We recently posted on our Instagram about how to fertilize your plants with your period blood. Here at Pixie Cup, we are all about periods and period hacks and this was new to us! In light of the time of year and everyone starting and tending to their gardens, we did some digging. Quickly, we realized how popular this method was as a green-living ritual from feminists and plant lovers alike.
Is it ok to use period blood to fertilize your plants?
While studies haven’t been specifically done on it, we can look at the chemical breakdown of menstrual blood and see that some things make sense. Blood contains three primary plant macronutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. So, if you’re a gardener and menstrual cup enthusiast, you may want to try to use your next cycle to help your plants!
Nitrogen.Put simply, nitrogen promotes plant growth. It’s the star of the show and makes your plant bushy, leafy, and promotes growth! Nitrogen is part of every protein in the plant, so it’s required for virtually every process—from growing new leaves to defending against pests. Nitrogen is part of the chlorophyll molecule, which gives plants their rich green color and is involved in creating food for the plant through photosynthesis. Lack of nitrogen shows up as yellowing (chlorosis) of the plant.
Phosphorus. Phosphorus is responsible for transferring energy from one point to another in the plant. Energy from the stem can be transferred to the tips of the leaves with the help of phosphorus! It’s also critical in root development and flowering.
Potassium. Potassium helps regulate plant metabolism and affects water inside and outside of plant cells. It is important for good root development and for these reasons, potassium is critical to plant stress tolerance! When you repot a plant it disturbs the root system and can cause shock. Potassium helps the plant bounce back and re-establish its roots in the new soil and new pot.
Using a menstrual cup will make fertilizing your plants easier
If you want to give period blood fertilization a shot, using a menstrual cup will help make that easier! A menstrual cup is a cup-shaped device made of medical-grade silicone. It is inserted into the vaginal canal and creates a seal. It collects menstrual blood for up to 12 hours, safely. When you go to empty your menstrual cup, be sure to pinch the base or slide a finger up one of the sides to “break the seal” which makes removal quick and easy.
It’s not recommended to pour period blood directly onto the soil to fertilize your plants. The concentrated fluid could cause an odor as it dries and could attract insects. It’s best to dilute and make a watering solution! Empty your menstrual cup right into a half-gallon container and fill with water. This dilution is fit for daily watering. It’s also not an exact science so more water is fine too if you need to make it stretch to feed your garden!
PLEASE NOTE: menstrual blood should be used right away and not stored. It is a bodily fluid that contains bacteria and could become a hazard the longer it ages.
Maybe watering your plants with blood has a deeper meaning
More than nourishing plants, maybe this practice also nourishes women’s relationship to their periods. This is crucial because traditionally society has taught us that the natural, healthy experience of menstruation is embarrassing and a source of shame. We whisper for a tampon. We log our periods on a locked app on our phones. We apologize to our significant other for the “inconvenience.” Maybe using something from us to feed something else, connects us to ourselves and to the earth. Our periods are a perfect time to focus on self-care and adding gardening and tending to our plants could be a great addition.
Do you have a routine during your period? Do you think fertilizing your plants with your menstrual cup would be a good addition? Let us know if you have tried this before! If you don’t have a menstrual cup, head over to our store for a variety of styles and sizes.
Menstrual cups are rising in popularity and with something new comes questions and checking reviews and feedback, right? Menstrual cups offer so many benefits to you physically and to your busy schedule. Your period shouldn’t slow you down. We’re summing up some of the reasons why making the switch to a menstrual cup will totally improve your life.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is an egg-shaped cup made of medical-grade silicone that is designed to sit in the vaginal canal and collect menstrual blood. While they have been around for nearly 80 years, they are just recently having their time in the spotlight. (and for good reason!) Menstrual cups are super eco-friendly and kind to the earth in big ways. Today we’re talking about you and how they can make the whole month fantastic. Keep reading for 5 really practical, every day (and awesome) reasons to switch to a menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups are approved to be worn for up to 12 hours
12 hours?! I know when I made the switch to a menstrual cup this fact totally blew my mind. Hello freedom! I was used to wearing a pad which definitely couldn’t be worn for 12 hours. Or with my short relationship with tampons, I quickly realized that I needed to change it every couple of hours. I was doomed if I forgot to pack some in my purse or if my emergency car stash ran out. Which leads me to my next point…
You don’t have to pack extra “just in case” if you switch to a menstrual cup
Going on a trip? Taking a hike? Running errands for the day? If you are wearing a tampon or pad, you would absolutely need to pack extra for any of these scenarios. Depending on your flow the tampon should only be worn for 8 hours max. On days when my flow is heavy, I was lucky to get 2 hours out of a tampon! Menstrual cups safely collect menses for up to 12 hours.
