How do I clean my new reusable pad / cup ?
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This is a general guide for menstrual cup care, but please review specific instructions from the particular cup manufacturer.
Menstrual cups can be washed with water when emptied throughout the day. Washing with warm water can help remove clots and clear holes to ensure a good suction when reinserting.
Menstrual cups can be cleaned between each cycle through boiling or washing with very mild, unscented water-based soap.
At the end of your cycle, boil the cup in an open pot for 5 minutes, paying careful attention not to forget the cup, as extended exposure to hot water degrades the cup and burning can make it unusable. Let the cup dry, then place in a pouch or breathable fabric for your next cycle.
When washing the cup, be sure to use a very mild, unscented, oil-free soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse the cup thoroughly to remove any soap residue. You can also use a toothpick to clean cup holes, and discard them after use. Let the cup dry, then place in a pouch or breathable fabric for your next cycle.
What if I don’t really like blood…
Want to minimize interaction with your menstrual blood?
Well, on the scale of needed blood handling, sustainable menstrual options line up more-or-less as follows:
Less …………………………………………………………………………………………… More
Menstrual Cup -> Cloth Pad -> Sea Sponge Tampon
You can just pull it out, dump the contents in the toilet/sink, rinse (or wipe with tp), & reinsert. Minimal blood on fingers. Choose an opaque cup (like rubber) for less visual.
Fold ‘em up ‘til you get home (pouches are great for carrying). Soak to clean: most blood will be wicked off in a few water changes. Some manual agitation needed for tougher spots (especially once already dried), if you care about not having noticeable stains.
These really need to be squeezed. Soaking can get out a lot, but occasional clumps or other less-liquid parts tend to stick more then to pads, & might need to be brushed off with fingers/nails.
How long can I wear a menstrual cup?
This depends on a few factors such as your flow and the capacity of the cup. Generally, the maximum amount of time you should wear a menstrual cup is ~10-12 hours consecutively. It should be emptied, washed, and rinsed a minimum of 2-3 times daily and can be worn overnight.
Most people flow 2-6 ounces during their menstrual period, and emptying the cup a few times a day is usually adequate. During days when your flow is heavier, you will need to empty the cup more frequently to avoid leaking. After sustained usage, you'll become more familiar with your own menstrual flow pattern.
Is Natural Flow's position that I should never feel bad about my period?
Actually, no. Whatever you are really feeling in the moment, that is perfectly fine. Natural Flow encourages you to accept the reality of your body at any particular time. In fact, from this position of accepting the truth of your own felt experience, you can actually source your power *from* your own body, instead of in-spite of it. Ultimately, we feel that a lot of the negative associations women have about their menstrual cycles come from external sources (the media, peers – male & female, etc.), and that by reclaiming menstruation to be from our own real experience and connection with our bodies, each other, and the cycle of life, we will ultimately be healthier, happier, and more in line with our true selves.