How to Remove Blood Stains

Blood stains can be especially difficult to remove because the hemoglobin in the blood acts as a binder when it hits the air and binds with the fibers in your clothing. As with any stain removal technique, you will want to try a test application on a small, inconspicuous spot to be sure it does not damage the color or fibers of your clothing.

Blood Stain Removal

It is easiest to remove blood when it is still wet. Dried blood stains are notoriously harder to remove. Also be sure throughout the process to blot the stain, not rub it, as this will only push the stain further into the fabric. Use the following steps until the stain is removed.

You Will Need:

  • Cold Water
  • Salt
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Mild Bar Soap
  • Clean white towels
  • Large Mixing Bowl

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the blood as possible. It’s very important to BLOT throughout this entire process DO NOT SCRUB. Your goal is to “lift” the stain, not rub it into the fibers. Working from the outside of the stain towards the center will keep the stain from spreading.
  2. Fill the mixing bowl with cold water.
  3. Let the stained clothing soak in the cold water. After the stain has soaked for a while, agitate it around to loosen the stain or you can even add a little bit of detergent.
  4. If the stain is still present, you can try soaking it overnight in cold water. If that doesn’t work, proceed to the next step.
  5. Make a saline solution from 1 cup of salt with 2 quarts water. Let the stain soak in the solution for 30 minutes.
  6. If the stain still remains, rub the stain with a mild bar soap and rub the fabric together with your hands to rub out the stain.
  7. If the stain still persists, try dabbing a little bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and rinse. Be careful with the hydrogen peroxide as it can wear down the fibers of your clothing similar to the way bleach does. It shouldn’t remove the coloring, but can make the fabric weak.
  8. When the stain is removed, wash the clothing in cold water following detergent recommendations on the care tag.
  9. You may want to air-dry the clothing to be sure the stain is not noticeable when it’s dry. If you place it in the dryer and it’s not completely gone, it will be set from the heat and impossible to remove.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • The following common household items can be used to remove blood stains: baking soda, white, unseasoned meat tenderizer, salt, or hydrogen peroxide along with cold water.
    • For baking soda and meat tenderizer, make a paste using cold water and apply to the stain. Let it set for 15-30 minutes and rinse with cold water.
    • Pour salt on the stain and blot with a towel dampened with hydrogen peroxide solution (2 parts water to 3 parts hydrogen peroxide). Rinse by blotting with a clean, damp towel.
  • Avoid using warm water, it speeds up the setting process and makes the blood stain more difficult to remove.
  • Spray the stain with Windex and rub with your fingers. Wash as usual and the stain will be gone.
  • Soak the stain in milk overnight and wash as usual.
  • Place the clothing on a towel and spray with saline solution.
  • If nothing else works, try spitting on it. It may work, especially if it’s your own blood. It may work even better to rub with both spit and mild soap simultaneously.

 

Comments

  1. Wm Ives says:

    The best way to remove a blood stain, especially fresh, is with saline (salt water). It is what the red blood cells survive in our body. The RBCs are filled with protein (high osmolality) and need to be in osmotic balance with their surrounding fluid. If exposed to water (low osmolality), the water will rush into the cells, bursting them. Ex.: one drop of blood will turn a toilet bowl red. I use about 2 tbs. of salt to a qt. of water and blot the stain out. When I was an orderly, I ruined many clothes using hyd. peroxide. As a surgeon, I’ve ruined none.

  2. Martin says:

    Half a pint of blood inside and outside a new boot, dried for 5 days. Got it clean with hydrogen peroxide – used a whole large bottle, neat. Affects the color, so it was necessary to “treat” the other boot – so they match. :-)

  3. Sandra says:

    I usually just get the milk out of my fridge and soak the stain in milk, and you won’t have anymore problems in worrying about causing other things. :)

  4. Lauren says:

    Windex works. As us girls know, and it’s a fact of life, period stains happen to the best of us, and you don’t want to throw away a good pair of panties. Spray on some Windex, rub it a little and let it soak, and then toss them in the washer as usual, and the stain should be gone. Works for me! :)

  5. Sharon says:

    I just removed a large blood stain from my couch with a paste made from meat tenderizer. I had tried everything else the night before and was still left with a residual stain. The meat tenderizer left a slight residual whiteness that I was able to vacuum away.

  6. Saeed says:

    How do you remove dry blood stains from hospital linens? Is it OK to first soak it in salt water?

  7. Abigail says:

    Thank you so much Sandra!

  8. Peg says:

    I have used this time and time again and it always works… take equal parts of Dreft and Clorox 2, mix them together and apply to the stains – old or new. Let it sit (it may or may not foam reacting to the blood). Older stains let sit overnight. Wash as usual. Review the stain prior to putting in dryer. If it needs it, retreat. Keep at it and eventually it will remove the stain.
    I have used this on a silk blouse, and on badly stained sheets. If the fabric has a print, it can fade the print, so be judicious. I have used this on old stains and it has lifted them with a bit of time and patience. It has also worked on upholstery.

  9. Jerry says:

    Isn’t rubbing and scrubbing pretty much the same movement. You tell us to only dab and not scrub, but then you contradict and further instruct to rub, which would further bind the blood back into the fibers…correct.
    Soak it, then continue the dab process.

  10. Molly says:

    Just tried the salt water suggestion above from Wm Ives and it is golden! Bloodstain successfully removed from a brand new couch cushion in just a few minutes by carefully blotting with salt water. No damage to the fabric at all. It’s like it never happened: phew! Thanks Wm Ives!

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