Why do we get bleach stains in our underwear?

Nothing ruins new lingerie like a bleach stain in your panties, but why do we get them, and how can we stop them?

Let’s set the scene: you’re about to strip down in front of your partner, but oh no! Your underwear has been bleached at the crotch, leaving you to shamefully kick the garment under a pile of clothes. If this sounds familiar to you, then congratulations - you have been a victim of a healthy, working vagina.

No matter how much you wash them or how careful you are, you’re bound to get a bleach stain in your underwear at some point. This magical selective bleaching isn’t due to some laundry error or something you ate; your vagina can actually bleach your underwear.

But don’t panic; this bizarre occurrence is perfectly normal.

So how does our vagina bleach our underwear?

You might have already heard the vagina is a pretty impressive, self-cleaning organ. But, as it turns out, this process of self-regulation may take with it some victims - aka your brand new panties.

Vaginal discharge is a fluid that keeps your organ clean, moist and free from harmful bacteria. But, this multi-faceted mucus has a pH range of around 3.5 and 7, leaving it more on the acidic side. A healthy vagina will typically produce more acidic discharge, but this can be altered by a range of factors, including sexual activity, hormones and your menstrual cycle.

However, your discharge can oxidise when exposed to the air, staining your underwear a lovely shade of bleach yellow.

How to prevent bleached underwear

While bleached underwear isn’t anything to be worried or ashamed about, it still might frustrate you to find your brand new black, lace g-string absolutely ruined.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to preserve the colour of your knickers.

1. Wear pantyliners

If you’re concerned about the potential for discharge to bleach your panties, try wearing pantyliners to create a barrier between your vagina and your underwear.

This habit could quickly become rather pricey, though, so maybe limit your pantyliner use to times when you experience the most discharge, such as the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

2. Soak your underwear

Discharge bleaches your underwear when oxidised, and there’s no better place to be exposed to air than your laundry basket. Instead of waiting for laundry day, soak your underwear in a bucket of water after use. This will prevent any bleaching agents from clinging to the fabric.

3. Use stain removers

In some instances, stains from your discharge can be lifted with enzyme-containing cleaning agents such as stain remover. Just apply the stain remover to the affected area and let it sit for a few hours before washing.

4. Try some dye

If you really want to restore your black underwear to its former glory, you could also try using fabric dyes. While you’re at it, you could also provide a colour boost to any of your old, faded, black shirts and jeans. Just remember to put your washing machine on a cleaning cycle afterwards!

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