Period underwear bring a ton of convenience and comfort to menstrual care, but they will add one chore to your to-do list. After each use, period underwear need to be properly washed to ensure they're hygienic and safe for you to wear.
Unlike regular underwear, period underwear are designed to absorb blood so you can go about your day without leaks. Washing period underwear really isn't complicated either or that much different than any pair of boyshorts in your drawer. Most brands have guides on exactly how they recommend washing their products.
Still, based on our research of five popular period underwear brands, there are some general best practices that will help keep your period underwear in great condition so you can fully count on them every month.
How to Pre-Wash Period Underwear: Soaking and Rinsing
Many brands note you can skip both of these steps completely and throw them right in the wash with your other clothes.
Modibodi does not recommend soaking its period underwear at all, claiming that it could affect the efficiency of its underwear's antimicrobial treatment. Some brands like Bambody or Knix recommend rinsing the underwear or gently scrubbing them with soap and water prior to putting them in the washing machine in order to minimize permanent stains on the actual underwear.
How to Wash Period Underwear
Your first instinct might be to toss your period underwear in hot water for a heavy-duty clean, but Modibodi, Ruby Love, Thinx, and Knix (four of the most popular period underwear brands) all recommend machine washing period underwear in cold water. Thinx and Modibodi specifically recommend making that a delicate cycle.
To ensure you're not damaging the fabric of your period underwear, be sure to check over the instructions on the tag or on the brand's website prior to laundry day.
Handwashing your period underwear is also always an option if you don't have a washing machine: Thinx specifically recommends lukewarm water during that task.
The Detergent to Use to Wash Period Underwear
Many brands do not recommend washing period underwear with stain removers, fabric softener or strong, harsh detergents, According to a Modibodi care page, these products break "down the hi-tech function of our garments and also reduces the durability of the fabrics and trims, so they won't last as long."
It's also worth noting that some detergents, especially those made with fragrance, can cause vaginal irritation. If you're getting frequent infections or are dealing with discomfort, check in with your ob-gyn for advice.
When in doubt, go with a mild, fragrance-free detergent or research exactly what type of formula each brand suggests prior to washing.
How to Dry Period Underwear
This is one step you'll really want to pay attention to in order to prevent shrinkage or damage to the absorbency feature. The majority of the brands we referenced suggested hang drying period underwear or laying them flat to dry instead of using a dryer.
One exception, however, was Ruby Love, which simply recommends tumble drying on a low heat setting.