Tampons v Cups. What to use?

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Let's weigh in on this debate - tampons v cups, what's the skinny on both?

We're fans of both tampons and cups for different reasons.

There is a reusable community of judgment growing online against tampons, and other single use hygiene products, which Luna rejects. 

We're against judgment of any kind, we're here to support and empower girls and women, not judge them. 

There is nothing wrong with tampons, and for many girls who either can't afford cups, or don't have the facilities available to sterilise them, tampons is a convenient and good option. 

Luna recommends that anyone who wants to use cups, starts by using standard (non-applicator) tampons first. This is because with cups you need to insert them yourself, and it's easier to achieve this if you've already used standard tampons. 

Benefits of tampons:

  1. They're very convenient and cost effective period management

  2. There are many organic cotton options available now that ensure you're not using treated materials or synthetic materials such as rayon

  3. They allow you to play sport, and especially water sports during your period

Benefits of cups:

  1. You can keep them in longer than tampons, which need to be replaced every 4 to 8 hours

  2. They're environmentally friendly because they cause zero-waste

  3. While the upfront cost of cups is high, especially as you need two or three, the longevity of the products ensure that they are a cost effective option, arguably the cheapest available over the long term

What Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?

TSS syndrome is very rare bacterial infection that can be fatal in extreme circumstances. It can be contracted using tampons and, or menstrual cups, that's why it's really important to follow best practice guidelines. 

Girls and women who have contracted TSS by using tampons or cups have either; left tampons in beyond their usage, i.e. longer than 8 hours, a recent case in the US showed a girl contracted TSS after leaving a tampon inside for 9 days. Not sterilising and cleaning cups properly can also cause TSS. 

Millions of women use tampons every day and don't contract TSS, so while it's something to be mindful of, this shouldn't stop you using tampons or cups, which are both very convenient. 

TSS is caused by a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus that if it enters your bloodstream could in rare circumstances result in TSS. It enters the bloodstream through abrasions or small cuts inside your vagina.

These could be caused by inserting the cup, a fingernail or inserting and removing tampons - that's why it's really important to remove cups at the end of the day and sterilise them, and never use tampons for longer than 8 hours


  • Always use the correct tampon size / absorbency to meet your flow. So when your flow is light, use a mini tampon, when it's heavy use a super tampon. This will prevent tampons soaking up your nature moisture and drying you out, which can use slight abrasions when inserting a new tampon

  • Change tampons regularly, what does that mean? Don't leave them in for longer than 8 hours at a time. So, in a 24 hour period, you have to use at least three tampons, never less.

  • Always wash your hand before and after inserting - even if using applicators

  • Wear clean (daily), breathable underwear during your period, cotton is good.

  • Practise high levels of personal hygiene during your period (use clean towels, change tampons after bowl movements so the string doesn't get dirty, shower / bathe daily, keep finger nails short and clean)


  • Ensure you sterilise your cup at the end of the day in boiling water - rinsing cups in hot water won't sterilise the cups of bacteria

  • Have a spare cup or two to use in between sterilisation

  • Use a cup size that's appropriate for you. If you don't need a bigger cup, use a smaller one. New research shows that air introduced when the cup unfurls inside the vagina can cause the growth of the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, which can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). So, use the size that fits you best

  • Practice high levels of personal hygiene during your period (shower / bathe daily, use clean towels, keep finger nails clean and tidy)

  • Wear clean (daily), breathable underwear during your period, cotton is good

Luna is here to make this experience positive and fun (ya fun) for you. We've got your back, and know you’ve got this too! 

Email us any time, there's no such thing as a dumb question!

Kelly GregorComment