You may not realize how easily blood can get on your carpets — and we’re not talking about murder. Small cuts or kids running into walls or furniture could be the difference between a clean carpet and a blood-stained one.
Besides being conspicuously red, there’s another reason why blood stains are so hard to remove. The hemoglobin in blood acts as a binder and sticks to the fibers of the carpet. So, if you do get blood on your carpet, you must act as fast as possible.
Your preferred method for cleaning blood out of a carpet will depend on whether it’s dried or fresh. Unsurprisingly, dried blood requires some harder methods for successful removal.
Keep in mind that the methods we use in our guide might not suit every type of carpet. If you have an antique, Oriental, Persian or any other special carpet, first do a spot test in an inconspicuous area. Then allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes and check for any signs of damage, such as discoloration.
How to Remove Fresh Blood
Step #1: Blot
With a fresh bloodstain, you must act fast to avoid disaster. Start by blotting the blood as much as you can by using a clean cloth or paper towel. Cloth is most effective, but if you’re afraid to stain it, use paper towels. After all, you might need to change them a few times.
Start at the edges of the spot and work your way to the center. Do not rub the spot; this will only cause it to spread further into the fibers.
Step #2: Wet With Cold Water
Fill a spray bottle with cold water and lightly spritz the blood and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You can also pour a small amount using a glass or other container. Apply water just until the area is damp; too much water can damage your carpet.
Some homeowners prefer to use club soda or tonic water instead of tap. It’s not exactly clear how the fizzy beverages remove stains, but they definitely aren’t harmful to your carpet.
Keep repeating steps one and two until the stain is gone. It will likely need a few repetitions but keep at it. Whenever one spot on the cloth gets discolored, use a different spot — keep changing until the stain is gone.
If you’re getting tired of blotting, try a wet vac or carpet extractor with a small attachment. These will help to get the moisture and stain out.
Step #3: Salt Treatment
After countless rounds of blotting and wetting, if the stain is still present, try using salt. Create a paste of salt and cold water in a small bowl. Apply a small amount of the mixture directly onto the blood and leave it for a couple of minutes.
Blot the salt and stain away using a clean cloth. Check the cloth after each dab to see if the stain is coming out or not.
Protect Your Carpet
Step #4: Use Diluted Dish Soap
After trying the salt method without success, use a small amount of liquid detergent. Dilute one or two teaspoons of dish soap in one cup of cold water.
Soak a white cloth in the solution and apply it to the bloodstain. Then fill a spray bottle with cold water and rinse the area. Use a dry cloth to blot it dry.
Step #5: Dry the Carpet
When you’ve successfully removed the blood, it’s time to dry the carpet. The fastest way to dry a carpet is by using a fan. Direct it towards the wet area of the carpet and allow it to run for a couple of hours.
To hasten the drying process, you can also use paper towels or a dry towel to extract moisture from the carpet. Lay them across the wet area and apply something heavy to help squeeze the moisture out.
If it takes too long to dry your carpet, some blood might resurface if it was soaked in the padding. This will cause a new stain which can be very frustrating.
Step #6: Restore the Fibers
When the carpet is finally dry and blood-free, you might want to restore its shape. You can do this by vacuuming the area to bring the fibers out. You can also use a toothbrush to fluff the area gently.
If the stain was large or there were several spots in a large area, you might want to use the vacuum. This will be faster and easier than having to sit on the floor and scrub.
How to Remove Dried Blood
If you want to get a small headstart, you can try to scrape a dull knife across the dry stain. This can help to loosen flecks of blood and make it easier to remove. However, this little trick won’t do all the magic on its own, and it shouldn’t be tried on valuable carpets.
Method #1: Shampoo and Ammonia
Ammonia is one of the most effective ways to get rid of blood from any surface. However, it should be handled with care since it may damage or discolor silk or wool.
You can easily use ammonia on its own, but we prefer to start with detergent to get the process going. This can also reduce the time needed for the ammonia to work, which can lower the risk of damage.
Pour one cup of water into a spray bottle and add two teaspoons of shampoo. You can also use liquid dish soap. Shake the mixture well and spray the area — allow it to sit for up to five minutes.
In another spray bottle, pour in one cup of water and add one tablespoon of household ammonia. Give the bottle a quick shake to mix.
Then, blot the area dry using a cloth before applying the ammonia. After spraying on the ammonia, leave it to sit for up to five minutes. Blot the area dry again and rinse with clean water by spraying it on and blotting it out.
Method #2: Enzyme Cleaner
Enzymes are a natural tool that aid bacteria to break down organic matters such as vomit, urine, feces and blood. You can buy any commercial enzyme-based cleaner, such as Bubbas Super Strength, as long as it’s safe for carpets (3).
Apply the product by following the instructions on the label. These are generally sprayed directly onto the stain and left for a certain amount of time. Then finish off by rinsing the area and blotting it dry.
Save Your Carpet
Getting to the Bottom of the Stain
Cleaning blood out of a carpet is difficult, but certainly not impossible. By acting fast and using the right methods, you can successfully restore your carpet.
Always remember to blot and not rub a new bloodstain. Rubbing can cause the blood to seep into the fibers, making it harder to remove. Always choose cold water over warm or hot as it prevents blood from binding to the carpet.