Public bathrooms are the biggest deterrent for people who consider using a menstrual cup but are not there, yet. Are you one of them? Do you cringe when you think about emptying a cup outside your home? We believe that using reusable products for menstrual care is worth the effort because it significantly reduces the amount of plastic waste in the world. It’s true that public, unhygienic bathrooms are stopping women from using a cup, but there is a solution to that. Keep reading to find out.
How do you feel about taking your not cleaned menstrual cup with a bit of blood on it and cleaning menstrual cup in public in a common sink, next to your mother-in-law and some strangers? For many, this scene seems horrific. No one does that. Few people indeed do it. Have you ever wondered why? It’s connected with a strong, omnipresent menstrual blood taboo. We subconsciously treat periods as something embarrassing and unclean. Something to hide. Something that no one should talk about. Something that shows our weakness.
Why is it like that? Menstrual blood is a normal part of life and shouldn’t be stigmatized. If you don’t mind glaring, judgemental looks, feel free to clean your menstrual cup out in the open. Societal change should go in that direction. Nevertheless, the world is not there yet, and it’s perfectly understandable if you want to clean your menstrual cup in private. We will offer you tips on how to carry it out without unwanted looks and how to make it hygienic.
Since, we’ve established that for many reasons it may be uncomfortable to clean the cup in the common sink on the other side of the bathroom, let’s find ways to clean it in the toilet stall. The cup should be emptied and cleaned at least twice a day, every 12 hours. However, the recommended frequency would be between 4-8 hours. There are 3 options to comfortably clean the cup in public:
As long as you wash your cup carefully, once you get home, it’s not necessary to clean it every time you use it.
Cons: This way, it may be difficult to clean the vacuum holes in your cup, which is necessary if you want the cup to stay put in one place for the rest of the day.
That’s a good solution if you’re used to carrying your water bottle everywhere with you. Make sure the water you use is drinkable, and it will be perfectly fine to rinse your cup. It should be easier to clean all the debris of blood than just wiping it out.
Cons: You need to pour water with one hand, and clean the cup with the other. Washing your cup will require squeezing, rubbing, and changing the angels. The whole operation causes a risk that you will drop the cup in the toilet. Ouch. A dropped menstrual cup in toilet means that you will need to find an emergency tampon or a pad. I hope it’s obvious, you won’t be able to use it again before sterilizing.
It’s the most convenient option. A menstrual cup cleaner is a funky tool that is easy to carry and solves the problem of using a menstrual cup in public bathrooms. It’s a portable container, made from medical silicone, that takes no space in any purse. You fill it with tap, safe-to-drink water before entering your cubicle and then, take it with you. You empty your cup in the toilet and put it in your Emanui - the menstrual cup cleaner. It has brushes on the inside, so you can squeeze it, shake it, rub it to wash it. The cup will be thoroughly cleaned. Then, you pour the water out through a small, beak-like opening to the toilet. No risk it will fall into the toilet. You can wipe the cleanser with toilet paper and put it back in your purse. No one has to know. Moreover, this way you use only 60ml of water, far less than with a plastic bottle or rinsing it in the sink.
Cons: Well, you need to remember to carry it. However, it’s small and can fit in any purse.
The aspect of hygiene is another challenge women face in public bathrooms. As if lack of privacy was not enough, sometimes touching a door handle seems utterly disgusting. What can you do if you have to empty your menstrual cup in such conditions?
Firstly, always wash your hands before entering the toilet cubicle. For most bathrooms, that will be enough. If you take out your cup with clean hands and clean it with little water, you do everything by the book.
However, if you have serious doubts about the cleanliness of the place, you may consider cleaning your hands in the cubicle with special products. Common alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be too harsh for the cup. Better use wipes designated for cleaning the cup. For sure, don’t use any product that contains: alcohol, oil, fragrant, vaseline, hydrogen peroxide, dishwasher liquids, or bleach.
Share with us your opinion. Do you use it? What persuaded you to do so? If not, what’s keeping you from doing so? What problems do you have with using a cup? Do you know any tricks on how to deal with common problems? Should every menstruating person use a reusable menstrual cup? We’re eager to hear all about it.