How to Remove Old Blood Stains from a Mattress

blood-mattress

David asked: “How can I remove dried blood from a mattress? The stain has been there for over four years.

As with any stain, the sooner it is treated, the easier it is to remove, but sometimes it is just impossible to get to a stain right away. Old blood stains can be especially difficult to remove and may require several applications before the stain is gone or at least less noticeable.

Removing the Blood Stain

With mattresses, it is impossible to toss them into the washer the way you would a garment. If there is a wet/dry vacuum available or steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment, it will help to remove the cleaning fluids from the fabric. Avoid letting them set on the fabric permanently as they may damage the fibers.

You Will Need:

  • Cold Water
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Clean soft cloths
  • Plastic spoon or spatula
  • Vacuum

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Since you don’t want the fluids to run deep into the mattress fibers, we will start by making a paste. Hydrogen peroxide and salt are the active ingredients in this paste that will remove the proteins in the blood.
  2. Mix together ½ cup of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of salt and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide. It should be the consistency of toothpaste. If no hydrogen peroxide is available, try using plain water and allow the salt to work at the stain.
  3. Use the spoon to apply a layer of the paste to the surface of the stain.
  4. Allow the paste to dry completely.
  5. Scrape away the dried paste and vacuum the area.
  6. Examine the stained area, repeat steps 3-5 until the stain is removed.

When the Stains Won’t Budge

For stubborn stains, more direct treatment methods may be necessary. Use caution when applying these liquids directly to the mattress to avoid over soaking. With mattresses, it is impossible to toss them into the washer the way you would a garment. If there is a wet/dry vacuum available or steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment, it will help to remove the cleaning fluids from the fabric. Avoid leaving them set on the fabric permanently as they may damage the fibers.

You Will Need:

  • Cold Water
  • Salt
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Ammonia
  • Clean soft cloths
  • Cotton balls
  • Spoon
  • Wet/dry vacuum (do not apply heat to the area until the stain is completely removed.)

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by moistening the stained area with a small amount of cold water.
  2. Cover the stain with salt and allow it to set for up to 2 hours or until it dries completely.
  3. Scrape away the salt layer with
  4. Treat the remaining stain by applying hydrogen peroxide to the area using a cotton ball. The hydrogen peroxide will begin to bubble, this is the reaction that you want.
  5. Wait for the bubbling to stop.
  6. Blot the area with a clean cloth, working from the outside in to remove the stain along with as much of the hydrogen peroxide as possible.
  7. Repeat steps 4-5 as necessary.
  8. If the stain still won’t budge, mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia with 1 cup of water and apply using the same method as above.
  9. Gently blot from the outside in until the stain is removed.
  10. As soon as the stain is removed completely (or removed enough that it is not noticeable), clean the entire area with a wet/dry vacuum or a steam vac (if it possible to turn off the heater). It is essential to remove the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia from the mattress to avoid damage to the fibers. If possible, clean with a mild soap and cold water. Remember that using hot water will set any remains of the stain that may be there.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Baking soda and white, unseasoned meat tenderizer can also be made into a paste to remove the old blood stain. Make a paste using the baking soda, meat tenderizer and cold water and apply to the stain. Let it set for 15-30 minutes. Scrape away and rinse with cold water.
  • Avoid using warm water, it speeds up the setting process and makes the blood stain more difficult to remove.
  • If nothing else works, try spitting on it. It may work, especially if it’s your own blood.

Comments

  1. Rachael says:

    I had a year-old bloodstain on my mattress that no amount of scrubbing was getting out. I made a salt and hydrogen peroxide paste, applied it to the stain, covered it with a washcloth, then put my sheets on over it and slept on it. The next morning, I brushed the salt off and it was gone. Hope this helps!

  2. Lucie says:

    I had a really old stain, and used only peroxide and a lot of rubbing/dabbing to get it out!

  3. Arianna says:

    I have a big blood stain on my favorite dress (it isn’t even white!). Do you think I can try the first method (or a modified version) on my dress, or will it destroy the fabric?

  4. Aimee says:

    Hi, I have a recent blood stain from about a week ago and I have tried dabbing with water and rubbing with a tissue (my parents don’t know about the stain) and it wont go! It has gotten better and faded though. Haven’t you thought of people like me who can’t get all this stuff? I need anything on hand.

  5. Melanie says:

    Aimee,
    You can likely find salt in your kitchen and hydrogen peroxide will likely be in your parent’s bathroom cabinet – it’s a dark brown bottle. They are both very common household items. If you have cornstarch, it will be in a box in your kitchen wherever the baking materials are kept. You could also try white vinegar, which most people keep in the pantry or under the kitchen sink. Another idea is to soak the stain with milk overnight.
    You can also work the problem backwards – make a list of the items that you do have available and research each item to learn if it can be used to remove stains. For example, rubbing alcohol, baking soda and laundry detergent are all commonly used as stain removers and common household items. If your bed is in the sun, you can try using lemon juice to lighten the stain. Also, know that vinegar stinks while it is wet, but is odorless once dry.

    Source: HowToCleanStuff.net – How to Clean a Mattress
    Source: HowToCleanStuff.net – How to Remove Blood Stains

  6. Heather says:

    I had a stain in my mattress cover, so I used OxyClean to pretreat the stain and it came right out. I also drenched it in water within two hours of the stain occurring.

  7. Sarraey says:

    I have an old blood stain as well and I did try everything. Guess what, nothing above worked! What did work on my bed was pure lavender bleach on a Q-tip. I used a small medicine cup for bleach, very small amount. I dabbed the blood stain, used a white wash cloth to cover the spots with books on top, then used my Hoover hand tool to wash it clean with cold water.

  8. Susie says:

    What strength of hydrogen peroxide can I use? I have noticed some mouthwashes have 1.5%; will this be enough?

  9. Joe says:

    Susie, I think that usually the strength of HP that is available over the counter is about 3%.

  10. Blake says:

    I tried the first recipe above and what it made was concrete. Wouldn’t recommend.

  11. Jamie says:

    My boyfriend just bought a brand new $1500 dollar WHITE matress. I’m on my period and got a stain on it. Very embarrassing. I tried to get the spot out while he was at the gym; I did not succeed. I’m freaking out, about to cry. I really need to get the stain out. He loves our new bed…

  12. Stainmasta says:

    Lemon juice, salt and detergent paste (or fabric cleaner) and bicarb or baking soda too; leave it, blot it out, repeat process.

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