If you've made the switch from pads or tampons to a menstrual cup, you're already experiencing the simplicity and ease, not to mention the money saved. To make it even easier to take care of, you may have thought, "Can I wash my menstrual cup in the dishwasher?" We asked Nicole Sparks, MD, an ob-gyn and ambassador for The Hello Cup, to weigh in.
Can I Wash My Menstrual Cup in the Dishwasher?
In order to make your menstrual cup last and prevent infection, it's essential to know the ins and outs of keeping your cup clean. If a dishwasher is good enough to use on the glasses and silverware you put your mouth on, it seems like throwing your menstrual cup in the top rack would be a fast and easy way to sanitize it every month. But Dr. Sparks said she does not recommend placing your menstrual cup in the dishwasher. "Remember, you don't want to put anything on your menstrual cup that may then irritate your vagina." This includes dishwashing liquid, bleach, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, scented soaps, or fragranced oils. She said, "If it's too harsh for your menstrual cup, it's too harsh for your vagina."
Aside from the possible irritation the soap can cause to your sensitive parts, a dishwasher may be too rough for your menstrual cup, and can either cause damage from the dishwashing liquid detergent itself or from the extended high heat and water pressure. Dr. Sparks explained that this can lead to damage or breakdown of your menstrual cup over time. Instead, she recommends sanitizing your menstrual cup by boiling it in hot water for a few minutes after each cycle.
How Often Should I Clean My Menstrual Cup?
When using it during your cycle, always wash your hands before handling your menstrual cup so you don't inadvertently introduce bacteria into your vagina. If you can, wash your cup after each use with mild soap and water. If that's not possible, Dr. Sparks recommends using a special menstrual cup wipe or a baby wipe.
"I also advise women to keep a water bottle on them to quickly rinse out the menstrual cup if they are using a public restroom or don't have access to soap and running water," she said. Then once you have access to a bathroom sink, clean your cup appropriately.