How To Actually Get Rid Of Period Stains

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
Periods can be a drag: the PMS, the cramps, the panic when you can't find a tampon or pad in your bag. But maybe one of the worst side effects of all? Staining endless pairs of underwear. And maybe a pair of jeans, a mattress, and a sheet or two. We’re right there with you.
While period stains are nothing to be ashamed of or worried about, you might not be ready to toss that brand-new pair of undies just yet. But a simple load of laundry doesn’t always do the trick. If your underwear collection is slowly diminishing and your pants could use some aid, the solutions ahead offer simple stain fixes to make your fabric good as new.
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Fresh splotches on clothing and sheets should be doused in ice-cold water as soon as possible. But first, apply a stain remover (local drugstore brands, like Carbona, make ones specifically for blood) to cotton or silk fabric. Using your hands or a brush, work it into the bloodied area. Cotton fabrics can also be doused with a little bleach — but never chlorine bleach, according to The Laundress — on top of your stain solution, for a more effective removal. Once these have been applied, hold your fabric taut under a faucet, letting the pressure from the cold water rinse out the blood. Then, soak it for at least 30 minutes and finish by throwing the garment into a normal load of laundry.
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Set stains that have been sitting for a while (hey, it happens) can be a bit tricky to remove. But it can still be done. Following the same steps as above will help. Instead of stain remover, and as a last-ditch effort, The Laundress notes, you can also try hydrogen peroxide, on light colored fabric only (otherwise you could remove fabric color), or saline solution. Squeeze one of these drugstore products onto your stain, and but be sure to scrub it well into the mark. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes to overnight, rinse with water, and throw in the laundry.

If none of these products are for you, there are DIY alternatives, too. Aka, take a quick rampage through your kitchen. You can quickly create your own spot cleaner with salt or baking soda, though these solutions may not be as effective. Choose your ingredient and mix with water before setting it on your stain, following the same previous steps.
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As for stains on your mattress or sofa, use the same techniques you used on your clothing, but with a little less oomph, since drenching upholstery with product or water means it will have trouble drying. Instead, dab a washcloth, sponge, or cotton ball with your stain remover over the area to get the job done. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the result. According to The Laundress, you can prevent water rings by ironing the area that's been treated using a dry cloth, which will soak up the extra water. But they also warn to stop the treatment if you start to see discoloration or ripples in the fabric, so be mindful.
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