How to Get Blood Out of Clothes
Removing blood stains from clothing isn’t as difficult as you think, especially if you can get to the stain early.
Finger gouges caused by that vicious cheese grater, scraped knees and bloody noses can leave drops of blood on the countertop, floors or worse — your clothing. The site of blood stains might be scary, but it's easier than you think to remove the stain from different types of clothing fibers.
While you'll find dozens of tried-and-true cleaners that claim to remove blood stains, and you may hear all about common home remedies, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- It's easier to remove a fresh blood stain than a dried stain.
- Always rinse with cold water. Hot water clumps the proteins in fresh blood and can make a stain in any fabric permanent.
- If the stain has set, different cleaners might not work as well as others — a little experimentation is OK and expected. Just avoid heat until you've gotten the stain out.
- Always check the manufacturer's label to see if your cleaning agent is safe for the clothing fibers.
How to Remove Blood Stains from Cotton
A simple treatment can remove stains from cotton clothes. This applies to your everyday graphic tee as well as your favorite denim jeans.
- Soak the garment in cold water to pre-treat the stain. If the stain is fresh, keep running it under water to allow it to slowly dissipate.
- Apply liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain and massage it in. You can also use a bar of soap to concentrate soap directly to the stain. Alternatively, you can pretreat the stain using an enzymatic stain remover. Allow the stain to sit with the treatment for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the treatment off the clothing and see if the blood stain has vanished. If not, repeat.
- Launder your garment as normal. Avoid putting it in a warm water cycle or the dryer until you're sure that the stain is gone.
How to Remove Blood Stains from Polyester and Nylon
Synthetic fabrics are often easier to clean and less likely to cling to pesky stains. Pre-treating a blood stain on your spandex pants or synthetic fiber blouse starts with the same rinsing routine.
- Rinse with cold water. Immediately rinse the stain in cold water to eliminate as much from the fibers as possible.
- Apply an enzyme-cleaning spray. This stain remover commonly used for tackling pet stains works well on blood proteins. While it isn't good for wool or silk, it'll dissolve stains on synthetic fibers right before your eyes.
- Let the spray sit for five minutes. Massage at the area if necessary.
- Rinse clean under cool water.
How to Remove Blood Stains from Linen
Linen is often delicate and easy to stain, so time is of the essence when removing a blood stain from linen clothing.
- Rinse the garment. The sooner you can rinse it, the better. Linen's loose weave makes it a little easier to flush blood from around the fibers of the garment, so target both the front and back side of the fabric.
- Apply liquid detergent to the spot and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the garment.
- Line dry. Let your blood-stained garment line dry so you can easily check to see if the stain is released from the linen. If it didn't, repeat the treatment with an enzymatic cleaner to target the stain.
How to Remove Blood Stains from Wool
This modified treatment is gentle enough to remove blood stains from wool sweaters and garments.
- Use a damp sponge to moisten the stained area. If possible, lift excess blood from the wool.
- Apply undiluted white vinegar directly to the stain. Massage it gently to ensure it soaks through the fibers.
- Rinse the spot with cold water. If you can still see the stain, repeat with an additional treatment of white vinegar.
- Launder as usual. Be sure to use a gentle, wool-friendly laundry detergent.
How to Remove Blood Stains from Silk
Delicate silk garments require extra care, but this simple cleaner using salt water can safely treat the blood stain before it sets in.
- Soak the stain in a bowl of water. Preventing the stain from setting is key.
- Make concentrated salt water. Boil a cup of water and two tablespoons of table salt on the stove until the salt dissolves.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely and transfer it into a spray bottle. You do not want to apply hot liquid to your garment.
- Remove the garment from its soak, and spray the blood stain with a saltwater mixture. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the affected area of the silk garment under cool water. Massage the stain gently and it will disappear. If you can still see it after rinsing, spray the stain again and repeat the process.
Can You Get Blood Stains Out of White Clothes?
Instead of bleach, reach for hydrogen peroxide when you need to remove blood stains from your clothing. Hydrogen peroxide can fade colored clothing like bleach, but it's safe for your stained white outfit.
Massage the stain with hydrogen peroxide using a toothbrush or sponge, then let it sit for five minutes. After that time, rinse the garment thoroughly and make sure the blood is out before you launder.
If you're on the go and you have access to a stain stick, that's a great way to pretreat a blood stain on most garments.