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Menstrual Cup Stains – Everything You Need to Know

Stains in Menstrual cups can be annoying! You start out with a gorgeous new cup in your favorite color and months later it start to look dingy…

What causes the stains?

Two types occur in menstrual cups:

Temporary stains are simply deposits of blood and can be removed by cleaning the menstrual cup.

Permanent stains are a discoloration of the menstrual cup material itself and will be difficult to remove.

The colorant in blood, hemoglobin, is what tints the menstrual cups permanently.

How can I get rid of menstrual cup stains?

Permanent discoloration in menstrual cups can be very difficult or impossible to reverse.

You can give it a try by submerging the menstrual cup in hydrogen peroxide for up to 10 minutes.

Another option to try is stain removal with Milton tabs. You can find them on our website here.

Removing temporary stains is easy with a mild detergent, water and our little menstrual cup cleaning brushes.

Have a look at our demonstration of how to use the air hole brushes:

How can I avoid them in the first place?

Since removing stains can be so difficult, it makes sense to avoid them from the start.

Let’s assume you really wanted to use the hemoglobin in your blood to stain your new menstrual cup a nice shade of brown, what would you have to do?

  • Heat
  • More heat amplified by oil

So to avoid them we will do exactly the opposite:

Clean your cup with regular cold tab water and a mild detergent to remove all traces of blood before boiling the cup. This is crucial. If you skip this step and boil a dirty cup, you set the stain.

Do not use things like coconut oil as a lubricant with your cup. It is next to impossible to remove the oil residue from the cup before boiling. When a dirty cup covered in oil is boiled the effect is amplified. We have seen cups turned completely black by the combination of coconut oil, insufficient cleaning and boiling the oily, blood stained cup.

You can read more on the subject of what not to put on menstrual cups here:

How to Take Care of Cloth Pads and Period Panties

What counts as reusable Menstrual Wear?

While cloth pads have been around for a long while, period panties only started to pop up a few years ago. Those of us who have come to love cloth pads back in the day may have frowned upon the idea of having to peel off a bloody panty at first. After all the advantage of cloth pads is that you can just unsnap and replace and keep going.
New brands of period panties like Flux have become so stylish and comfortable though that it is hard to resists.

For the purpose of this post we will include reusables like cloth pads, labia pads and period panties.

Are all cloth pads and period panties the same?

There are certain things that the products have in common:

  • an absorbent layer to contain fluid
  • some kind of moisture barrier
  • a comfortable top layer that feels good next to the skin.

Other aspects may vary and influcence care:

  • is the moisture barrier breathable like WindPro (fleece) or solid like PUL (plastic film)
  • Is the fabric natural or synthetic

Generally cloth menstrual care products can be washed on warm but not on hot. Exceptions may exists and we urge you to consult the manufacturer of your cloth pad or period panty

3 Secrets to maintaining your period panties and cloth pads like new

As cloth menstrual products have become more mainstream, so has their care.
Thirteen years ago, when I started using cloth pads, advise on the internet still included things like soaking the pads in buckets of water.

By now though we have figured out that it doesn’t have to be this complicated at all. Collecting them dry is perfectly fine. As long as you are not suffering from yeast infection or similar illness you can even wash them right along with our regular clothes!

The secret to not letting stains set is not necessarily soaking for days in water, but rather to rinse them in cold water right before you intent to wash them. Stains are set in heat so the cold water allows you to rinse off as much blood as possible before washing in warmer water.

If you do have faint staining despite all efforts, give laundry sticks a try! You can find chemical free, soap based ones like the one from Buncha Farmers , if you are concerned about additives.

Secret #2: Laundry Detergent is not to be used as a homeopathic remedy!

Seriously when it comes to laundry detergent the most common cause for clothes not coming clean is people not using the right ratio of detergent to water/clothes.

More is not always better but you do need to have a minimum amount to be effective. Your detergent of choice will have instructions on it. We like TruEarth brand because it’s zero waste and fully degradable but any regular detergent will do!

Secret #3: You can kill odor causing bacteria with sunlight and fresh air rather than expensive essential oils. If you have stain or odor problems, it’s worth a try to simply hang them out in the sun for a bit.

