Aunt Flow may have to visit you each month, but that doesn’t mean you must sacrifice a pair of panties every time. Wondering how to get period stains out of underwear? Here are 10 methods to try when treating both fresh and dried period blood!
Is It Normal to Stain Your Underwear on Your Period?
Given that having a period is a completely normal experience for every woman, it’s also normal to have to deal with some blood stains from time to time. Nobody actually teaches women how to properly use hygiene products. It’s all trial and error, after all, so mistakes often happen and can result in blood stains on underwear, pajamas, clothing, and even mattresses!
Most women use either pads or tampons or even a mix of both, depending on where they are in their cycle. Neither of these products is completely leak-proof, especially if you have a heavy flow.
Heavy-flow gals may feel safer using pads since these cover a large part of the underwear and don’t have to be changed so often. Stains may still happen, though, as you move around, especially while sleeping or exercising. Your underwear may get pushed to the side, or the pad you’re using may just not be absorbent enough!
Unfortunately, you can also leak through your tampons, even if your flow isn’t too heavy. That usually happens when you fail to change out your tampon on time. It just gets completely soaked, so there’s no other place for the blood to go but your underwear!
How to Get Period Stains Out of Underwear: 10 Ways
1. Run the Underwear Under Very Cold Water
You’d think that squeezing out the blood from your underwear with hot water is the right approach, but that could only make matters worse. Hot water is ideal for washing dishes because it quickly kills bacteria and various nasty microorganisms. When it comes to blood-stained underwear, however, it can actually help the blood penetrate deeper into the fibers.
The right approach is to use cold water — and make sure it’s as cool as possible. Run the underwear under the faucet and keep squeezing it to get all the blood out. If you caught the stain on time, this just might do the trick!
2. Use Some Ice on the Stain
Seeing as cold water may remove all the blood in just a few minutes, you may not need to do anything else. But if there’s a bit left, and the stain is still fresh, try rubbing an ice cube over it.
Using hot water would essentially cook the blood into the fibers, thus cementing the stain and ruining your underwear. In contrast, ice or cold water avoids the risk of denaturing the proteins found in blood, which would make the stain more difficult to wash out.
3. Apply Some Hydrogen Peroxide to It
Set-in stains can be a bit trickier to resolve, but if you have some hydrogen peroxide at home, you may be able to bleach them away. Simply soak a sponge with some of the solution and blot the stain to lift it. Run the underwear under cold water from time to time to check the progress, and then repeat the whole process until the stain disappears.
Keep in mind, though, that you should use hydrogen peroxide on white or lighter-colored underwear only. As the liquid could cause color loss on darker clothing, you’d essentially create another stain while cleaning the blood.
4. Make a Baking Soda or Aspirin Paste
Got some baking soda or aspirin at home? Crush a few aspirin tablets or pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into a dish and add some water to form a paste. Apply the mixture to the stain and leave it on for about half an hour or overnight. Once the stain is gone, you can wash the underwear as usual.
5. Rub Some Lemon Over the Stain
Since lemon juice is very acidic, it can break down the period stain and help you save your underwear. You can use it in two ways:
• Soak a sponge with some lemon juice, and then blot the stain until it’s gone. Remember to rinse the underwear in cold water to check if the stain is completely gone. NEVER wash the underwear if you can still see the stain, as a hot wash cycle would certainly bake it into the fibers.
• Cut a lemon in half and rub one half onto the stain, letting the juice flood it. All that rubbing may help you get the stain off faster, but keep in mind that you may have to reapply the juice a few times.
6. Grab Some Kitchen Salt
The solution to keeping your underwear stain-free may be hiding in your kitchen cupboard! Grab some kitchen salt and add one part of it to two parts of water. Apply this mixture to either a fresh or a set-in stain and let it work its magic for a while before rinsing the underwear off in cold water.
You can also use the saline solution that you rinse your contact lenses with to remove the stain. It works similarly to salt and water, but there’s no need to mix anything. Just pour it onto the stain and reapply if necessary until there are no blood marks left.
7. Soak the Underwear in an Enzyme-Based Stain Remover
Hard set-in stains are nasty to deal with, so sometimes, only an enzyme-based stain remover will work. These cleaners break down the stain particles, so they will essentially destroy organic materials, such as blood, urine, and similar.
One of the ways you can use this cleaner is by soaking the underwear. You should follow the instructions on the bottle to avoid ruining the fabric completely. In general, though, the gist is that you should add the recommended amount of the solution to cold water and let your panties rest in the mixture for a few hours. Then, wash the underwear in cold water again to check if the stain is all gone.
If the stain has been on the underwear for a while now, you may need to soak it a few times to get all the blood out. At one point, it may only be barely visible but don’t give up yet. Use a toothbrush and some of the stain remover to gently push the remaining blood particles out of the fabric.
Which Enzyme Is the Best Option for Blood Stains?
You can go for an all-purpose enzymatic cleaner just in case you have some other non-blood-related stains to deal with. The best kinds often include a combination of different enzymes that tackle proteins like blood, grease, oil, starch molecules, and soil at the same time.
For removing blood stains, though, focus on cleaners that contain protease, the enzyme that removes protein-based stains. Apart from blood, protease can also remove wine and food marks, as well as urine and feces stains.
8. Rub in Some Laundry Detergent or Soap
Your laundry detergent or even some plain old soap could get the stain off fast if you’ve caught it on time. Both liquid and bar soaps should work here, and you can use a toothbrush to rub the stain. Alternatively, go for a laundry bar or liquid laundry detergent, once again focusing on those whose formulas include some stain-removing enzymes.
9. Pour Some White Vinegar on the Stain
Though the smell may drive you crazy, white vinegar is a powerful stain-remover (and another common household product). All you have to do is pour some of it onto the stain and leave it on for 10‒15 minutes.
Once the vinegar has had time to penetrate the fibers, you can gently rub or blot the blood marks with a damp washcloth to lift the stain. If it is still visible, repeat the process until it’s all gone, and then wash the underwear as usual.
10. Sprinkle Some Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer
As strange as it may sound, some water and unseasoned meat tenderizer may finally get that pesky stain out. If you have an older, really set-in stain to deal with, get a tablespoon of the tenderizer and wet it with some water. Pour the solution into a bowl and mix until you get a paste.
This paste is really strong, so remember to test it on an inconspicuous part of the underwear to ensure it doesn’t ruin it. Once you’re certain it won’t cause worse stains, rub the paste in with your fingers and leave it on for about half an hour or up to an hour.
Final Step: Wash and Dry the Underwear
Once the stain is gone, you have to rinse off the underwear with cold water and then wash it properly. Chemicals, and even stuff like lemon juice, can irritate the skin and your vulva, so it’s crucial to get rid of them to ensure your underwear is fresh and completely clean before you wear it again.
However, don’t use the dryer on your stained panties until you’re 100% sure there’s no remaining blood on them. Much like hot water, hot air can also cement the stain into the fibers.
Instead, air-dry the underwear and check for stains once it’s dry. Should you notice any marks then, try removing them again, perhaps using a different method this time!