They don’t contribute to vaginal dryness
Tampons are made of cotton. Cotton absorbs absolutely everything it touches because that’s it’s purpose. The problem is if you wear a tampon that isn’t appropriate for your flow level (example: wearing a super tampon on a light flow day) you’re not only soaking up your menstrual blood but also any vaginal fluid. This fluid is gold. It keeps your vagina working smoothly! We talked about the vaginal pH balance recently and the types of bacteria that naturally live there. If you get a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, then somehow that delicate balance was thrown off. Your vagina is naturally a little dry the first couple of days after your period as your body is adjusting to the hormone shift and re-establishing that pH balance. If you are sensitive to your pH level or if you feel you’re doing the dance between infections and handling your period, you may want to switch to a menstrual cup. Because they are made of medical-grade silicone, they do not soak up anything. They just collect your menstrual blood until you empty it!
Switch to a menstrual cup and you can sleep in peace
Because they can hold menses for up to 12 hours safely, you can change your menstrual cup before bed and sleep without worrying if you’re going to leak onto the sheets. Or the age-old hack of using a tampon anda pad while you sleep. (ew!) Once you get the knack of using a menstrual cup, you’ll master wearing it with no leaks! Say hello to a blissful night’s rest while on your period.
When you see the numbers, you’ll switch to a menstrual cup
They save you money! And quite a lot of it, actually. Here are the dirty details. In 2015 a research project found that the average American woman will spend nearly $1800 on tampons alone. That’s not counting the panty liners, new underwear because of staining and menstrual products that help with easing discomfort. A Pixie Cup costs the price of about 2.5 boxes of tampons. This means that in about 2 months your menstrual cup will have paid for itself! Keep in mind that a menstrual cup (if taken care of properly) can last and function for up to a decade!
If you’ve tossed the idea around of trying a menstrual cup, now is the time to do it! With our 100% Happiness Guarantee, you can try a Pixie Cup risk-free! Life is complicated and we like to keep things simple. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your Pixie Cup product, we will refund your money. Please comment if you have questions and check out our store here.
If you are like me, literally no one has ever spoken to you about vaginal flora (vaginal pH). Not your mom, not your best girlfriend, not even your gynecologist! And if you’re like me, you didn’t know about this delicate environment until you had a problem. Raise both hands! You deserve a double high-five sister because you aren’t alone! We’re talking about all the messy details today.
What is vaginal pH?
You’ve probably heard of pH levels in your body and having them run acidic or alkaline. Most everything in your body gets along while this is in balance. Your vagina is no exception. You may remember from chemistry that the pH of something determines how acidic or basic it is, and you might be surprised to learn that the pH of your vagina directly relates to its health. What is a normal vaginal pH? It falls somewhere between 3.5 to 4.5, and if you’re healthy it should regulate itself and keep it in this acidic range. When your vaginal pH is out of that range (above or below) you will likely notice an unpleasant odor or discharge.
What can cause an imbalance in vaginal flora?
There are several ways your vaginal pH balance could be off, all of which are super common.
Unprotected sex. Semen is a very alkaline substance and can throw off your flora. If you have a new partner, you could be especially susceptible to this. It’s a foreign substance and your vaginal flora is trying desperately to protect you.
