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How should you take care of your period panties?

Congratulations! You've finally decided to switch to period panties to help you get through your period as easily as possible. Eco-friendly and economical, they're perfect for menstruation, sweating, vaginal discharge or light urine leakage. Now all you have to do is take care of them, because, remember, since the period panties are reusable, you'll need to maintain and wash them properly. So we've put this guide together to help you take care of your menstrual panties properly: everything to do with washing, drying, frequency and duration of use, and even the products recommended to keep your period panties in as good condition as possible.

Why do you need to take good care of your period panties?

Menstrual panties have several layers of different fabrics which perform different roles designed for your comfort and well-being. This include good absorption, perfect waterproofing and even aesthetics as is the case with fabrics on the outer layer such as lace. Menstrual panties usually have three layers. First, the one in contact with your skin is made of soft and breathable cotton for real comfort. Next is a plant-derived fibre fabric giving the period panties ultra-absorbent properties, and lastly is a polyester or PUL fabric to ensure the panties are waterproof. Finally, the outer layer adds additional comfort while making the panties look more attractive, with lace for instance.

As a result, taking good care of your period panties not only increases how long they'll last, but also preserves their absorption and waterproof properties, while staying soft and looking good everyday. To achieve this, attention must be paid to the products used for washing, cleaning techniques and their duration of use.

How should period panties be used so they'll last longer?

Before their very first use, wash the menstrual panties in the machine at 30°C. This trick will help improve their absorbency.

You can wear period panties for up to 12 hours straight without worrying about a possible leak. However, this duration also depends on your flow, and if it is particularly heavy, it's better to change the period panties earlier.

Ideally, at least 3 period panties are needed to be able to follow the washing recommendations. That is, one for the day, another for the night and another period panty for the next day while the others are being washed. Essential too is to do the prewash step after each use to facilitate washing afterwards.

In addition, some women have more acidic blood than average. This could make the period panties fade faster or lose their effectiveness. In this case, it would be better to use your period panties with a menstrual cup in order to better preserve their protective properties. This is also an effective solution if you have very heavy periods, or if you are afraid of possible leaks during the day.

How should you wash your period panties?

There are three mandatory steps to cleaning your period panties effectively: pre-washing, washing and drying.

How should period panties be pre-washed?

After using the period panty, you should rinse it immediately. Cold water is best, because heat may cause the blood to stay in the fabric or even weaken the fabric which would then lose its effectiveness.

To do this, get a basin of water and soak the panties in it before rubbing them to remove as much blood as possible. You can then wash the panties in the machine or by hand. If you can't wash them right away, consider stretching out your period panties.

How should period panties be machine washed?

Machine washing is the most effective way to remove bacteria from your period panties. To do this, put your panties in a washing net to preserve the appearance and quality of the fabric. Then put the machine on at 30°C, or at the most 40°C.

Use a natural detergent that doesn't contain glycerin, conditioners or softeners. These substances can actually damage the plant fibres of the absorbent area of your panties!  

Quick tip: pour a tablespoon of white vinegar or tea tree essential oil into the basin. This trick will soften the fabric of your panties while eliminating bad odours.

How should period panties be hand washed?

You can also hand wash your menstrual panties if you are worried about damaging their fabric in the machine. In this case, use an organic soap to create a lather and rub the panties gently before rinsing and wringing them out. Remember not to twist them to avoid damaging the fabric, especially lace if there is any!

How should be period panties be washed for little urine leaks?

If you're using period panties for little urine leaks, you can follow the same steps mentioned above to remove any stains from the fabric. In this case, pre-washing is no longer needed and you just have to put the period panties directly in the machine.

How should period panties be dried?

Period panties are ideally dried in the open air so as to preserve the quality and properties of the different layers of fabrics. Definitely avoid tumble drying or drying on a radiator. These methods, although fast, actually risk damaging the absorbency and the waterproof properties of the fabrics, thus causing the possible risks of leaks.

This technique, although effective, has a small drawback: you must wait a few hours to be able to put your period panties back on. This is why you'll need to have several panties or other sanitary products such as reusable sanitary pads while your period panties are drying.

Which products should you choose to wash your period panties?

The best choice is an organic detergent, which doesn't cause your period panties to lose their absorbent properties.

So you can therefore use products which are paraben and fragrance free, such as Rainett aloe vera or baking soda washing detergent to wash your period panties. Powder detergents without preservatives are also suitable and especially good for hard water. If you're in a bit of a rush and don't have laundry detergent on hand, you could use soap nuts. They're natural and economical, as you can put 5 nuts in the machine and even reuse them up to 3 times for the next washes. That being said, since they don't contain lime remover, you could add white vinegar to protect your machine from limescale while also making your period panties softer.

Otherwise, you could make your own natural homemade washing detergent.

Washing powder based on Marseille soap:

Containing at least 72% vegetable oil (olive, palm or coconut oil), this genuine soap is renowned for its softness and effectiveness, and it contains only a tiny amount of glycerin after saponification.

To make this detergent, heat a litre of water in a large saucepan. Then, add 30g of Marseille soap flakes (you could also grate a block of soap). Stir well over a low heat until the mixture is smooth. Then remove it from the heat to let it cool and then add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Pour the mixture into a 1.5 litre bottle and shake well until the detergent has completely cooled.

