How to remove blood stains from clothes (Easy home remedies)

How to effectively and naturally treat and remove blood stains from clothing using household remedies, without the need for specialized commercial products.

Blood stains look bad on all clothes. And unfortunately, this happens to everyone from time to time. You just wash it off and usually they are good. But how do you remove those dried-up seemingly-permenant bloody stains? 

The unsightly reddish-brown color that blood stains can develop into is a source of frustration for anyone who values their clothing and bed linens. 

It does not take much to get those stains – just live in the tropics and you will have sheets upon sheets stained with mosquito blood. The person who shaves in the house, makes a nick and wipes with your newly bleached white towel. Then kids come home scratched from play with bloodstained clothes. I am not even starting on the monthly period stains.

A lot of girls who do not track their period, frantically search for tips to get blood out of sheets and clothes, you know when! This scenario is completely avoidable for most girls because today there are several apps which track periods. A little precaution goes a long way – atleast you can avoid the frantic change of sheets and clothes and search for ways to get the stain out and then doing it.

However you get the stain, blood stains are not the most difficult stain ever. With some elbow grease and tricks, most stains disappear.

how to remove blood stains from clothes

So, how do you get blood out of clothes?

First and foremost, if possible, Tackle it as soon as it is made.

Dab or Wash the bloodied area as soon as you spot it. This is the best way to remove blood out of fabric. When you spot clean the area where blood is spilled as soon as it happens, the blood shade vanishes like it never was.

The main caveat in treating blood stains is

Wash with cold water. Only with cold water. Blood is a protein stain and will set permanently if heat touches it. So hot water wash, hot pressing with iron, heat in the dryer -all are banned for blood stains

The next important thing is to contain the stain. I mean, do not unnecessarily spread the stain to other areas.

And finally, whatever you read here, use your natural instincts and pre-test any new product on an inconspicuous place before trying it on the face of the garment. Check the garment care label to see what is allowed with the fabric and what is not. Wool, Silk and nonwashable fabrics need specialist care or atleast special care.

Steps to remove blood stains

Step 1

Take a small basin with clean water and a small piece of clean cloth. Wet the cloth with the cold water. Blot the stain from the periphery into the center of the stain. This way the color does not get into the nonstained areas. You should try to dab away the whole blood from the area. You can use a diluted salt solution for better results

If the blood stain color is gone, dab with a dry cloth to dry the area. Launder as usual

This dabbing action is what saves the day for things you cannot put into the washing machine or bucket-like upholstery, carpeting, bedding etc. Ensure that the material is washable, though

How to remove blood stain from un-washable fabrics (eg. upholstery)?

For un-washables clothes or upholstery, you can spread a mixed paste of raw starch or face powder with water ; when it is dry flake it off. Brush everything off. This will remove the dried off blood particles. If the stain is still there, spot clean carefully.

Step 2 

If the blood shade is still there, take some dishwashing liquid or shampoo or enzyme detergent. Dilute with some cold water. Dab this on the stain with another clean cloth. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. For very stubborn stains you may have to soak the article for more than 30 minutes. 

Dab with a clean wet cloth Or use a scrubbing brush gently on the stain. When the stain looks gone, wash or dab away the soap residue

A detergent with enzyme is especially meant for removing protein stains. Blood is protein. Read more about the effectiveness of these detergents here. Enzymes in detergents are said to be an alternative to chlorine bleach for removing some stains easily from fabric – but use with caution. You may be allergic to it and do not use with protein fibers -silk and wool.

Step 3 

If the stain is still persistent – it may, if you forgot to tackle it when fresh – you may need to do more. Old blood stains are stubborn.

So How do you get blood out of clothes that have set in?.

Old blood stain removal

Use the following solutions. These methods may cause discoloration in colored clothes, so use with caution.

First, flake off any residue – the dried blood particles.

1. Soak the area in salt solution (table salt dissolved in cold water). Keep for 30 minutes. Launder.

how to get blood out of clothes with salt solution

2. One effective solution many people vouch for is a solution of 1 tsp Ammonia in 600 ml water.  It is supposed to remove dried up blood stains.- But ammonia needs careful handling – like mixing it in a ventilated area and  using gloves etc

3. Another solution is to apply a few drops of full strength Hydrogen Peroxide on the stain. Use a scrubbing brush to scrub the stain and then rinse thoroughly with water. You may need to reapply this more than once for stubborn stains. But you should realize that Hydrogen Peroxide is a bleaching agent and can cause discoloration. You can use it diluted in a ratio of 1:9 to avoid this.

4. Oxygen based stain remover like Oxyclean is supposed to be effective on blood stains.

5. Finally, if nothing works – use bleach. But I have never had to reach this part. Most stains disappear at Step 2.

To remove any stain without fading the colour of the clothing is tricky. Use most of the stain remover solutions with utmost caution to prevent this. You can read about some common stain remover solutions to stains here.


Why does Blood Stain fabric?

Blood is red in color because of the presence of hemoglobin that contains iron in it. When blood is exposed to air it coagulates. The blood particles get into the small pores on fabric structure and settles there. The blood clotting mechanism which is good for healing cuts is not so great on your clothes. You will need to apply some elbow grease or one of the techniques described in this post to get the stain out. Fresh blood washes off fast. Old blood sticks and the stain is a dirty red in color.

Any blood stain removal hack for quick removal?

I have read in an embroidery book and even a reader commented that blood can be removed (immediately after the spill) if you use a little of your saliva. Saliva is supposed to contain some enzyme which breaks the blood stain and make it disappear. Naturally, you can only use so much saliva, so this hack is only useful for small blood spills from needle pricks etc. The scientific reason behind this is beyond my knowledge.

What to put on blood stain which is on non-removable upholstery and bedding?

Reader’s Digest book on ‘How to clean anything’ suggests keeping a mix of flour and water or talcum powder and water on the stain and then flaking it off when dry. You can also use shampoo and scrub with brush to spot clean the area.

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Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

2 thoughts on “How to remove blood stains from clothes (Easy home remedies)”

  1. I have used denture tablets (generic brands work), to soak the blood stains that had been washed and dried several times. I soak in cold water for 30 minutes with laundry detergent and non-bleach whitener. It has works every time. For my best sheets it took a box of 80 tablets (cost less than $2).

    • Hi Ellen
      That is a wonderful tip. I guess for old hardened and stubborn stains this is the solution- using denture cleaner tablets. I have heard that it removed stains from vessels. Thanks for the input

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