Douching. Do not douche. I’m not even sure why douching exists, to be honest. Even your gynecologist will tell you it’s unhealthy and disruptive to your body’s chemistry. It’s equivalent to throwing a bomb in your lady parts. If you feel you need to douche, then there may be a problem already occurring and a visit to your doctor would be best.
Antibiotics. While they are used during infection and do serve a purpose, they are definitely on our list of gut-bombs. They are designed to wipe out absolutely everything (the good, the bad and the ugly) in order to kill whatever infection is ailing you. However, with that, you’ve now wiped out your good bacteria. At this time, it’s incredibly easy for your vaginal pH balance to be thrown off. Have you ever noticed that after a two week prescription of antibiotics, you have to now battle a yeast infection? Bingo.
Soaps. Did you know that you actually don’t have to use soap down there? I know it sounds crazy, but it’s a beautifully working machine and is designed to take care of itself! We know that shelves in the feminine aisle are lined with flashy packaging and products that seem to make us think we need them. Nope, according to Mayo Clinic, anything but rinsing with warm water is considered excessive.
What you eat. We are what we eat, we all know this, right? What you consume plays a heavy role in your body’s overall health as well as your vaginal pH balance. Candida (yeast) feeds off of sugars and if you find that you are prone to yeast infections, steer clear. If you’re tired of buying creams or taking a prescription for a yeast infection, maybe consider doing a candida diet. It’s a way of eating for a couple of weeks that inhibits the growth of candida.
Menstrual period. Menstrual blood is on the acidic side and can change the vaginal pH balance. There is a lot happening in your vagina during those few days, and if you’re in balance for the rest of the month, your body has a way of working it out. The first couple of days after your period has stopped you may notice a difference, but hang tight and see how your body corrects itself. If it persists, make a call to your doctor for testing.
How do I know if my vaginal pH is off balance?
You should be able to tell almost right away. You may pick up a fishy odor or notice the discharge is off-color. Bacterial Vaginosis and candida (yeast) are the most common infections that come with pH imbalance. BV (bacterial vaginosis) will carry with it a strong fishy odor and a thick grey-like discharge. Yeast will show signs of a thick white discharge and intense itching.
Can tampons mess up your pH balance?
Tampons have long been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) which could be a life-threatening infection. This is believed to happen if tampons are soaked in menses and left in the vagina too long. A tampons job is to soak up whatever it comes in contact with. It’s dry cotton. It’s going to do exactly that. If you don’t use the right size or absorbency (like using a super tampon on a lighter flow day), it can soak up your vaginal fluids as well which is where all of the bacteria live. This will leave you susceptible to infection. We recently talked about vaginal dryness and tampon use.
Can menstrual cups cause infections?
In short, if they are used (and cared for) properly there is no link between menstrual cups and infections. Menstrual cups are approved to be left in the vagina for up to 12 hours, safely. At this point, they would need to be emptied and washed prior to being reinserted. Here at Pixie Cup, we formulated a menstrual cup wash that will not throw off your vaginal pH balance. If menstrual cups are used correctly, they are actually ideal for maintaining your natural vaginal pH balance. Menstrual cups are a cup-shaped device made of medical-grade silicone that sits in the vaginal canal. It doesn’t soak up anything. It collects the menstrual blood to be discarded later.
How can I maintain a healthy vaginal pH balance?
Take a probiotic. Gut health plays a heavy role in how our body functions. There are certain types of bacteria that live in our stomach, intestinal tract and in our vagina. Taking a probiotic designed uniquely for your lady parts is a great place to start. Check those out here.
See your gynecologist regularly. Going for scheduled exams is the best way to keep up on what’s happening down there. If you regularly get exams, your doctor will be able to build up a track record and it will be easier to see if something is off. Tracking your period and any symptoms that occur after your period can be helpful in bringing accurate information to your doctor.
Avoid tight + synthetic clothing. Yoga pants are all the rage these days as well as leggings. If you’re truly using them to work out, be sure to replace them after the work out with breathable pants. Cotton underwear is also crucial as it wicks moisture away from the body.
