Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The life of your DivaCup

Warning: Graphic Pictures Ahead

I've been using the DivaCup for almost 5 years now. For those of you not in the know, the DivaCup is a silicone reusable menstrual cup. You slap it in, cup side upside, and empty it twice a day. And, yes, I've been using the exact same cup. Month after month. Year after bloody year.

When I first started using it, the manufacturer advertised that it would last 20+ years. Or something like that. Then they retracted that and said to replace it every year. Some legal, government standards, CYA move or other. I still think that's ridiculous. Mostly because it's perfectly usable for far longer than one year. Clearly, I've been rocking the same one for 5.

However, I have to say, maybe they have a point. You see, I've kind of lost the sheer delight of stuffing a relatively uncomfortably stiff, golf-ball sized hunk of plastic up my tender goodies. And not just for the unpleasure part. But because it, well, looks revolting. Years of being exposed to, how shall we say, menstrual bits, have stained it. So, rather than looking like a pristine, new clear-white cup like below:


it looks more like this:



Ah, I'm just kidding. This is an image of the remains of a DivaCup that went up in flames. I really couldn't bring myself to photograph my nasty old cup. I'm not that gross.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you have the same problem as me. Dark red stained cups. Bordering on brown. Any trick to restoring its original luster? If not, I'm going to replace mine just because I'm sick of being disgusted five days a month.

59 comments:

Good Girl Gone Green said...

That was gross...the picture. Soak it in vinegar. That's what I do each moth after using it.

Sherrie said...

I soak mine in 5% peroxide for at least a day every now and again, in between uses. Good as new!

Tori said...

Mine is doing the same thing. I seriously thought I was just too dumb to keep it clean lol. Glad to know I'm not alone and it DOES happen to others! (No advice though, sorry.)

growandresist.com said...

Oh dear god...that photo is horrible!

I started soaking mine in a (lidded) jar of part water/part peroxide after I was done. Roughly half/half-ish. I leave it in there until it looks like new.

And, it can stay awhile...because the first time I forgot I had done that until the next cycle and it was as good as new--no damage from soaking it so long.

eekoholic said...

I just replaced mine for this very reason... the website says one can boil it (submerged) to clean/sterilize the silicone. Upon reading further I realized I had not been using the right stuff to clean my old one, that what I'd been using may have damaged the silicone so that the staining got worse. They have a product called DivaWash but I couldn't be bothered with buying a product specifically for that lol. Their FAQs are worth a read anyways :) http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/

theselightfootsteps.com said...

I've always used The Keeper, which is brown, so there aren't any issues with staining...
http://www.keeper.com/
Maybe it's worth switching to that if you can't get it clean again.

Robj98168 said...

No advice from me on how to keep the bloody things clean. (Tongue is in my cheek)

I was just noticing, like last time you announced a blogging break, the next day you have a post! Admit it- You love us!

evervescence said...

Welcome back! :) Oh man that picture of the burned diva cup was both funny and super gross! I love the shock factor though, really caught me off guard. I'm only a part-time user (just when I am in the water or doing certain activities the rest of the time I use washable cloth pads). I think the peroxide is a good idea to whiten yours, but I haven't had issues with discoloration. I have two Divacups, the first I have had about eight years now, and is still looking good and the second I've only had two years but it looks good as new. I bought it to replace the first two years ago thinking it would wear out at any moment, but it hasn't worn out so I kept it too. I only used diluted unscented Dr. Bronner's soap to clean them during menstruation and I boil the Divacup before each initial use at the start of the cycle.

Behan Gifford said...

I think my Diva cup must be at least 5 years in, and... yeah, definitely stained. Like the commented tips for a peroxide/water mix, that should help. But... hey, it's just a little staining, really can't rationalize replacing it because it's aesthetically suffering.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Ooh, I have a few things to try.

Rob - You sounded so desperate in the comment from my last post, I thought I'd write a post that really spoke to you.

Behan - "aesthetically suffering": that's awesome.

Missy said...

I've used mine for a few years now and I too have the same problem. I was just thinking of replacing mine as well because it is looking gross.

Maybe I will try the vinegar or peroxide the above commentors suggested.

koolchicken said...

I've been using the same one for about four years. I soak it in peroxide at the end of every month and as a result it still looks as perfect as when I first bought it.

SurprisingWoman said...

I have had my pieces parts removed and I no longer have this issue.

BTW, while we are on the subject.... NEVER, NEVER, EVER have your pieces parts removed unless you absolutely must and there are NO other options.

Back to the post, I would think a 50/50 water peroxide would be good and 100% peroxide if not.

