How to remove dried blood stains

Having trouble removing dried bloodstains from your clothes? Follow these tips and stop accidents & mishaps from ruining your favourite outfits.

Updated

Clothes soaking in water

Key Steps

  1. Scrape off as much excess blood as you can.
  2. Use an effective pre-treatment like Persil
  3. Wash in the machine, or try an alternative method like baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.

From paper cuts to scraped knees – you don’t have to be particularly clumsy in order to draw blood. Although your instinct might be to brush yourself down and get on with the day, this means lingering blood can easily be left to stain clothes.

Removing dried blood stains is notoriously tricky – this is due to the haemoglobin in the blood, which clots when exposed to air. Whilst this is incredibly handy when it comes to healing the body, it also means the blood will fix itself into fabric, fast!

So, it’s certainly advisable to deal with stains on the spot – you can check out our guide on removing fresh blood stains from clothes here, or find information on dealing with period stains here. However, if you’ve come across an item of clothing hours after the blood has set: all is not lost. There are things you can do to remove dried blood, such as following the steps below:

(Remember to wash all clothing according to the label’s guidelines)

Don’t let fresh stains linger as the longer blood is left to dry on clothes the harder it is to remove. Avoid using hot water on blood stains too. Hot water can actually set the stain further into the fabric so use the cold tap instead.

How to remove blood stains from clothing once set:

  1. If there is any clotted blood on the surface of the fabric, try to remove it by scraping off with a blunt knife or spoon
  2. Rinse through the back of the stain with cold water – although the dried blood will have already become embedded in the fabric, hot water could set the stain further.
  3. Using an effective pre-treatment like Persil, rub the stain with a damp cloth, and then rinse through.
  4. As a final step, wash the item of clothing in the washing machine with your regular laundry detergent.

How to remove dried blood stains – Alternative methods

Dried blood doesn’t only stain clothes, it can also find its way onto sofas and carpets too.

If you’re the proud owner of a leather sofa, it might be a little easier to remove – simply rub with soapy water (a mild dishwashing liquid is fine) and it should start to lift – but if you’ve got an upholstered soda or a stained item of clothing that’s still proving tricky, here are a few alternative methods for removing dried blood stains:

(These aren’t suitable for use on all types of fabric – so take care. Always test a small area of fabric first.)

  • Baking Soda - Mix one part baking soda with two parts cold water in a bowl and dab onto the stain using a cloth. Leave for thirty to forty minutes, then wipe off all remaining residue.
  • Lemon - To lighten dried-in blood, simply rub half a lemon over the stain and sprinkle some table salt on top. Leave for ten minutes, and then use a damp cloth to draw out what’s remaining as part of your dried blood stain removal process.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - Using a small amount, dab onto the stain, and then blot with a paper towel. Whilst it is safe to use, hydrogen peroxide acts like a bleaching agent, so be aware that it could damage the colour of certain fabric. Always test on a small area first and make sure you take all safety precautions by reading the label and wearing protective clothing.
  • Hairspray - If all else fails, try hairspray. Simply apply directly onto the stain, leave for up to a minute, and wipe away the residue with damp cloth

Originally published