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How to Clean your Diva Cup

A while back I wrote about using the Diva Cup and why I like it and some other stuff about it.

After a while, you’ll notice your cup turns a little brown from the constant staining. And those holes…ewww, the buildup gets pretty gross. Well, you’ll never really get it to look brand new again, but you can get pretty close.

The website offers some tips on care and cleaning.

 

They say boil it under supervision. They say use toothpicks to get into those holes.

I say, “Eww, boiling my menstrual cup in a pot I cook with is gross.” And the toothpicks didn’t do a good job.

What did work for me. Baking soda and vinegar. Used to clean silicone baking dishes with so it’s safe for your cup – is there anything baking soda and vinegar can’t do?

Ahhh, and for the holes…I almost don’t wanna tell you. It’s genius. These babies:

brushes for braces

 

Those sample brushes that you get from your dentist for braces, even though you don’t have braces. Maybe he’s trying to tell you that you need them.

Well, Mr. Dentist…I say screw your skewed perception of beauty in relation to straight teeth! I’ll happily use them for my Diva Cup!

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The transition, tips and the downside for using the Diva Cup [Part 2 of 2]

diva-cup

So if you’ve finished reading about why I like the Diva Cup and made it this far, you must really be considering this Diva Cup thing or maybe you tried it, didn’t like it but would like to give it another chance and figure out a way to like it.  Okay, now let’s talk more yucky stuff to scare the boys away!

The Transition Phase

When I started on the Diva Cup, I was afraid. It felt different, I felt like it would burst and I would be in a publicly humiliating situation. So I wore it mostly when I was home, weekends to get comfortable with having just a cup. I wore pantyliners as a preventative measure and it was a good thing I did, because it leaked and leaked. When I cleaned it, it had fluids in it, so maybe I wasn’t built the same way other people are built. Maybe? I was wrong. The only reason it leaked as much as it did was the way I was wearing it. I did everything it told me to, I even angled it the way they said which is more horizontally than vertically (counterintuitive to tampon users), so what was wrong? Through trial and error, I figured out my own angles of my insides and made the adjustments till it worked, and now it pretty much never leaks (we’ll talk about when it does in a moment). So, be patient with yourself, if you give up, try and try again – the feeling of a freedom is worth it. You can dance like they do in tampon commercials, without the tampons.

Tips

Emptying at Home

The most tedious thing about using the Diva Cup is the emptying. You can wear them up to 12 hours, and for me, it works to empty it before I leave for work and when I get home. Still, it gets a little messy, so what I do is I empty in the shower and clean up at the same time. So during my periods, I take two showers a day, one which is really short (less than 5 mins) specifically to empty, clean and go. I find it’s pretty relaxing and refreshing. You can clean it with any antibacterial soap to get the guck out of those pinhole things, I use an old toothbrush.

Emptying in Public Places

One time, I was in a rush forgot to empty mine before I left for work and it was a mess. A lot of toilet paper and soap later, and luckily no witnesses, I have learned my lesson. It’s easy to forget to empty because it’s so comfortable that you can wear it past its allotted time. But you’ll know when it’s full because you’ll feel slight pressure, like you need to pee. So what if you forget, or if you have heavy flows and 2 emptyings just isn’t enough? Here are some options for public washrooms.

Option 1 : The least expensive option but the most tedious. Diva Cup provides you with a little satchel when you purchase one, so you can keep a rubber glove in your purse and when you’re in the bathroom use that glove to empty and then pull down the sleeves over the cup to wrap it up and when no one’s around, wash the thing and return it to its rightful place. Folded toilet paper works as a temporary preventative measure if you’re afraid of leakage during the walk to the sink.

Option 2: Otherwise, you can also do a the half-and-half method, which is wrap it away until you can wash it privately and use a tampon for time being.

Option 3:  The best solution is if you have the money, get a spare, and then empty and wrap the used cup in a ziplock bag and tuck it in that satchel until you can wash it privately and use a clean one in the meantime.

Trimming the Tip

I found that the pointy tip of my Diva Cup stuck out too much and caused discomfort, so I trimmed it down with some scissors and it’s much more comfortable now. I don’t know why feminine hygiene companies do that. It’s the same with tampons, the string is extremely long. How deep do they think our vajajays go?

Half-and-half Techniques

I don’t exclusively use the Diva Cup all the time. Sometimes, when it calls for it, I just use a tampon. For example, I know I’m going somewhere after work and won’t be home in time to empty, I’ll just bring a few tampons instead of wearing the cup. An interesting fact if you’re a swimmer, you’ll know that tampons tend to get soaked and you need to change them when you exit the pool, but the diva cup holds it’s own works as a barrier, so you don’t have to do anything. So if you’re going to the water during that time of month, wear a cup instead. So keep some tampons/pads at home just in case you need to use them, or use them interchangeably with the cup if that works better for you.