If it was bugging me then I would just buy a new one because honestly, I am worth it and some things you just have to do for yourself.

De in D.C. said...

I soak mine in hydrogen peroxide overnight at the end of my cycle. While I could get the cup part relatively clean, that stupid stem was always dark brown.

I also soak my electric toothbrush heads in peroxide from time to time as well. For some reason, they seem to develop mold inside the handle, so the soak takes that out before it has a chance to grow.

Kat said...

I have the same issue you do except I don't care much. It's been 4 years for me. I tried boiling it but oh lord the stench!!! I might try vinegar. Maybe an herbal vinegar with some good lady herbs.

swiggett said...

Mine must be 7 or 8 yrs old. (Bought one, promptly lost it in a move, bought replacement. Found first one. Keep losing and finding them. No idea which one I'm using now.)

Mine are certainly stained slightly brown, particularly the stem, which I don't trim off or down. The little holes at the top are also a slightly darker brown than the bowl of the cup.

All in all, though, it is still transparent and works fine (save the days when my body decide it doesn't want ANYTHING inside of it). Can't justify replacing something that works and no one sees for aesthetic reasons.

I scrub it well with soap about once a day, now, and thought it stained mainly due to the fact that I was a rinse and re-insert girl for a long while.

Glue and Glitter said...

My cup is stained but it hasn't changed otherwise. I find it way more comfortable than a tampon, especially removal. I always dreaded pulling out my tampon, because if I had a light day, it was quite painful.

I like the vinegar idea! I boil mine when my cycle starts, but it's still stained.

Kristy Lynn said...

gross? yes. funny? hell yes. ;)

i've been thinking about the diva cup - i'm glad you've had such success with it.

carson said...

I prefer the MeLuna cup to the Diva cup - I find it to be more comfortable and to leak less. Bonus - it comes in lots of colors (mine is purple), so after 2 years of use there is no staining. I wash it with water and castille soap, and run it through the dishwasher between cycles.

Chile said...

Wow. I've been using mine for at least four years and it's barely stained. And I've done nothing special to clean it.

Here's my routine. Every single time I empty it (except on the rare occasion of being in a public restroom with stalls), I rinse it thoroughly with clear water before reinserting. About every third time, I soap my hands up and wash the cup inside and out. I also wash it when I shower before reinserting it.

Note that I have to empty it every couple of hours, unlike some people who can just empty it twice a day. Perhaps the more frequent rinsing makes a difference in the staining?

I've never used peroxide or vinegar or boiling water on it.

Eco Yogini said...

i lost mine for a while (yep, it was a little embarrassing, couldn't find it between moves) so i bought another one. I was so happy that it was nice and clean looking again! but... after about a year it's back to being brown-ish looking. I'll probably try the peroxide trick.

honestly, I use the DivaWash (and boil it) and I love it. It lasts over a year per bottle and I really don't worry about sanitation (I guess I don't wanna mess with bacteria around such a sensitive area).

I am NOT going to replace it though for several more years until I notice that the silicone starts to degrade. I don't see any reason to, since it's surgery grade silicone.

E Soleil said...

The FAQ on the Diva Cup website says not to use peroxide or vinegar as it can damage the silicone.... It also says not to use castille soap, that it can leave a film. Not sure if this is true, or a marketing thing to make you buy the Diva Wash, but my previous Diva Cup (flushed down the toilet on accident) was stained and I had been using Dr Bronners unscented castille soap to wash it. I had noticed that it seemed to be discolored because of a film on it, which is what the FAQ says may happen if you use castille soap... I just may buy the Diva Wash and see how that helps.

Also, I boiled my previous DC almost every month, and that did not help with the discoloration as the FAQ says it will.

jamey r said...

I used the diva wash for two years and still ended up with a rusty colored cup that made me feel ugly on the inside. I bought a new one...my vagina was delighted.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Well, except for Chile who, apparently, bleeds vanilla ice cream, it seems like a lot of us have staining issues. Even Rob.

E Soleil - You are correct. The FAQ states, "please do not use vinegar, bleach, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as these will damage the silicone."

The company suggests boiling it for discoloration, just don't let it catch on fire.

Since others have tried the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, I might give that a whirl and see if it helps. I can't imagine either of those degrading silicone. Bleach, on the other hand, might. That, and a belt sander.

De in D.C. said...

I've owned my cup for over 5yrs now, and hadn't really looked at the divecup website since I purchased. Does anyone else remember reading in their literature that the holes at the top of the cup were a result of the manucfaturing process and holding the mold in place, and didn't really matter? They now state this in the FAQ:
"The four holes under the rim are of vital importance. They create the seal that secures the cup in place."

