It happens to everyone who has a period at some point. During one of your monthly menstrual cycles you will inevitably find yourself dealing with a leakage that leaves a blood stain. While it’s completely normal and nothing to feel embarrassed about, you’re going to want to act fast to remove the mark.
Knowing how to remove a period blood stain depends on a few things. Firstly, the garment that has been marked. If it’s lightweight clothing like pyjamas or underwear that’s affected, we can tackle it swiftly at home, but sometimes we get caught out when we’re out of the house and wearing trickier fabrics.
Understanding how to remove a period blood stain involves a little science. Think about how blood in the body works: it’s packed full of proteins that clot together when we cut ourselves to stop us bleeding. The same process happens when blood gets somewhere we don’t want it to — like on our favourite tartan skirt. Annoying!
Here are Miss Vogue’s top five tips for how to remove period blood stains.
Act Quickly & Keep It Wet
As with all stains, a still-wet one is easier to tackle than one that’s dried-in. When you spy that blood spot, try to take immediate action to remove it. The best place to start is at the sink, by running the stain under the cold — we repeat, cold — tap until the water runs clear and the stain has, hopefully, more or less vanished. This might be enough, but some more stubborn, dried-in stains might take a little more effort. If you wake up and notice a leak but are dashing out the door, try and at least soak the stained garments with a few tablespoons of table salt before you go, which will make tackling it properly when you get home easier.
Reach For The Soap
If you find that cold water alone isn’t doing the job, then turn to soap for extra help. At this stage, it doesn’t really matter which soap, as most — including bar and hand soaps — will help lift the mark if it’s fresh.
Look For Something Stronger
Still no good? Then it’s time to raid the kitchen cupboards. White vinegar can help – pour it on to the stain and then launder the item as you normally would. Baking soda and lemon juice also have stain-removing properties. If you’re after something purpose-made, rather than a homespun alternative, try a product like Vanish’s Oxy Action on the stain. More often than not these things will already be to hand in your home.
Treat Before You Wash
Next up, get the washing machine involved – but make sure you’ve at least attempted to tackle the stain before you put a wash on. Never just throw in a stained garment hoping that a normal 30C spin cycle will fix it. Once you have treated the stain, we recommend Persil Small & Mighty or Ariel’s Original Liquid in the washing machine.
All Is Not Lost
If the period blood stain is still visible, you’re likely dealing with a mark that was left too long before being treated, or a particularly tricky fabric. Try the process once again and you might see results, as the efficacy of the topical products increases with every try. If you’re working with a delicate fabric then consider consulting an expert cleaner.
Written by Naomi Pike
This article originally appeared on Vogue UK.