What To Know About Cleaning With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide has super powers. You’ve probably already heard. And when it comes to using those super powers to care for reusable period products like cloth pads and menstrual cups, we want to make a few things clear.

But first …

What is it?

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound, simply made up of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O2). Minimalism at its best! Hydrogen peroxide bubbles when it comes in contact with catalase, a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms exposed to oxygen (like bacteria, plants, and animals like me and you). That bubbling is a natural disinfectant, a reaction that releases oxygen gas. You’ll usually see hydrogen peroxide packaged in a brown bottle, because light and heat can break the compound down and make it less bubbly, which means less action, which means it’s less effective. We like the bubbles. Once you open your bottle of H2O2, it’ll have a shelf life of about 6 months, and we’re pretty confident none will go to waste. Hydrogen peroxide is useful for everything from disinfecting scapes and cuts, to cleaning fruits and veggies, to getting stains out of natural fibers, to even unclogging the drain (though that last one works in conjunction with its superhero bff, Baking Soda).

For now we’re just gonna focus on the two uses that we get asked about the most at GladRags: Using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning cloth pads and menstrual cups!

Cloth Pads and H2O2

Just a little something to remember, some light staining is absolutely natural. Stains do not equal dirty or mean something is unhygienic. Please refer here for general care and cleaning instructions.

For tougher stains, or to freshen up a cloth pad stash that’s been around for a few dozen cycles or more, hydrogen peroxide can swoop in all superhero like, and get the job done. Use it to spot treat stains. After a cold water presoak, add a quick splash of H2O2 onto the pads, rub it in so it gets into the fibers and really gets to bubbling, and then rinse it out. You don’t need to let it soak. And in fact, if it sits too long, it will begin to break down the cloth fibers and compromise the integrity of the pads, especially in the thinner areas of the fabric, like where the snap has been pressed in, on the edges, or the wings. Keep the H2O2 localized to the central part of the pad, where the staining is most likely to occur, watch it bubble like crayyyyy, then rinse with cold water, and machine or hand wash with your regular laundry routine.

A brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide sits on a counter top with an organic off-white cloth pad and a clear menstrual cup.

Menstrual Cups and H2O2

The simplicity of gentle soap and water is our favorite for regular cleaning and care of a menstrual cup. After awhile though it’s natural for a cup to become discolored, and if you want to freshen up your cup, hydrogen peroxide can handle it. Soak your silicone menstrual cup in diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide (the kind you get at the grocery store), about half H2O2 and half tap water. Let it soak for a few hours or overnight, then rinse, and store in a breathable cloth bag until your next cycle.

Keep It Simple

Caring for your reusable period products doesn’t need to be complicated, but we understand that if cloth pads and menstrual cups are new to you, you might have a few “but how do I …?” questions. So please reach out! We’re always happy to answer those questions for you, and to help you navigate your way to a happier period, one cycle at a time.