Surely I'm not imagining what I read when I first got the cup, am I? Does anyone else remember something similar about the holes being a result of manufacturing?

juliiie87 said...

Apparently soap and water is not good enough, you need to scrub it with a wash cloth and alcool OR wipes that are meant for this.

See this video for proof it can be done : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL1RtCwAVzI

Also, when rinsing the blood off, use COLD water, as warm water will cook the blood and set in stains.
A peroxide solution or a plain sunbath also help with the stains.

Lena said...

Do you rinse it in cold water first? I read that either in the instructions or on the website for my Lunette. Hot water will cause it to stain so it's important to do a cold rinse first any time you take it out. Once it looks clear and clean, go ahead with the boiling or mild soaping and it shouldn't stain. I haven't had mine long enough to know how far this method will take you, but wanted to put it out there anyway. The Lunette is great too because it has slightly larger holes at the top for release (and easier to clean out) and no texturized writing INSIDE the cup for bits to get stuck on, as well as a flat ridged stem (nothing gets stuck inside it!). I think those design adjustments help with the cleanliness. :)

Chile said...

Haha, CC. I assure you that I'm not bleeding vanilla ice cream; more like strawberry or even dark cherry. LOL

I'd take a pic to show you my barely-stained Diva Cup but, um, it's currently in use and that's not a picture anyone wants to see! ;-)

lace said...

Try leaving it in the sun for a day or even a few days. I've tried it and while it doesn't make it like-new clear, it does help.

Here are a few more cleaning suggestions for staining from the livejournal site:

http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/tag/cleaning%20-%20stains

terraphany said...

And here I thought I was the only one! I'm going to try that hydrogen peroxide thing straight away.

Crunchy Chicken said...

If I leave it out in the sun for a few days (not that it's even possible in Seattle), I run the risk of the dog going to town on it and/or burying it in the backyard with all the carrots he dug up. I think I'll stick to peroxide and see what happens. Unfortunately, like Chile, it's currently in use so I'll have to wait to see if it works.

Kate said...

I've used peroxide and it works wonders, even on those tiny little holes around the rim. So maybe the silicone is damaged, but if so, it's certainly not detectable to me. If the alternative is to throw the old one out and buy a new one, what's the downside of risking some undetectable damage from the peroxide?

danagasta said...

I used one for 2 years, but due to a hormone deficiency, I no longer need one. When I used it, I did the same thing Sherrie said with the peroxide. That stuff can fix any problem :D

Di said...

I soaked mine in an OxyClean solution overnight, and the staining was nearly gone. I've also had mine about 5 years and wash it regularly in Dr. Bronner's, Method hand soap, or vinegar.

And I think I'm permanently scarred from seeing that picture... My eyes!!

Anna @ Blue Dirt said...

Mine looks rusty in color. I've used warm water and diluted Dr. Bronners to clean it, with a boiling on the first day. It does look like there's a film on it, and maybe I'll soak it in some hydrogen peroxide now. It's been 6 years and there is a little tear coming from one of the holes. So I bought a new one, but haven't opened it yet.

The holes definitely are an important working factor of making and releasing the seal. I've always rinsed out the stem and not had any problems in that area.

Brittni Daron said...

i soak mine in hydrogen peroxide after each cycle.Let it air dry and then store under the sink

Greenpa said...

Just in case any here are not aware, La Crunch has a LONG history of weird fascinations with the cup...

http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/2008/01/crusty-chicken-uncovered.html

:-)

Me, I'm not touching this.

Katie said...

I'm also a Lunette user, only use water or castile soap to clean it and don't have any staining issues. It's an orange cup though--the color options are why I picked the Lunette-- Diva Cup seemed too much like a white shirt to me--just begging for stains...

Rosa said...

Mine is stained, maybe I should try peroxide. I've had it six years and it's just sort of mildly off-color.

The reason I got it, though, was that my Keeper DISINTEGRATED. I don't know if it was because of drying out maybe? I didn't use it for over 2 years because of various conception-and-pregnancy things, and it was when I got healed up from birth and wanted to use it again that it was all fragile and breaking instead of bending. It was 7 years old, and I'd kind of expected it to last forever, but the rubber just dried up and fell apart.

Lynn said...

I fill my cup up with hydrogen peroxide and place inside a cup specifically set aside for cup cleaning. After I put it inside the cleaning cup, I then fill with cold water just to cover the top of the Diva cup. Then I leave it at least overnight. Generally, I leave it the whole month until next use, though. Comes out pristine clean, good as new, EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Ok, I left it in a dilute mix of water and hydrogen peroxide overnight and it came out with nary a stain. I can't say it looks as good as new, but it's close.

