cup removal
You may have heard of something known as the “menstrual cup stuck spoon trick.” However tempting it might be to use tweezers or a spoon or something else to help you reach your cup, don’t do it! We do not recommend inserting anything into your vagina that isn’t made to go there. The vaginal canal is a sensitive area, and you don’t want to risk injuring yourself or causing infection. Plus, it simply isn’t necessary. You can break the seal on your cup just as easily with your finger if you do it correctly.
3. Take a squat
When you’re ready to try again, it may be helpful to get into a squatting position. Get as low as you can to the ground. This will allow you to reach further into your vaginal canal. You can also lift one foot up onto the edge of the toilet or bathtub.
Before you get started, make sure your hands are clean and dry. The drier your hands are, the easier it will be to get a grip on the cup. If the base of the cup is close to the vaginal opening, you could even use a little bit of toilet paper to dry it off.
4. Don’t bear down
You may have read some advice to bear down when you’re trying to get your cup out, but we don’t recommend this. Bearing down when under stress is not good for all the organs and muscles in the pelvic region.
When you have a bowel movement or are giving birth, your muscles work together naturally, and are not being forced. Some reports indicate that improper removal of a menstrual cup could be linked to prolapse of the pelvic muscles, although this has not been proven.
5. Gently break the seal
For proper menstrual cup removal, you need to break the seal that it formed when you inserted it. DO NOT yank on your cup and attempt to pull it straight out. Pulling on a sealed cup will strain the pelvic muscles.
There are two ways to break the seal:
Pinch the base of the cup. Grab the cup as far up as possible and pinch it. You may want to squeeze it for a few seconds to allow the seal to release. If you can’t quite get a hold of the cup, grab the stem and wiggle the cup back and forth a bit (don’t pull) until you’re able to grab the base. Listen for the sound of air leaking, which means the seal is broken.
If that doesn’t work, try inserting one finger up along the side of your menstrual cup and feel for the rim of the cup. Gently push in the rim, similar to the process used for the punch-down fold, until you hear the seal break. This can allow some fluid to leak out, so it’s best to do this when sitting on the toilet or squatting in the shower.
Once the seal is broken, tip the cup a little bit to allow more air into the vagina, and try wiggling your cup out or removing it at an angle.
If that doesn’t work, try a different position. Sometimes changing position can make all the difference. If you’ve been squatting, try putting one foot up on the edge of the bathtub instead.
Still having menstrual cup removal issues?
If you’ve tried all these steps — and made sure to relax and breathe — and you still can’t get your cup out, it may be time to call your doctor. Remember that not all gynecologists are familiar with menstrual cups, and you may need to tell your doctor not to attempt to pull it straight out. Also, don’t let your doctor throw your cup away! There’s no reason it can’t be sanitized and reused.
If you frequently have trouble getting your cup out, it could mean that your cup is the wrong size. If you have a higher cervix but are using a shorter cup, the cup may migrate further up in the vagina and be hard to reach.
Measuring your cervix can help you choose the right cup for you. We also created this cervix ruler to help you feel more confident in your decision and knowing your body!
We also offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee. If you buy a Pixie Cup and it isn’t the right size or it otherwise doesn’t work for you, we’ll work with you to find one that works or refund your money! We want everyone to experience true period freedom, and your happiness is our priority.
Check out our different menstrual cups and menstrual cup accessories in our store.
This content was originally written on February 19, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Is your menstrual cup leaking or not popping open? Menstrual cups make life 1000% percent easier when you’re on your period, but figuring out how to use them can take a little time. The #1 secret to a leak-free period with a menstrual cup? Making your menstrual cup pop open.
Getting your menstrual cup to pop open correctly will allow it to form a tight seal so that you won’t experience any unwanted leaking. Today, we’re going to share some helpful tips to make sure your cup opens up perfectly every time.
While the cup itself is designed to be leak-free, it can take a few tries to get comfortable using and inserting it. We recommend that you practice at home first (rather than in a public restroom) so you can learn the perfect cup technique that works for you. You may even want to practice inserting your cup when you don’t have your period. If you do, don’t leave the cup in — just get familiar with how it feels when it’s inserted properly and forming a seal, and then remove the cup.
Why won’t my menstrual cup pop open?
There are a few different factors that could be preventing your cup from fully opening. It could simply be a matter of finding a fold that works well for you, or you could actually need a different cup.
First, grab some lube
If you aren’t already using lube when inserting your cup, this is a must! Our Pixie Lube is designed specifically to provide a smooth insertion and a good seal for your menstrual cup. Not only does it make inserting your cup easier, it will help you position your cup correctly so that it can form a seal and prevent leaks. For many cup users, using a little bit of lube is all it takes to get their cup to pop right into place.
This product made my cup pop right in! I was having trouble getting my cup in … This works like a charm.
3 easy steps to make your menstrual cup pop open
Now, let’s make sure you’re inserting the cup properly. Before inserting your cup, always wash your hands thoroughly. And, try to relax! This process can feel intimidating to new cup users, but if you’re feeling tense, it will make inserting your cup harder. So take a few deep breaths and remember, while learning how to use a menstrual cup can be a little uncomfortable at first, it should never be painful, and the cup can’t get lost inside you. So there’s nothing to worry about!
Use the C-fold for insertion
The C-fold is a simple fold that you can do with one hand, and that allows the cup to pop open easily.
Run a finger around the rim
After your cup is fully inserted, run a clean finger around the rim of the cup (the top). As you do, you may feel some folds or indentations.
Grab the base and twist
If you feel folds, grab the base of the cup and gently twist the cup in a circular motion. Turn the cup one full rotation. This will help it pop open and form a seal.
