How to Wash Period Underwear

How to wash period underwear

How to Wash Period Underwear

Period underwear is a popular choice among women due to its comfort, versatility, and eco-friendliness. It provides discreet protection without the bulk and discomfort of pads or tampons. It is a low-waste bathroom swap that also saves money compared to disposable menstrual products over time. However, cleaning them can seem intimidating if you’re not sure what to do. 

In this article, I’m sharing simple and effective tips for how to wash period underwear. From pre-washing to proper drying techniques, you will have all the information you need to clean and maintain the longevity and quality of your period underwear.

What is Period Underwear and How Does it Work?

Period underwear looks and feels just like regular underwear, but it is specially designed to replace disposable period products like tampons or pads. It’s made of multiple layers of extra absorbent material to hold multiple tampons worth of flow. 

The most common materials used in the construction of period underwear are a combination of cotton and synthetic materials like spandex and polyurethane laminate. Polyurethane laminate is a material known to have breathable and water-resistant qualities.

Pre-Washing Period Underwear

Unless you plan on immediately adding your period underwear to a wash cycle, it’s a good idea to pre-wash, or simply rinse away any buildup before adding it to your dirty clothes hamper.

After each use, run your period underwear under cold water until the water runs clean. This step is important because it helps remove stains and it eliminates any buildup that may happen with continued use.  

Once the water runs clean, press excess moisture out of the period underwear and let it air dry completely. After it’s dry, you can add it to your dirty laundry hamper until you’re ready to machine wash. 

Choosing the Correct Wash Cycle and Temperature

Wash Cycle

In general, period underwear (and most other kinds of underwear!) should be washed on a gentle cycle. It’s never a bad idea to check the care instructions before washing, but as a general rule of thumb, machine washing on a gentle cycle is the way to go. 

Water Temperature

Period underwear needs to be washed in cold water. Cold water will not only help prevent staining, but it will also make sure that the layers of absorbent material stay in good condition. 

How to Wash Period Underwear in the Washing Machine

Time needed: 2 hours

Washing and maintaining period underwear takes a little more TLC than the average pair of briefs. But if you take the extra time, period underwear will make the extra work worth it. 

  1. Pre-Rinse and Dry

    After wearing, pre-wash period underwear by running them under cold water until the water runs clean. Air dry completely before adding to your dirty clothes hamper. 

  2. Machine Wash

    Put period underwear in the wash in a cold, gentle setting. Use a mild detergent, and avoid fabric softener and bleach. 

  3. Air Dry

    Don’t put period underwear in the dryer, as it can’t handle high temperatures. Instead, hang dry on a line or drying rack until completely dry. 

How to Hand Wash Period Underwear

To hand wash period underwear, use all the above steps, but instead of putting the underwear in the washer, wash with the same mild detergent in the sink with cold water. Below are the exact steps:

  1. Fill a sink or other basin with lukewarm water. Mix in a few drops of laundry detergent.
  2. Submerge your period underwear in the water and detergent mixture. Use your hands to gently agitate the fabric until it is clean.
  3. Let the period underwear soak in the detergent mixture for 10-15 minutes. Use your hands to agitate once more, then drain the detergent mixture from the basin.
  4. Refill the basin with clean water to rinse the period underwear clean. You may have to repeat this step more than once if you accidentally used too much detergent when washing.
  5. Empty the basin and press the period underwear against the edge of the basin to gently squeeze out excess water. 
  6. If your period underwear is still dripping wet, grab a dry towel and roll the period underwear inside of it to gently squeeze out the rest of the water. 
  7. Hang to dry completely.

How to Prolong the Usable Life of Your Period Underwear

Period underwear is an investment! It’s a good idea to take proper care of it to make it last – especially if your motivation is to replace disposable pads or tampons with reusable underwear. 

Here are a few tips to help extend the usable life of your period underwear:

  • Avoid fabric softener in the wash
  • Always rinse with cold water immediately after use then hang to dry until laundry day
  • Wash in a delicates bag to avoid snagging 
  • Use cold water and a gentle cycle 
  • Air dry 


Do you wash period underwear separately?

There is no need to wash period underwear separately, it can just go right in with the rest of your clothes. 

Do I need to sanitize period underwear?

There is no need to take additional steps to sanitize period underwear. As long as you are washing them after each use, they will be disinfected during that process. 

Will the dryer ruin my period underwear?

Dryers can damage the elasticity of period underwear, which is an important part of preventing leaks so yes, the dryer can ruin period underwear. Always air dry. 

How long does it take period underwear to dry?

It can take anywhere from two hours to two days to fully dry period underwear, depending on the absorbency of the underwear and things like temperature and humidity.

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