Vol.2, No.6

How to remove blood stains from fabric

Tips on removing blood stains from clothing and bedding.

Fabric stain treater
Photo Credit: Michal Koziarski
Everyone bleeds; it's a fact of life. Many times, when bleeding occurs, the blood will get on our clothes causing a stain. Some may feel a bloodstain will be the end of a particular item of clothing, but this is not necessarily so. If you've had an accident and bleeding has occurred, first bandage your wound or take the appropriate safety measures. Afterwards, work on the clothing. Please keep in mind, these same methods can be applied when cleaning sheets, blankets and other bedding.

The last thing you want is for a blood stain to set in. If this happens, you may as well turn your garment into a dust rag. As soon as humanly possible, blot the stain with cold water or soak it in a cold water bath. Smaller stains, of course, don't have to be submerged. The sooner you treat the stain, the less likely it is to set in.

In most cases, this will be all that’s needed to treat the stain. Once the stain has faded or disappeared, you can toss it in with your regular laundry. You might even want to squirt a little laundry spot remover first. When the washing is finished, inspect your shirt. If the stain has disappeared, it's safe to put in the dryer. Otherwise, you'll want to remove the stain completely before drying, ironing or applying any type of heat to the stain which will just cause it to set in permanently.

There are other measures you can take to remove the stain, especially if you're not at home.

- Dishwashing detergent - A little dishwashing liquid goes a long way in stain prevention. Depending on the severity of the stain, either dilute with some water or use full strength and blot the stain to remove the blood. Once the blood is removed, blot again with a damp sponge. Launder the shirt as usual.

- Club soda - Pour club soda directly onto the stain, let it fizz and blot until it disappears. Launder as usual.

- Vinegar - Straight vinegar works wonders with blood stained clothing. Apply the vinegar directly to the stain and blot. When the stain is removed, blot again with a damp cloth to remove the smell. Launder as usual.

- Baking soda - Mix one part baking soda with two parts water and blot the stain until it lifts. Blot again with a damp sponge to remove the baking soda. Launder as usual.

- Peroxide - Apply straight peroxide directly to the stain, let it fizz for a while and blot until the stain is lifted. Blot again with a damp sponge and launder as usual. (Keep in mind that peroxide can bleach clothing. You may need to test in a hidden spot first.)

- Glass and window cleaner - Spray glass and window cleaner directly onto the stain and let sit. Blot after about fifteen minutes to remove stain. Blot again with a damp sponge and launder as usual.

- Soap - Regular bar or liquid hand cleaning soap works well. Run the garment under water with the soap and bring to a lather. Rinse until the stain and the soap have been removed. Launder as usual.

- Saliva - It may sound icky, but spitting on blood stains seems to work.

In most cases, soaking a garment in cold water is enough to remove a blood stain. Just remember these tips: always blot a stain, rubbing it will cause it to embed deeper into the fibers. Never apply heat to a stain unless you want it to be a permanent part of the garment and always tackle a stain immediately. This may be the difference between a wearable item of clothing or a contribution to your rag basket.