This is an incredibly common query- we are often asked about period stains on cloth pads or underwear, and if stains mean that an item of clothing is fit only for the trash can.
Are there any special precautions required when dealing with menstrual blood? And what’s the magic trick for getting out those stubborn blood stains? Hot water or cold water?
Removing blood stains can be a tricky business, but once you’ve learned how to treat blood stains, you’ll never again consider tossing an item of clothing just because of a little stain.
Keep reading to discover our top tips!
First things first: Blood Stains Happen
We think that it’s important first of all to point out that blood stains happen, and that they are nothing to be ashamed of. While there is a great deal of stigma around menstruation, period blood is in fact just as clean as any other blood in your body, and it’s not a hazard unless you carry bloodborne disease.
Therefore, if you do have a leak, there is no need to toss your favourite pair of underwear or trousers- you can safely treat the stain, and we’d be more than happy to tell you how!
Does period blood contain bacteria?
In spite of the stigma around reproductive health, period blood is not dirty blood, and is more or less sterile while in the uterus. When monthly flow commences, menstrual blood leaks out of the vagina, where it can meet bacteria.
This does not make it unsafe to treat period stains, provided that you are not the carrier of bloodborne disease.
How to remove fresh blood stains
Lets start with a few basic tips to help you tackle period stains-
- Ideally, act fast. Don’t wait until wash day to remove blood stains.
- Immediately run the affected garment under cold running water. Your instinct may lead you to warm water or even hot water, but actually hot water is likely to set the stain while soaking in cool or cold water can remove a period blood stain very effectively. The coldest water is probably the best option!
- Your nails or an old toothbrush are perfect tools to help you gently scrub out those stains.
If those tricks don’t work, it’s time to get a bit more serious about that period blood stain! Before you reach for an expensive stain remover, know that there are all kinds of natural tricks out there, from using unseasoned meat tenderizer to crushed aspirin or white vinegar- we’ve picked our top recommendations.
Simply combine one part salt to two parts cold water in a small bowl, and gently apply the salt mix to the stain with a wet cloth. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. Believe it or not, your regular table salt is a surprisingly effective stain remover. If you use contact lenses, your saline solution will have the same effect on the fabric’s fibers.
Like salt, this one is handy as it’s likely you have baking soda in your baking cupboard.
Make up a thick paste using just a little water (use cold water) and baking soda. You can apply this baking soda paste directly to the blood stain. Again, wash thoroughly after washing your clothes. Keep repeating if the stain is stubborn!
The acidity of lemon juice can help break down those pesky period stains! When removing blood stains our of underwear, simply cut a lemon in half, and rub the lemon juice directly on to the garment, then watch the stain disappear in front of your very eyes!
If you pop the items on to the line to air dry, the sun is also a powerful natural stain remover and should help erase period blood stains. You can keep dampening the period stain with lemon juice to maximise effects. Wash out the lemon juice when the stain has been dealt with.
Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly used antiseptic and you may well already have it at home in your medicine cabinet. Many do not realise that hydrogen peroxide is also an effective stain remover- however, please note: Hydrogen peroxide is a bleach and is recommended only for light-coloured pants. Do not apply hydrogen peroxide in darker fabrics.
Use rubber gloves. Put a little hydrogen peroxide into one bowl then either dip the stained fabric into liquid or use a trusted old toothbrush and gently rub to work out those period stains. This can be particularly effective against older stains.
How to get dried blood stains out of clothing?
Ideally, you should deal with blood stains as soon as possible, but you still get period stains out at a later stage. Stain removal can be harder for older stains but our tips have a lot of cleaning power!
If you’re struggling to get period blood stains out of underwear, we would recommend first of all soaking the stained area in cold water overnight to shift any remaining blood stains. You might also try gently scrubbing the stain gently with a toothbrush to get the blood out- use a little liquid laundry detergent or hand soap. Remember to be gentle with delicate fabrics.
Next, follow the cleaning process as above to get period blood out fast.
Most importantly, and we can’t stress this enough- skip the hot water and tackle the stained area with cold water instead. The same applies to hot air, so no tumble drying!
After you get period stains out, wash the garments once more on a normal setting or cold wash to remove any residue before wearing, since your skin in the intimate area is super delicate.
Period Stains: The Take Home Message
While white underwear may not be the best choice while you are menstruating, you really shouldn’t have to have a separate underwear drawer for when you’re on your period- as long as you know how to remove period stains.
It’s very well worth trying to remove period stains using natural methods or products you already have at home. A great first step is to let the garment sit overnight in cold water or to wash on cold- this should prevent the stain from setting, as well as helping with stain removal.
Oxygenated bleaches and enzymatic cleaners are great all purpose stain removers-an enzyme cleaner can even help with sweat stains as well as getting stains out of underwear. The natural acidity of lemon juice can even help remove a stain from period underwear.