Thanks everyone for your help!

Rosa said...

I just wanted to add, because I got my first cup in 1999 or so, I had no idea how much tampons and pads cost, so after you posted this I cruised the feminine hygeine aisle at our drug store - WOW. It's easy to think of a $30 cup as being expensive and be unhappy about buying one that didn't fit and having to buy another, or that it only lasts 5 or 6 years. But when I made the comparison, disposables are really, really expensive. I guess my divacup paid for itself about 4 years ago.

Joanna said...

In the uk we have a baby bottle sanitizer called Milton. I guess you must have something similar. Anyhow- I soak mine in that after each... er... run... of using it, ready to be stored in the bathroom cupboard. I'm not sure my husband would put up with it in the house otherwise.

Unknown said...

I've used my Diva cup for well over 5 years, and was a 15+ year user of another brand previous to that. Since the other brand was dark in colour, I never had any concern about the staining... but I have to say that I now think it's a blessing that the Diva cup is clear. Here's why.... Yep, mine was stained. Old and tinted and yucky. I'd read up on how to clean it properly, but never found it appealing to soak it in anything like peroxide or vinegar, so I stuck with just giving it a quick scrub with Dr. Bronners between insertions (while bathing I always take it out and clean it up) and after my cycle ended each month. This last cycle, I decided to follow my intuition and put it on a sunny windowsill for a while to kill some bacteria. Well, I completely forgot about it for the last two weeks, and it's been sitting there soaking up the warm spring rays the whole time. I found it today and as I picked it up off the sill, it felt reallllllly sticky. Like it had a film of something gross all over it. I thought that this might be the end of my cup, but decided to try washing it with good ol Dr. Bronners. Well, not only did it wash right up, but it is now looking pretty darn close to the way it did when I first bought it. Not even a hint of yellowing. My feeling is that the staining was actually from the cup being marinated in my blood for the past 5 years, and letting it sit in the sun allowed all all that had been soaked up to leech back out again, hence the sticky film. Gross, right? Well, yeah. But I'm stoked to have my cup looking better and will take a free cleaning from mother nature more often now via some sunbeams. Worth a try....

ReInventing Lolli said...

This is my first cycle as a DivaCup user. I am so happy that I am not using tampons this time! I have been green-ing my life a couple things at a time over the past 4 years or so & this was the next step. I would imagine cleaning it with baking soda might help?

Wendy said...

It sounds like the problem is solved, but since I didn't see my solution mentioned, I thought I'd add my two-cents anyway.

I scrub mine with plain soap and water and a little nail brush. Then I wipe it down with tea tree oil. It's still a little stained, but mostly it looks pretty clear.

Cinnamon Girl said...

How come I didn't know about these in the first place? Geez, I would be all over it. Well, with fingers crossed, I only have more or less a year to go, and many disposable pads left :-(

Mickey said...

I didn't know that there was another cup on the market. I used to use the "instead" but I kept getting infections. The Instead was disposable but still better than a tampon. Now I can only use pads. I'm wondering if any of you ever got an infection from the DivaCup?

Mickey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Oaks said...

I clean mine with toothpaste and an old toothbrush, it doesn't look brand-new pristine, but pretty close and I've been using mine for about 5 years too :)

Laura Gomez said...

Hydrogen peroxide

allmylovenbugs said...

Isn't the keeper is latex? Some of us can't have allergies in our girly bits. It'd be nice if Diva could start making a dark colored one.

allmylovenbugs said...

Isn't the keeper is latex? Some of us can't have allergies in our girly bits. It'd be nice if Diva could start making a dark colored one.

allmylovenbugs said...

Isn't the keeper is latex? Some of us can't have allergies in our girly bits. It'd be nice if Diva could start making a dark colored one.

Kiera said...

Wow... Squeamish husband. He does know that all women bleed from their vaginas once a month right?
And that it is normal, clean, and pretty awesome!

Keri Kight said...

I am so happy I found this. Mine needs a good cleaning & I don't have the special wash for it. Hydrogen Perioxide it is! Thanks ladies. :)

Terri Justice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dani martin said...

I remember it stating this when I bought mine 8 ish years ago.

Kelsi Lickey said...

My diva cup was holding a yeast infection in it (I kept getting one every period) so I replaced it, I always cleaned it very well and just figured it couldn't be gotten rid of, yeast infections are very hard to remove from things like cloth diapers and diva cups, do you think peroxide would kill it?

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