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When cleaning your home, stains can be a tricky item to address, but no stain can be more difficult than blood stains. Blood stains are notoriously hard to get out and many people are left guessing the best way to address such a stain.
This guide will help to answer the question of how to remove blood from clothes, mattress, sheets, carpets, fabric, and more.
How to Remove Blood From Carpets
Getting blood in your carpet is especially difficult because you’ve got to address the stain where it is. In other words, you can’t take the carpet off and throw it in the wash or let it soak in the sink
What if it’s not dried blood?
If the blood hasn’t dried yet, start by soaking up as much as you can using a dry paper towel.
And if it is dry blood?
If the blood is dry, you can skip this step and move on to the one of the three methods below, recommended by Dean Davies, a carpet cleaning pro with Fantastic Services.
Method 1: Dishwasher Detergent + Water
“Make a solution from one tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent and two cups of cold water. If the blood stain has dried, gently scrub the surface to remove any hardened deposits.
Then gently dab the stained area with the solution using a white cloth (avoid using colored clothes as the color may transfer onto your carpet). Blot dry the area until no liquid has remained. Vacuum up the stained area to restore the original shape of the fibers.”
Need a good vacuum to help with the final step? Check out best vacuum for carpets we’ve tested.
Method 2: Hydrogen Peroxide
“This technique can help you both against fresh and old stains. Simply apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide onto the stained area and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Grab a clean towel and blot the surface to absorb as much of the solution as possible. Repeat the steps until the stain comes out completely.
Finally, vacuum the carpet to freshen up the fibers”
Method 3: Ammonia
“For stubborn blood stains, combine one tablespoon of ammonia with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Dab the stain with the solution until the surface is relatively dry. Blot the area using cold water and a white towel.
If you don’t believe us about ammonia and bleach, read about the Washington State Department of Health has to say on the subject.
How to Remove Blood From Sheets & Fabrics
Cleaning blood from fabrics is most similar to cleaning blood from carpet, since both situations are dealing with blood stains penetrating fibers. In addition to the methods above, you also have the benefit of being able to use a washer and dryer to help clean.
The methods listed below are good for cleaning many different kinds of fabrics, including cottons, linens, jean, fleece, or blended synthetic fabrics.
But be careful…
When washing blood out in a washing machine, be sure to wash with cold water, as hot water has a tendency to set the stain. If it doesn’t come out the first time, don’t be afraid to wash it again with the same setting and with cold water.
This same process would be true for cleaning blood for sheets on your bed as well.
First try to blot up the stain with a paper towel. Then clean by hand with dish washing detergent and water, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide. They throw it in the washing machine on a cold cycle. Repeat steps as necessary until the stair is removed.
You’re wondering about small blood stains?
“With small drops of blood place it directly under the cold water tap and let the water run through the fabric. This usually easily removes the stain.” (according to Australian cleaning pro, Julie Finch-Scally)
For set in blood stains:
“It is with long standing blood stains that problems arise. If allowed to sit for too long in the cloth it dries into the fibers and sets”, says Finch-Scally.
How to Remove Blood from Mattresses
When cleaning blood from mattresses there are a couple different methods you may want to try. As a general rule, remember to blot stains, don’t rub. Rubbing or scrubbing stains on a mattress can spread the stain around or damage the mattress cover.
Hot or Cold Water?
Always use cold water when cleaning blood. Cold water helps to keep the blood from setting and allows you to remove more without staining the fibers. Any exceptions to this rule? Of course there are always exceptions. The one exception is for cleaning set in blood stains.
In these cases, where the blood has been able to sit for 6 hours or more and fully penetrate the fibers, you may need warm water to loosen the blood, in order to be clean it. Dab a little warm water on the stain, blot-blot-blot, and repeat until the blood is loose.
Once the blood is appearing to be soaked up with a paper towel, switch to cold water and work until the stain is removed.
As for what cleaning solution to use for cleaning mattresses, natural solutions are best. Here are two great methods recommended by Dean Davies.
Method 1: Cold Water
“This is the easiest way to tackle blood stains on mattresses, so it makes sense to start with the most hassle-free solution.
Use plain cold water to dissolve the blood stain. It is best to soak the stain overnight, if possible. Avoid using hot water as this might set in the stain and make it permanent. Simply blot the stained area using a cloth soaked in cold water until the stain disappears. Repeat the steps if necessary.”
Method 2: Homemade Cleaning Paste
“Again, you can use hydrogen peroxide to tackle blood stains on your mattress. However, unlike with carpets and upholstery, you can’t simply pour it because it will get soaked up through the layers of memory foam. Instead of using it in a liquid condition, you should create a cleaning paste.
Mix 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/2 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Swirl the ingredients until they turn into a paste. Spread the paste onto the stain using a spoon or a dull knife and let it dry. Then scrape off the layer of paste and vacuum the mattress. If there is still any blood residue, simply repeat the steps until the stain is lifted.”
How to Remove Blood from Hard Surfaces
Cleaning blood from hard, non-porous surfaces is one of the easier areas to clean up blood from.
What are these surfaces?
These types of surfaces could include floor tile, polished stone, or sealed concrete (here’s a great natural grout cleaning recipe). With non-porous flooring, blood is not able to penetrate any fabric, fibers, or porous material. With all the blood sitting on the surface, clean up as as simple as just wiping it up with a dry paper towel.
Once all of the blood is cleaned from the surface, you’ll want to take a minute and disinfect the area.
Good disinfectants for non-porous surfaces include:
- distilled white vinegar (learn how to clean kids toys with vinegar here)
- bleach + water
- ammonia (important note: never mix bleach with ammonia)
For more help disinfecting see the CDC’s guidelines for disinfection and sterilization.
Summary: Top 5 Tips for Cleaning Blood Stains
Overall, regardless of what exactly you’re cleaning there are a few simple tips to follow for cleaning blood.
- Clean it before it dries (if possible). As with most stains, if you wait until it’s dry, the stain becomes infinitely more difficult to clean up. Fresh blood stains are not yet set into the surface and are more responsive to cleaning agents and natural elements that break down the proteins in blood and help to remove it.
- BLOT, don’t rub. Rubbing blood stains can spread the stain and damage the surface that you are trying to clean, whether it be carpet, upholstery, clothing, sheets, or other fabric.
- Never mix ammonia and bleach. This extends as a cleaning rule beyond just for cleaning blood, but it is never safe to mix ammonia and bleach.
- Clean with cold water. Hot water has a tendency to set stains and make it nearly impossible to remove blood. While you’re still working to get a stain out, stick to cold water. Hot water can be used for disinfecting the area, but only after all of the blood has been removed. If you’re working with dried blood, you may need to use warm water to loosen the stain, but avoid hot water at all costs.
- Clean and disinfect. A blood stain is not truly removed until you have completely disinfected the area. This step is not entirely necessary for other stains, but is critical for stains involving bodily fluids, like blood or urine. Good disinfectants include bleach (be careful o blood stains on colored items) or hydrogen peroxide.
Got a tip for removing blood stains that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.