That’s it! For most people, following these steps will allow their cup to pop open properly and provide leak-free protection!
Why is my cup still leaking?
If you’ve tried these steps and your cup is still leaking, there are a few possible reasons:
Your cup could be the wrong size. If your cup slides up or down a lot during the day (a little movement is totally normal… we’re talking a LOT of movement) you might have the wrong cup size. Pixie Cup is available in two different styles and three sizes, so we have options for just about everyone!
Take our quiz to find out which Pixie Cup is right for you!
Your menstrual flow could be heavier than your cup can handle. We designed the Pixie Cup in a bell shape to capture as much fluid as possible — more than several tampons. But, if you have an especially heavy period, you may need to empty your cup more often. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of emptying your cup every few hours, try our XL Pixie Cup! No matter what size you wear, make sure you empty and clean your cup at least every 12 hours to keep it clean and sanitary.
You might have a tilted cervix. If you have a tilted cervix, and your cup isn’t properly aligned, your menstrual flow might run along the vaginal wall, missing the rim of your cup completely. If this is the case, try wearing your cup lower. You may also want to try our Pixie Cup Slim, which was specially designed for people with a tilted or low cervix.
You may need a cup made with a firmer material. Some people find that it’s easier to get their cup to pop open when they use one that’s slightly more rigid. If you’re using a cup that’s very soft and flexible, try one that’s more firm, such as our original Pixie Cup.
Menstrual cups take a little bit of practice, but don’t let that scare you. Everyone’s body is different, and everyone uses a slightly different technique. Before long, you’ll figure out which folds and tricks work for your body. Once you’re comfortable using a cup, you’ll never go back to pads and tampons!
Did our tips work for you? If so, drop a comment below to let us know!
Have you noticed an odor coming from your menstrual cup? The truth is, if you use your cup at all, there’s a risk that you could end up with a stinky menstrual cup on your hands. While a menstrual cup smell doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your cup (or with your period), it can be annoying. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your cup stays sparkling clean and smelling nice even after years of use, and it’s really not that hard to do!
Is it normal for my menstrual cup to smell?
Yes! It’s completely normal for a menstrual cup to develop an odor with regular use. This odor may be completely different from the smell associated with your menstrual flow. Some people have described the smell as similar to eggs, broccoli, or sulfur. Others have described the menstrual cup smell as sour. But don’t worry — it’s unlikely that other people will notice the smell of your menstrual cup or the smell of your period. But if it bothers you, here’s how to fix it!
How do I get the smell out of my menstrual cup?
The tips below will help remove both smell and discoloration from your menstrual cup. It’s always a good idea to read your manufacturer’s instructions for your specific cup brand. The following is what we recommend for Pixie Cup menstrual cups. If you have a cup from a different manufacturer (such as a Diva Cup or a Lena Cup), they may recommend different cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
Prevent or remove menstrual cup smell with deep cleaning
If you’ve noticed that your menstrual cup has a weird smell, or if you just want to prevent it from smelling in the future, make sure to keep your cup sparkling clean. It’s really important to take good care of your cup and keep it clean at all times, and this will help decrease the likelihood of any unpleasant odors.
We recommend deep cleaning and sanitizing your cup before and after each period, and giving your cup a quick rinse when you change it at least once a day. This will dramatically reduce the likelihood of unwelcome smells.
Menstrual cups are safe to wear for up to 12 hours. Ideally, it’s best to remove and empty your cup even more frequently — every 4 to 8 hours if possible. Leaving your cup in for longer than recommended can increase the chance of an odor developing. If your cup already has an odor, leaving it in too long could make it worse.
Rinse with cold water first
You may be tempted to wash your cup in hot water right after you take it out, but hot water can actually cause odor and stains to set in. When you remove your cup, wash or rinse it in cold water first. You can follow this by washing it in warmer water. The same is true for underwear or other clothing that gets menstrual blood on it: Give it a good scrub in cold water to keep stains from setting.
Give it a good scrub
Set aside a toothbrush that is designated just for your cup. After rinsing your cup under cold water, give your cup a good scrub with soap. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash. Avoid using soap or other cleaning products that aren’t intended specifically for menstrual cups — they may contain oils, fragrances, or other chemicals that can increase the risk of odor or harm the silicone. When you wash your cup, make sure you get in between the grooves and clean the air holes around the rim to remove any residue that can build up in those areas.
If you’re changing your cup in a public restroom and can’t wash it, it’s fine to just wipe it off and reinsert. Keep some menstrual cup wipes in your bag or pocket for this purpose, and just make sure to give your cup a good wash the next time you’re at home.
Steam or boil your cup before and after your period
Before and after each period, we recommend sanitizing your menstrual cup by steaming or boiling it. You can boil it on the stove for 2-10 minutes. Or, to make sanitizing your menstrual cup easier, we created our menstrual cup steamer. The steamer sits right on your bathroom counter and sterilizes your cup in just three minutes!
Give your cup a sun bath
Find a nice sunny spot and let your cup soak up some rays for a few hours! This will help with both odors and discoloration. Just don’t leave it where it may get too hot or melt.
Use a naturally scented rinse every month or two.
Sometimes your cup needs a little more than soap and water to keep it smelling fresh. You can create an all-natural menstrual cup rinse with just some lemons and vinegar! Make sure to boil or steam your cup before use to remove any lemon or vinegar residue.
One last note…
Keep in mind that vaginal infections and yeast infections can cause unpleasant smells. If you notice an unpleasant or unusual odor that isn’t just related to your cup, it may be time to see your doctor.
Check out our online store to purchase our menstrual cup wipes, wash, steamer, and other products that can help you keep your cup clean and odor-free!
This content was originally written on May 28, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.