The Downside

There’s a downside? Yeah, a few actually, and sadly that’s like everything in life, except for bananas. There is no downside to bananas.

1) A lot of girls don’t like dealing with the fluids and cleaning the thing. Now this is usually a problem with younger women with no kids because if you had kids, this is probably a breeze, because kids force you to do way grosser things. Even though I don’t have kids yet, I grew up working at my dad’s clinic back home and sometimes if the patient agrees, he lets me sit in and observe him doing minor surgeries, like stitches and dressing changes, etc. This exposed me to a lot of blood and I’m pretty desensitized to it. Why am I telling you this? Because if you do it enough, you’ll get desensitize too. And it will make you stronger.

2) It still leaks goshdarnit. Yes, no matter how masterly skilled you are at angles, once in a while you’ll just plop it in and it’s not quite the best angle, so it leaks. The solution is that on your heavier days (mine seems to be the second day), use a panty liner just in case.

And that’s pretty much all i can think of for the downside of the Diva Cup. So try it, and if doesn’t work out the first time, try it a couple more times and see.

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What is a Diva Cup? 5 reasons why I like it better than tampons. [Part 1 of 2]

diva-cup

I love being a woman, yet once a month, due to the nature of my gender,  I go, “Urrgggghhh.” Well, not always. Sometimes I say “Oh, thank goodness.” But that gratitude usually only lasts a second and then I’m reminded of what I have to go through the next few days, so it’s usually followed by, “Urrggghhh.” Anyhow, we girls all dread that time of month. Some of us get backaches or cramps or migraines or tampon discomfort or even just plain feeling gross…whatever it is, we’re never 100% ourselves.

The only time I’ve ever kind of wish I got my period was when during my pre-pubescent days because some of the girls in my class had theirs and talked about it in hushed voices, and I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I bet many of us ladies felt that way. Don’t we all feel silly now? And so began our journey of pads, pantyliners and tampons.

About 4 years ago, I had asked a friend of mine for a spare tampon and she said she didn’t have any and that she doesn’t even use them anymore. Questions ensued and that was my first lesson on the Diva Cup.  The lesson left my as curious as I was before I got my first period and again, I wanted to know what the fuss was about! So I researched it, bought one for myself, and never went back.

Oh by the way, the Diva Cup is a brand name and they make menstrual cups. There are other brands out there (some come in colours!), but since I’ve only ever been on this brand, I’ll refer to my menstrual cup as the Diva Cup. And at the risk of me sounding like a brand ambassador (which I am not), it really did change my life and I will list the reasons why I switched sides:

 

1) Comfort

The Diva Cup is even more comfortable than regular tampons or sanitary pads. They’re made out of silicone, and you don’t really feel it in there. Honestly, sometimes I forget I’m on my period. I found that I could usually “feel” tampons inside me sometimes, especially the more absorbent kinds. And though using the smaller ones like the O.B. brand helped, I’d be changing them more frequently in the day, which brings me to my next point.

2) Convenience

Since you can wear your cup up to 12-hours, that means you only need to deal with it 2-3 times a day! You can now avoid the awkward situations at work with male colleagues such as, “I thought you were going to the washroom? Why are you bringing your purse? Where are you really going?”

3) Environmentally Friendly

The Diva Cup is made to be used over and over again. Less waste! To keep it clean, you could get the wash they sell, but I find that antibacterial soap and water works just fine.

4) Cost Savings
Since they’re reusable, it will save you money in the long run. So let’s do the math for tampons. A funny side note here – my fiancé, after hearing me count out loud, jumped in right away to solve the math since he is a huge nerd that does math quizzes in his spare time for fun likes being helpful. What was funny about it was that he said things like, “Each tampon would cost about 20 cents, unless you get a good deal. You should mention this is the drugstore price because you could definitely get it at Costco for much less.” He then proceeded to google the prices and complain about how much they charged for tampons. How often do you hear a guy complain about tampons? Like I said, funny. Anyway, a mid-range tampon costs roughly $0.20 from the drugstore and this is the formula I used:

$0.20 x (times a day changed) x (days) x 12 months = (what you spend on tampons a year).

So a regular-ish type cycle would be:

$ 0.20 x 5 x 5 =$5 per cycle x 12 = $60 a year 

And that’s not including liners, if you use them. The Diva Cup is $40 and lasts for years and if you wanted to be wasteful, you could even get a new one every Christmas and still save money.

 5) Odor
I almost didn’t want to talk about this because it’s gross, but since this post is on periods I figured ah well, what the heck? Though I don’t really know what to say about it except that it smells better because the odour is captured within the cup. So you don’t get that stale blood smell.

Diva Cup also has a great FAQ page that answers some questions you might have. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the transition into it, the downsides and some tips I have for using it. Oh, and I got mine at the London Drugs here in Canada.

And next up, the transition, tips and the downsides to the Diva Cup. Also recently I wrote an article on cleaning the diva cup here.