How to Remove Bloodstains From Clothes

How to Remove Blood Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-10

Accidents happen and sometimes result in unsightly, tricky bloodstains. Most stains can be effectively removed when treated promptly, but dried stains are more challenging to treat. As with any bodily fluid, use appropriate precautions to prevent disease transmission while cleaning and always use protective gloves. While you may need to consult a professional cleaner if the stain is dried or exceptionally large, you can take measures to remove bloodstains at home using products you likely already have in your cupboard. Before cleaning, place blood-stained fabrics in a plastic bin that you can easily disinfect, and carry the container away from your face. Dispose of any soiled materials once you're finished cleaning. Never use hot water on bloodstains or place a stained item in the machine dryer, as it cooks the protein in the blood and can set the stain permanently. 

Stain type  Protein-based, iron-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Cold to warm
Cycle type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

Before beginning the treatment process, resist the urge to rub the stain, as it will only push the matter deeper into the fabric fibers, making it more difficult to remove. Test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. While most cleaning methods are gentle enough for a diverse range of fabrics, knowing an item's specific care needs will help you choose the best stain removal option. Always adhere to the recommendations on your garment's care label before washing. Different fabrics call for different washing protocols.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • White cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Running faucet
  • Basin

Materials

  • Heavy-duty detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Dishwashing detergent

Instructions

How to Remove Bloodstains From Clothes

When a few drops of blood land on your clothing, begin treating the stain immediately using everyday household products.

  1. Flush the Stain

    Flush the bloodstain with cold water by holding the fabric inside out directly under a cold, running faucet. The water's force is necessary to flush the stain.

  2. Apply Detergent

    Work a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent that contains enough enzymes to break apart the stain. Work the detergent into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Tide and Persil are highly recommended brands.

  3. Let Sit

    Allow the solution to work for fifteen minutes and then wash as advised by the fabric's care label. Check the stained area after washing, and do not place it in a machine dryer if the stain remains. If there are still traces of the stain or you're dealing with an old, dried stain, move to the next step.

  4. Scrape Excess

    Scrape or brush off any old or dried crusted matter with a dull knife or toothbrush. Mix a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach. Recommended bleach brands include OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, and OXO Brite. Follow the label directions as to how much product to use.

  5. Submerge

    Submerge the blood-stained item and allow it to soak at least two hours or overnight, then wash as you usually would. You may repeat this step by soaking in a fresh solution, then rewashing.

Tip

You should always disinfect bloodstains to remove any viruses or bacteria. Follow these tips for disinfecting both white and colored laundry. Wear gloves while doing so.


When to Call a Professional

When your blood-stained garment is marked as dry clean only, blot as much moisture as possible from the fabric with a clean, white paper towel before heading to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the proper treatment. If you choose to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Additional Tips for Handling Bloodstains

If the bloodstain doesn't come out after using the above methods, you may mix 1 tablespoon of household ammonia with 1/2 cup of water. Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then blot away and rinse with plain water. Repeat your method of choice until the stain is removed. Total removal may not be possible, but most removal practices will effectively lighten the stain. If the bloodstain is large and unable to be removed, it's best to dispose of the affected item.