When introducing women to the idea of menstrual cups, often the first question that comes up is, “But how do you clean it in a public bathroom?!” We get it, the “Remove, Rinse, Reinsert” mantra of using your cup relies heavily on the middle part and without (private) access to a sink, one would think public bathrooms present a huge problem for menstrual cup users. Not so!
Unlike tampons, menstrual cups like Lily Cup can be worn for a long time – up to 12 hours – so it’s a lot less likely that you’ll need to change your cup while you’re out and about. Most women pop their cup in in the morning and remove when at home in the evening, with public bathroom changes being a super rare occurance. For those with very heavy flows that require more regular changes, doing so in a public bathroom is easy and simply requires a little forward planning.
Here are the 3 easy steps to cleaning your cup in a public restroom:
1. Wash Your Hands!
Before and after handling your menstrual cup, always wash your hands! You can do this before popping into the bathroom cubicle, grabbing some toilet paper on your way so that you can open and close the door without transferring any bacteria onto your hands.
2. Dispose and Rinse
This is where the forward planning comes in! If possible, bring a bottle of water with you into the cubicle, remove your cup and dispose of its contents, then rinse it with your water bottle over the toilet. You may not get your cup completely clean but this will help to dispel any stubborn clots and many women find it easier to insert if the cup is a little wet also.
3. Wipe and Clean
Use some toilet paper or wet wipes (again with the forward planning!) to clean off the rest of your cup. If you don’t have a water bottle or wet wipes to hand, you can also grab some hand towels or toilet paper, carefully wetting it under the sink before you enter your cubicle.
Remember, your cup is going straight back inside to collect more blood so getting it completely squeaky clean isn’t really necessary. Finally, remove any excess blood off your fingers and head straight for the sink for one last wash. You’re done! We told you it was easy!
With so many reasons to switch to a menstrual cup, from reducing huge amounts of waste to saving you money, it would be a shame to deny yourself a menstrual cup just because of a public bathroom, right?
Many are quick to make a mountain out of a molehill, but really, removing your menstrual cup in a public bathroom isn’t much different than doing so at home. With single-occupancy bathrooms pretty common, it might even be no different at all!