How to Get Blood out of Clothes

Updated
Categories Doing Laundry
Say goodbye to blood stains. 

If there’s anything that makes getting a bad cut or injury worse, it’s noticing the blood has gotten on your clothes.

If you’re wondering how to get blood out of clothes, we have good news!

It’s definitely possible, and not too tricky, to get fresh and dried blood out of your clothing.

How to Get Blood out of Clothes

Whether you find fresh or dried blood stains on your clothes, we can help. For fresh stains, soak the garment in cold water immediately. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide or bar soap to scrub the stain. If that doesn’t work, add pre-treatment before washing in cold water with fabric-safe bleach. Air dry.


How to Get Fresh Blood out of Clothes

If you notice fresh blood on your clothing — from a cut, your period or a scrape — it’s best to treat it right away. Well, after you’ve dealt with the injury, of course.

What You Need

  • Sponge.
  • Hydrogen peroxide or bar soap.
  • Pre-treatment or liquid laundry detergent.
  • Fabric-safe bleach.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Soak the stain in cold water immediately. You can even run it under cold water to rinse out as much of the stain as you can.
  2. Soak a sponge in 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or use a bar soap to scrub the stain.
  3. Apply a pre-treatment or a few drops of liquid laundry detergent to the stain.
  4. Wash the stain in cold water with fabric-safe bleach. You can do this by hand or use your washing machine.
  5. Air dry to check the stain is gone. If so, you can wash and dry is normal, but you don’t want to put the stained garment in the tumble dryer before you know the stain is definitely gone. Tumble dryers can actually set stains.

How to Get Dried Blood out of Clothes

If you notice a blood stain after it’s dried, you can still do your best to get it out. It might take a little extra work, but it is possible.

What You Need

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Fill a basin with cool water.
  2. Soak the stain item in the water for an hour to break up the stain.
  3. Wash in cool water, but air dry as the tumble dryer can set the stain.
  4. If the stain remains, turn the fabric inside out. Scrub at the stained area with soap and water. This is recommended on sturdy fabrics — like cotton or linen — not delicates. Turning the fabric inside out helps to break apart the stain from behind and pushing it out the clothes.
  5. If the blood stain is still there, try an enzymatic cleaner. This will biodegrade the dried blood stain.
  6. After the stain is out, launder as normal.

How to Get Blood Stains out of Delicate Fabrics

What if you have delicate fabrics, like silk or wool? You will have to treat these with a little extra care!

Silk

For fresh or dried blood stains, try this method.

  1. Mix 250 ml of cold water together with a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Pour it into a spray bottle before spraying onto the stain.
  3. Rub it in gently with a clean cloth. Leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Then rinse it out with cold water. You can then wash silk items as directed on the care label.

Go Easy

Don’t ever use enzymatic cleaners on delicate fabrics as it will be too harsh. A gentle laundry detergent is always best.

Wool

Removing blood stains from wool is pretty easy. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Pour a little bit of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide onto the blood stain.
  2. Work it in gently with a clean cloth. Leave for five minutes before rinsing it out with cold water.
  3. If the blood stain is still there, repeat this step until it’s gone.
  4. Wash the wool item at the recommended temperature as per the care label instructions.

What Are Good Blood Stain Removers?

Besides soap, laundry detergent or a pre-treatment, there are some other options to remove blood stains out of clothing.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a good option to try when removing blood stains. Make sure you use a 3 percent solution which is ideal for domestic duties, but not strong enough to bleach clothes. On that note, we don’t recommend it for darker colors in case it does result in color loss.

  1. Soak a cloth or sponge in hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Blot at the stained area.
  3. Rinse under cold water.
  4. Repeat until the blood stain is removed.

The reason this works so well is because of the chemical makeup of hydrogen peroxide. The bleaching agents in hydrogen peroxide break down the blood, removing the appearance of the stain (1).

Vinegar

If you don’t have distilled white vinegar in your house, you’re really missing out. This stuff comes in handy for laundry, surface cleaning and now, removing blood stains.

Vinegar is acidic which makes it great for household cleaning (2).

  1. Pour vinegar directly onto the stain.
  2. Leave it for 10 minutes.
  3. Blot the area with a paper towel.
  4. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste typically contains baking soda which has natural cleaning agents (3). So we suggest testing it on blood stains, too.

  1. Squeeze some onto the blood stain and let it dry.
  2. Rinse it off with cold water.
  3. Wash it in the machine with cold water. Or hand wash with some soap and cold water for delicates.

Alcohol

If you’re facing a super stubborn blood stain, try rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is used as a solvent for many purposes, making it super useful for breaking down stains (4).

  1. Add a few drops of the alcohol to a clean cloth.
  2. Dab gently onto the blood stain.
  3. Blot with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
  4. Use a separate cloth to rub the stain. Start from the outside and work your way into the middle, going in circular motions.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great product to keep in your cupboard. It works — not just for baking, but for laundry and stain removal. Baking soda has natural cleaning and absorbent properties, making it a great choice for stain removal (5).

  1. Mix some baking soda together with water to make a paste.
  2. Apply to the blood stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Launder the clothes in cold water and hopefully the stain will be gone now!

OxiClean

You can say goodbye to your blood stains if you use OxiClean. This is a super versatile product that can be used on whites and colors. So it doesn’t matter what garment you find a blood stain on — OxiClean can tackle it.

  1. Mix it according to the package instructions in water.
  2. Once it’s dissolved, add the stained garment to the mix.
  3. Soak for between one to six hours, depending on how long the stain takes to disappear.
  4. Wash as normal.

Other Options

There are a few other things you could try if you’re stuck.

  1. First, salt is a good option. You can just sprinkle it on the blood stain with some cold water and let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing with cold water.
  2. Lemon juice is also great for getting blood out of clothes. Squeeze it onto the garment — this works best with light colors — and blot with a paper towel until the stain disappears.
  3. For fresh blood, you can actually rub the stain with an ice cube. In a few minutes, it should disappear.
  4. Lastly, you can always try saliva. Weird, we know. But saliva actually contains a special enzyme called amylase that can break down starches and effectively clean the blood stain (6).

Tips to Keep in Mind

We have a few more tips to make blood stain removal even easier.

  • Always check the care label first: There is a lot of important info on these care labels. Always check them to make sure you don’t damage the garment further.
  • Spot test: Always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the garment. This ensures that if the clothes react badly with your solution of choice, nobody will see it!
  • If in doubt, take elsewhere: If you’re not 100 percent sure about whether you can remove the stain, then take it to a dry cleaners. We know that it can be a little embarrassing to take them a blood-soaked item, but don’t worry. They’ve definitely dealt with worse!
  • Clean it quickly: The quicker you tackle that blood stain, the easier it will be to get the stain out. If you let it dry, it’s still possible to get it out but it will be a lot harder.
  • Always use cold water: Cold water will help remove the blood stain. Warm or hot water will basically set the stain, making it even more difficult to remove!

Stain-Free Clothing

These top tips will help you get blood stains, dried or fresh, from your clothes. You can be stain-free again! It just requires a little patience and maybe some experimenting.

Whether it’s simply laundry detergent, or hydrogen peroxide, or even your own saliva — you’ll be sure to find something that gets rid of the blood stain.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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