Blood stains can appear on sheets from menstrual cycles, wounds, or pets. Whatever the cause, they should be treated as quickly as possible for sanitary reasons and to prevent permanently staining the sheets.
When an accidental blood stain happens, you should use appropriate precautions to prevent the transmission of disease. If there is any question about the blood or any bodily fluids, wear protective gloves when handling the sheets. Place the blood-stained sheets in a plastic hamper that can be cleaned and disinfected and carry the hamper away from your face.
Fortunately, if you act promptly and follow some simple steps, the blood stains can be easily removed.
|Detergent||Heavy-duty laundry detergent with enzymes|
|Water Temperature||Cold first, then cold, warm, or hot|
|Cycle Type||Regular cycle|
|Drying Cycle||Normal dry cycle or line-dry|
|Special Treatments||Use stain remover and add laundry sanitizer to wash cycle|
|Iron Settings||Depends on fabric type|
Equipment / Tools
- Washing machine or large tub
- Dryer, drying rack, or clothesline
- Soft-bristled brush
- Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent with enzymes
- Enzyme-based laundry stain remover
- Oxygen-based bleach
- Laundry sanitizer
Fresh blood stains are much easier to remove than older stains. Remove the sheets from the bed as soon as you discover the stains. If the blood has soaked through to the mattress protector or the mattress, they should be treated promptly as well.
Flush the Blood-Stained Area
Hold the blood-stained area of the sheet under a faucet running full-force with cold water. This will help force the blood out of the fabric fibers. If the stain is large, focus on one area until most of the blood is removed and then move on to the next area by shifting the fabric.
Never use hot water as the first treatment for a blood stain on any textile. While blood contains many components, the high temperature can "cook" the proteins in blood, causing them to adhere to the fibers of the fabric. This makes removing the stain much more difficult.
Pretreat Blood Stains
For fresh blood stains, use an enzyme-based stain remover or a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent to pretreat the stained area. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the stain remover into the fibers. Place the sheet aside and let the stain remover work for at least fifteen minutes before washing the sheet.
If the blood has dried when you find the stain, brush off any solid, crusted matter with the soft-bristled brush. Fill a a large sink, bathtub, or washer, with cold water and add oxygen-based bleach powder. Follow the label directions of how much powder to use per gallon of water. Add the blood-stained sheet and submerge it completely. Allow it to soak for at least two hours. It is fine for it to soak longer, even overnight.
Select the Washer Settings
Select the regular washer cycle and water temperature that you use for the bedding. Be sure to inspect the pretreated sheets before adding them to the washer. If the stains are still visible, do not use hot water.
Wash the Sheets
Wash the sheets using your regular laundry detergent.
Add a Laundry Sanitizer
If the blood stains are large or you are concerned about infectious diseases, add a laundry sanitizer to the wash cycle. For white cotton sheets, this can be chlorine bleach. For colored sheets or sheets made from bamboo, silk, or synthetic materials, choose pine oil or a phenolic-based sanitizer (Lysol).
Inspect the Sheets
After washing, inspect the sheets carefully for any remaining discoloration. If there is still evidence of the stain, repeat the pretreatment and washing steps. Do not dry the sheets, especially in the high heat of an automatic dryer, until the stain is removed.
Dry the Sheets
The stain-free sheets can be dried as usual in your automatic dryer, hung from an outdoor clothesline, or dried on an indoor-drying rack.
If you like to iron your cotton sheets after washing, do not iron them if any blood stains remain. The high heat of the iron will make removing the stains very difficult.