I write about a variety of topics for many different websites, but my passion is writing about natural health and wellness.
Can't Get Blood Stains Out?
Bloodstains are common in every household and numerous home treatments have been devised to remove blood from almost any surface. Bloodstains are notorious for being particularly difficult to remove.
One of the keys to removing blood stains is to understand what you're up against. Blood is primarily composed of protein, which is easy enough to dissolve using household items. Once the protein dissolves, it's a simple matter of rinsing the stain and cleaner away. Never, at any time, use heat on a bloodstain, as it will cook it into the fabric and make the stain almost impossible to remove.
One of the most effective, if not the most appealing, ways to remove fresh blood stains is to use saliva. The person who spilled the blood can use their saliva to dissolve the stain if they act quickly. The individual should place a clean cloth in their mouth and keep it there for several minutes to accumulate plenty of moisture. Then, simply blot the bloodstain, and the saliva will do the rest. Keep in mind this only works for the person whose blood made the stain.
In this article, I'll show you how to clean dried (or fresh) blood from the following surfaces:
- Washable fabrics
- Non-washable fabrics
- Washable upholstery
- Stone surfaces
Bloodstains are extremely common on washable fabrics such as shirts, pants, jeans, and dresses. These are the most commonly worn fabrics and are usually the first to accumulate bloodstains when an accident occurs. Fresh stains are much easier to remove than old, dried stains. You can, however, “freshen” bloodstains that have existed for longer than 24 hours by soaking the afflicted spot in cold water for one hour. After that, the blood will be easily removed with the following method.
- Pour a small portion of shampoo directly onto the bloodstain.
- Wet the stain with cold water and scrub until the blood stain begins to lift from the fabric. Shampoo contains several ingredients that break up grease and other protein-based substances, such as blood.
- Soak the item in cold water for two to three hours, and then launder. Be sure to set the washing machine to the coldest water setting possible. If any blood remains prior to drying, do not dry on the highest heat setting.
Non-washable fabrics are just as susceptible to bloodstains as washable fabrics, though because of the difficulty of cleaning the object safely, many people assume the worst. However, an easy remedy exists utilizing ammonia, a chemical that effectively breaks the protein bonds in blood.
- Add several drops of ammonia to a bowl of cold water, then dab the liquid onto the stain until it begins to lift.
- Rinse cold water over the stain, and then blot dry.
- Continue until the stain is completely gone from the fabric. If the stain remains after several attempts, take the fabric to be dry cleaned to avoid unnecessary damage.
Bloodstains on carpet are another common, yet difficult, stain to remove properly without damaging the fabric. Follow these steps to safely and effectively remove blood stains from carpeting.
- Blot up as much blood as possible with clean, white paper towels.
- Fill a spray bottle with ½ cup water and 1 tablespoon of ammonia. Spray the liquid over the stain, wait about 5 minutes, and blot again.
- Pour a small amount of carpet spot cleaner onto the stain, and work it in with a clean, damp sponge.
- Blot once again to remove all excess moisture and as much of the stain as possible.
- Fill another spray bottle with cold water, spray it over the stain and blot dry.
- Spray with cold water one more time, cover with a paper towel and allow to dry for one or two hours. The stain should be completely removed. If it remains, add a little peroxide to the spray bottle of cold water, spray the stain again, wait an hour and blot.
Washable upholstery, though similar to washable fabric, requires a very different method to effectively remove bloodstains. Remember to first soak all dried blood stains in cold water for an hour to freshen and prepare them for cleaning. Fresh bloodstains require no preparation.
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- Combine one part cornstarch with one part cold water and stir to form a paste.
- Rub the mixture gently into the upholstery until the entire stain is covered, and then place in the sun to dry for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Use a nylon brush to gently scrape the paste away, and the bloodstain should be gone. If it remains, however, try repeating the process with a paste made of cornmeal and water or talcum powder and water.
While removing blood stains from wallpaper may sound difficult, it is relatively easy unless the stain has been allowed to remain for a long period of time, in which case it will probably result in a permanent stain. Fresh stains, however, can almost always be removed.
- Dip a clean cloth in cold water and wring it out as much as possible.
- Gently wipe away as much blood as possible, rinsing the cloth between each wipe.
- When no more blood is removed from simply wiping, fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon of ammonia and about ½ cup of water.
- Spray the liquid onto the bloodstain, and let it stand for a few minutes, then resume wiping with the cold, damp cloth until the stain is entirely gone.
Bloodstains are common on stone surfaces, where lots of activity takes place, usually considerably rougher activity than on a carpet or fabric flooring. Different cleaning methods should be exercised for these surfaces, however, depending on the type of stone.
Removal From Alabaster and Marble
- Wipe up as much of the stain as possible using a sponge dipped in cold water. Continue until the stain will lift no longer.
- Make a paste consisting of one part water, one part powdered detergent, and one part chlorine bleach.
- Spread a thick layer of the paste over the stain, and cover with a paper towel to slow the drying process.
- Wait one to two hours, or until the stain has been bleached out entirely, rinse away the paste and dry the location. Remember to always wear gloves when handling bleach.
Removal From Miscellaneous Surfaces
Bloodstain removal from miscellaneous surfaces includes brick, concrete, bluestone, granite, flagstone, limestone, sandstone, slate, terrazzo, or masonry tile.
- Wipe up as much of the stain as possible with a sponge dipped in cold water.
- Make a solution consisting of a small amount of washing soda or laundry detergent in warm water, and then use a stiff brush to scour away any remaining blood.
- Rinse the stained area and let dry. Repeat if the stain remains.
A Video on Clothing and Fabric Treatments
In the following video, expert Susan Gorms demonstrates how to remove blood stains from clothing and fabric without causing unnecessary damage. The video also shows proper techniques for blotting and other actions that are involved in removing blood stains on other types of items.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Mivey on May 13, 2016:
Wrong !!! I was a phlebotomist and spilled blood on a white carpet using water freezing cold w ice cubes lifted the stain immediately!! So.. What u said is a wives tale.
BB Grace on February 15, 2016:
One correction I must make: it is an old wives tale to use cold water! Use warm or hot water as per fabric type to remove blood. Cold water is more likely to set stains
peter on May 22, 2014:
This is the result I got when I tried to remove the dried blood stain on my shirt:
I spat on it and rubbed... blood stain still there
Tide To Go stick... blood stain still there
Tide With Bleach Alternative... blood stain still there
Purex Plus Oxi and Zout... blood stain still there
Water and salt... blood stain still there
I was feeling SOOO frustrated and was ready to give up when my friend told me to buy a lemon, cut it in half, and rub it all over the dried blood stain. She says for sure it will get it out. She's done it a million times. So I did what she said, and LITERALLY, 30 seconds later, the dried blood stain was COMPLETELY GONE!!!! I LITERALLY saw it disappear right in front of my eyes!!!! As if it was never there!!!
That's my experience anyways! Hope this helps!
Darlene Matthews on November 20, 2010:
Wow, what an education, thanks.
Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on May 12, 2010:
thank you for a very useful hub. this hub gave me great tips on how to clean those stubborn blood stains next time.