Everyday Household Items That Are Stellar When It Comes To Treating Period Stains

If you're sick and tired of your period ruining your stuff, here are some non-bleach solutions to get the blood out.

Women's Health

As someone who will be turning 46 in June (shout out to my fellow Geminis) and has made complete peace about not birthing any babies, I must say that every time the third week of the month rolls around, I find myself saying to my body, "Really? So, we're still on this period ish, huh?" More and more, I'm learning to just let things flow—pun intended and not intended—when it comes to things I can't control, though. So instead, as far as my period is concerned, I've been looking for ways to make it a little bit easier on me.

First up—if you want to significantly reduce your PMS-related symptoms, evening primrose oil will totally change your life. Next up—y'all, I don't know what took me so freakin' long, but I finally did get a menstrual cup and whoa. I am totally in love (if you've got a really heavy flow, I recommend investing in a Merula XL). And third, when it comes to those annoying blood stains that are pretty much unavoidable at times, I've found a way to nip them in the bud—quick, fast and in a hurry.

As far as cleaning hacks go, I will say that, more than anything, cold water is your friend. It's always a good idea to soak stained fabric in it and to wash your panties and sheets in it too. Also, until the stain is gone, avoid putting fabrics in the dryer; heat has a way of setting stains, making them close to impossible to get out.

Aside from that, if you want to be as chemical-free as possible, there are some items that I'm pretty sure are already in your house that are pretty darn effective. If you're ready to give a few of them a shot, I've got a list for you to test out below.

1. Salt


If you've got a delicate fabric that you need to get some blood out of, consider trying a salt paste. Since blood is slightly acidic and salt is basic, salt can help neutralize blood and dissolve the stain. The key to making it work is to soak the stained part of the fabric in water and then create a salt paste (one tablespoon of salt with two drops of water should just about do it). Allow the paste to sit on the fabric for about an hour, wash it, boil it in a large pot for 20 minutes, and then wash again. Yeah, this isn't the fastest hack on the planet, but I've checked around and a lot of folks think it is pretty darn effective.

2. Distilled White Vinegar

Something that's really cool about distilled white vinegar is it's able to remove both fresh and dried blood stains. Plus, it's inexpensive, much safer on your fabrics than bleach is and, it has the ability to remove the scent of blood on contact. This is actually a great remedy if you happen to get blood on your sheets. Just mix three parts vinegar with one-part water and soak your sheets in the solution for a couple of hours. Then, with an old toothbrush, gently brush the stain to break up the blood and wash as usual. In order to make your sheets (and the rest of your laundry) extra fresh, add another cup of vinegar to your final rinse. You'll definitely notice the difference.

3. Coke


Hopefully, I don't need to be super specific here, but what I mean by "coke" is Coca-Cola. All of the chemicals combined in the soda (and there are a lot of 'em) help to dissolve blood.

Hey, if it can clean a car battery, should we be surprised that it can remove blood stains too?

For it to be truly effective, you'll need to let the fabric soak for 2-3 hours in the soda. But if you do, you should notice that at least most of the stain is gone after you run it through a standard washing cycle.

4. Baking Soda

If you don't have at least a couple of boxes of baking soda in your house, please make sure that you get some ASAP. Baking soda does everything from whiten teeth and freshen your breath to neutralize the odors that are in your fridge and your carpet—and that's just scratching the surface. Something else that baking soda is able to do is not only lift blood stains from fabrics but also remove the odors that it may leave behind. The main reason it works is because another name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate which is a form of salt (and we've already discussed what salt has the ability to do). Since, like salt, baking soda has a gritty texture to it, it also is able to dislodge the old blood that has set into fabric. You can make this work for you by dampening the stained fabric, sprinkling some baking soda onto it and allowing it to sit for an hour or so. Then wash the fabric as usual.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide


If you've got an older stain that needs to be removed, I'm not sure if anything works faster than hydrogen peroxide. The minute you pour a little on the stain, you will instantly see the fabric get lighter. It works so well because hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent. When it comes in contact with the enzyme catalase that is in our blood, it automatically turns it into a combination of water, oxygen, and heat (you can literally feel your fabric warmer up too!). Just make sure that you only use this remedy on lighter fabrics (because it will change the color of darker ones) and that you also go with the "less is more" mindset. Hydrogen peroxide is pretty powerful and has the ability to weaken fibers if used too often.

6. Toothpaste

OK, I've tried my best to tell you how these hacks work, but though there are all kinds of links that shout out toothpaste as an awesome way to pre-treat blood stains, I couldn't really get to the science behind it. All I can tell you is folks rave about how the chemicals in it and textures of it create a paste that, once it is placed on fabric, dries, is rinsed out in cold water and then washed per usual, works like a charm.

The important thing is to not put toothpaste on your mattress. The smell of it has a way of lingering for weeks, even months. So, unless you want to fall asleep on a minty fresh bed, use one of these other hacks if blood on your bed is what you've got going on.

7. Lemon Juice


There is something about the acid in lemon juice that, if you mix it with a little salt and rub it directly onto a blood stain, it will help to remove it. When it comes to this particular remedy, the main things to remember are 1) it needs to be applied to a fresh stain and 2) you need to use the combination of a half lemon juice and half salt. If you apply the solution, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then use a cloth that has been saturated in cold water to dab the area, the friction of the cloth should help to draw the blood stain out.

8. Meat Tenderizer

Even if you're a vegan, here's a good reason to have a bottle of meat tenderizer around. Yep. It's just one more way to get out blood stains. It might sound crazy at first, but just think about the purpose of using tenderizer—it's to make meat less tough and more tender, right? It's able to do that because it contains an enzyme that ultimately breaks down some of the protein that is in the meat itself. So, if you have quite a period spill on your hands and you wet the fabric, pour some tenderizer onto it, let the tenderizer penetrate the fabric for 30 minutes and rinse in cold water—there's a really good chance that your fabric will look as good as new.

9. Aspirin


If you've got a bottle of aspirin in your bathroom cabinet, pull it out; it is another way to remove period stains. How? Well, you've probably heard that some people take aspirin as a way to prevent a heart attack. It works because it has the ability to prevent blood from clotting. When you apply aspirin to a blood stain, the salicylic acid that's in it is able to neutralize the stain. All you need to do is crush a couple of aspirin, let it sit in some warm water and then apply it directly onto the stain. For the record, it'll need to penetrate the fabric for a couple of hours, but if you let that happen and then put it into the wash, you should notice that at least most of the stain is gone once you take it out of the washing machine.

10. Spit

It might sound gross, but just like your blood, your spit is a part of you so…it's whatever. Anyway, if it's a small stain, believe it or not, spit does work. The long short of it is, there is a digestive enzyme in spit that breaks blood down. Again, this isn't the solution for a blood stain on your sheets or anything, but if you got a drop of blood on your panties while pulling out your menstrual cup (or something like that), a little of your spit (sitting on the stain overnight and then washed in cold water), just might remove it. Definitely the cheapest hack on the list so…why not give it a shot?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

These Foods Will Make Your Period So Much Easier To Handle

Hack Your Way To Making Your Period The Best Time Of The Month

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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