Ready to take the plunge?

We have curated out favorite cloth pads and period panties for you! Come check out amazing brands like Domino Pads, Imse Vimse and Lunapads in Cloth pads, and Modibodi and Flux in Period Panties at MeLuna USA

Menstrual Cup Materials: TPE, Silicone, Latex

A little Background on Menstrual Cup Materials

Menstrual cups are made from three different substances worldwide. Silicones, TPE and Natural Rubber (made of natural gum, latex).

Most are made from silicones. That’s simply because the vast majority are manufactured in Asia. Second in prevalence is TPE and lastly natural rubber. Silicone and TPE both fall under the plastics group. Building blocks made of both materials can be found in both groups of substances.

Both are artificial products that are manufactured to hold a certain shape.

A Little Background on MeLuna Menstrual Cups

Me Luna ® has been producing the Me Luna ® menstrual cups (after careful consideration) from the medically certified TPE from the German manufacturer Kraiburg since 2009. At that time, we decided on TPE, because the labor-intensive silicon processing actually has and for the most part still does take place in China. Due to the lack of regulation on environmental standards that was out of the question for us.

From the very beginning, affordable quality has been at the forefront of our minds. The Me Luna ® was intended to give women from all income brackets the opportunity to approach menstruation with recyclable, durable, sustainable menstrual products.

Plastics perform a wide range of tasks in medicine: They serve as containers for infusion solutions, components of medical devices, med. Items (syringes, patches, catheters, tubes, etc.) and implants (heart valves, bone replacements, joints, absorbable bone screws, etc.). For materials that are directly or indirectly in contact with living tissue – such as a menstrual cup- special conditions apply of course:

On the one hand, the material must not cause harm to the organism; on the other hand, the biological surroundings should not impact the material. If these conditions are met, there is talk of biocompatibility. Part of biocompatibility testing is to confirm that nothing interferes with the hormone balance. The medical thermoplastic elastomer we use does not contain substances known to have any hormone-disrupting effects.

Both the raw material and the finished cups have undergone extensive testing to eliminate the possibility of any kind of leaching … even leaching of harmless substances.

Enough about MeLuna though! Let’s explore the pros and cons of all menstrual cup materials available!

Menstrual Cups Made from Natural Rubber

There are only one or two menstrual cups made of natural rubber worldwide. Natural rubber has not caught on for menstrual cups for several reasons:

Environmental: The growing demand for natural rubber (the precursor of rubber) poses a major challenge to the world’s population. Southeast Asian farmers are cutting down native forests to grow rubber plantations, leading to the destruction of biodiversity. Furthermore, the resulting mono-cultures are very susceptible to disease.

Allergies: Since this material always has an increased risk of rubber/latex allergy in the user, latex and rubber allergies also represent occupational hazards. Rubber was out of the question for us. The material of the Me Luna ® can cause absolutely no allergies due to the complete absence of proteins. “Safety first” was, and always is, our motto.

Pollution: To turn natural rubber into a usable product it undergoes a process called vulcanization. This process is irreversible and generally produces toxic by products. You can read more about it here https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulkanisation

Waste Management: Rubber is not recyclable. Any remnants created during production are immediately considered waste.

Health: Since the toxic by-products occur during production and not during use, menstrual cups made from natural rubber that have undergone FDA testing, clearance and registration can be considered safe for use.

Pros of Natural Rubber Menstrual Cups

  • contains a substance made from plants
  • is firmer than many other materials and may appeal to users looking for a fairly firm menstrual cup
  • Natural Rubber cups that have undergone FDA testing, clearance and registration can be considered safe for use.

Cons of Natural Rubber Menstrual Cups

  • Environmental (mono culture, etc)
  • Allergies
  • Pollution (toxic by products due to vulcanization process)
  • Waste Management (not recyclable as anything other than a filler)

Menstrual Cups made from Silicone

In nature, only inorganic silicon compounds are found. Namely silicon dioxide, silicates and silica. All other silicon compounds-including silicones-are of synthetic, artificial origin. They can therefore be considered plastics.

Silicone is generally a liquid or a flexible, rubberlike plastic, and has a number of useful properties, such as low toxicity and high heat resistance.

