If you menstruate, chances are you've accidentally stained a pair or two of undies, or bled through to your outfit, during a cycle.
Although this is of course nothing to be ashamed of – sometimes menstrual blood leaks despite your best efforts – it doesn't have to mean your undies are destined for the bin.
Here, we look at a variety of different treatments you can use to remove period stains from underwear and clothing.
NOTE: Period undies are designed to absorb blood, so the below advice doesn't necessarily apply and may affect how well they work. Instead, you should simply clean them after use, following the manufacturer's instructions. For more information, see our period undies review.
When it comes to removing blood stains, or any stain, the sooner you treat it, the better the results.
"If you can't pop it in the wash straight away, treating with stain remover and soaking in cold water overnight will help," says CHOICE household expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro.
Rinse or soak in cold water
You should never use hot water to treat blood stains – the heat binds the proteins in the blood, permanently setting it in the fabric.
If the stain is fresh, cold water may be enough to remove it entirely. Simply hold the stained area under cold running water for a few minutes to rinse the area. You can also soak stained undies in cold water for 10 minutes or overnight before washing on a cold cycle.
Treat with store-bought stain remover
Spray or apply your preferred stain remover according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Not sure which product works best? We tested more than 30 different stain removers to find out how well they get rid of blood stains.
The three products with the highest scores are:
Price: $1.25 (500ml)
Price per 100mL: $0.25
Blood removal score: 80%
Price: $4.15 (400ml)
Price per 100mL: $1.04
Blood removal score: 78%
Price: $1.30 (500ml)
Price per 100mL: $0.26
Blood removal score: 77%
Treat with a home remedy
This is a powerful bleaching and cleaning agent that can help remove period stains. But due to its bleaching capability, you may want to use this on light coloured fabric only.
Dip a wash cloth or rag in the hydrogen peroxide and dab it directly on the stain until it disappears. You may need to repeat the process. Once the stain has gone, rinse the undies in cold water and pop them in the wash on a cold cycle.
The acidity in lemon juice can help remove period stains. Pour lemon juice over the spot and let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary, then wash on a cold cycle.
Mix up a solution of one part salt and two parts cold water. Gently apply to the stain and rub gently. You may need to repeat the process and then rinse and wash in cold water.
Make a paste of two parts baking soda and one part water and apply to the stain. Let it sit for anything between 30 minutes to overnight depending on the stain, then rinse and wash as normal (in a cold wash).
Skip the dryer
Unless you're certain you've got every last bit of stain out, you should air dry your undies instead of putting them in the tumble dryer.
This is because, like hot water, hot air from the dryer can cause any remaining blood to set.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.