In addition to cramps, sore breasts, and other pesky PMS-related symptoms, period stains are unfortunately another thing you need to worry about during your time of the month. Whether you ruin your favorite cotton sheets or bleed right through your undies and go-to pair of leggings, it’s never a fun situation.
Thankfully, there are ways you can get those stains out and give your clothes and sheets a second life. Here, two cleaning experts share their stain-removing tips and tricks. The best part? You probably already have all the ingredients needed at home.
Use cold water and clean it while it’s fresh... When it comes to stains, cold water is always best. “Warm water will set the stains further into the fabrics, rather than removing them,” says Joanne Archer, Expert Home Tips cleaning expert.
The other key thing to remember about period stains is that you have to act fast. “Getting blood stains out is always easier when they are fresh,” says Lily Cameron, cleaning expert at Fantastic Services. “Make a paste of salt and cold water and apply it to the fresh blood stain. Let it air dry and then brush away the affected area.” Afterward, you can throw it in the laundry as usual.
Use cornflour and hang it in the sun... If the salt and cold water paste isn’t strong enough, grab some cornflour from your pantry. “Simply mix together two parts cornflour to one part cold water until you have a thick paste,” Archer says. “Rub the paste into the stain and then hang the fabric in the sun. The sun is one of the best natural stain removers. Brush the dried cornflour off and then launder the fabric as normal.”
Create a baking soda or talcum powder paste... Baking soda and talcum powder can also help to remove period stains. Similar to the cornflour paste, start by mixing one part baking soda or talcum powder with two parts water, Cameron says. Next, moisten the stain with water and apply the paste right on it. Let it dry in the sun and then remove any residue with a brush. Lastly, throw it in the laundry with cold water and it’ll be good as new.
Dab the stain with hydrogen peroxide, club soda, or vinegar... If you don’t have cornflour, baking soda, or talcum powder at home or you just aren’t in the mood to get your hands messy with a paste, hydrogen peroxide, club soda, or vinegar will also do the trick. Cameron recommends applying your liquid of choice directly on the stained area. Let it sit for a few minutes to work its magic in dissolving the stain. Then dab the blood residue with a paper towel and voila!
Give it a good soak... If you’ve tried all the stain-removing tips and tricks and the stain is still not budging, Cameron recommends giving it a really good soak in cold water for six to 12 hours. “This will help loosen the dried blood stains,” she says. Then toss it in the washing machine with cold water and gentle detergent. It might not get the stain out completely, but it will help loosen it up.
Wash your sheets multiple times... Removing period stains from sheets can be especially tricky. That’s why Cameron recommends putting them in the washing machine on a cold cycle with mild detergent. “When the program is over, take out the sheets as soon as possible and avoid drying them in the dryer,” she says. “Take the sheets out and hang them in the sun. If the stain persists, simply repeat the steps until it comes out completely. For white sheets, you can try tackling period stains with bleach.”
Prevention is key... All that said, the best plan of action moving forward is to prevent stains from happening in the first place. If you have a really heavy flow, wear Overnight Pads to protect your sheets. They’re extra long and super absorbent, and they won’t budge while you toss and turn thanks to double wings. During the day, you can wear Long Organic Liners in addition to tampons to catch any leaks. Period Panties are also great for an added layer of protection and peace of mind.