As if all the other PMS symptoms (cramping, poops) that come with a period weren't bad enough, there's nothing like seeing a bright red blood stain on your favourite underwear or sheets to make things worse.
Luckily, period stains are common, and if you're someone with a period, chances are, you know how annoying these surprise stains can be. In this guide, we'll teach you the best ways to get rid of any period stain!
In a rush? Read this quick summary:
- Period stains are common, and there are many ways to get rid of them.
- For fresh stains, run the fabric under cold water and let the blood dissolve on its own. You can also incorporate some gentle rubbing with soap.
- Older, dried stains can be harder to remove, and you'll need to try some other techniques, including vinegar, baking soda, or stain removers.
- The best way to stop period stains is to prevent them in the first place by planning properly and using the right level of protection.
First things first
There are two main rules when it comes to removing any type of blood from fabrics, and this depends on whether it's a fresh stain, or an older, more stubborn stain.
For fresh stains
When it comes to stains on fabric, stay away from hot water! While it can be tempting to go straight for boiling water and a scrubber, this will only worsen things, as heat can set the stain and make it much more difficult to get rid of. Ice cold water is your best friend when it comes to stain removal.
If you're lucky enough to catch a fresh blood stain before it's had time to fully dry, start by putting the fabric under cold water in your sink or bath, allowing the force of the water to dissolve the blood. If there is any leftover blood, use a bar of soap and scrub the rest of the stain out with your fingers. Try to rub gently to avoid taking the colour out of the fabric.
For older, dried stains
When it comes to dried blood stains, things can get a bit trickier. But don't worry, even old blood stains can be removed with a little trial and error. There are plenty of things that you can try to get the stains out of your fave fabrics!
For old stains, grab a bowl and fill it with 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar. Pop the fabric in the bowl to soak for 30 minutes, and then rinse it. After this, put the fabric in the washing machine on a cold wash, and voila, your stain should disappear.
If vinegar doesn't do the trick, you can also use hydrogen peroxide by applying a dab directly on the stain, then rinse well with cold water, and toss it in the washing machine. Be careful though — hydrogen peroxide does cause colours to fade in the same way bleach does, so use it only on whites or light-coloured items.
Vaginal discharge can also cause stains in your underwear, and vinegar is a great way to get these stains out as well.
Our five top tips for getting rid of period stains:
As we age, we produce less estrogen which leads to the end of menstruation during a time known as perimenopause. Vaginal dryness is a common perimenopause and menopause symptom, however, there can be other causes. These can include:
1. A good, long soak
If you’re having no luck with all the stain-removing tips and tricks, try giving the fabric a good soak in cold water for 6 to 12 hours. This is an especially good trick for getting period stains out of underwear, as it can help loosen the dried period blood. Once it's completely soaked, put it through the washing machine on a cold wash with gentle detergent.
2. Wash your sheets a few times
Leaked through to your sheets? It can be a especially tricky removing period stains from sheets, so putting them through a cold wash multiple times can really help to remove stubborn stains. Try this 2-3 times and if you're still having no luck, bleach can be great for tackling stains on white sheets.
3. Create a baking soda paste
Baking soda can also be great to remove period stains, and it's really easy to make your own paste at home. Start by mixing one part baking soda with two parts water. Then, put some water onto the stained area and apply the paste right onto it with your fingers or a toothbrush.
After you've done this, let it dry on its own and remove any residue with a brush. If you've noticed a period stain on your mattress, baking soda can be especially good as it's easy to dab on and leave to dry. A quick tip: you can also try using a mattress protector to make future accidents easier to deal with.
4. Hang it in the sun
Although heat (like kettle water and a tumble dryer) is a big no-no for removing blood stains, natural sunshine has great stain-removing properties, especially for breaking down the proteins in stains like period blood. So, if you've got access to an outdoors space, leave your clothes to dry in direct sunlight and watch those stains fade away.
5. Use a stain remover
If all else fails, you can visit your local store and let the professionals get to work by purchasing a good quality stain remover. There's plenty of different stain removers available on the market that claim to remove even the toughest stains.
Why do period stains happen?
Period stains generally only happen for a couple of reasons — you aren't planning properly and you get caught off guard, or you're not wearing the right level of protection on your period.
You aren't planning properly
It happens to all of us. You leave home and forget to pack your period products, or you forget to track your period and get surprised when your period starts with zero warning! Relax. It happens to everyone, but you can be better prepared!
Try using a period tracker to track your menstrual cycle. This will let you know when to expect your period. You can also try wearing period underwear to keep you protected and prepared, whenever your period arrives.
You're not wearing the right level of period protection
Period protection is absorbent and works well to keep you free from leaks — if you’re wearing it correctly. If you're using pads and tampons, you'll usually need to change them every 3-4 hours to avoid leaks, and you'll need to check the absorbency of the product you're buying.
If you want something that lasts a bit longer, you can try a menstrual cup, which can be worn for up to 12 hours before you'll need to empty it. Period underwear is also a great choice, as they come in many absorbencies, perfect for light or heavy bleeding, and can be worn for up to 12 hours before they need to be changed.
Breathable period pants keep you leak-free and comfortable
When it comes to dealing with period stains, the best thing to do is prevent them in the first place! Use a period tracking app so that you know when your period is on its way, always keep period protection on deck, and finally, think about switching to period underwear. From High Waist to Boxer Shorts, there's a style of period underwear out there to suit you.
Our period pants look like regular underwear, but they're moisture-wicking, super absorbent and completely leak-proof, keeping you fresh and dry from any types of leaks for up to 12 hours. They're also super cute and stain-resistant, which means you won't have to worry about ugly period stains in what will be your favourite new undies — period days or not!