I will never forget the first time my period leaked in my underwear. A young and embarrassed me quickly scrunched up the underwear and hid them in the laundry basket, hoping no one would notice. My mum, surely no stranger to laundry stains having had three kids previously, came to me for a quiet word a few days later. She offered a piece of advice that has stuck with me well into my adult life. Now, a little older and a little wiser but still prone to the odd leakage, I have a handful of tips to rely on to prevent and get rid of period stains. So Moja fans, here they are…
Pssst! Not a menstruator? Keep reading anyway. These tips are good for all kinds of stains.
- Cold water (thanks, Mum!)
It really is as simple as cold water. When you notice you’ve leaked in your underwear or onto clothing or sheets, you want to get them in water as soon as possible and keep them wet until they go in with the next wash. The question of hot or cold water is quite debated but cold seems to have done the best all these years.
- Keep it cotton
When you are buying new underwear with sustainability in mind, cotton is the way to go. Cotton is a very breathable fabric, making it super healthy down there, but also very absorbent. Its durability means it can also stand warmer temperatures if needed. Careful not to wash too hot though, as this can actually tighten up the fibres of the fabric and trap bacteria! But cotton can also take a little scrubbing to get rid of the more persistent stains. Lots of these lace or spandex or fancy pants can’t take the heat and so stains often hang around longer. Better to go with a pair of pants with high cotton content so you can wash them over and over without worrying about damaging the fabric.
- Baking soda & vinegar against stains
There are lots of low impact laundry tips to help you wash in a way that is kinder to the environment. But a good tip for stubborn stains caused by a pesky period is baking soda and vinegar. Just as with the cold water method, it is great if you can pour vinegar over the spot as fast as possible after you’ve leaked. However, a handy trick for stains that have already set in is to mix up vinegar and baking soda into a paste and gently scrub the area with an old toothbrush or similar. Let it soak in for a while and then throw it in the machine as normal. Caution advised for some fabrics, of course!
- Sun bleaching to keep tighty whities bright
When choosing your underwear with stain prevention in mind, you might be inclined to go for dark colours or even black. However, there are some benefits to having whites around your intimate area, or just for under lighter clothing. The most natural and easy way to bleach white clothing is sunshine! Leave your wet pants out for a few hours, laid as flat as possible with the stain in the direct sunlight. It’s as simple as that. You can also mix up a little lemon juice diluted with water to dab onto the blood stain for extra power. We recommend a quick internet search on this one to find what’s best for your fabric.
Bonus: A few tips to prevent period leaks at night!
Despite all the positivity and normalisation movements, it’s always a bit awkward when you leak onto the sheets of a friend or partner… Here’s a shortlist of things to try to maintain control over leaking in your sleep.
- Clean fresh sanitary pad / tampon before sleeping
- Double up for extra security; a pad as backup for your tampon or cup, or try two pads as a T shape
- Boxer shorts: A nice firm pair of boxer shorts over the top of your regular pants with the pad to keep everything in place overnight
- Recovery position: A comfortable position helps minimise fidgeting and helps your pad stay in a more “catchable” position, less prone to side or back leakage
- And of course, a few pairs of black underwear that have more coverage (like a full brief) are great to better prevent and disguise any period leaks.
Written by Dolly Hughes: Dolly is a young and passionate influencer who loves exploring all things vegan and ethical. Check out her Instagram page here.