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    How to Change + Clean Your Menstrual Cup in a Public Bathroom


    I often preach the good news of menstrual cups as a tampon alternative to all my friends and family members. But, do you want to know the most common fear that people have about them? It’s dealing with them at work, school, or away from home in public bathrooms.

    It can certainly be a little bit intimidating. Menstrual cups can be messy, sometimes getting menstrual fluid on your hands when you insert it or remove it. It’s just a fact!

    So, how do you handle this when you’re not at home? I’ll share a few tips with you:

    Tip #1: Find a Private Bathroom in Public

    Many cup users have scoped out a “private” bathroom in public at their work or school, or surrounding neighborhood. For example, coffee shops often have private bathrooms with a sink and toilet in a single room.

    This is the best possible situation for managing your period care in public because it’s almost like being at home. You just have to take out your cup, and rinse it off with water. Then, reinsert it and go about your day.

    Tip #2: A Few Simple Steps for Emptying Your Menstrual Cup in a Public Bathroom

    However, when your only option is a very public bathroom, there’s no need to fear! It’s easier to manage than you might think. Here’s what you need to do:

    • Wash your hands before going into the stall. This helps to prevent things like yeast infections.

    • Take a wet paper towel into the stall with you, if available for wiping your cup or your hands.

    • Take out your menstrual cup and dump the contents into the toilet.

    • Spray off your cup with a water bottle, use a menstrual cup wipe, or wipe it with clean toilet paper or paper towel. Note: do not flush paper towels. Dispose of them in the waste bin.

    • Insert your cup and wipe your hands off with a wet wipe, toilet paper, or paper towel.

    • Wash your hands when you get out of the bathroom stall.

    • If water is not accessible, you may wipe the cup with a clean tissue or just re-insert directly, rinsing at the next opportunity.

    There’s more good news! Menstrual cups have a capacity around 3-5x more than a jumbo tampon. Plus, you can leave it in for up to 12 hours. If you empty your cup right before you go to work or school, and your period isn’t that heavy, you may be able to wait until you get home to empty and clean your cup.

    Tip #3: Wash Your Menstrual Cup When You Get Home

    It’s important to keep menstrual cups clean in order to reduce your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), or infections, like yeast infections or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).

    Typically, you’d want to wash your menstrual cup before and after each use with water (always using safe-to-drink, potable, clean water to rinse your cup). However, when you’re in a public bathroom, you may not be able to wash your cup very well, or at all. This is fine for the day, but you’ll want to clean it at the next opportunity or when you get home.


    If using a mild soap or other natural purpose cleaning product that could leave residue, please note that it could cause irritation upon insertion or deteriorate the silicone of your menstrual cup. Do not use bleach, vinegar, tea tree oil, scented soap, oil based soap, alcohol, hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soap or other harsh cleaners or chemicals to clean your menstrual cup.

    Removing build-up will allow the cup to seal properly. To remove debris, gently stretch each hole under running warm water.

    For more details about cleaning your menstrual cup, check out: Everything you Need to Know about Cleaning a Menstrual Cup.

    FAQ #1: How Many Menstrual Cups Do I Need?

    Some companies sell period cups in a package of two, with the suggestion that you can bring one with you and change it out when you need to. Is this necessary?

    In my experience, one cup is enough. It’s fine to not wash your cup well for the day when you’re out and about. Just be sure to give it an extra scrub when you get home.

    An extra cup can come in handy, however, if you accidentally drop your cup on a public bathroom floor, or as a backup to keep in your glove box, gym bag or purse for those times when Aunt Flow shows up unexpectedly.

    image_blogFAQ #2: Are Menstrual Cup Wipes Worth It?

    There are some companies that make special menstrual cup wipes . They can be pretty expensive and not very eco-friendly, so you may wonder whether or not they’re worth it.

    In general, spraying your cup off with water, or wiping it with clean toilet paper is enough until you get home and can wash it well.

    That being said, you may want to consider some of these menstrual cup wipes if you’re camping or traveling, and have limited access to potable water. In which case, they can be a lifesaver!

    Menstrual Cups in Public Bathrooms: Have Your Say!

    Any tips or tricks for dealing with your menstrual cup when you’re not at home? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.


