How to use Flex Cup:
A step-by-step guide
New to menstrual cups? Here’s how to get started
Whether you’re completely new to menstrual cups, or just new to the Flex Cup™, we’re here with easy step-by-step instructions and tips for how to use a menstrual cup for beginners.
Flex Cup in a nutshell
- Flex Cup is made with 100% medical grade silicone and is naturally non-toxic
- It’s made without BPAs, phthalates, and natural rubber latex
- It’s reusable, stain-proof, and doesn’t absorb odor
- It comes with a unique, patented pull-tab, which makes removal as easy as pulling out a tampon: The pull-tab is engineered to break the seal for you, meaning you don’t have to manually pinch the bottom of the cup with your fingers
- Proudly made in the U.S.A.
- Available in two sizes, Slim Fit & Full Fit, both of which fit most bodies (If you’re unsure which to choose, start with the Slim Fit; If you’ve given birth vaginally, start with the Full Fit)
Since we want to make sure your period product experience is as close to perfect as possible, every Flex Cup comes with our Perfect Fit Guarantee. This means you can always switch out your size if the one you initially ordered isn’t working for you.
Click here for more information about the differences in our period cup sizing.
A step-by-step guide to using Flex Cup
We’ve included the six steps to mastering Flex Cup below—but if a video is more your speed, give this explainer a watch, too!
Step 1: Sanitize your cup
Before you use your cup for the first time, and as needed anytime after, it’s a good idea to sterilize it by boiling it in water for 10 minutes. If you’ve already boiled your cup within the last 30 days but want to give it an extra cleaning before inserting, use warm water and Flex Foaming Cup Wash (or another mild cleanser).
To sterilize, just fill a pot with at least 4 cups of water, place it on the stove, and bring it to a boil. Place your menstrual cup in the water after it’s come to a full boil. Keep an eye on the cup so that it doesn’t make contact with the sides of the pot, which could melt the silicone. If the water is at a rolling boil, your cup should stay suspended above the bottom of the pot.
For more detailed information about cleaning your menstrual cup, check out this blog post.
Step 2: Choose your cup folding technique
There are a few different kinds of folds we recommend for inserting the cup: the C-fold, the Punch Down fold, and the 7 fold. Some days, one fold may be easier than another, so don’t despair if you’re having a hard time with a particular one. Just try one of the others and keep at it.
Before you get ready to fold and insert, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, then try one (or all) of these folding methods:
The C-Fold (a.k.a. The U-Fold)
This fold is one of the most popular and is easy to visualize: Simply your cup and flatten it down so that the lips touch together. Then slowly fold the cup in half lengthwise, like a taco.
The Punch-Down Fold
This fold is one of our favorites for beginners. It creates a smaller “tip” for easier insertion and also helps the cup pop open once in place. To try this fold, use your thumb to push the lip of the cup down and in, towards the base. Then remove your thumb as you squeeze the edges together.
The 7 Fold
Insertion via the 7-fold is similar to the Punch-Down and, for some, does an even better job of helping the cup pop open. To do it, flatten your cup down so that the lips touch. Then pull down the right side, forming a “7” shape with the lips of the cup.
Step 3: Body positioning
We recommend three different body position options to start out when using a menstrual cup for the first time: Sitting on the toilet, standing with one leg up, or standing and squatting (either all the way down or with just a slight bend in your knees). Whatever works for you, works for us.
You may find that your ideal body position changes over time. For some, inserting a menstrual cup in the shower with one leg up on the side of the tub is a great way to start, since the warm water might help you stay relaxed (and it adds a little extra lubrication).
Step 4: Inserting your Flex Cup
To insert your Flex Cup, begin with a clean cup and fold it whichever way is working for you. Then breathe, try to relax your muscles, and insert it into your vagina with your thumb and forefinger gripping the cup.
Once it’s partially in, you might need to reposition your fingers – do whatever makes sense to you so that you can slide it in until it feels comfortable. It doesn’t need to go all the way back into the end of the vaginal canal—and it’s normal for the pull-tab to hang slightly outside.
Reference the diagram below for cup positioning if you’re unsure. Usually, you can tell your cup is in far enough if it’s comfortable and not noticeable or uncomfortable when you move around!
Once the cup is in place, make sure it’s opened completely by inserting a finger into your vagina and gently running it around the outer walls of the cup. You should feel no pleats or indentations. If it’s not fully opened up, use your finger to press gently against your vaginal wall to create space: This should help the cup “pop open.” You can also try twisting slightly to get it to open.
A telltale sign that your cup hasn’t opened all the way is leakage. If you notice period leaks right after inserting your cup, try adjusting it with the method above. Alternatively, try removing it and re-inserting with a different fold. The punch-down fold is best for helping the cup pop open.
Step 5: Enjoy all the benefits of your Flex Cup for up to 12 hours!
Now that your menstrual cup is securely in place, go ahead and live your life as you normally would!
You can swim, exercise, and sleep wearing Flex Cup. It collects up to three super tampons’ worth of fluid and can be worn for up to 12 hours.
Keep in mind that Flex Cup is only FDA-approved for 12 hours of use at a time: You should not wear the cup for longer than that. After 12 hours, you must remove it, empty it, and wash it before reinserting.
Step 6: Time to remove your Flex Cup
Now that you’re an expert at using the Flex Cup, it’s time to learn how to get it out. Don’t worry: We designed our period cup to be WAY easier to remove than many other brands, thanks to the patented pull-tab!
Wash your hands thoroughly, hop on the toilet, and start by relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Spread your legs wide enough that you have easy access to your vagina. Try taking a few deep breaths, or even saying the word “moo” (we stan cow sounds) to help release tension in your pelvic floor.
When you’re ready, reach for the pull-tab with your forefinger and thumb. The pull-tab draws the top of the cup in to break the seal and release the suction that holds the cup in place – meaning you don’t have to get up there and pinch the bottom of the cup to break the seal manually, as you would with most other cup brands.
When you feel that the seal has been broken, keep pulling down on the tab until the cup starts to slide out of your vagina. Be careful! If you try to pull too hard or too fast, you might end up with a chalice of blood splattered all over your bathroom floor (been there, fun times!).
When the bottom of the cup is mostly out, grab it with your fingers to keep it upright, then dump the contents in the toilet. Now you’re all set to clean up, wash your cup, and reinsert—or boil and store your Flex Cup so it’s ready for next month.
That’s it! You did it!
…Or maybe you didn’t. If you still feel stumped, check out this guide, which has GIFs and graphs and pictures, oh my! to help you get the hang of it.
We also have a really extensive FAQ/Troubleshooting Guide to answer any questions you might have about your new Flex menstrual cup, such as leakage issues, wondering how to use the bathroom with a cup in, and the difference between Flex Cup and other menstrual cups available in the market.
And as always, if you have any other questions or comments, feel free to reach out online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text our Flexperts at (800) 931-0882. No question is TMI – seriously. We’ve seen and heard it all!
This article is informational only and is not offered as medical advice, nor does it substitute for a consultation with your physician. If you have any gynecological/medical concerns or conditions, please consult your physician.
© 2021 The Flex Company. All Rights Reserved.