 Joseph Castro – Live Science Contributor 

Natural silicones are found exclusively in the language of advertising. Why do some think silicone is the better, or even healthier, material for menstrual cups? It’s likely because LSR (Liquid Silicone Rubber) is not used to produce large quantities of low-cost packaging. Otherwise, the oceans would likely be full of human-produced silicone waste.

The labor-intensive silicone processing actually has and for the most part still does take place in China.

There are only four major players worldwide in regards to providing the raw material to silicone manufacturing:

  • Dow Corning
  • Momentive Performance Materials
  • Shin-Etsu Chemical
  • Wacker Chemie

Allergies: Siloxans are building blocks for silicone products. They have long been considered harmless, but newer evidence suggests negative effects on human health and the environment. There are cases of allergies to silicone menstrual cups documented with the FDA. After incidents involving menstrual cups made of silicone in Mexico, the Ministry of Health there classified menstrual cups as products subject to approval.

Waste Management: Silicone menstrual cups are produced by mixing two compounds. Once these compounds are combined the process is irreversible. The resulting product is not recyclable. Any remnants created during production are immediately considered waste.

New Considerations in Regards to Health and Environment : Siloxans have a wide range of applications due to their many different properties and are therefore widely used in products worldwide. They have been used in consumer products for three decades, especially in the cosmetics sector as a care and preservative.

Siloxans are silicon compounds, i.e. compounds of the elements silicon (Si), oxygen (O), carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). Siloxan compounds are produced purely synthetically, there are no natural deposits. One distinguishes linear (e.g. L3, L4, L5) and cyclic (e.g. D4, D5 and D6) siloxanas.

For humans, these substances were long considered toxicologically safe, but this can no longer be fully asserted: There are some siloxanes for which there is information on negative health effects through animal testing on rats.

In the EU, only D4 is considered dangerous so far. The effects demonstrated in several studies indicate that it may affect reproductive capacity but may also have harmful effects in waters in the longer term.

By the way, D4 and D5 are not only used in personal care products. They are important raw materials for silicone plastics and can be found as residues in the finished products. Because of the particularly worrying characteristics, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) considers it useful to include D4 and D5 in the REACH Candidate List. Inclusion in the list of candidates is a clear signal to replace a substance and triggers certain public information requirements for manufacturers, importers and retailers, which consumers can use to make informed decisions.

The Austrian Federal Office has taken a closer look at Siloxane. http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/umweltsituation/schadstoff/silox/

Pros of Menstrual Cups made from Silicone

  • High heat resistance (may not matter much since our bodies don’t get that hot without us dying!)
  • Available in multiple firmness levels
  • Available in multiple color choices
  • Silicone cups that have undergone FDA testing, clearance and registration can be considered safe for use.

Cons of Menstrual Cups made from Silicone

  • Waste management (not recyclable)

Menstrual Cups made from TPE

The term TPE encompasses a wide range of products with varying ingredients.

The major producer of TPE, Kraiburg, is located in Germany.
Kraiburg verifiably makes a medical grade TPE that does not contain plasticizer.
Notable is that FDA registered medical grade TPE has a cost about 700 percent (!) higher than regular use TPE made by the same manufacturer due to the requirements on the components and purity.

Both of the main suppliers for TPE menstrual cups use Kraiburg medical TPE.

Depending on the components used, TPE, being a man made product, may include similar substances as silicone.

TPE, being a thermoplastic elastomer, can have slightly different properties as compared to silicone cups. For example TPE conforms to its surroundings under the influcence of heat – even body heat. Since the vagina is not round TPE cups tend to form an oval. As long as the diameter is correct, the cup will seal fine but the change in shape can be concerning to users not familiar with TPE’s properties.

Environment: TPE production consumes less energy than silicone production and no harmful substances like latex production.

Allergies: To date TPE has had fewer cases of allergies linked to it than silicone and latex.

Waste Management: TPE is generally recyclable. It can be melted back down by the use of heat (hence the name THERMOplast) and processed into other things.

