Remove Period Stains From Your Underwear in 5 Easy, Expert-Backed Steps
No need to say goodbye to your favorite undies.
Many of us learned about period undies early on in our menstruation journeys. They’re those ugly pairs of underwear you wear while on your period because you don’t care if they get blood stains. What most of us have had to learn about the hard way is that there are also unintended period undies. These are the pairs of underwear you do care about that unfortunately end up getting stained.
Don’t worry, though—we’re here to help make your period stains go away. Blood can indeed be harder to remove than other spills or spots (this is because of something called hemoglobin, which causes blood to clot and bind to fabrics more quickly), but it’s not impossible to get rid of them. With a bit of patience and stain-fighting products, a period bloodstain doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for your favorite undies. Keep reading to find out how to effectively remove period stains from your underwear.
How to remove period stains:
1. Work quickly.
Don’t throw your blood-stained underwear into the hamper and forget about them. For the best chance of removing period stains entirely, you should tackle them as soon as possible. As with any liquid spills, the longer blood is left on fabric, the more it will absorb and set into the fibers, making it more difficult to remove later. So, as soon as you spot those unwelcome period stains, you should remove the underwear, get yourself the necessary menstrual products to stop the leaks, and get to work.
2. Use cold water.
Resist your instincts to turn on hot water. While we often associate “hot” with “clean,” running hot water over bloodstains can make them worse. Hot water can make the proteins in the blood bind to fabric fibers more, setting in the stain and making it harder to remove. For the same reason, you should avoid throwing your blood-stained underwear in a hot water wash cycle and hoping for the best.
Instead, Barbara Goldstein, director of corporate communications for the cleaning brand Biz, recommends filling your sink with cold water and letting the underwear soak along with the assistance of some stain-fighting ingredients.
3. Use stain removal products.
Water alone won’t be enough to get rid of the tough stain, so add some stain-removal products to the mix to make your cleaning process easier. Goldstein specifically recommends using an enzyme-based stain remover or detergent.
“In enzyme cleaners, these microscopic proteins get in between cracks, crevices, and fibers to break down stains and subsequent odors until those particles are totally eradicated,” she says. Add one spoonful of the stain remover or detergent for every quart of water and let your blood-stained underwear soak in the solution for three to four hours. Once done soaking, remove the underwear, shake off the excess water, and apply stain remover or detergent directly to the stain, if it’s still there. However, Goldstein cautions to be careful not to scrub at the stain, since that can force it deeper into the fabric.
Shop enzyme cleaners below.
Presto! 96% Biobased Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent
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Biz Laundry Detergent Powder Booster, Stain & Odor Removal
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Hint: These enzyme cleaners will be great to have on hand for any stain, not just those from period blood.
4. Make a DIY stain removal solution
If you prefer a more natural cleaning route, you can also use household products to make your own DIY stain removing solution. According to the period underwear brand Knix, the below ingredients—all of which you might have in your kitchen right now—can be used to remove period stains.
Lemon juice: Much like the enzyme cleaners mentioned above, the citric acid in lemons can help break down period stains. To use this method on your blood-stained underwear, simply cut a lemon in half and rub the juice directly on the stain until you see it disappear. Then rinse your underwear with cold water.
Salt: This essential food seasoning can also work to help remove period stains. Make a saltwater mixture using one part salt and two parts water, then cover the stain in the solution and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. The dehydrating properties of salt will help to pull the water and blood from the fabric. Rinse in cold water once the stain has been lifted.
Baking soda: Baking soda is another great household stain remover as it can help to lift stains out of fabric. Like the salt mixture above, you can mix baking soda with water to create a stain removal solution—except with the ratio swapped for two parts baking soda and one part water. Apply the paste to the stain, letting it sit for as long as needed, and rinse when finished.
Warning: Both lemon juice and baking soda can have lightening effects on clothing, so you may want to avoid using these methods on darker colored underwear.
5. Run your underwear through the wash.
Whether you reached for a store bought product or used your own stain removal concoction, you should follow up with a standard wash cycle. Goldstein recommends washing underwear with a color-safe bleach for extra stain-removing power. However, if the stain is still visible after washing, be sure to skip the dryer as the heat will set in what’s left of the stain. To remove the remaining bloodstain, repeat the steps above until it’s completely gone.
Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach
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While it may seem like a lot of effort to remove period stains, these steps will be worth it to salvage some of your favorite underwear. Plus, the less underwear you have to toss and replace, the better.