If your balance has been thrown off, it takes time to get your lady groove back in shape. Don’t be discouraged. With time and help from your doctor, everything will work out! Have you been researching alternative period care? Have you thought about trying a menstrual cup? Finding the best one to fit your needs is important! Check out our online store for different cup styles and sizes.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to menstruation and vaginal health. If you have any concerns about using a Pixie Cup, consult your doctor before use. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician.
There are several different ways you can sterilize your menstrual cup. You may have seen new UV menstrual cup sterilizers on the market and maybe you’re wondering what they’re all about; whether they work and actually eliminate bacteria! What is UV sterilization?Is it effective for bacteria and viruses? If you found this post, chances are you are doing your research. Let’s dig in!
What is UV Sterilization?
UV light has been used for sterilization and disinfection as early as the mid-20th century, actually! Technology has advanced since then, and specifically in the UV bulbs themselves. Their reliable, long lifespan (thousands of hours) and smaller size has broadened the use! You can find it being used to disinfect water, air, fruits, vegetables, surgical utensils, tablet computers, toys, even fish tanks!
Check out this UV robot that is used to sterilize an entire hospital room!
How effective is UV Sterilization?
Scientists have known for decades that broad-spectrum UVC light, which has a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nanometers (nm), is highly effective at killing bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together. This conventional UV light is commonly used to decontaminate surgical equipment.
Within the last handful of years, researchers at CUIMC figured out that a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light (technically) called far-UVC could kill microbes without damaging healthy tissue. Crazy right? We hear UV and we automatically think of having a gel manicure or spending time at the pool with a lot of sunscreens!
Moreover, the researchers demonstrated that UVC light was effective at killing MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria, a common cause of wound infections!
What is the difference between the UV rays?
Light is a crazy thing! On one end of the spectrum, you find infrared and on the other end, you find x-ray. The sweet spot in the middle is the visible light; this is what’s able to be seen by the naked eye. Between visible light and x-ray, you find all the UVs.
UVA: UVA rays, which account for 95 percent of the radiation that reaches the earth’s surface, cause wrinkles, “sunspots,” and other types of premature aging. They are also strongly linked to skin cancer.
UVB: UVB rays, which affect the skin’s top layer, cause skin cancer, and most sunburns.
UVC: These rays are considered the bad boys of the UV family. They physically actually never reach the earth’s surface from the sun because it’s blocked by the ozone layer. However, it’s been recreated here on earth with things like mercury lamps, bulbs, and welding torches. UVC light is able to cause the physical destruction of viral, bacterial, and fungal cells in a matter of seconds.
How long does it take for UV light to sterilize?
A matter of minutes! UV-C is the killer of the UV family. Tests of UVC on surfaces have demonstrated that it kills C. diff spores in seconds versus hours for chemical cleaning. In fact, Here at Pixie Cup, we are super excited about the launch of our new UV Sterilizer! By placing your Pixie Cup in the sterilizer and closing the lid, you hit the button and 99.9% of bacteria are killed in minutes. (2 minutes to be exact!) The UV lights remove odor-causing bacteria along with gross things like Staph, Salmonella, E. coli, flu & other common germs. Your cup is clean + safe to be used immediately or stored away for next month!
To use our sterilizer, be sure to wash your Pixie Cup and dry it completely. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash, which is specifically formulated to gently wash your silicone menstrual cup. On top of that, the Pixie Cup Wash is pH balanced so that it doesn’t interrupt the vaginal flora! Sterilizing your menstrual cup regularly is key to keeping germs + bacteria away and infection at bay.
Do you have questions about UV sterilization? Comment below! We’d love to chat! Meanwhile, be sure to check out our store!
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.
Which one is better, steaming or boiling your menstrual cup? Does it matter? It really comes down to which one is more convenient for you. Not sure which one you prefer? Keep reading!
