How to get blood out of clothes

We’ve all been there – you’re going about your day, and suddenly, disaster strikes. A nosebleed, a cooking mishap, or some other accident leaves you with an unsightly blood stain on your favourite shirt or pair of pants. Blood stains can be tricky to remove, but don’t worry – with the right techniques, you can get your clothes looking good as new. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for getting blood out of all different types of fabrics, as well as share some expert tips and tricks to make the process as painless as possible.

get blood out of clothes

Blood Stains on clothes

Before we dive into the removal process, it’s important to understand a bit more about blood stains and why they can be so difficult to tackle. Blood is composed of a variety of components, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. When blood comes into contact with fabric, these components can quickly soak into the fibres, making the stain set quickly.

Additionally, blood contains several proteins and other organic compounds that can react with the fabric dyes and materials, causing the stain to oxidize and become even more difficult to remove over time. This is why it’s so important to act quickly when dealing with a blood stain – the sooner you can start the treatment process, the better chance you have of removing the stain completely.

Identifying the Fabric Type

The first step in getting a blood stain out of your clothes is to identify the type of fabric you’re dealing with. Different fabrics require different cleaning techniques, so it’s important to know what you’re working with before you start.

Some common fabric types include:

Fabric TypeCharacteristics
CottonA natural, breathable fabric that is generally easy to clean.
PolyesterA synthetic fabric that can sometimes be tricky to clean, as it can hold onto stains.
SilkA delicate, natural fabric that requires gentle treatment.
WoolAnother natural fiber that can be sensitive to certain cleaning methods.
LinenA lightweight, natural fabric that can be prone to staining.

Once you’ve identified the fabric, you can move on to the next step in the stain-removal process.

Treating the Stain Quickly

As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence when it comes to getting blood out of clothes. The sooner you can start the treatment process, the better. As soon as you notice a blood stain, take the following steps:

  1. Blot the stain: Use a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to gently blot at the stain, taking care not to rub it in further. This will help lift some of the excess blood from the fabric.
  2. Rinse with cold water: Run the stained area under cold, running water. Avoid using hot water, as this can cause the proteins in the blood to set into the fabric.
  3. Pretreat the stain: Apply a small amount of pre-treatment solution or stain remover directly to the stain. Look for products that are specifically designed for removing blood stains, as they will be more effective than general-purpose cleaners.
  1. Let it soak: Allow the pre-treatment solution to sit on the stain for a few minutes, following the product’s instructions. This will give the active ingredients time to break down the blood and make it easier to remove.
  2. Wash in cold water: Once the pre-treatment has had a chance to work, wash the item in cold water. Avoid using hot water, as this can set the stain.

By following these quick steps, you’ll give yourself the best chance of removing the blood stain before it has a chance to set in and become even more difficult to remove.

Removing Blood Stains from Different Fabrics

Now that we’ve covered the general approach to getting blood out of clothes, let’s dive into some specific techniques for different fabric types:

Cotton

Cotton is generally one of the easiest fabrics to clean blood stains from. Here’s what to do:

  1. Pretreat the stain with a stain remover or mix of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Wash the item in cold water using a mild detergent. Avoid using hot water, as this can set the stain.
  3. If the stain is still visible after washing, you can try soaking the item in a mix of cold water and oxygen-based bleach for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Wash the item again in cold water to remove any residual bleach.

Polyester

Polyester can be a bit trickier, as synthetic fibers can sometimes hold onto stains. Here’s the process:

  1. Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much of the blood as possible.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part dish soap and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Apply this to the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Rinse the item thoroughly with cold water.
  4. If the stain remains, try soaking it in a mix of cold water and white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Wash the item in cold water using a mild detergent.

Silk

Silk is a delicate fabric that requires gentle treatment. Here’s how to tackle blood stains on silk:

  1. Blot the stain gently with a clean, dry cloth to absorb excess blood.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part mild dish soap and 1 part cold water. Apply this to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the item thoroughly with cold water, taking care not to rub or agitate the fabric.
  4. If the stain persists, try soaking the item in a mix of cold water and white vinegar for 30 minutes.
  5. Wash the silk item by hand in cold water using a mild, pH-neutral detergent.

Wool

Wool can be tricky to clean, as it’s a delicate natural fibre. Here’s the process:

  1. Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb excess blood.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part mild dish soap and 1 part cold water. Apply this to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the item thoroughly with cold water, taking care not to agitate the fabric.
  4. If the stain remains, try spot-cleaning the area with a small amount of dry cleaning solvent.
  5. Wash the wool item by hand in cold water using a mild, wool-safe detergent.

Linen

Linen is a lightweight, natural fabric that can be prone to staining. Here’s how to tackle blood stains on linen:

  1. Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb excess blood.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part mild dish soap and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Apply this to the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Rinse the item thoroughly with cold water.
  4. If the stain persists, try soaking the item in a mix of cold water and white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Wash the linen item in cold water using a mild detergent.

Treating Old Blood Stains

If you’re dealing with an old, set-in blood stain, the process may be a bit more involved, but it’s still possible to remove it. Here are some additional tips:

  1. Pretreat the stain with an enzyme-based stain remover or a mix of meat tenderizer and water. The enzymes in these products can help break down the proteins in the dried blood.
  1. Allow the pretreatment to sit on the stain for 30 minutes to an hour before washing.
  2. Wash the item in cold water using an oxygen-based bleach or a stain-removing detergent.
  1. If the stain is still visible after washing, you can try soaking the item in a mix of cold water and hydrogen peroxide for several hours.
  2. As a last resort, you can also try taking the item to a professional dry cleaner, who may have access to more powerful solvents and techniques for removing set-in blood stains.

The key to old blood stains is to be patient and persistent. It may take several rounds of pretreatment and washing to fully remove the stain, but with the right approach, you can get your clothes looking good as new.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more tips and tricks to help you get the best results when removing blood stains from clothes:

  • Act quickly – The sooner you can start the stain removal process, the better.
  • Avoid heat – Heat can cause blood stains to set, so always use cold water.
  • Blot, don’t rub – Blotting the stain gently with a clean cloth or paper towel will lift the excess blood without pushing it further into the fabric.
  • Use the right products – Look for stain removers, detergents, and other cleaners that are specifically designed for removing blood stains.
  • Test first – Before applying any cleaning solution to the entire stain, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to make sure it doesn’t cause any discolouration or damage.
  • Consider the fabric care label – Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and caring for the specific fabric.
  • Be patient – Removing stubborn blood stains may require multiple rounds of treatment and washing. Don’t get discouraged – with persistence, you can get those clothes looking as good as new.

Conclusion

Blood stains can be a real pain, but with the right techniques and a bit of elbow grease, you can get your clothes looking fresh and stain-free. By understanding the science behind blood stains, identifying the fabric type, and following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to removing even the toughest of blood stains.

Remember, the key is to act quickly, use the right products, and be patient. With a little bit of care and attention, you can get your clothes looking good as new, no matter what life throws your way. Happy cleaning!

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.