If you’re like me, you’ve ruined more than a few good pairs of underwear due to period leakage. Especially during the heaviest day of my cycle, it’s almost a given to wake up with blood-stained underwear—despite my best attempts to layer pads, use a tampon and a pad, etc. The worst part is, I like nice underwear. The kind of underwear for which the price point prohibits simply replacing it every time I ruin a pair. So, I keep wearing them. Blood-stained, lacy underwear.

As I near 30, I find myself wanting to make little changes to make myself, well, feel 30. One of which is to quit with the blood-stained underwear. So! Instead of shrugging and throwing my period-soaked panties into the hamper (I’m gross, I know), I scoured the internet to find the most tried and true ways to finally get rid of blood stains—without having to replace my underwear every month.

For fresh period blood stains

If the blood is still wet, it’s possible to get it out simply with water and a little hand soap. Place the fabric under running cold or lukewarm water and allow the blood to rinse out. If there is residual blood, try scrubbing in a bit of hand soap.

Remove stubborn stains with household items

Dab hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and then rinse with water. Lemon can also work, but keep in mind you’ll only want to use hydrogen peroxide and lemon on lighter clothes, as they can cause colors to fade. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide handy, you can crush up Aspirin with water to make a paste to dab on the stain. For colored material (or if you’re really in a pinch), try using baking soda, salt (or saline solution, if you’re a contact lens wearer) and water. In any of these cases, if the stain is particularly stubborn, follow up with a regular stain remover and throw in the washing machine as soon as possible.

Use a blood-specific stain remover

If you’re fortunate enough to be at home when your leak occurs, you might have access to your laundry cabinet. One item that’s always smart to stock (if you’re a living, breathing, bleeding woman)? Carbona Blood & Dairy stain remover. Bonus: it costs $2.

Washing your garment post-stain treatment

Whichever treatment you apply to the blood stain, let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing. Be sure to wash on a cold water cycle, and inspect it again before throwing it in the dryer, as the heat could solidify what’s left of the stain, making it near impossible to get out once it’s dried.

What if it’s not just my underwear?

A particularly bad leak might make its way through to your mattress, which makes “just hold it under the faucet” a bit more difficult. Try using household items first on your mattress to avoid adding unnecessary chemicals to the place you lay your head each night. Soak the corner of a washcloth with hydrogen peroxide and dab at the blood, being careful not to smear it or rub it in. Also, make sure you don’t drench the mattress or pour the solution directly onto it or it will take forever to dry.

You’re likely reading this not as a preventative measure, but frantically, with a blood-stained garment nearby. Test out the household methods and throw a bottle of Carbona in your basket next time you’re checking out on Amazon. Accidents happen but if it’s a frequent occurrence, consider the period products you’re using and make sure they’re designed for leak protection.

Featured image by Valentina Corral

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