A somber truth is that you will be dealing with periods for a long time, so you better get really good at dealing with it. On land, there are many menstrual products women can use like tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and so on. However, few of these products are effective underwater, which can lead to a lot of period blood staining swimsuit bottoms.
That said, the solution is not to avoid going to the pool or beach. Your world is going to become a lot more restricted if a period can cause this much disruption in your life (to be fair, not all women experience periods the same way). Instead, the optimal solution is to find a way to deal with period stains so that you can continue going to the pool or ocean during those hot summer days.
Thankfully, modern detergents are really effective at getting blood out of your swimsuit. However, many detergents contain bleach which will discolor darker colored swimwear. For that, you can consider soaking your bathing suit in a solution of hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, or baking soda. It’s also a good idea to pre-treat any stains so that when you wash it, it’s more effective at removing the stain.
In this article I will go over the best ways for how to get blood out of bathing suits. I provide many solutions so that you can pick the one you are most comfortable with, or you can try many different ones if the first solution is not as effective as you thought. Equally important is knowing how to prevent your swimsuit from getting stained in the first place, and I discuss how you can do that as well. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
- Best practices to remove blood stains on your bathing suit
- Best products to remove blood stains from your swimsuit
- How to deal with blood stains in the first place
- Parting words
Best practices to remove blood stains on your bathing suit
Before we begin to talk about which products to use, as I’m sure you’re eager to know, there are some important tips you should know first. They are:
Deal with period stains ASAP
This tip applies to all stains, including sunscreen stains, lake water stains, and sweat stains, and especially so for blood stains. We know that the longer a stain is left untreated, the more likely it will soak into the fabric and become harder to remove. That said, washing your swimwear ASAP is easier said than done because it might not be a good time or place for you to deal with menstrual stains. But, if it is at all possible, do it.
You will be amazed at how much easier it is to get rid of blood stains if you could just rinse it as soon as it’s stained. You might not even need the other tips in this article because so much of the stain can be removed when it’s still fresh.
Use cold water
Resist the urge to use hot water. You may instinctively use hot water because that’s what you use whenever you wash dishes, but the heat will have a negative effect on not only the stain itself, but on your swimsuit.
Heat is the primary culprit behind shrinking swimsuits. It causes the materials to constrict, and suddenly your swimsuit is 1-2 sizes too small (though this can be used to your advantage if your swimsuit is a little too large). Heat also causes stains to set in, making them even more of a pain to remove.
Whenever you’re washing your swimsuit, make sure you’re using cold water. Rinse your stained bikini bottom with cold water; you can even let it soak with some mild detergent to really work its magic. Odds are good that you can completely wash out any menstrual stains if you are fast enough.
If the stain has begun to set, you may need to give it a good scrub. That said, don’t go overboard. Swimsuits are made of thin, light fabrics. Though they are relatively resilient, they do not hold up well to rough scrubbing. This is also why experts recommend hand washing all of your swimwear rather than tossing it into the washing machine.
We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the stained area. Even a regular brush might be too coarse to use on a swimsuit. If you plan on using detergent, make sure you use mild detergent (i.e. detergents made with natural ingredients) because otherwise the chemicals in other detergents can discolor delicate fabrics.
If you know you got yourself a heavily stained swimsuit bottom, then you may need to pre-treat the stain before rinsing and scrubbing will have any effect.
This is as simple as applying any one of the detergents we recommend below, which are white vinegar, baking soda, and swimsuit detergent. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before you begin to rinse and scrub at the stain.
Those of you with white swimsuits can consider using harsher products, such as anything containing bleach like regular laundry detergent. This tip does not apply to those with colored swimsuits that can potentially get whitened.
Best products to remove blood stains from your swimsuit
Baking soda (yup, the kind you deodorize your fridge or freezer with) can also help remove blood stains from bikini bottoms.
Mix water and baking soda together to form a paste. Apply this paste to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse well when you’re done. Reapply more paste if not all of the stain is removed.
White vinegar is another natural product you can use to clean your swimsuit. Not only is it effective at removing stains, but ironically it also gets rid of odors despite its own pungent smell.
You can apply white vinegar directly to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes to pre-treat it. You can also mix white vinegar with water if you want to let your swimsuit soak. You don’t need much vinegar; just a few tablespoons for a small wash basin or sink full of cold water.
If you want a cleaner formulated specifically for swimsuits, look for a swimsuit detergent. This is not the same as regular laundry detergent, which is likely too harsh because it contains bleach as its primary ingredient.
Swimsuit detergents are made of natural products specifically so that it is milder and will never cause your swimsuits to discolor or deteriorate. Applying it is the same; either directly on the stained areas to pre-treat it, or mix it with water and let your swimsuit soak in it.
Finally, we have hydrogen peroxide. It is a common anti-septic, so you probably already have some at home in your medicine cabinet. What you may not realize is that it’s also super effective at removing stains because it is a type of bleach. That’s also why you should only use this on white or lighter-colored swimsuits.
To apply it, you can pour some hydrogen peroxide into a small bowl and dip the stained area of the swimsuit into the bowl. Or, you can apply it to a cotton ball and gently rub the cotton ball over the stained areas.
How to deal with blood stains in the first place
The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Rather than waiting for your swimsuit to get stained so that you can clean it afterwards (which isn’t 100% effective, by the way), a safer solution is to see if any menstrual products are effective underwater.
Interestingly enough, tampons are effective underwater as it is on land. The water pressure will keep it lodged firmly in place so that it can continue to absorb menstrual fluid (or at least, block it from leaking on your swimwear). It’s not 100% foolproof since tampons were designed to be worn on land, but it’s something.
Menstrual cups are even more effective than tampons at keeping the flow at bay underwater. Typically made of latex rubber or silicone, it catches, rather than absorbs, your blood. It can hold up to three times as much menstrual blood as a tampon, and should be emptied every 4-12 hours depending how heavy your flow is.
What’s great about menstrual cups are the fact that they are reusable. Additionally, you can still be physically active with one inside you since you shouldn’t be able to feel it once inserted. So, you can still snorkel, scuba dive, or even go swimming to your heart’s content.
Is wearing only a tampon or menstrual cup not enough assurance for you? You can double up the flow protection by wearing period swimwear. This can give you the confidence that there will be no embarrassing leaks on your heaviest flow day.
That said, period swimwear is designed to be effective on its own as well. If you would rather not have to worry about so many menstrual products, then rely fully on the period swimwear. It should be able to absorb up to three tampon’s worth of menstrual blood, so you can rest assured that there will be no leaks.
If you’ve got some period stains on your bathing suit, don’t despair. Your swimsuit is not ruined; you can pretty easily salvage it by cleaning the stains off with some household products. Chances are good you have baking soda or white vinegar at home. All you need to do is apply it on the stained areas, let it sit, and then rinse it while scrubbing gently under running cold water.
Stained swimsuits are easiest to clean while it’s still fresh and damp. Dried out period stains are harder to clean but still doable. If you are worried that one day you won’t be able to clean off the stain, then you should consider investing in period swimwear.
Period swimwear is designed to absorb your flow without appearing visibly stained on the outside. If you want, you can even combine that with wearing a tampon or menstrual cup for even more protection.
By following this advice, even getting stained swimwear will be a thing of a past. And on the off chance that your swimwear still gets stained, now you know how to take care of that as well. Stop planning your beach trips around your period, and just go whenever you like with the help of period swimwear.