Some people have problems with stains, others don’t… some ideas for avoiding stains or what to do if you get them.
Cold water rinse – If you rinse them out in cold water straight away, they are less likely to stain (Hot water sets a stain). The longer the blood is left to dry before you rinse them will make them more likely to stain for some people.
Cold water Soak – Some find they get less or no staining by keeping the pads soaking until they are washed (eg always wet), Others find they get staining if they do soak, and have better results if they leave them to dry.
Baking soda – You can take your wet pad (rinsed until no more blood comes out) and sprinkle the baking soda on the stains, rub it with your finger (or rub the pad against itself), and then rinse the Baking Soda off and hopefully the stain will often simply disappear.
Think of Colours for your pads – Obviously a white or light coloured pad is going to be more prone to staining than a darker coloured pad. Some say hemp is good for not staining….. Synthetics (eg microfleece, suedecloth) should not stain. So if you are picky about having unstained pads, use a darker colour, dark red (well it’s the obvious colour isn’t it ;)) or a highly patterned fabric.
Sunlight – Hanging your pads out in the sunlight can help fade any stains
Well, keeping used pads around, particularly when soaking, can get smelly if you’re not careful. So some tips for avoiding odour are:
Add something to the soaking water – Adding a little teatree essential oil (or disinfectant) in the bucket you soak them can help kill the bacteria that cause the smell, and mask any smell
Change the soaking water – Change the water frequently (every day). You’ll probably need to change it more in summer than you do in winter or if you live in a hot climate. Remember the water is great for the garden.
Rinsing – Rinsing your pads before you soak them, and/or when you change the water can avoid the water getting smelly.
If it’s too late and you’ve left your pads soaking, forgotten about them (it happens) and they have become a little…. err…. ripe… *ahem* (or they have gone musty from sitting around wet waiting to be washed) – You can do something about it… For a start… after you find your container of stinky pads, give them a good rinse out until the water is clear. Perhaps then give them a soak in some water for a few minutes/hours containing baking soda, disinfectant, teatree oil or something similar. Avoid bleach – while it does work well, your pads will fade and it can degrade the fibres. After soaking, rinse them out again, and/or pop them in the washing machine with a little more of your disinfecting stuff and hang them outside in the sunlight to dry. If there is still a trace of odour, you can repeat the soaking/machine washing and that should take care of it.
There are probably other methods for washing and stain removal that people use. Interestingly, what works for one person might not work for another. Also, it seems some people have more trouble with staining than others – so different people’s blood seems to stain more than others.
For years I did the soak method, but I frequently left pads soaking too long and I got sick of dealing with a smelly container of pads :( So now I’m a fan of rinsing them out straight away (I can do that as I’m home most of the time), then doing the “shower stomp”, letting them dry over the shower rail and then putting them in my next load of washing. If I have pads I’ve worn out of the house or it’s been a light flow day and the blood has dried, I soak them for a bit to soften that, then rinse them out. If needed, I leave the pad completely wet, (folded in half but not soaking in a bucket of water) until I shower stomp it. I find for me this leads to the least amount of staining, without needing to use anything other than regular laundry liquid.