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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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Menstrual Cups

As many cloth diapering mamas will tell you, cloth diapering is often a gateway to other eco-conscious consumer choices. A mom like me, who felt pretty good just sorting recyclables before, is now curious about reusable lunch bags, unpaper towels, the practicality of a bidet, and, yes, eco-friendly menstrual solutions.

A few years ago, I probably wouldn't have considered a menstrual cup. The questions just seemed too overwhelming. Where would I buy one? How would it work? Is it sanitary? Where would I store it? How do I travel with it?

Over time, however, the menstrual cup has continued to crop up in cloth diapering groups. It seems that, once you try one, you can't help but tell everyone else about it! I would read about how menstrual cups were more comfortable, less wasteful, cost saving, and better experience each month and my curiosity grew.

I took a leap of faith a few months back and decided to try a menstrual cup for myself. My experience? I'll never go back to traditional tampons again. I've become one of those menstrual cup evangelists, telling my sisters to try one, bringing it up with friends, even mentioning them at parties. When I talk with women about the cup, two of the most persistent questions and biggest hurdles are how do I clean a menstrual cup and how do I travel with it? 

How Do I Clean a Menstrual Cup?

First off, before removing or inserting a menstrual cup, always wash your hands. You will need to empty the cup in the toilet, then rinse the cup between uses in warm water, which is easy to do at home. You should also use Lunette Feel Better Liquid or Diva Wash, both specifically formulated for menstrual cup care, or a mild, unscented, water-based soap to clean between uses.

Cleaning a menstrual cup between uses at home is fairly simple, but can a bit more complex away from home. This is where the Lunette Disinfecting Wipes are a life saver. These individually wrapped wipes can clean your cup when there is no comfortable access to clean water.

If you don't have the wipes on hand and are using a public restroom, you can wipe your empty cup down with a wet or dry tissue in a pinch and then clean it more thoroughly at the next available opportunity. If you prefer, you can always wipe down one cup and store it until you can clean it and insert a clean, dry cup you carry in a small, discreet wet bag.

At the end of your cycle, you can give it one last cleaning and boil when needed (follow product care instructions). Between uses, you can store your clean, dry menstrual cup in the drawstring bag that comes with it.

You should also always refer to your product manufacturer's specific cleaning instructions before following any recommendations.

How do I Travel with a Menstrual Cup? 

Traveling with a menstrual cup is as simple as carrying a discreet wet or wet/dry bag with your cup inside. You can even add Lunette Disinfecting Wipes to the inside of your wet/dry bag. Carrying your menstrual cup is no more noticeable than slipping other feminine hygiene products into your purse, gym bag, or diaper bag.

The wet bag will keep your cup clean and dry in between uses and allow you to store it safely until you can clean it thoroughly. If you're used to carrying cloth diapers and wet bags, this will feel natural to you already.

Do you use a menstrual cup? If not, what is holding you back? What questions do you have?

Bio: About Mindy Farmer, The Inquisitive Mom: I'm a gal from the Pacific Northwest, living in the Midwest, mom of 3, writer, optimist, striving to be eco-conscious and hoping to defy stereotypes. Visit me on my blog The Inquisitive Mom and you'll find musings on motherhood and life, mixed with enthusiastic cloth diaper posts, eco-friendly living ideas, as well as reviews and giveaways.

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