For most areas TPE recycling options are still limited at this time. Much of the TPE can already be reprocessed during the manufacturing process. Manufacturing TPE menstrual cups can therefor be considered much closer to zero waste production than latex and silicone which already produce a significant amount of waste during production.

Pros of Menstrual Cups made from TPE

  • Less likely to cause allergies than latex or silicone
  • Available in multiple firmness levels
  • Available in multiple color choices
  • TPE cups that have undergone FDA testing, clearance and registration can be considered safe for use.
  • Low or Zero Waste during production
  • Recyclable – can be melted to be used as TPE again or included to fortify other materials

Cons of Menstrual Cups made from TPE

  • Less Heat resistant than silicone (will melt around 400 degrees Fahrenheit)

About MeLuna Production Specifically

In our production, we focus on:

  • Short distances through 100% Made in Germany. We use raw materials made exclusively in Germany and every further step, from the production of the Me Luna ® Cups to shipping takes place here at the production site.
  • Energy-saving processing on modern machines, as well as electricity generation in-house.
  • The medical TPE we use is basically very recyclable. It can be melted back down by the use of heat (hence the name THERMOplast) and processed into other things. This is not the case with silicone – or natural rubber products. These substances form a new compound irrevocably and can not be recycled into a reusable product.

We have been producing the Me Luna ® menstrual cups directly with us at our company headquarters since 2009.

Our Me Luna ® menstrual cups can be found in many drugstores and supermarkets. There, our products are regularly inspected by the relevant Council and Health Offices.

In the US, menstrual cups are not commodities. There they are considered a Class II medical device. The sale must be approved by the FDA. We received this clearance in 2014 after extensive testing.

The Me Luna ® is an absolutely safe product that has no adverse health effects. In particular, no harmful plasticizers are included that could cause hormonal changes.

Summary:

  1. Depending on allergies present in the user and components used for the raw materials all three cup materials can produce safe menstrual cups.
  2. Silicone cup manufacturers don’t manufacture their own silicone. TPE cup manufacturers don’t manufacture their own TPE.
  3. In regards to hormone disrupting components, both silicone and TPE materials have the potential to contain compounds with this effect.
  4. For TPE cups the critical issue is that the TPE used not contain any plasticizers. For silicone cups the component to watch out for are D4 and D5 siloxans.
  5. Menstrual cups with FDA clearances before 2015 had to prove biocompatibility and undergo extensive testing before receiving clearance for sale in the US.
    Newer cups that were FDA registered in 2015 or later did not have to prove this before being cleared for sale. This does not rule out that they are in compliance with these standards. Theoretically they still have to pass these standard, if they are FDA registered.
  6. To research the raw material of a specific cup brand it is generally easier to find manufacturer info on cups made from TPE. Keep in mind that even silicone cups manufactured locally likely obtained the silicone materials from one of the manufacturers listed above in the silicone section.

What should you consider, if you decide MeLuna is not for you?

Of course we would love for you to find your Goldilocks menstrual cup in a MeLuna!

If however you prefer a different brand or material there is one thing you absolutely should consider:

All three cup materials -silicone, TPE and latex- can be safe and free of hormone disruptors depending on raw materials used.

Don’t fall for marketing that tells you one material is automatically healthier or better. You are more discerning and informed than this! How safe any of these materials are depends on the components used in their respective raw materials.

Don’t purchase menstrual cups that do not meet the standards of your regulatory health agency (FDA for the US). The FDA has way more insight into what went into your menstrual cup than you will ever have, even with extensive research.
For example while the actual ‘recipe’ for a raw material may be propitiatory and not accessible by the public, materials that are registered with the FDA will likely have their master records on file with the regulatory agency. This includes colorants.

If you are concerned about the cup you are considering, feel free to inquire with the manufacturer about details. Transparency is a plus.

The 2020 MeLuna Customer Art Contest is Here!

We have received some amazing customer art work in the past, both as part of a photo contest as well as a separate art contest. This time we will be combining the two and accept both photos as well as artwork for the contest

If you need some inspiration check out these works from these past contests:

This year we are combining the two and hosting it on Pinterest (see above!)

 

No worries if you are not on Pinterest. You can still email your entries! If you are on Pinterest please ask for an invite to the board so you can upload your work.

