I've cleaned houses and spaces professionally. Here are some of my expert tips.
Tips for Removing Dried or Fresh Blood Stains Fast
If you live in a household full of kids or pets or you are accident-prone, finding spots of fresh blood around your house isn’t all too uncommon. Maybe you are prone to nose bleeds or you do a lot of physical labor . . . or, maybe you are dealing with period stains (happens to the best of us!).
If this sounds familiar, spots of blood on clothes, couches, bedding, and carpets can be pretty frustrating. The good news is that there are several products in your home that you can use to remove dried blood or fresh blood stains.
Stain Removal on Clothing, Furniture, or Carpet
Before working on any blood stain, it's important that you blot the area first (if wet) to soak up as much of the fluid as you can. Whether its clothing, carpet, or furniture, dab the area with something absorbent like a towel or paper towel and get rid of the excess fluid. Next, let's move on to choice cleaning products.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
I learned about the magical cleaning properties of hydrogen peroxide while working in veterinary medicine. It didn’t matter if a bloody dog had white, black, or brown fur, hydrogen peroxide did the trick to clean it off! If a dog had dried blood on it, I'd simply grab a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (or gauze soaked in hydrogen peroxide) and wipe the stains away. It works magically!
Hydrogen peroxide is essentially a mild bleach; it is safe on most fabrics (including silk and wool). If used properly, it shouldn’t damage fabric, but it always needs to be rinsed out or dabbed out after use. When applying hydrogen peroxide, it will bubble and fizz—that means it’s working! It should be rinsed out shortly after use (after about 30 minutes) to prevent any damage to fabric.
Of course, check the tags on your garments and products. If you are working with something that is dry-clean-only or delicate, you may want to take your item to the dry cleaner right away. Don't take any chances.
2. Dish Soap (Like Dawn)
Dawn is used for cutting grease and it does a fine job of it, but you can also dry-apply it to the blood (works best on wet stains) and rub it in to get it to sud. Simply rub (to create some foamy action) and wipe. You can reapply concentrated dish soap and repeat this technique. Be sure to approach the stain from both sides if you’re working with clothing, curtains, etc. If it’s your couch or some type of fabric that can't be manipulated, you may only be able to access the stain from one side—that's okay, just do your best.
3. Nature's Miracle
Nature’s Miracle is simply amazing for removing stains of all kinds. I keep this product around for cat vomit and all that fun stuff, but it works great on blood. It works extremely well on many types of material and is gentle on fabric. I’ve used it on carpets, cushions, and clothing.
Use full strength and do not dilute—it's best used when saturated. You want to leave this on the stain for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, blot up the stain and allow it to dry. You can reapply and use a bristled brush over the site for tough stains.
Natures Miracle is an enzymatic formula and busts even the toughest of pet stains (or human stains). It has a pleasant mild odor. It’s highly rated, works on fabric, furniture, and carpet. It should not be used on leather, suede, silk, or wool. It’s also successful for berry stains, chocolate stains, and similar.
4. Diluted Bleach
Diluted bleach can be okay on white fabric. Before discovering the other techniques mentioned above, I used to fill up a sink (plugged it) with cold water and after applying concentrated bleach directly to a stain, I'd soak my shirts in the water to dilute the bleach and further treat the shirt. I’d first apply the bleach directly to the spot with a q-tip and then drop it into cold water for 24 hours.
As you know, bleach is not good for our waterways, so I have since stayed away from this technique. As a safety precaution (if you do go ahead with bleach), close the doors to the area to keep kids and pets out and leave a window open to vent the bleach fumes.
Note: Using bleach on a white T-shirt or similar will still show up under a black light.
Hot Water or Cold Water for Stains?
There is a lot of conflicting information about whether you should use hot water or cold water for stains, especially blood. When it comes to blood, you actually want to use cold water. This is because blood coagulates and binds on clothing and linen. Hot water will help set the stain, rather than remove it, so stick to cold. (Strangely, I personally have had good luck with using hot water right after something got stained, but don't chance it.)
Hang-Dry Your Clothes
It’s also important to hang-dry your clothes or fabric rather than using heated drying. Heat tends to fix stains. If you need to dry your couch or fabric, use a hairdryer on “cool.” You can also get super creative and use a wet-dry vacuum to suction water out of the fabric (e.g. on a couch or cushion). All of these techniques work well.
Save the Environment
Tips for Removing Period Blood
Oh, period blood. It’s so great, it really just likes to ruin some of the cutest pairs of underwear. If you are trying to be eco-conscious, consider investing in reusable fabric pads (washable). They are extremely easy to use and do the trick—protecting your underwear and preventing leaks.
If it’s too late and your favorite underwear is already stained, consider some of the tricks above. It’s important to think about safety, however, if you are going to use a product on your underwear. Some chemicals are harsh and difficult to wash out of fabric. For period stains, stick to the natural stuff.
I would go for hydrogen peroxide and concentrated dish soap over anything else. Natures Miracle is great, but it’s still a chemical and requires heavy rinsing. Sticking to natural product use is important when taking care of your body . . . so always play it safe and stay away from chemicals.
Baking Soda and Table Salt
A simple application of concentrated table salt and water (then soak) can work well to prevent the setting of a period stain as does using an application of baking soda paste. Simply dilute a little baking soda with water and apply it to the stain, let it dry.
What Do You Use to Clean Stains?
I hope these tips helped. If a stain is truly stubborn, you can use color-safe bleach products for laundry. There are some good spot-on treatments like Zout and bleach pens that have worked well, but I always prefer going natural. Best of luck to you and share your tips below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Layne Holmes
Layne Holmes (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 08, 2020:
Hi Lora, hope you are well. I am glad that you agree with these suggestions! Nature's Miracle truly is a wonder! I have to say I love the smell, too. I was dog-sitting for a family friend and they used it on everything . . . after that, it became a staple for non-animal stains. Hydrogen peroxide works wonders . . .
thanks for stopping by.
Lora Hollings on May 07, 2020:
What a useful article and with so many natural solutions for getting blood out of clothes, furniture, and carpeting. I've used hydrogen peroxide for both blood and chocolate and have had really good results. I found out what a wonderful product Nature's Miracle is when I started fostering dogs and trying to house-train some that needed it! It was the only product that completely took the smell out of the carpet which helped so much in training subsequent dogs not to go in the house. And it has a great smell and it uses only enzymes instead of harsh chemicals which are so bad for us to breathe. Thank you, Layne, for such a great article with so much great information that will help me get stains out much easier in the future!
Layne Holmes (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 07, 2020:
Thanks for the read, Liz. I definitely have had nose bleed and cuts from doing tasks. I've always gone straight for re-wetting the blood stain if it dried and hasn't been washed. Otherwise, I've used concentrated bleach on a q-tip and washed right away with hot water on white fabric. Otherwise, I'd try Nature's Miracle. It's still an enzymatic chemical but that stuff works magic.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 06, 2020:
This is a very useful article. My hands get sore and cut in the winter months. Many times I go to pick something white up and leave a stain. Do the methods you suggest work on older stains?