Are period cups reusable?

If you’re a sanitary pad or tampon user, then the concept of “reusable” period products might seem strange to you.

Can we reuse menstrual cups over and over? Is it hygienic and safe to do this? The short answer is – yes, absolutely!

In this blog, we will dive into how a menstrual cup is reusable for several years, and we will introduce you to some of the best reusable menstrual cups available. 

firstly… what is a reusable menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped device that is inserted into the vagina to collect your period flow. You wear it for up to 12 hours, after which you remove it, wash it and reinsert it straight away.

Most period cups are made from medical grade silicone, which is a highly durable material that lasts for years. This means you only need one single period cup, and you can reuse it again and again!

This is why menstrual cups are gaining so much popularity – the price of a reusable menstrual cup is equivalent to just a few months of pads or tampons, so you’ll save a lot of money in the long term.

Even better, each reusable period cup places the waste of up to 2,500 pads or tampons. Given that over 2 billion tampons are flushed in the UK every single year, you’re doing the planet a huge favour by switching to a reusable period cup!

are reusable menstrual cups safe?

Great question. Now this might surprise you, but reusable menstrual cups are just as safe – if not even safer – compared to disposable pads and tampons.

Medical grade silicone is an innovative material that is used in the medical industry to create bio-compatible implants, such as heart stents. This means it is designed to live inside the body without doing any harm.

Silicone doesn’t contain any plastic, BPA or toxins, so you aren’t being exposed to any harmful chemicals when using it. This means it has far less toxins compared to most sanitary pads and tampons, which contain plastic, pesticides and even perfumes.

To make sure you’re using your cup safely, it’s important to wash it thoroughly between uses and to immerse it in boiling water between periods – this will make sure your cup is completely sterilised.

It’s also important to make sure you take your cup out every 12 hours and wash it. As long as you stick to these simple principles, then using a period cup is a highly safe and effective method of managing your period.

is a menstrual cup reusable for life?

Are you wondering if you can reuse a menstrual cup forever? As silicone is so durable, it’s hard to say exactly how long you can use a cup for. That said, as long as your cup doesn’t have any visible damage or tears, you can continue to use it.

In practice, most Asan cup users replace their cup every few years – either because they lose it, damage it, or simple want a new one!

what is a reusable menstrual cup expiry date?

Due to the durability of silicone, there is no set expiry date. Asan recommends using your cup for up to 10 years. Make sure you clean it regularly and store it in a cool, airy place.

As each manufacturer is different, make sure you read the user instructions carefully in case certain brands have a set expiry date.

is there such a thing as a non reusable menstrual cup?

As most cups are made of silicone or TPE (a type of plastic rubber), they tend to be reusable. We’re yet to come across a disposable menstrual cup – in fact, this kind of defeats the purpose!

That said, there are some disposable menstrual discs out there – these are similar to cups in that they are inserted into the body, but they are small disc-shaped devices that go all the way up to your cervix.

If you’re curious to learn more, you can read our blog about the difference between menstrual cups and menstrual discs.

how do reusable menstrual cups work?

If you’re wondering “how does a reusable menstrual cup work”, Asan has some great resources to help guide you. Start by watching the reusable menstrual cup video guide below.

Here are six simple steps on how to use a reusable menstrual cup:

  • Boil your cup to sterilise it
  • Fold it to insert – the most popular folds are the C-fold and punch-down fold
  • Gently insert into the vagina, your cup will pop open
  • Wear your cup for up to 12 hours
  • Remove your cup, wash and reuse

You can also visit our blogs on how to insert a reusable menstrual cup and how to clean a reusable menstrual cup.

what’s the difference between a menstrual cup and reusable pads?

If you’re considering making the switch to sustainable period care, you might be wondering whether to try a menstrual cup or reusable pads.

While a cup is inserted into the vagina like a tampon, reusable cloth pads are similar to regular pads – you attach them to your underwear, and they will absorb your flow. The only difference is that instead of throwing the pad away each time, you wash it and reuse it.

Choosing between menstrual cups and cloth pads is a personal preference. The great thing about a cup is that you don’t feel it once it’s in, which means you can swim, do sports and exercise on your period. 

It’s also easier to wash a menstrual cup (just rinse it out) compared to cloth pads, as these take a while to dry.

That said, cloth pads are a great solution for those of us who don’t like to insert period products. They’re also a great back-up to your period cup on the days where you have very heavy flow, so you can use them together!

what is the asan reusable menstrual cup?

The Asan cup is a reusable period cup designed at the Harvard Innovation Lab. It is made from Class VI medical grade silicone (the highest grade) and has a special removal ring, making it the easiest period cup to remove. 

The Asan cup comes in two sizes: light/medium flow and heavy flow. The light/medium flow cup is slightly smaller and softer and is great for people who can wear pads or tampons for up to 6 hours.

The heavy flow cup is slightly larger and firmer and is best for people who leak through pads or tampons within 2-6 hours. Some people like to use both sizes on different days of their period.

The Asan cup was chosen as the best quality menstrual cup in the UK by The Evening Standard for its brilliant design. It’s especially easy to use for beginners who haven’t tried a menstrual cup before.

If you’d like to explore other reusable menstrual cup manufacturers in the UK have a look at our article on the best 12 menstrual cups for 2023.

Ready to make the switch to Asan’s reusable period cup? Click here to buy yours now!