Can Vaginal Discharge Actually Bleach Your Undies?

Ashley Hunte
Several pairs of panties lined up on a surface.
Unsplash | penki .ir

Having a vagina can sometimes feel like this huge secret, or a mystery (even just saying the word "vagina" out loud seems really taboo). For a really long time, us vagina-havers have experienced what it's like to have one without really knowing what's normal and what isn't.

Truth be told, the vagina is a pretty amazing organ, and it does a lot of really routine things that no one seems to ever talk about.

For instance, vaginal discharge is a perfectly normal thing.

A pair of white panties on a white bedsheet.
Unsplash | hidefumi ohmichi

Yes, it's uncomfortable. Yes, there have probably been times when it's made you feel like a bit of a freak. But considering it happens to literally everyone who has a vagina, it's really nothing to worry about.

Though, the color of your discharge can tell you a number of things.

A person giving a thumbs up on a white background.
Unsplash | Sincerely Media

If your discharge is clear or white, it's just your vagina doing its thing as a self-cleaning organ (yes, it self-cleans). Brown discharge is usually related to menstrual blood.

But you might want to watch out if it's yellow or green.

A woman saying, "It's not looking so good."
Giphy | Paramount Network

Much like the mucus that comes out of your nose, yellow or green vaginal discharge could be a sign that there's something wrong, in this case an STI or other kind of illness.

Vaginal discharge has another (albeit pretty unintentional) power.

No doubt that, over the span of a few weeks or months, you've noticed bleach spots appearing on your favorite pair of undies. That's because your vaginal discharge has bleaching properties.

But how does it do that?

As it turns out, vaginal fluids are acidic, generally ranging in pH from around 3.8-4.5 (though every body is different, and this number can vary depending on menstrual cycle and age).

And that's enough to bleach clothing.

Your panties get bleached when the discharge reacts with the dye in the fabric. This results in those annoying yet oh-so-normal spots that appear in the panties of pretty much every person who has a vagina. It can even result in holes in your underwear (which is a lot more annoying).

But why is vaginal fluid so acidic?

Ryan Reynolds saying, "But why" while wearing scrubs.
Giphy |

It's part of the vaginal and cervical cleaning process. The acidity helps keep bad bacteria at bay and promotes the growth of good bacteria (and don't forget, your entire body is filled with good bacteria).

Unfortunately, not a lot of people were taught this.

Alexis from Schitt's Creek saying, "You haven't done anything wrong."
Giphy | CBC

I was fortunate enough to learn about these kinds of normal processes growing up, but a lot of women, girls, and people with vaginas don't know what's normal about their bodies and what isn't.

This has no doubt led to a great deal of embarrassment.

Because there's still so much stigma surrounding the vagina, too many people have felt embarrassed or shamed about their discharge, even wondering if there was something wrong with them.

But now you can rest easy knowing that your vagina is normal, just acidic.

You know, it almost feels like a kind of superpower. Even if it really has no practical use outside of bleaching all of your underwear.