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25 August 2014 @ 10:51 pm
In an originally unrelated topic, I've been reading about (how to make) homemade soap.  Getting kind of specific here, I know.  Anyone have thoughts/knowledge on using homemade soap to clean your cup?  Of course it would depend on what ingredients specifically are used to make the soap.  Any tried and true soap recipes that are definitely OK for your cup and wouldn't shorten its lifespan?  Or ingredients (types of oils) to definitely stay away from?

I guess this is geared more toward those knowledgeable about homemade soap, which I hope there are a few of here, lol.  Any thoughts are appreciated!!
Alex: [stock] grassesalexdonnelly on August 26th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
Hi! Just a little background: menstrual cup user for 1.5 years, soapmaker for 3 years. (bar soap, cold process)

In my opinion, if my soap is body-safe it is cup safe. Personally, I would stay away from:

super moisturizing oils/butters - they may leave unwanted residue since they won't absorb as they would into your skin

specialty oils - they're expensive and won't help your cup get cleaner

essential oils/colorants - some people are sensitive to these things and your cup goes some pretty sensitive places. I'd test them first before using it on my cup.

I'm a pretty conservative soaper, so these things seem unnecessary or wasted on a cup. Save your special/expensive oils for yourself! I've used a basic three-oil bar soap to wash my cup, but, as with anything, made sure to rinse thoroughly. I cannot attest to longevity, but my cup has yet to show any ill-effects.

Hope this helps even a little. There are probably plenty more knowledgeable users out there. Good luck!
elisamba on August 26th, 2014 07:49 am (UTC)
Not only that, but the fat in some soaps can deteriorate silicone, if I understand correctly. It's like the oil lube and silicone condom problem. The Fleurcup instructions, for example, specifically say not to use Aleppo soap.
mshanai on August 26th, 2014 12:16 pm (UTC)
I think you're thinking of latex/rubber.
elisamba on August 31st, 2014 06:27 am (UTC)
Oh yeah you're right - well I wonder why they warn against oil lube with silicone diaphragms and caps then? Either way, I did notice a difference in my Fleur before I noticed the instructions - it got sort of "tacky".
rbca03rbca03 on August 27th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
Any inclination to share whatever basic soap recipe you've found to work well/be safe for your cup? I've spent a lot of time googling around reading about making soap, but the specifics of what ingredients are/aren't cup friendly I thought would be best answered here.

I assume shea & cocoa butters are ones to avoid for this purpose?

What I would really love is to find a recipe that's not only safe for cups, but is actually kind of an ideal basic yet thorough wash for cups. :)

Edited at 2014-08-27 02:23 am (UTC)
Alexalexdonnelly on August 27th, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
Sure! I used a basic three-oil recipe with 30% palm oil, 30% coconut oil and 40% olive oil. I generally use a 7% lye discount (not superfat) to calculate the lye, water and oil weights of any sized batch.

Yes, I would avoid any butters, unless you wanted a palm-free soap and chose to substitute in. I haven't tried it on my cup, though.

This basic bar as well as castile worked for me. I would think the simplest/most basic soaps would work best for cups, but I am no expert. Hope that helped. :)
jenn4a on August 26th, 2014 10:43 am (UTC)
I make my own shampoos! .. And other homemade products. :)

Depends if you mean lye based soap, or if you mean detergent based soap (aka surfactant: surface active agents)

I would personally NOT use lye based soaps since they leave a film on the skin, but when making or using surfactants you have to be careful what ingredients you choose. You must research which ingredients you need, and if they leave residue. Also if you do plan to use lye soap I suggest looking up the ingredients too, and especially if they leave a film.

To make a basic surfactant cleanser:
Water (main ingredient around 60% depending)
Surfactant of your choice (usually anywhere from 10- 45 percent depending on gentleness)
Emulsifier. (Esp if you plan to use oils)
Humectant (I would use one, but you don't have to.
Ph balancer (acidic). Surfactants can be very alkaline and need to be adjusted for the use on the body. I can help you with this!
Perservatives. For long term keeping

But if you want an even smaller list of ingredients:
Surfactant (depends which one for %)
Ph balancer.
If you don't use an emulsifier then you may have to gently shake the ingredients before use.
(As you are asking about cup use/cleansing, this smaller list would be okay, but I would not suggest using it to wash your hair, or as a body wash. If you plan to also use this for your body I strongly suggest using moisturizing ingredients (top list)

Lye based soaps are alkaline too, but you can't just add something acidic such as vinegar to lower the ph. Adding vinegar creates soap scum (causes the lye and the oils to separate).
I wouldn't know too much about lye though, other than when I used lye based products I have to rinse of the soap, and then do a vinegar rince to balance the ph. It left my combs, skin, and hair tacky.

But in short, basically what you should be sure of is how you're going to achieve the right ph balance.
And it'll depend on what you're using, the method you could use.

If you send me a message, I can help you personally :)

Edited to add some more info***

Also, I used to do the no shampoo (no 'poo) thing. I didn't always have luck with it. I have SEVERAL ways to make a natural body and hair cleanser. :) making the things was time consuming, but remember that this was to clean my hair. Using them was more frequent ;)

It is worth mentioning that some cup users here occasionally use baking soda.
I think this would be much easier to use.
Vinegar: I think this would be a great way to cleanse a cup! It's acidic, but with a right dilution it'll be great.

Edited at 2014-08-26 10:53 am (UTC)
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on August 26th, 2014 10:50 am (UTC)
If I were making a soap to use on my cup I'd make an unscented liquid castile soap. It'll be mild and quite easy to use, and you don't put moisturizers or anything that might cause a weird film on it. Plus, it's really easy to just reserve part of a batch of castile soap before scenting, so you wouldn't really have to make a special batch.