Life happens and blood can unfortunately find its way onto your clothing and around your home. The big question is how do you get blood out of clothes and make sure it doesn’t stain? Luckily fresh blood isn’t too difficult, however finding a solution for dried blood can be a little more tricky.
Regardless of what you’ll be working with, we have a variety of methods that have been proven to work for countless others. One or more of these DIY methods is sure to work, so keep reading to find out which to use.
Why is Blood So Hard to Get Out of Clothes?
Blood is one of the hardest things to clean on many surfaces, especially fabric and clothing. To fully understand why, here is your mini science lesson for the day: The oxidation of hemoglobin that occurs when blood leaves the body causes blood stains to turn from bright red to dark brown.
It seeps into materials and stains pretty easily making the process of removal a little more tricky once the blood sets in. With this knowledge, the cleaning and sanitizing process can be made a little easier. So how exactly DO you get blood out of clothes?
How to Get Blood Out of Clothes
We know blood can be exceptionally difficult to get out of clothes, and unfortunately, there’s always a risk that it may ruin your favorite t-shirt. But don’t panic, panicking can lead to making mistakes that might actually make the stain worse. For example, using hot or warm water to treat a blood stain is never a good idea as it actually sets the stain faster. Act quickly and only ever use cold water to treat and remove blood stains.
Also, remember that some clothing can’t be washed by machines, so following the guide on the manufacturer’s care tag is the best course of action. Need to know how to treat blood on the most common clothing items? Keep reading to learn the best ways to do so.
As a quick piece of advice before you get started, do not scrub your clothes when cleaning blood from them. Most instructions advise you to only blot the stain gently with a towel. Scrubbing is never suggested for a few reasons:
- Scrubbing can be abrasive and damaging to many materials you might be working with like cotton, which can thin out faster than it naturally does.
- Scrubbing can also spread blood stains rather than clean them from the surface. When dealing with blood, you have to lift the stain not push it deeper into the fibers you are cleaning.
- Scrubbing doesn’t actually allow the cleaning products you use to soak in and actually do their job.
So with that quick reminder out of the way, let’s get started on treating and removing blood stains from both your colored clothes and your whites.
Fresh Blood on Colored Clothes
Distilled White Vinegar
Everyone’s favorite household cleaning product is coming to the rescue once again. White vinegar is one of our favorite products to use for cleaning around the house and, to no one’s surprise, it’s effective against blood stains as well. Here is how to properly use vinegar to clean blood stains from clothes:
- Pour a bit of vinegar into a spray bottle for easier use, and then spray a small amount in a hidden area on the garment to test for discoloration.
- If it passes the test, spray a generous amount of vinegar directly onto the stained area and allow it to set for about 10 minutes or 15 for larger areas.
- When the vinegar has had time to work, add just a little more and then start to blot at the stain with an absorbent towel to lift it from the garment.
- The stain should lift fairly quickly and easily if caught and treated quickly. As soon as the stain has been fully removed, you can throw the garment into the washing machine to fully clean it.
- If you are treating non-clothing that cannot be washed for blood stains, you can clean the vinegar smell and residue with cold water and a towel.
Enzyme Stain Cleaner
An effective alternative to vinegar when it comes to treating and cleaning blood stains on clothing is an enzymatic stain cleaner. Enzyme stain removers, like the ones you use to clean pet messes, work well to break down blood stains on washable garments. Here is how to properly use an enzyme cleaner to treat blood stains:
- Start by flushing the stained garment under some cold running water to clear as much of the fresh blood as possible.
- Spray or apply the enzyme cleaner directly onto the stained area and give the product a minute or two to work against the stain.
- If the stain is more set in, use a soft laundry brush to gently work the product deeper into the fibers of the garment.
- Once the product has had time to lift the stain, flush the garment under cold water to remove the cleaner and check the state of the stain.
- We suggest reapplying the enzyme cleaner to the stain before throwing the garment into the washing machine for a regular cold water cycle.
- Before you move the garment to the dryer, check the state of the stain. If the stain is still present, you will need to retreat the garment to fully remove the stain.
- DO NOT dry the garment if the stain is still present, heat will set the stain and make it impossible to remove.
Fresh Blood on White Clothes
If you’ve ever skinned your knee or gotten scratched by a furry friend, you know how hydrogen peroxide reacts with blood. This medicine cabinet essential can double as a more natural stain-fighting bleach alternative that can save your white clothing from deep brown blood stains. Here is how to use hydrogen peroxide to treat blood stains on white clothes:
- For easier use, you can pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the stained area or you can simply pour a small amount directly onto the stain.
- Leave the solution to work against the stain for about 5 minutes before using an absorbent towel to blot at the area.
- Repeat the application and blotting process until the stain has been fully lifted from the garment.
- Once the stain has been fully removed, you can toss the garment into the washing machine based on the care tag on the garment.
- Remember, don’t dry the garment unless the stain is completely gone from the garment after washing.
Or try this other quick hack:
This particular remedy is unfortunately even more pungent than vinegar, but it might be more powerful when it comes to stain fighting. Ammonia may smell but it can definitely pack a punch against stubborn stains like blood. Here is how to properly use ammonia to clean blood stains from your white clothes:
- Mix a tablespoon of ammonia with ½ a cup of cold water in a bowl.
- Apply a generous amount of the solution directly to the stain using a cloth or towel and then allow it to fully dry.
- Once the stained area is dry, use a fresh cloth and cold water to blot at the stain until it has lifted.
- Once the stain has lifted, you can wash the garment according to the manufacturer’s care tag.
Did you know that cold salt water can be used to remove rust, blood stains, and grease? Turns out it can actually be an incredibly effective remedy when used in the right way. Here’s how you can use cold salt water to clean stains from your white clothing:
- In a bowl, create a thick paste from cold water and a lot of salt. Think of a consistency similar to cornstarch or baby powder.
- Apply the paste directly to the stained garment and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.
- Once the salt has had time to dehydrate and lift the stain from the garment, wipe away the salty paste and rinse the garment under cold water.
- Repeat the process as needed until the stain has been fully lifted from the garment. When it is clear, wash the garment in a cold water cycle.
Household Items That Can Help
On the off chance that the mainstream remedies have failed to treat and remove bloodstains from your clothes, we still have a few tricks up our sleeves. Keep reading to find out what other DIY bloodstain removal tips we can share.
Blood Stains & Coca-Cola
This may seem counterintuitive but turns out Coca-Cola can make for a pretty good bloodstain remover. Just make sure you are only using this method on colored clothing and not your whites. Here’s what you need to do:
- Pour a small amount of Coke directly onto the bloodstain and allow it to soak into the garment.
- Let the Coke set into and lift the stain for as long as possible, this could take up to an hour or sometimes longer so don’t worry about not seeing immediate results.
- Blot the stain while the Coke sets into it, and once it has lifted flush the garment with cold water to fully remove the stain. Repeat the process as needed until the stain has been fully removed.
- Once the stain is gone, wash the garment in a regular wash cycle according to the care tag on the garment.
Blood Stains & WD-40
America’s favorite garage accessory is actually also a good pretreating product for bloodstained garments. WD-40 is a shockingly versatile product to use around the house, so it should be no surprise that you can use it to treat your clothes. Here’s what to do:
- Lay the stained garment flat on a towel and spray a generous amount of WD-40 directly on the stain.
- Allow the product to soak into the garment for 10 to 15 minutes and then reapply if the stain hasn’t lifted completely.
- Once the stain has lifted, blot the excess with an absorbent towel and then reapply before washing the garment in a regular cycle according to the garment’s care tag.
- The stain may not be fully lifted after the first wash, but don’t worry. Don’t dry the garment and repeat the WD-40 application and washing process.
Blood Stains & Talcum Powder
Talcum powder, better known as baby powder, is another random but effective way to help get rid of blood stains. This is one of the better DIY home remedies and it’s pretty simple to use. Here’s what to do:
- Mix cold water with a generous amount of talcum powder in a bowl to make a paste similar to toothpaste.
- Spread the paste directly onto the stain and leave it to fully dry on the garments.
- Once the paste has completely dried, use cold water and a cloth to remove the residue and blot to lift the stain. Check the state of the stain when the dried paste has been removed.
- If the stain has fully lifted, toss the garment into the wash according to the care tag. If the stain hasn’t lifted, repeat the process of letting the paste dry on the stain and removing it.
The most important way to keep blood from staining your clothing or any other upholstery around your home is by remaining calm and not running around in a panic. It is also common to disregard the manufacturer’s care label on the garments. We know we mentioned checking the tag several times, but it is a key step in the proper care and cleaning of any piece of clothing.
Keep those things in mind and you should have no problem removing any stray blood stains.
If you’re looking for cleaning tips and more helpful DIY guides, check out our blog! We have tons of how-to guides and cleaning hacks to share with you so be sure to see what you can find. While you’re looking around, be sure to browse our available cleaning services and book some of your own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your home happy and healthy all year long.