First, we want to start out by telling you a little about menstrual cup cleaning. It’s so important to keep your cup sparkling clean at all times because your vaginal canal is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.
There are two different things you should do each cycle to keep your menstrual cup clean: clean your cup between each use, and sanitize your cup before and after your cycle.
Sanitizing is completely different than cleaning, but equally important! Before and after each cycle — both when you get your menstrual cup out for your period and when you put it away again — you need to make sure all bacteria is removed from your cup. This keeps your cup clean and stain free. It also helps prevent odors.
There are two different ways you can sanitize your cup. The most common method is boiling your cup, but many cup users are finding that they prefer steaming. They both do the same thing, so the best option for you just depends on which one you prefer!
Why do you have to boil your menstrual cup?
Boiling your menstrual cup sanitizes it and makes it safe to use. Any time you put a foreign object into your body, there’s a chance you could be exposing yourself to bacteria. Infections from menstrual cups are rare, as long as you use your cup correctly and clean it properly. Boiling your cup before and after every cycle, and washing it between uses, will help keep bacteria at bay.
It’s also important to wash your hands before inserting or removing your cup. You’re more likely to get an infection from bacteria on your hands than from the cup itself.
How often should you boil your menstrual cup?
Boil your menstrual cup twice a month: when you get it out at the start of your cycle, and when your period is finished.
How long should you boil your menstrual cup?
We recommend boiling your cup for about 10 minutes. If you boil your cup for too long, it could cause the silicone to thin and soften over time.
How to boil your cup
Simply put a pot of water on the stove to boil and turn it to high. When it reaches a boil, insert your cup. Make sure there’s enough water to completely cover your cup. Some cup users like to put their cup inside a whisk to keep it from touching the sides of the pot pot. If you don’t like the idea of using a pot that you cook with, consider buying a small pot to use just for this purpose.
It’s a good idea to stay close to your cup and keep an eye on it while it boils. You might be tempted to wander off and do other things, but we’ve heard stories of people who left their cup on the stove and forgot about it! If this happens, you could burn your cup and ruin it. If you do need to walk away, set the timer on the stove so you don’t forget to come back.
Can you boil your menstrual cup in the microwave?
Many people like the idea of boiling their menstrual cup in the microwave. Using a microwave is often more convenient, especially if you’re living in a dorm room or otherwise don’t have access to a stove.
The answer is yes … sort of. You can sterilize your menstrual cup with water that’s been boiled in the microwave. Don’t put the cup itself in the microwave, or it could damage it.
Fill a large mug with water – not too full or else it could boil over – and put it in the microwave. When the water has reached a boiling point, take it out and drop your cup in. Make sure your cup is submerged and leave it for a few minutes.
Our Pixie Cup sterilizing container was made just for this purpose! It’s collapsible, so it’s discreet and easy to store. It’s also microwave safe. Simply fill it with water and place it in the microwave for a few minutes. Or, you can plan your menstrual cup in the cup and pour boiling water over it. Your cup will emerge sparkling clean and germ-free!
Steaming your cup
Steaming is a relatively new option for menstrual cups. While it has been used for quite some time now to sterilize other silicone products, it is new to the menstrual cup world!
Steaming is a hassle-free way to remove 99.9% of germs from your menstrual cup. Our Pixie Cup Steamer makes sterilizing your cup easy!
Steaming your cup has several advantages over boiling. For starters, you don’t have to use your cookware to sterilize your cup. In fact, you don’t have to take your cup into the kitchen at all! This is especially great if you share a house with other people and you don’t love the idea of them seeing your menstrual cup on the stove. The steamer has the appearance of a small humidifier or diffuser, and can be tucked away in the corner of your bathroom counter when not in use.
When it’s time to sterilize your cup, simply place it in the steamer with 5ml of water, replace the cover, and push the button. Your cup will be sanitized in 3 minutes while you put on your makeup or brush your teeth. No more worrying about burning your cup if you forget about it on the stove!
The next time you get your period, pop your cup back into the steamer for another 3 minutes, and it’ll be good to go.