 

Here are the prizes (Gift Certificates are valid not just for cups. will also work for cloth pads, period panties, personal care, etc) :

 

  1. $50 Gift Certificate – 3 winners
  2. $25 Gift Certificate – 5 winners
  3. $10 Gift Certificate – 10 winners

 

This is a contest that really takes some effort. That usually means entries will be very few and your chances of winning something are very, very good!

 

Here are the Rules:

 

  1. Your entry must depict a MeLuna USA product (MeLuna USA menstrual cup or other products offered on our site like the Domino Pads cloth pads etc)
  2. You may submit photography work, paintings, drawings or similar
  3. One entry per person so pick wisely
  4. If you need inspiration, feel free to check out the blog galleries for previous contests, but do not copy previous artwork.
  5. Winners will be picked February 28, 2020
  6. Prizes are awarded by number of comments on each entry in the Pinterest gallery
  7. We reserve the right to remove entries that we consider problematic.

 

Do You Need A Low Cervix Menstrual Cup?

Find out with this downloadable tool!

A little background on cervix position

One of the aspects MeLuna really shines in is the wide variety of menstrual cups offered specifically for users with below average cervix height.

A low cervix position can make it tricky to fit a regular menstrual cup comfortably.

Want to know what makes this even tougher? Cervix position changes throughout your cycle! It is generally lowest at the beginning of your period.

That’s why often when customers measure at any other time of the cycle the length seems manageable. But at the start of the actual period, the cup ends up being too long.

You will find many great suggestions online on how to measure your cervix height. A lot of them include landmarks like knuckles, etc.

Introducing the MeLuna Menstrual Cup/Cervix Position Tool

Vaginas are different. So are fingers. Because of that we developed this downloadable tool to measure your cervix.

The live-sized MeLuna menstrual cups are right next to the ruler. Comparisons are really easy that way!

If of course you need it to fit even more shallow you can also trim off the handle completely. Keep those options in mind. The tool is just a guide to give you a better visual of what you are working with!

Do NOT insert the paper print out into your vagina! Download the tool and print it at 100% size (no enlarging, fitting to page, etc).

Wash your hands! You will use your finger. Insert it into your vagina and gently locate the cervix. Place a second finger right where the entrance of the vagina is on the inserted finger.

You can now hold the finger next to the tool and get an idea of what cup height could work for you.

Remember this graphic is designed to show the absolutely maximum height you are able to accommodate. If more length is available, all the better! Wearing your cup higher up and away from the vaginal entrance is no problem at all.

Consult the Cup Fairy – a Menstrual Cup Guide

Woohoo! So glad you are here...let's get started! First off though: We are not collecting or storing information. Email collection is turned off for this feature. We respect your privacy.
That means however that your results are not recorded. You may want to take a screen shot to preserve the recommendations.
Have you ever had a Menstrual Cup before?
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Let's see what we already know!
Let's talk about handles!
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It's nice to have a handle you love, but remember you can always snip it off, if it bothers you at some point!
Check Answers

50 Ways to Lose Your Menstrual Cup

Lost or Destroyed Menstrual Products. What happened?

Once you’ve had menstrual cups long enough, there will be a time when something catastrophic happens. On this Facebook post we asked menstrual cup and cloth pad users what they experienced that caused the loss of a reusable menstrual product.

Spill the beans…what’s the worst thing that ever happened to your menstrual cup or cloth pad?

The comments were sad, surprising and hilarious! Check out the users’ experiences above. Keep them in mind as a warning so that nothing bad happens to your reusable menstrual product!

Have You Had Something Bad Happen to your Menstrual Cup or Cloth Pad?

Perhaps you already had a similar mishap?

Do tell…has anything bad ever happened to your reusable menstrual product? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

MeLuna Customer Art Photo Contest

With our migration to the new blog I wanted to make sure we don’t lose all of this wonderful customer art!

And the new blog even has the gallery option…yay!

So here for you viewing pleasure: MeLuna Menstrual Cups all over the United States!

From the beach to the desert, to the mountains MeLuna USA menstrual cups are everywhere! College campuses, the US Captiol…our awesome customers are living and working all over the United States.

