Leaking blood when you have your period is gross enough. But then you’re faced with the icky task of trying to scrub the mess from your clothes and bedding before stains sets inâ€”and you’re forced to trash another pair of panties or set of sheets. Luckily, there are easy ways to get the red out fast so you can salvage your garments and get back to lying on the couch and popping ibuprofen. Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha, shares her favourite tips.
For Fresh Stains
Put the fabric under cold or lukewarm running water in your sink or bathtub, letting the force of the water itself dissolve the blood. If residual blood remains, lather up some soap, and scrub the rest of the stain out with your fingers or a scrub brush. “Regular hand or bath soap works really well on blood,” says Kerr.
For Older, Dried, or Super Stubborn Stains
“Dab a washcloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide directly on the spot, then rinse well with water,” says Kerr. Toss it in the washing machine as you normally would. Even if you don’t do laundry for a few days, the stain should disappear. (Warning: This works best on whites or light-colored items because hydrogen peroxide can cause colors to fade the way bleach does.) Spray on an anti-stain all-purpose laundry product, or use a spot cleaner that specifically targets blood. You can find them in drugstores; Kerr recommends Carbona Stain Devils #4 ($3.49, carbona.com). Then put the item in the wash as usual.
If You Need to DIY It with Things Already Around the House
When you’re out of hydrogen peroxide or spot cleaner or you’re away from home and have no access to soap (hey, it happens), Jolie suggests using this method instead: “Crush up a few aspirin pills, combine them with water to make a paste, and put it on the stain,” she says. “It’ll do a good job of removing it.” A packet of salt or a few spoons of baking soda also work the same way.