As someone who is no stranger to the use of the menstrual cup, I was excited to partner with DivaCup to test out and review one of theirs. But first, a little background on menstrual cups before exploring the DivaCup in more detail.
- Menstrual Cup Basics
- Using the DivaCup for Travel
- How to Clean the Diva Cup at Music Festivals & Outdoors
Menstrual Cup Basics
Menstrual cups are just like how they sound — little cups that are worn internally to capture the flow of your period and dumped or disposed periodically. For the newbies out there, this probably sounds a bit crazy; perhaps even a little on the gross side. But, let’s be honest: dealing with blood coming out of your vagina is never a fun thing (at least not in my world), and sometimes you just have to “woman up” and realize that menstruation is a fact of life.
Menstrual cups basically eliminate the need to use disposable tampons while on your period. They’re better for the environment and even better for your body.
Please note- There are generally two sizes: one for pre-birth and one for post-birth. Be sure to pay attention to the sizing when choosing the menstrual cup that is right for you.
My Menstrual Cup Experience
See, back in the day, I used another brand of menstrual cup. Before setting off on my extended travels, I wanted something that made sense to the pack snob within – the one that didn’t like the idea of stock-piling tampons (I had studied abroad in Italy in college and was never happy with my tampon selection in that country) and one who was just curious as to whether or not the menstrual cup would work better for me.
And it did. I loved the menstrual cup and used it for several years until I one month misplaced the cup. Blame it on me being lazy, but I just never got around to ordering a new one, and instead explored the world of Australian tampons, which was fine. But, when I started thinking about longer-term travel again, I wanted a cup – which is where DivaCup came in.
Using the DivaCup for Travel
I’ve now had a couple of cycles with the Divacup, and I’m just so happy to have this little item in my arsenal again. For me, it just takes a lot of worry out of that time of the month – mainly because with tampons, I always fear leakage. Instead, with my cup, I barely have to worry. In fact, I know that if I’m on a long, long trip, or traveling in the countryside with lame toilet facilities, I am still going to be OK.
Sure, the process of using a DivaCup might be a bit more invasive than tampons, but the peace of mind I receive is more than enough to outweigh that negative. I also really enjoy that I usually only have to attend to it 2, maybe 3, times per day. So, I empty in the morning, and again in the evening when back from my city tours, and again before bed — and that’s all!
Plus, it holds little to no risk of causing TSS. Win!
In comparison to my old menstrual cup, I like the DivaCup more because it has a shorter stem (the stem is often cut shorter by many cup users to begin with), and it seems to be a bit more flexible (which means it’s easier to fold and insert).
Benefits of the DivaCup for Travelers
- You’ll pack less. Stocking up on personal products won’t have to be an issue anymore.
- You’ll worry less. You won’t have to hunt down a certain brand of tampons in far-flung countries.
- You’ll throw away less. It is better for the environment to reuse a menstrual cup for up to 10 years than to drop tons of tampons and pads into landfills.
- You’ll save money. The amount you spend on one menstrual cup will be recouped after just six months on average.
- You’ll be better protected. You can wear the cup for longer than tampons, and they tend to have less chance for leaks.
- You’ll be healthier. There are no associated health risks for menstrual cups like there are for tampons.
From one female to another, I would say that the DivaCup is worth a try. It doesn’t cost much, and if you love it, you’ll have a monthly feminine product for many years to come.
Again, I’d like to thank Diva Cup for providing me with the review product. Thanks!
How to Clean the Diva Cup at Music Festivals & Outdoors
One reader question that comes up regularly is how to deal with DivaCups, or menstrual cups in general, at music festivals and other outdoor events without being able to fully wash. You may be using portable toilets and might not have access to soap and water or be in the backwoods camping. Or you might be cleaning it out in public washrooms in sight of other people that might be weirded out. It is entirely possible to keep your DivaCup clean at music festivals and in the outdoors, and we’ll show you how.
Step 1: Clean Your Hands
Cleaning your hands is the ultimate, must-do step in the process (before and after insertion), whether you’re in the outdoors or in a festival’s porta potty. If you’re hands aren’t clean, then all kinds of drama could end up happening downstairs.
Hand Sanitizer: If you’re not close to soap and water, it’s a good idea to have hand sanitizer around. Be careful with certain brands high in alcohol, as it’s not good for your lady parts, or for your cup if you get it on that as well. Hands 2 Go makes a foam hand sanitizer, free of alcohol and chemicals used by doctors. Safe Hands is another good brand.
Compostable Wipes: It’s best to choose wipes that are biodegradable and compostable for easy disposal after use. Individually wrapped wipes can be kept in your pouch that comes with the cup. Do NOT use wipes on your cup, unless you are sure they are alcohol-free, oil free, and fragrance free as all of those things can cause damage to your cup (and to your lady bits). When you’re done with said wipes, toss them if you’re near a trash disposal site or, when in the outdoors, put them in a ziploc bag until you get to a rubbish disposal.
Step 2: Empty Contents
Once your hands are clean, you can remove your DivaCup and dump the liquid into the toilet (at a festival) or into a cathole or a bear bag (when in the outdoors).
Step 3: Clean Cup
Clean water is the easiest and most popular cleaning method. Any water you use should be potable, or safe to drink, even if you’re not drinking it. Keep a bottle with you and use it to wash your hands before and after insertion, and to rinse the cup out after dumping. Remember, you don’t really need to do more than a quick wipe-down of the cup with a tissue before reinserting, but if you feel more is necessary, use clean water. See the DivaCup care instructions for details.
If you’re camping, it’s also important to make sure to dispose of the remnants safely according to leave no trace, far away from water sources. See the DivaCup website for more information on extreme sports and camping.
While the easy option would be to use a wet wipe or similar to wipe down the cup, it is not advised. There are a number of cleaning agents that can compromise the silicone of the cup, so unless you can ensure the wipe is alcohol, fragrance, and oil free, it’s best to avoid this. The closest we’ve found is something called WaterWipes– a wipe that is simply 99.9% water.
Step 4: Complete the Process
Washing your hands at the end of the process is just as important, but since you’re done handling the cup, you can go about it any way you please.
Yes, this probably seems like quite the process, but two things to consider: 1) Since the cup can be worn up to 12 hours at a time, you only have to deal with this twice a day, and 2) once you get the process down, it gets pretty easy.
Boiling Water: Boiling water works best to fully clean your menstrual cup between cycles, but you might not always have access to it. Avoid this advice at music festivals, but when camping, you can boil water in your camp stove and pour the water over the cup to get it extra clean in between quick wipes.
Water Based Soaps: Whatever type of soap you use needs to be something that is okay entering your body and also okay for the cup itself. The easiest option is to use the DivaWash, sold by the company, as it doesn’t contain any alcohol, oils, and fragrance. The DivaCup site also mentions not using castile soaps, vinegar, tea tree oil, and so on because it can all affect the material of the cup.
It can be difficult to wash it with soap and water while camping, but it’s not impossible if you mix up a small (travel-sized) bottle of diluted soap water that you can squirt onto it before rinsing. If all else fails, you can rinse it the best you can and boil the cup at the next possible time.
Finally, store the DivaCup in the provided cotton bag so it can breathe and dry between uses.
See the DivaCup website for more information on what can and cannot be used to clean the cup.
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