Every picture name includes the name of the photographer and location!

In the mood for more MeLuna Menstrual Cup Customer Art? Check out this gallery of art work:

Amazing Me Luna Customer Art

Here are the entries to our MeLuna Customer Art contest. With the move to the new blog I was afraid we would lose all if this amazing menstrual cup related creative work.

On our new blog version I am able to showcase them even better!

MeLuna Menstrual Cup Customer Art Gallery

I bet you are as amazed by all this wonderful work as we were! We hope to have another one soon. It will be hosted on Pinterest as it makes it easy for participants to post the photos directly to our contest board

In the mean time check out our MeLuna Customer Photo Contest entries!

3 Things That Can Harm Your Menstrual Cup

You are all set with your new menstrual cup. Let’s make sure you avoid things that would hurt your menstrual cup. Here are a few things we have come across that could potentially harm your menstrual cup:

Oils and Fats as Lubricants for Menstrual Cups

Some time ago we received an unusual menstrual cup for evaluation by a customer. We had to consult with the manufacturer in Germany because we had never seen anything like it before. Turns out oil had negatively impacted the menstrual cup.

The menstrual cup was supposed to be Amethyst purple but when we received it in the mail, it was black. It was also leaking oil.

The menstrual cup was extremely soft -almost floppy.

Me Luna Germany informed us that we should ask the customer, if she had used coconut oil or other oils/fats with the cup. Some clients had used coconut oil as a lubricant in an effort to avoid commercial products .

The oil can have an unwanted effect on vaginal pH. It’s probably not the best choice as lubricant for that reason. Oils and fats can harm the material of the menstrual cup. In this case the oil in the material had even fused the hemoglobin to the menstrual cup and turned it black! Hemoglobin is what makes your blood red.

Different oils may affect the menstrual cups in different ways. Coconut oil tends to help bake the stains into the cup. Other oils like petroleum jelly or mineral oil can significantly soften the cup.

How can oils cause damage?

Generally the damage occurs when a menstrual cup covered in oil is heat sterilized in hot water. If you feel, you definitely want to use oils with your cup it will be very important to clean it very well before disinfecting it in boiling water.

You could also investigate, if a heat free disinfection method like Milton Tabs is a good option for you.

We strongly suggest you don’t us oils and fats as vaginal lubricants for menstrual cups.

If you do want to use lubricants with your menstrual cup, check out Sliquid.

This photo is of an actual menstrual cup exposed to long term use of coconut oil as lubricant. The cup has turned black and is no longer usable or sanitary due to the material becoming porous and soft.

Why Alcohol as Disinfectant for Menstrual Cups is Not a Good Choice

We work with a third party lab to check and make sure our cleaning instructions are correct and up to date. Our lovely peeps at the lab also share interesting studies with us.

Last year we learned that the common practice of using alcohol to wipe down menstrual cups for disinfection is actually no longer recommended.

One of the main things we try to achieve when disinfecting menstrual cups is to eliminate staph bacteria. Staph bacteria is super common. In most people, under most circumstances our bodies are not bothered by it.

Under the right circumstances though, Staph bacteria can be really bad. Staph bacteria is the bacteria associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Alcohol wipes are so super convenient. It’s not surprising that they have long been sold for disinfecting things. New findings show that alcohol actually promotes the growth of staph biofilm…something you definitely don’t want!

Don’t just take my word for it! Here’s an article on the subject that includes all the details.

Rubbing alcohol itself doesn’t hurt the menstrual cup but it also doesn’t accomplish what it is supposed to do.

You can find current cleaning and disinfection instructions of the menstrual cups please see this page.

Prolonged Sunlight can Hurt your Menstrual Cup

You can protect your MeLuna menstrual cup by storing it away from direct sunlight. Some rays like gamma rays used in hospitals for sterilization are perfectly fine on TPE. The long UV-A rays from sunshine however can damage the menstrual cup and make it brittle after extended exposure.

Of course nothing happens to the cup just simply being exposed to sunlight for short amounts of time. It simply means don’t store the menstrual cup on the sunny window sill in your bathroom, etc.

Want to see more things to avoid doing with your menstrual cup? Check out this post: