How to Wash Blood Out of Sheets

Red blood stains being cleaned with scrub brush and cleaner spray on white sheet

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

When a blood stain happens on a bed sheet, act fast with cold water and a heavy-duty detergent or enzyme-based spot cleaner to work on the stain. If the blood doesn't belong to you, it's best practice to don gloves when handling someone else's blood.

If washed immediately, the blood should rinse out. Then, wash as you usually would, including running the cycle using warm or hot water. However, never use hot water, a clothes dryer, or an iron on any fabric that still has a stain. The heat sets in the stain, making it difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

Fortunately, if you act promptly and follow some simple steps, you can easily remove blood stains.

How to Wash Blood Out of Sheets
 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
How Often to Wash As soon as you notice it

What You'll Need

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 or oxygen-based bleach
  • Laundry sanitizer like bleach or pine sol (Optional)


Materials and tools to wash blood out of sheets

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic


  1. Act Promptly

    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, it should be treated promptly as well.


    If you discover a blood stain on bed sheets and don't have time to treat it immediately, fill a bathtub, large sink, or washer with cold water. Add an enzyme presoak product or some laundry detergent. Submerge the entire sheet and allow it to soak until you can treat the stained area.

    White sheets being pulled from top of mattress

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Flush the Blood-Stained Area

    Hold the blood-stained sheet area 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 the blood, causing them to adhere to the fabric's fibers. This makes removing the stain much more difficult.

    Fresh blood stain placed under running faucet water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Pretreat Blood Stains

    Use an enzyme-based stain remover or a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent to pretreat the stained area for fresh blood stains. 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.

    Or, fill 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. If the blood has dried when you find the stain, brush off any solid, crusted matter with the soft-bristled brush.

    Soft-bristled brush scrubbing blood stain with enzyme-based stain remover

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. 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.

    Washing machine set to regular water cycle

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. Wash the Sheets

    Wash the sheets using your regular laundry detergent.

    White sheets being placed in washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  6. 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, use chlorine bleach. Choose pine oil or a phenolic-based sanitizer for colored sheets or sheets made from bamboo, silk, or synthetic materials (Lysol).

    Chlorine bleach poured into washing machine dispenser

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  7. Inspect the Sheets

    After washing, inspect the sheets carefully for any remaining discoloration. Repeat the pretreatment and washing steps if there is still evidence of the stain. Do not dry the sheets, especially in the high heat of an automatic dryer, until the stain is removed.

    White sheets inspected outside for stains

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  8. 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.

    White sheets clipped to clothing line outside

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Treating Stubborn Blood Stains on Bed Sheets

One of the best stain removal methods for sheets with older, set-in stains is using common household ammonia. Mix a solution of half water and half ammonia. It has a strong odor, but it gets the job done effectively.

Wear gloves when working with ammonia and work in a well-ventilated area. Moisten cotton balls in the solution and dab the stain, rubbing the solution into the stain. Repeat with a new cotton ball; the stain should start to dissolve. If not, substitute the cotton ball for an old cleaning toothbrush. Dip the toothbrush into the solution, gently working on the stain. Once the stain begins to disappear, start using a moistened cotton ball again to soak it up.


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.

Iron flattening out cleaned white sheet

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Tips for Washing Blood Out of Sheets

  • Dry your clothes in the sunshine if possible. The sun has wonderful stain-removing properties, especially with protein-based stains like blood. 
  • If you have a steam cycle on your washing, this cycle works well to remove blood stains.
  • You can use chlorine bleach on white fabrics; however, don't use it too frequently. Chlorine bleach can weaken fabric fibers.
  • What temperature water is best for getting out blood stains?

    Use cold water to get blood stains out. Turn the fabric on the reverse side and apply a steady stream of cold water directly to the stain, pushing it out of the fibers the way it came. Since blood is a protein-based stain, heat cooks the proteins, baking the stain into the fabric.

  • How to remove dried blood stains?

    An enzymatic-based spot remover is a good choice for getting out old blood stains. Mixing water and ammonia is another excellent option for eliminating blood stains.

  • What are some good household supplies that can be used for removing blood stains?

    Common household ingredients that can be used to remove blood stains include hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, cornstarch, and a saltwater soak.