Ever noticed a bleached patch in your panties? Your vagina is to blame

WE'VE all felt that shock when we've pulled our undies out of the wash – only to see a strange bleach-like stain.

It can be confusing – especially if you haven't been whizzing around in your marigolds – but it's a common occurrence and completely normal.


Your vagina has the power to change the colour of your knickers and it's all down to its natural pH levels.

A pH level is the marker for how acidic or alkaline something is. If anything has a pH level lower than seven it has acidic properties.

And a healthy vagina has a pH value of somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5.

Now, this might seem like it's incredibly acidic but rest assured it's for your own good.

Experts at the Vagina Museum have highlighted that the bleach stain in your knickers is "completely normal". In a post on Twitter they revealed several pairs of knickers which had the strange stain.

Reassuring their followers they said: "The light patches in underwear isn't staining from period blood or discharge, it's bleaching – the same as if you've ever tried putting lemon juice in your hair to lighten it.

"It's not a sign of dirtiness or bad hygiene to have paler patches in your pants, it's something which happens when the acidity of a perfectly healthy vagina spends time in contact with fabric, and it's particularly noticeable on darker fabrics.

"So, it's not just you. Lighter patches in your knickers are normal, and there's nothing to be ashamed of!"

TikTok users have also recently picked up on the stains and have reassured their followers that this is something the vagina does naturally.

According to the NHS naturally occurring bacteria called lactobactilli keep the vagina's pH at a normal level.

The acidity of your vaginal discharge is what protects you from nasty infections like thrush and bacterial vaginosis.

If you vaginas natural levels of acidity is off balance it can also leave you more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections.

So, it is your discharge that can stain or change the colour of your underwear – and it's particularly noticeable if your knickers are a dark colour like black.

The amount of vaginal discharge produced can vary from woman to woman.

It also changes regularly based on where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle.

Some women have a thicker discharge right before they get their period, others may notice a watery discharge when they are ovulating.

Your discharge is essentially your vaginas way of cleaning itself.

Dr Vanessa MacKay, a spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "The vagina is designed to clean itself with natural secretions.

"The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation.

"It's normal and healthy for a woman to produce a clear or white discharge from her vagina. This mucus is produced naturally from the neck of the womb, known as the cervix.

"Healthy discharge doesn't have a strong smell or colour, but women may feel an uncomfortable wetness."

It's important to work out what is normal for you and to speak to your GP if you notice your discharge has changed in colour or consistency.

How to get period stains out of your undies

Consultant gynaecologist, Dr. Tanai Adib who works with organic period-care brand Callaly reveals some of the most googles questions when it comes to down below.

Why is my period blood black? 

Dr Tanai said: "This is usually nothing to worry about, blood at the beginning or end of your period can take on a black or brown tint.

"This is usually a sign that blood has had time to oxidize, turning black or brown and eventually black meaning it has taken a little longer to leave the uterus."

How to get period blood out of clothes? 

Most people have experienced a leak at some point – it can be embarrassing and frustrating.

You might want to consider the products you're using , or if your flow is particularly heavy, what might be causing that.

 Jolie Kerr, who is an expert cleaner says, if the blood is fresh, run your pants under cold or lukewarm, not hot, water. If the stain needs extra help, a bit of ordinary hand soap is a good option.

For old stains lingering in knickers too comfy to throw away you might need to buy a specialist spot stain remover. If you need to freshen up your favourite pants and don’t have any stain remover to hand, Jolie says you can crush up aspirin, salt or bicarb of soda and mix into a paste with water, then rub into the stain.

And you should always avoid using soaps and vaginal douches, no matter how clean you think they are making you.

"Women should avoid using perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics to clean their vaginas as these can affect the vagina’s healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation," Dr MacKay added.

"Women are advised to use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva), not inside it, gently every day.

"There are many possible causes of abnormal vaginal discharge, but it's usually a sign of infection.

"The infection is often caused by something that upsets the natural balance of bacteria or yeast in the vagina, such as washing inside the vagina, or it may be a sexually transmitted infection.

"The most common causes are thrush, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or genital herpes.

"The warning signs of infection include a change in colour or consistency, a sudden bad smell, an unusually large amount of discharge, itching outside the vagina, pain in the pelvis or tummy, or unexpected bleeding from the vagina."



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