Never let those period stains ruin your favourite clothes again! By Alyssa Dhaliwal
Photo: serezniy / www.123rf.com
It’s rough work being a woman. We recently calculated the amount of time the average woman spends having her period, and it’s more than a little upsetting. Say you get your period when you’re 12 and menopause arrives at 52, that’s 40 whole years of periods. If you get about 13 periods a year, and they last five or six days each (which I not-so-fondly refer to as Shark Week), that’s about 70 days a year you spend bleeding. If you multiply that by 40 years, it becomes eight whole years of your life that you spend painfully dependent on (really expensive) pads, tampons, diva cups, hot water bottles and pain killers.
Just the bleeding alone would be torture enough, but to add cramps, bloating, cravings and mood swings on top of that? What did we ever do to deserve such a fate???
But we digress. If you spend approx. 70 days a year bleeding, there’s a very high chance you’re going to get blood on something. Especially if you aren’t on any kind of cycle-regulating birth control which means Shark Week sometimes hits you unexpectedly (much like love, diarrhoea, or a stranger’s terrible body odour on a crowded MRT). And you know, sometimes even with all the protection you wear, it’s still entirely possible to get blood on your clothes (don’t you dare sneeze), because period leakage is a thing that defies the laws of nature. True fact.
Is any of this sounding familiar to you? If so, we feel you, and we’re here to help you out. And hopefully, you won’t ever have to sacrifice any more of your favourite underwear. After reading this handy little primer you’ll be armed with enough information about removing blood stains for people to wonder if you’re a murderer. Nope…just an unlucky human being who bleeds every four weeks.
The number one rule is that sooner is always better than later
Fresh blood is a lot easier to wash out than blood that has dried and lodged itself in the fibres of your clothes. You also want to wash the blood out in the direction it entered the fabric, preventing it from getting further into the material. In other words, bloodied side facing down. Hold the material taut with the stain directly beneath the running water. The pressure of the water will help push the blood out.
Always use cold water
This is another thing that people frequently get wrong. Hot water can actually cause the blood to set into the fabric instead, so always run the stain under a cold stream of water, the colder the better. You’ll be surprised at just how much of the blood comes out with a rinse if you get to it soon enough. A small amount of laundry detergent immediately after should get the rest of the stain out. In the same vein, never put a stained outfit in the dryer, because that’ll just set the stain in its ways.
Try a salt solution
If water on its own doesn’t work well, you can try soaking the stained material in a mix of salt and cold water. If you’re in a pinch in the middle of nowhere and dealing with a manageable amount of blood, you can always use saline eye drops or a contact lens solution to get most of it out. Hydrogen Peroxide works too (on white non-delicates!)
For more stubborn stains and blood that has had time to dry, you can try an assortment of household items like hydrogen peroxide or baking soda (make it into a paste with water and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight). Keep the bleaching agents for your whites though, or you will ruin your garments either way.
Fun fact: word on the street is that some unseasoned meat tenderiser will also do wonders at getting out blood stains because it breaks down the protein in the blood. We’ve yet to try that out for ourselves, but if you have some lying around, have a go at it and let us know!
A version of this article first appeared on www.herworldplus.com.