    Author Bio: Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. Her hope is that a reusable period product will one day be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world.

    You can find her at Reusable Menstrual Cups .

    Ready to make the switch to mad easier (public-bathroom-approved) period care?

    Knowledge is empowering. Share the love.


    Let customers speak for us

    63 reviews
    Amazing for heavy workouts!!

    This cup is amazing – I ran with it today and all of my other menstrual cups have been an utter disaster for heavy workouts, but this one is awesome. Thank you so much! 😍

    Great first cup!

    I read a ton of reviews and watched a bunch of YouTube videos before I finally picked this for my first menstrual cup. Of course, my period showed up yesterday and I was both terrified and excited to try this thing out.

    I’m 41 and haven’t had children and absolutely no clue how high or low my cervix is, but I got the small size. I picked this cup because it seemed to be both a little firm where the structures are but soft everywhere else. I was afraid if I bought a cup that was too soft it wouldn’t open up and I might leak, and if I bought one that was too firm, it might be uncomfortable with my mind-numbing cramps or make it harder to go pee. I was hoping it would be my goldilocks firmness so I wouldn’t have to try several cups to get the right one. While, I haven’t tried other cups to compare it too, this cup does definitely seem to be perfect because it has both firmness and softness to it.

    Inserting the cup at first was a little awkward but not really hard. It definitely opened up right away. The guide that comes with the cup gives lots of helpful tips to make sure you have a good seal, and I followed all of them just to make sure I got it in right. I’ve read reviews on other cups where if the person sat a certain way they could feel the stem, and I was trying to avoid that with this cup. I’ve been able to leave the stem on and I can’t feel it regardless of what position I’m in or activity I’m doing.

    A few times throughout the day, I would feel a gush of flow coming out and was certain that I had just leaked everwhere, but when I checked there was nothing on my pad, so I believe it was just my flow releasing into the cup. After a few hours I took it out, just to make sure I didn’t overflow or anything. It was a bit tricky removing it my first time, but the stem and pinch grips, the way they are, make it fairly easy. The first time I think maybe I inserted it too far because I’m used to using tampons. I bared down a bit and it moved down where I was able to easily remove it without trouble or discomfort. Since, I don’t insert the cup as far and I haven’t had any issues since, but even if you did, it’s easy to just bare down a bit to help the process. The cup was less than half full, which made me feel like I could wear it overnight without a mess. I’m pleased to say I can now sleep all night without having to get up and change my tampon and pad (I wore both before to prevent leaks). This alone was worth the purchase to me. I hate wearing pads––they are so uncomfortable and smell. I also believe since using this product, my cramps are significantly less. I don’t know if it’s just in my head, but it really seems like they are better. All in all, this was a great first cup experience and I completely recommend it!

    I would give this ten stars if I could!

    Okay, I’ve been a cup user for over 12 years and had several cups over the years, most of them shaped basically the same way: conical with a harder stem. This cup’s design is a total game-changer, in my opinion. With all of my other cups, removing it was always a bit of a challenge because I would pinch at the base but the suction seal at the top would not break, so I would have to put my finger in and push the whole side of the cup in while I tried to pull it out otherwise it would be uncomfortable when removing the cup. This cup has a thicker line of silicone that goes from the bottom of the cup where you pinch for removal up to the suction hole at the top (basically acting as my finger used to do for removing other cups), so now I can just pinch at the base and the suction remains broken while I’m trying to remove the cup which is waaaaayyyyyy more comfortable! Goood gosh, what a smart design. Also, sometimes with my other cups the stem would poke me if I moved or sat a certain way and this one NEVER does. So, if you’re wondering if this cup really is that much better, it definitely is and I could see how it would reduce the learning curve for first-time cup users especially. If I could give this product ten stars, I would! THANK YOU!

    The design of this cup is better than others!

    I think the firmer lip on top is what helps it to be such an effective, secure product. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it so much more comfortable to be a woman! I will continue to spread the word.

    Big fan and would totally recommend.

    I am one of the Kickstarter backers and wanted to write in to tell you how awesome your product is. Of the three cups I own, this one is by FAR the most comfortable. It conforms and seals itself properly with virtually no assistance, and I never leak with it compared to the other two, which would leak occasionally for no reason. I'm a pretty big fan!