Have you ever looked at your undies – especially the black ones – and noticed what appears to be small white or orange coloured bleach marks in the crotch area? Well, you’re not alone! This experience is by no means rare and there’s a fairly simple explanation for it. And, better yet, it could be a good sign if this is happening to you.
(Credit: Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash)
Bleach marks on your panties?
It can be embarrassing and difficult to talk about things going on, you know, down there, but many women are discovering that, over time, the crotch area of their panties develops what looks like small bleach marks. This is particularly noticeable on darker coloured underwear. Could it be the laundry detergent or bleach? If you have a habit of applying bleach to the crotch area of your undies, then maybe. However, it appears that the cause of this ‘bleaching’ is related to the state of your, shall we say, intimate parts.
A little anatomical lesson
At this point, I’d just like to make a little clarification here. Although the word vagina is commonly used when generally describing a woman’s genitalia, technically, the vagina is the canal that connects the uterus to the outside world. The external parts of the genitalia are known as the vulva, consisting of the pubic mound ( mons pubis), the labia majora & minor, the clitoris and the external opening of the urethra.
So, here’s the thing about bleaching. It turns out our vaginas, clever little body parts that they are, are very good at self-cleaning – a bit like your oven. Ha! All women experience vaginal discharge to a certain extent, some more than others, and the amount can also vary at different times in a woman’s life. This discharge is evidence of your vagina doing its thing – cleaning itself – and no cause for concern of itself. (Of course, if your discharge appears to be an odd colour or has a really strange smell, or if you are in any way concerned, be sure to see your GP to discuss.)
pH levels - acid v alkaline
You’ve no doubt heard about pH levels and acid versus alkaline. The lower a pH level for something is, the more acidic it is. Conversely, the higher the pH level, the more alkaline. Our vaginas naturally have an acidic environment with a lower pH. And, just like our gut systems, our vaginas contain a combination of both good and bad bacteria. Lactobacilli (good bacteria found in the vagina) help to keep the pH at the correct level reducing the risk of infections. 1 So it seems that bleached undies is simply a sign that your vaginal discharge is acidic and that your vagina is operating normally and doing what it’s supposed to be doing.
Washing yourself 'down there'
Finding bleach marks inside your undies is not a sign of uncleanliness. When it comes to washing down there, my doctor once told me plain old water is fine. Highly perfumed soaps and body washes are generally not recommended for use around the vulva. And you definitely should not use anything of the like inside the vagina. Doing so can lead to irritation and also upset the pH level and balance of good and bad bacteria. If you do want to use something, you could try a gentle, dedicated intimate wash like the Organyc Intimate Wash or the YES Cleanse Ultra Gentle Intimate Wash, both of which are fragrance free and pH balanced.
1 Women’s Health Magazine
Neither the author nor Naturally Safe Cosmetics are health professionals. The information in this article has been compiled from the author’s own research and is of a general nature only. Nothing in this article is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are concerned about your intimate hygiene and care, please consult your GP, gynaecologist or other healthcare professional .