Ivy washing detergent:

Containing 6 % saponin, ivy foams very well and can be used to make an eco-friendly laundry detergent to gently take care of your period panties. To do this, start by rinsing around fifty fresh climbing ivy leaves in water. Then, roughly cut them up or crumple them up before placing them in a pot filled with a litre of water. Cover and bring the leaves to the boil. Then, simmer over a low heat for about fifteen minutes before turning off the heat. Then leave the pot overnight to steep the mixture. The next day, filter the liquid and pour the newly-made detergent into a 1.5 litre bottle. Note that it lasts for up to 1 month if it is kept cool. You can also freeze the liquid in the form of ready-to-use laundry detergent ice cubes. For 10kg of laundry, 4 or 5 ice cubes are more than enough.

Wood ash washing detergent

Thanks to its richness in potash and bicarbonate of soda, wood ash is an excellent detergent. In addition, you can find it easily, for example by collecting the ash from your fireplace or by buying it in garden centres. To begin with, sift the ashes to keep only the powder. Pour 150 g of ash into a large basin and mix with 1.5 litres of water. Leave it for about 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Then filter it with a cloth before putting it in a bottle.

What products remove bad odours from period panties?

If your period blood has a higher than usual pH, it can cause an unpleasant odour. In this case, the period panties must be cleaned thoroughly to be properly washed out. To do this, you can soak them for an hour in a litre of lukewarm water mixed with a tablespoon of percarbonate of soda. Otherwise, use a mixture of 0.5 litres of lukewarm water and a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda.

If you want to give a nice scent to your period panties, avoid essential oils, as they could damage the fabric while also possibly causing allergies! Instead, choose natural fragrances that you can pour into the fabric softener or add to your homemade washing detergent. You could also spray floral water mixed with deionized water onto your panties after washing them to make them smell great. Otherwise, you could just put sachets of lavender in your panty drawer.

What mistakes shouldn't be made so that period panties will stay in good condition?

To take care of your period panties, you should avoid doing certain things and using certain products which could damage them. The following mistakes must be completely avoided:

  • Harsh detergents and cleaning products such as bleach or soda crystals can damage the fabric of the period panties.
  • When machine washing, using a programme that is too strong may "heat up" the blood and therefore damage the fabric. The ideal temperature is 30°C but if you want to use a higher temperature, don't exceed 40°C.
  • Using a dryer or drying your panties on the radiator or with a hair dryer is also a very bad idea and must be avoided. The high temperature of these methods could burn the fibres and therefore damage the fabrics. It's best to dry your panties in the open air and have spare period panties or reusable sanitary pads ready so as not to be caught unprepared.
  • Fabric conditioners and softeners of all kinds are unnatural and may, in the long term, damage the fabrics of period panties, especially the absorbent fibres which would lose their properties. Period panties don't need these softening products anyway, because they're naturally soft.
  • Try not to use greasy detergents and fatty soaps such as black soap or Aleppo soap, because they are difficult to rinse out and may therefore clog the pores of the inner layer of the menstrual panties. This would affect their absorption properties.
  • Soaking the period panties for a long time isn't necessary before washing them. After use, you just have to rinse them out, then machine or hand wash them and then let them air dry.
  • Wringing them out too roughly can also cause your menstrual panties to deteriorate. Don't twist or scrub them, they don't need any rough handling to be properly clean.
  • As you'll have already gathered, menstrual panties hate heat, so don't iron them either to ensure that they'll last.

How should reusable sanitary pads be washed?

Reusable menstrual pads are the perfect complement to period panties, especially since you'll need either spare panties or other reusable sanitary pads while the other panties dry. But just like menstrual panties, sanitary pads need to be washed so that they can be reused.

As with period panties, washable menstrual pads are washed in two steps: pre-washing and machine washing.

Pre-washing reusable sanitary pads

First, they should be rinsed by hand. In a basin of lukewarm (not hot) water, rub the sanitary pad to remove as much blood as possible. If the blood is hard to get out, you can use a stain remover soap or bicarbonate of soda to help.

Then, wring out the reusable sanitary pad before putting it in the washing machine.

Machine washing reusable sanitary pads

Put the reusable menstrual pads in the machine at 40°C or 60°C. You can put them on with other clothes, especially since the friction during the wash will ensure thorough cleaning of the pads. Most of the blood would have already been removed during the pre-wash anyway. As with menstrual panties, avoid fabric softeners, fabric conditioners and any harsh products to preserve the absorbent properties of your reusable sanitary pads. If you'd like to soften your laundry, pour half a cup of white vinegar into the rinse compartment.

Drying reusable sanitary pads

After washing, put the reusable menstrual pads in the dryer, on a gentle cycle. Air dry the sanitary pads, as with the period panties. Indeed, drying in a tumble dryer, with a hair dryer or on a radiator can damage the waterproof anti-leak fabric of the reusable menstrual pad.

Care is necessary as the dryer used too frequently or on a setting which is too strong could damage the plant-derived fibres of the reusable sanitary pad and impair the effectiveness of its waterproof anti-leak fabric. Doing this could seriously reduce its durability.

If blood stains persist on your reusable menstrual pads, they can easily be removed with this very simple trick: mix a litre of hot water and a tablespoon of percarbonate of soda. Then, soak the washable sanitary pads in it for at least an hour. After that, the stains will go away without any need for scrubbing, or will just need to be rubbed a little to remove them from your washable sanitary pads.

Conclusion:

Now that you know everything you need to do and everything you should avoid to take good care of your period panties, all you have to do is make the most of all the benefits of this natural, eco-friendly, economical, healthy and comfortable alternative to disposable sanitary products. Don't forget either that there are many choices of period panties available: different models are designed for all flows, all sizes and preferences (lacy, shorts, high waist etc.). All in all, using period panties and reusable sanitary pads is a very worthwhile experience. You certainly won't be disappointed!

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