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How to remove blood stains – everything you need to know

Having trouble removing blood stains? Follow our step-by-step guide and learn how to get blood out of clothes, carpets and upholstery.

Updated

Blood stain in a child's shorts

Whether it’s from paper cuts, scraped knees or a nose bleed – blood stains can happen anywhere at any time. But while it has a bad reputation for being tough to shift, removing blood stains, fresh or dried, can be surprisingly simple. 

Our guide will show you how to remove blood stains using easy and effective methods with great results. You might be surprised to learn about a few of them! 

How to remove blood stains

This simple method works well to remove blood stains from clothes, sheets, carpets and upholstery. For best results, we recommend treating the stain as soon as possible and always test on a small area first before starting work on the stain removal.

You will need:

  • A microfibre cloth
  • Cold water
  • Soap
  • Washing up liquid
  • A good quality laundry detergent, like Persil

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Method:

  1. Rinse the stain

    Rinse the stain under cold water. Never use hot water to remove blood stains, as it will set in the stain and be much harder to remove. For carpets, use a microfibre cloth to soak the stain instead.

    Step 1: Rinse under cold water
  2. Add soap

    Apply washing up liquid or soap directly onto the stain and gently work into the stain using a damp cloth, taking care not to rub too much and risk damaging the fabric.

    Step 2: Apply washing up liquid
  3. Rinse and repeat

    Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary. For carpets and upholstery, blot the stain with cold water once the washing up liquid has been applied.

    Step 3: Rinse with cold water
  4. Wash as normal

    Wash with laundry detergent for clothes and sheets, using a good quality biological detergent, which contains enzymes to break down stains. If you have sensitive skin, use a non-biological detergent. Select a regular cycle on a cool setting.

    For carpets and sofas, repeat steps 2-3 until the stain has been removed.

    Step 4: Clothes into washing machine

How do you know that the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom have been disinfected?

How do you remove old blood stains?

Dried-in blood stains are a lot harder to remove, so require something stronger than soap and water. The most effective method is to use hydrogen peroxide, an oxidizing agent that removes old blood stains via a chemical reaction that breaks down the discolouration. 

While it’s safe to use, hydrogen peroxide can cause discolouration to some fabrics and can irritate skin, so always wear gloves, test on a hidden area first and check the care label to make sure it’s suitable.

  1. Remove any solid deposits using a blunt knife or spoon.

  2. Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain.

  3. Leave it for five minutes and then blot with a paper towel.

  4. Rub gently with a clean, damp cloth until the stain is gone 

  5. Rinse the area with cold water until all the hydrogen peroxide has rinsed out.

10 handy household items great for blood stain removal

If the above methods don’t work or you want to use something more natural, why not try out these alternative methods for removing blood stains? Many of them may already be in your cupboards at home.

Always make sure to test the product on an inconspicuous area first to check it’s suitable.

1. 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, or overnight if it’s particularly stubborn, then wipe off all the remaining residue with a clean, damp cloth.

2. Lemon juice

Simply rub half a lemon over the stain and sprinkle some table salt on top. Leave for ten minutes, then use a damp cloth to draw out what’s remaining. You can then continue with the step-by-step removal process above.

3. Meat tenderiser

This powder is especially effective at removing protein based stains like dried-in blood. Make a paste with the meat tenderiser powder and some water and spread onto the stain. Leave it to work for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off any residue and putting on a cold wash.

4. Cornflour

This highly absorbent powder is great at removing fresh blood stains from upholstery and clothes. For removing blood stains from clothes, simply mix some corn flour and water into a thick paste and apply to the stain, rubbing in gently. Leave it to dry, removing any powder before washing as usual. 

For blood stains on carpets or upholstery, cover the stain with a generous layer of cornflour and leave it for at least three hours, or ideally overnight. You can then hoover away the cornflour, which should have lifted off the stain. If the stain persists, you can repeat this process until it’s removed.

5. Cola

This fizzy drink contains acids that work to break down a number of stains on clothes, including fresh blood. Simply soak the item overnight in cola (you may need quite a bit depending on the size of the garment!), and rinse under cold water – the stain should have completely vanished. Finish by washing your item as normal.

6. Vinegar 

Vinegar is especially effective at removing stains from white clothes, although it works best if used before the blood stain dries out. Apply some vinegar directly onto the stain and leave it to soak for ten minutes. Use a clean, damp cloth to blot away the stain, repeating this step as necessary and washing the item on a cold wash.

7. Toothpaste 

Toothpaste is a mild abrasive that can sometimes remove dried-in blood stains on clothes. Gently work in some toothpaste (not the gel kind) onto the stain using a toothbrush and leave it to dry. Once dry, rinse the stain under some cold water until all the toothpaste is removed. You can then wash the garment on a cold wash cycle.

8. Salt 

Salt mixed with cold water is surprisingly effective at removing fresh blood stains (but not dried-in ones). Simply mix some cold water with salt to make a paste and apply directly onto the stain, rubbing in gently. Leave it to work for ten minutes and rinse off under cold water before washing as usual.

9. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Thanks to its high alcohol content, hand sanitiser can be used for blood stain removal on most garments (always check the clothing care label before treating). To use, apply a small amount of hand sanitizer over the blood stain, before rinsing it under cold water and air-drying.

10. Hairspray

If all else fails, try hairspray. Its active ingredient, alcohol, works to help remove blood stains. Simply apply directly onto the stain and leave for up to a minute. Then wipe away the residue with a damp cloth before putting in a cold wash.

You top questions on how to remove blood stains

Does blood come out of sheets?

Don’t panic. In most cases, blood stains can be removed from sheets. It’s best to soak the sheets in cold water as soon as you see the stain. If the stain is really fresh you can flush it out by running it under cold water.

Next, if you have coloured sheets, apply some liquid laundry detergent directly onto the stain, working it in with a cloth.

If you have white sheets, then apply a little hydrogen peroxide to the area, working it in with a soft bristled brush (this chemical can cause discolouration to coloured sheets). Finally, put the sheets on a cool wash and air dry.

How do you get dried blood out of cotton sheets?

Dried-in blood stains are undoubtedly harder to shift, but not impossible.

Pre-soak the sheets in a solution of cold water and laundry detergent – overnight if possible – then pre-treat the sheets with fabric-safe bleach to the stained area, before putting on a cool wash. 

If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can spot-treat it with some ammonia after soaking and before washing, although always test on a hidden area of your sheets first.

How do you get a period stain out of your mattress?

The best way to get rid of blood from a mattress is to use a hard-hitting bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide. 

Simply apply the hydrogen peroxide to a sponge (you will need something porous) and dab it directly to the stain using pressure, but not rubbing. 

Continue this until the stain has been removed, then rinse the area with cold water using a clean, damp cloth. Leave enough time for your mattress to completely dry out before you use your bed again.

Originally published