Which soap should I choose to wash my menstrual cup?

Cleaning menstrual cups during your period is something that should not be overlooked. During periods of use, it is advisable to simply rinse it with drinking water, but some people are tempted to wash their menstrual cup with soap, intimate cleanser or shower gel.

Remember that in terms of use, it is not necessary to sterilise your menstrual cup every time you empty it: the vagina is not a sterile environment, and it is sufficient for your cup to be clean. And for that, with a cup without too many rough edges, water is usually enough. Yes, just water!

But if you decide to use a cup cleaner during your period, it is important to choose it carefully: it must respect the material of your menstrual cup (usually silicone or TPE) as much as your vulva and vagina. And for that, you must take into account 2 essential elements: the PH and the composition.

Choose a cleanser with the right pH. 

What is pH?

The pH measures the acidity of a medium or the alkalinity of a medium. The physiological pH of an area is its normal pH.

The value of this physiological pH is different on the face, hands, vulva, vagina... and this value is often a range.

To maintain the pH of each area at its optimum value, a suitable product is needed: 

  • For the skin, the physiological pH is between 4 and 7
  • For external intimate mucosa (vulva): between 5 and 8
  • For internal intimate mucosa (vagina): between 4 and 4.5 (closer to 6 during menstruation)

The vulvovaginal pH is therefore acidic. Often, intimate hygiene products are labelled with the words "physiological pH" without further explanation. However, using a product designed for cleaning the external mucosa (with a neutral pH of 7 or 8) to clean your cup (which will end up on your internal mucosa, which is acidic), is not necessarily suitable, as it is not the same use.

Why is pH important for your intimate health?

The vulvovaginal pH is naturally acidic because the majority of harmful micro-organisms do not survive at a low pH: this pH protects.

Of course, some of these organisations have adapted.

The most common vulvovaginal infections and the environments in which they occur are

  • Candida, especially Candida albicans, are the fungi that cause most vaginal mycoses. They like very acidic pH values, below 4.
  • Gardnerella, the bacteria responsible for vulvitis and vaginitis, like a pH of around 5.
  • Trichomonas, parasites that cause vaginal infections, like a pH of around 6.

The picture would not be complete without mentioning the "good bacteria", whose role is to protect the vagina from bad bacteria: first and foremost the Lactobacilli. It is important to look after these vaginal policemen, because healthy Lactobacilli block out some of the bad bacteria. In order for them to multiply optimally, they need a pH value between 5.5 and 6. The good news is that by using a menstrual cup, they are not attacked like with tampons!

To clean the menstrual cup, it is therefore ideal to use a cleanser that respects the optimal pH for the growth of Lactobacilli, but is neither too acidic nor too alkaline. In short, a pH between 5 and 6 is the optimal target value.

The main intimate cleansers do not necessarily have a suitable pH for use with La Cup.

Here is an overview based on the information we found on the main existing cleaners (obviously, this chart is not exhaustive)

pH of French intimate cleansers

As you can see, the pH levels are very different from one product to another. To clean the menstrual cup, it is possible to turn to products with a pH between 5.2 and 5.5. And all soaps, even 'soft' ones (Marseille soap, cold process soap, Aleppo soap), have a highly alkaline pH, precisely because of the saponification process, and are therefore not compatible with cleaning your menstrual cup.

Consider the composition of your cleaner

When cleaning your menstrual cup, looking at the pH alone is not enough: you also need to pay attention to the composition of the product, controversial or potentially dangerous chemicals, etc.

Because the vaginal mucosa is extremely porous to certain components. We have therefore observed everything in detail.

For this, we used the INCI beauty app which analyses toxic substances in cosmetics. We only analysed products in the pH groups 5.2 and 5.5. 

Spoiler: you will soon understand why Luneale created La Mousse.

DAILY HYDRALIN

  • Who is it? Bayer-Monsanto like Aspro, Bepanthen, Berocca, Euphytose
  • INCI Beauty Score: 12.8/20
  • Not so great ingredients: PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Polysorbate 20, PEG-120-PPG-10 Trimethylnolpropane Trioleate, Laureth-2, Disodium EDTA
  • This product is essentially chemical

LACTACYD INTIMATE GEL

  • Who? Omega Pharma such as Bi-Oil, Eau Précieuse, Sanodiane, ni-Quitin...
  • INCI rating Beauty: 1/20
  • Risk" ingredient: Formic Acic
  • Not so great ingredients: Magnesium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Laureth-10, PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate
  • This product is essentially chemical.

INTIMA EXTRA SOFT DAILY GEL

  • Who? Reckitt Benckiser, like Clearasil, Durex, CillitBang, Calgon...
  • INCI rating Beauty : 6,4/20
  • Not so great ingredients: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Laureth-2, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Dissodium EDTA, CI16035 
  • This product is essentially chemical.

CAVAILLÈS EXTRA MILD

  • Who? Bolton Group, like Somatoline, Sanogyl, WC Net, Saupiquet...
  • INCI rating Beauty: 2.4/20
  • Risk" ingredient: DMDM Hydantoin
  • Not so great ingredients: PEG-80 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Magnesium Laureth Sulfate, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Chlrorphenesin
  • This product is essentially chemical.

LA MOUSSE LUNEALE, certified organic

  • Who is it? Teolab, as in Luneale.
  • INCI Beauty Score: 16.8/20
  • No "bad" or "risky" ingredients
  • This product is 96% natural ingredients and 12% organic ingredients

You now have all the information you need to make your choice of menstrual cup cleaner, if you want to use one.

And to go further on the subject of the maintenance of your menstrual cup, you can consult our articles in connection:
- How to clean your cup during your period?
- Our tips for cleaning your cup in public toilets
- Sterilising/disinfecting your menstrual cup between cycles - in the pan or in the microwave
- Should you buy a menstrual cup steriliser?
- How do I clean a yellowed or cloudy cup?

Cup Cleaning Health

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