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Ladyguides – How To Get Out a Period Stain

Yeah that’s right, ladies, Persephone Magazine isn’t afraid to talk about our periods.  I have managed to get period blood on all manner of washables and non-washables; here are the tried and true tips for getting that pernicious uterine lining out of your unmentionables (and everywhere else it manages to end up).

1. Always use cold water. Rinse the stain under cold water ASAP.  Soak it if possible, but since sometimes you don’t always have a private sink, that isn’t always an option, so you can just rinse it well.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide – I always use peroxide on my underwear.  Be careful though, because it can bleach things, so don’t use it on something you are worried about.  I always just wet the item of clothing and pour peroxide on it and rub it around, rinse it out, wring it out and repeat.  You can also soak the item in straight hydrogen peroxide for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it out.  You can also pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto a stain on a mattress and blot it out.

3. Salt - I have never actually tried this but supposedly you can dampen the item, pour salt on it, and rub the fabric together until the stain is mostly out.

4. Club Soda - The favored stain removal method of your mom, there’s a reason.  You can just soak the item in club soda for 15-20 minutes.

5. Soap - If you use soap, use something like Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap.  For some reason (science) things like dish or regular hand soap don’t really work.

6. Ammonia – Here’s another one I’ve never tried because the thought of soaking my clothes in ammonia seems like it could be disastrous.  But for dry-clean only fabrics, they recommend blotting at the stain with a 1:1 ammonia to water solution.  Then you rinse it in cold water and dry with a hair dryer.

Never put your clothes in hot water or the dryer until the stain is completely gone.  But, if it’s too late for that, congratulations, you now have a new pair of period panties!

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Luci Furious

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35 thoughts on “Ladyguides – How To Get Out a Period Stain”

  1. Since we’re talking about period stains here, I’m not afraid to admit that I wear washable pads during my period. There is no possible more intense stain than in those. To be perfectly honest, the directions say to wash in the hottest water possible and that would seem counter-intuitive. However, they also recommend soaking your “unmentionables” in a jar or bucket of cold water (overnight if necessary) first and rinsing them before throwing them in the wash. In spite of the gaily colored patterns I have never had a stain that stuck or the need to bleach them. Sometimes, I even add a few drops of Dr. Bronners Lavender scented castile soap to the soak water.

  2. Oxyclean. Doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin either. Despite logic I soak blood stained clothes in a oxyclean with the hottest water that the fabric allows.

    Oxyclean and Simple Green are my household best buds.

  3. Disclaimer: I have never tried this and I have no idea if this science is valid at all.

    I once read* that Margaret Cho pees into her bloody underwear because the enzymes in your urine match the enzymes in your menstrual blood. This helps pick up the blood from the fabric, but then, of course you have to wash the urine out of your underwear.

    *on Twitter, perhaps?

  4. I’m a huge fan of peroxide, too. Like @cynicalpink, I enjoy the bubbles. Borax, faithful remover of grass stains and cat pee smell, is also really good at cutting through blood. Pre-treating with the expensive laundry soap and doing a pre-soak in the washer with half a cup of Borax works like a charm.

    My mom used ammonia to clean my dad’s work overalls (he made transmissions, got covered in oil all the time), it’s a great grease cutter. I’ve never heard of trying it on blood stains. I do use it to clean my oven racks, but I don’t cook on my sheets or in my underpants. Except metaphorically.

    I’ve been uterus-free for two years and I have to say I don’t miss Surprise!Period! one little bit.

  5. I’ve heard that if the stain is somewhat new, spit can help. Something about the properties in spit that help break down food also being useful in loosening up blood stains.
    Has anyone actually tried this one?

    1. Mildly embarrassed to admit this, but yes. I believe I didn’t have access to water, so I was trying to put something on it to keep a stain from setting.
      Surprisingly, it seemed to work better than just water, especially when combined with a dabbing/pressing action with a tissue, rather than rubbing like you might under a stream of water.
      Also, if you’re out, it seems a little more discrete than walking out of a bathroom stall to rinse your underwear in the sink.

  6. Something we’re all likely to have around: dish soap. Designed to cut through oil and grease and, you know, blood and stuff.
    If it can wash the hamburger helper off your dishes, it can also help take blood out of your clothes.

  7. I’ve recently decided that I’m an Adult, but I still have problems with the prediction of my period and staining underwear…I pledged to be A) Be more aware of the timing B) Wear panty-liners.

    I haven’t tried these yet, but I do have most of these soluttions at the house…if I stain my new line of undies I will surely try these.

    Also: Tip for getting blood out of whites – soak in warm water and powdered DISH soap. Works like a charm and doesn’t bleach anything.

    1. Semi-related, I downloaded a free phone app to keep track of my period because I’m terrible at it. I finally decided enough with the monthly surprise. Seriously, I cannot pay attention to my body without help. Might be worth a shot if you have a phone that uses apps.

        1. Mine is an iPhone app. called iPeriod (creative, I know). It lets you track the dates, heaviness, symptoms, etc. of your period. Also helps predict fertility (great for natural family planning types) and you can even track your “love connections” as the app refers to it.
          You might want to just try tracking it yourself on your BB calendar if you think you can stay on top of it, not being surprised has improved my recent life muchly.

          1. I use a web based one: http://monthlyinfo.com/

            There are some pretty cool graphs and pictures that let you see how your cycles vary and what stage of ovulation you’re at currently. You can also set it to email you a certain number of days before you’re scheduled to start ruining your favorite panties.

            I also set it to email my boyfriend. It tells him to start looking for a way to provide me with a cupcake. Because cupcakes clearly fight cramps.

  8. Hydrogen peroxide has never failed me.
    (And may I just say, the phrase ‘period panties’ always makes me laugh because my favorite pair has tiny black polka dots, so my period panties have periods all over them.)

    1. Seconded. Though by the time the set-in (gone through the wash & dryer once) stain is there, I consider it a lost cause. And let’s be honest, it usually takes until the next time I want to wear that item that I notice that I was a slob.

      1. I find that the shout with the scrubby brush on it actually works even on set stains. Sometimes the hydrogen peroxide trick works on them, too, and it works for me on period stains even after I’ve forgotten and run them through the dryer. Sometimes it takes two or three washes with the pre-treating to get it all the way out, but I’ve been able to save numerous shirts from a sentence of being strictly in-house lazy clothes.

    2. I use OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover spray and while I’ve never tried it on blood, it works really amazing for set in coffee, hot sauce, and grease stains- spray it generously and let set for about 2 minutes (I’ve never waited longer than that) and throw in washer with regular amount of detergent. I have a tendency to drink coffee while lounging in bed and we have a white duvet cover- this stuff works every time!

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