Reusable period products are a great way to reduce your personal waste footprint and to save money. You might wonder, how long do menstrual cups last? There is no exact expiration date but let’s discuss how to know when it’s time to say goodbye. These same rules apply to menstrual discs, also made from silicone.
How long do menstrual cups last?
Menstrual cups made from medical-grade materials are good for 5-10 years, maybe even longer. This depends on the quality of the materials and how it’s been stored. Cheaper brands may contain filler in the silicone, affecting how long they last. Most users will lose their cups or discs before ever seeing them degrade. That’s why our retail arm Period.Shop only carries the best brands that we know are going to be a good investment.
How can I extend the life of a menstrual cup?
Always store your menstrual cup between cycles in a breathable pouch. Virtually all menstrual cups are sold with a storage pouch. If your cup didn’t come with one or it was lost the chances you have a substitute in your junk drawer are high – it just needs to be cotton, linen, or another breathable fabric. Never store your cup in a sealed plastic container or bag. The material needs to breathe and an airtight container may shorten the lifespan of your cup. If you have pets put your cup in a drawer or out of reach – dogs especially love to chew on cups.
How can I tell when it’s time for a new menstrual cup?
- Sticky to the touch
- Chalky or flaky
- Abrasions or micro-tears
When the integrity of the silicone or TPE is gone there will be places for bacteria to hide and grow. If you see any signs of degradation or tears discontinue use.
Cups will thin out and soften over time, especially if you boil them frequently. This may eventually affect how it functions and fits for you. You may need to replace the cup because it’s not working as well as it used to for you, more so than it being unusable due to the breakdown of the materials. You can find the best menstrual cup brands at Period.Shop when it’s time for your replacement.
If my cup is stained, is it time to replace it?
No. A stained cup is still usable. Instead of throwing it out try a peroxide soak in a 3% solution. Soak it for 2-3 hours and watch your menstrual cup return to its original color or clear! Visit this guide on how to remove menstrual cup stains.
How do I dispose of my menstrual cup?
When it’s time to say goodbye to your bestie there are a few options. Menstrual cups are not recyclable for the most part; DivaCup has a recycling program for their own brand and some places accept menstrual cups made of TPE for recycling (rare.)
- Burn your silicone menstrual cup. Cups burn to ash (I’ve done it!) so toss it into your next bonfire and give your trusted friend a badass send off. This option is also fun for hysterectomy or menopause rituals.
- Throw it away.
We have a full guide for How to Dispose of your Menstrual Cup for more ideas.
Your Investment Will Pay Off
There is a fair amount of sticker shock when shopping for a new menstrual cup or disc. Period cups average between $25-40 for a trusted brand. I always tell people that it’s best to buy from reputable brands that offer customer service and who use quality materials. If you buy from an Amazon or IG-only brand the chances you will receive support are pretty low once they have your money.
The longer your cup lasts, the better your investment pays off. Some brands and shops offer installment plans (Period.Shop proudly offers AfterPay) to make switching possible.
For the same cost of a box of tampons in 4 months, you can pay for your cup. Then you’ll have 5-10 years of a $0 period!