How to Get Blood Stains Out of Sheets, Carpeting and Other Fabrics

Lifting blood stains from common fabrics and thread counts is easier than you’d think. When in doubt, give stains a good kick with these tricks.

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June 28, 2021

Bloody noses, bug bites, scrapes and other incidents are quick to leave their mark on all types of fabrics, upholstery and carpets. Laundering to remove bloodstains isn't always an option or the best solution, but there are a number of handy cleaners and DIY solutions that can help. The sooner you can treat a bloodstain, the easier you’ll find the chore, but if the stain has set in or has already been laundered to no avail, don’t lose hope.

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1188416985

Photo by: GettyImages/Aphiwat Chuangchoem for EyeEm

GettyImages/Aphiwat Chuangchoem for EyeEm

While there might not be a single solution that works universally, there are many effective options. Identify the fabric and type of stain, and then get ready to tackle the stain one-on-one.

Three simple rules hold true when it comes to treating blood stains:

  • if it’s fresh, blot the stain with a damp cloth to absorb it, never scrub;
  • treat with cold water;
  • use powerful cleansers suitable for the fabric.
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157376654

Photo by: GettyImages/SilviaJansen

GettyImages/SilviaJansen

Let’s go through the most common base ingredients that help remove bloodstains, and get to treating your fabric.

Hydrogen Peroxide

It’s powerful and oxygenating against stains; that we know. Hydrogen peroxide treats a stain by lifting it off the fibers and, for many materials, it's a sure win. This treatment is really best for white and light-colored fabrics, but used in high concentrations may disturb or bleach saturated colors (no one wants that). If you don’t have a handy oxygenating spray like OxiClean in your laundry arsenal, it’s likely that you have hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet, so give it a go and see how it performs.

Always handle a bloodstain by first pretreating it with cold water, and then apply hydrogen peroxide. You’ll see a reaction, at which point you’ll know it’s working. You can continue to agitate the stain by rubbing the fabric together and then thoroughly rinse it. Applying more hydrogen peroxide until the stain has fully lifted may be necessary if it’s a tough, set-in stain.

You can also add baking soda to the hydrogen peroxide to take this solution to the next level. Baking soda adds power to many cleaning products, so it's no surprise that it can step up to the plate to mediate bloodstains.

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1226899011

Photo by: GettyImages/Dora Caprai for EyeEm

GettyImages/Dora Caprai for EyeEm

Salt

If you need to treat delicate surfaces such as silk bedsheets, vintage upholstery or carpets, saltwater may be just the solution for you. It’s more gentle than hydrogen peroxide, but also effective at loosening stains.

Combine 1 tablespoon of table salt with a 1/2 cup of boiling water, let it cool, and then bring it to a cold temperature by adding a few ice cubes — remember, you only want to apply cold water to a bloodstain to prevent the fibers from further absorbing the stain. Saturate the stain directly and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it with a cloth or sponge dampened by cold, plain water.

Salt can also be mixed into common dish soap to create a thicker cleaning solution that’s just as suitable for delicate fabrics and materials.

Additionally, because it’s always good to pretreat a bloodstain, you can set your washing machine to the soak cycle and add a 1/4 cup of table salt to the basin to hasten the treatment process. Let it run through a salty bath, and then treat using other methods as necessary.

Pre-soak laundry for stain treatments.

Laundry in Water

Follow these tips and you'll be able to make your clothing cleaner in the laundry.

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Ammonia

When the bloodstains get tough, consider trying ammonia to treat fabrics and other materials. It’s important to remember that you should never combine it with bleach, and always dilute it with water and apply it in a well-ventilated space. Once you’ve pretreated the stain with cold water, add one tablespoon of ammonia to 1/2 cup of plain water. Apply the mixture to the stain, and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Rinse the item thoroughly and dab at the stain with a dry cloth to help further lift it from the fibers.

Ammonia isn’t something that people commonly have on hand, but if you have ammonia-based cleaners in your cabinet, you may be able to substitute it for small treatments, depending on its concentration.

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