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What to do when your coolest clothes suffer a menstruation mishap

Boss new jarmies, white cotton pants, sexy lingerie… it’s a law of life that you’ll be wearing one of your favourite pieces when the inevitable happens. Menstruation mishaps are something every woman experiences from time to time (and no, they’re not just for teenagers). And anyone who has ever watched daytime TV knows that along with tomato sauce and red wine, getting bloodstains out of fabric is one of the toughest tasks to tackle.

So the question is, do you bin it? Or can you win it? If it’s something you love, it has to be worth a try, right? And you don’t really want to be chucking stuff into landfill for no good reason. So how do you do it? First, a science lesson.

There are four basic types of stain: oxidisable, greasy, enzymatic and particulate. The culprit we’re concerned with here is blood. Blood, along with chocolate and grass, is an enzymatic stain. Enzymatic stains are caused by proteins, which need to be broken down to be removed. Specifically, the enzyme proteases is the one that breaks down the larger molecules into smaller, soluble spots that are easier to wash away. There are various enzyme-based stain removers in the supermarket, so check the label and stock up. Note: this is not the time to be experimenting with home remedies (vinegar, hairspray, toothpaste, Coke, we’re looking at you) when one well-researched product will do the job nicely thank you.

Here’s what to do next.

1 DON’T just chuck your garment in the washing machine and hope for the best. If it doesn’t come clean (it won’t) this will effectively ‘set’ the stain, whereby it forms a chemical bond with the fabric that no woman can put asunder. (Tumble-dry those smalls and you’ve effectively committed undie-cide.)

2 DO get it in some lukewarm (not hot) water ASAP. Nothing thwarts a stain like swift action. Once you have those millennial pink shorts soaking, you can take the time to set up the appropriate treatment.

3 Once the stain is wet, apply an absorbent such as salt or cornstarch. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrape most of it off and rinse the rest out again with water.

4 Apply the enzymatic stain remover lightly to the inside of the garment so it soaks through and drives the stain toward the surface, not deeper into the fabric. Then lay it face down on a clean paper towel. This gives the stain somewhere to go, rather than just spreading out.

5 Before the stain remover dries completely (up to an hour, check the packaging for instructions) wash your precious item, either by hand or in the washing machine, in a separate load.

And hey presto, that’s welcome home to your beloved below-the-waist style savers. You’re welcome.

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