Old blood stains can be ridiculously difficult to get out of a fabric's fibres and so often fresh blood stains aren't caught in time because of where or how they occur. Starting your period overnight, cutting your knee after falling in public or a bloody nose making it difficult to get blood out of clothes in the night, are all just some of the ways dried blood stains can occur without us even realising it.
Now, of course, a dried blood stain is much more difficult to handle than one that's only just occurred, but we don't believe in adding insult to injury here at the Cleanup Team, so today's article will be focussed on removing blood stains that are already old. Yes, you should deal with the blood stain as soon as possible, but if it's dry now, we can still treat blood stains.
So, if you have stubborn blood stains that you need to remove, read on below for the best tips and tricks from a team of professional cleaners.
PLEASE NOTE: The following advice is deliberately generalised to help most people in most situations deal with blood stain removal from various fabrics. It is still your responsibility to check that the fabric you're trying to remove tough blood stains from can withstand the different processes below. Delicate fabrics may need different care to treat the affected area. Coloured sheets and darker fabrics may also require different care - specifically replacing the hydrogen peroxide we discuss below with vinegar instead. More on this later.
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Below we'll talk about the Cleanup Team's recommended method, but you may find the alternatives below, which use mostly household items you already have in the house, to be more helpful. Read the following method and check out the alternatives below before settling on a method that will help you with removing blood stains from your fabrics.
It's also important to note that no matter the source of the blood - period blood, scraped knees, bloody noses - they can all be treated in the same way, using our methods below:
To start the pre-treatment, you should scrape the blood stains if they have dried to a clump. As gross as it sounds, it's much easier to scrape off large areas of blood from the stained fabric first before trying to deal with the blood stains underneath.
Remember, blood is known for its clotting ability, so it's quite possible to have a stained area that's clotted. Use a blunt knife or something similar just to scrape it away before you get started on the next steps.
Cold running water is your best friend here. Cold water is essential when dealing with blood stains, warm or hot water will set the stain, and you'll struggle to get blood stains out of fabric that has been doused in warm water.
Running it under cold water here will help with blood stain removal, especially if you run the cold water over the dried blood stain from the back of the stain, essentially pushing the stain off the fabric and breaking down the particles.
You can also blot with cold water and a damp cloth if you're unable to rinse it under cold water like with a mattress, for example.
Next, you'll need to let the fabric or garment soak for a while to help deal with the remaining residue - 12 hours is best.
This is a simple method for helping to get blood out of clothes and fabrics, but it's very effective. Just remember to soak in cold water (never hot water) and only soak the part of the fabric with the dried blood stains or else the blood may start to taint the water and spread the stain further. This is especially important if dealing with white clothes or sheets.
This pre soak is vital for loosening the dried blood and getting it ready for the next steps.
Hydrogen peroxide is a great product when trying to remove blood stains. With that said, hydrogen peroxide can have bleaching side effects, so it's great for white sheets and clothes, but for darker products, substitute the hydrogen peroxide here for white vinegar.
To get started here, simply take a clean cloth and apply hydrogen peroxide on it before blotting the dried blood with the cloth. This is an excellent stain remover and may be strong enough to remove blood stains at this stage without any of the further steps.
If the stain remains, then move on to the following step.
Helpful tip: If you're unsure about using hydrogen peroxide to get blood out of clothes and fabrics, then you can try using it on a hidden area first to make sure it doesn't affect the fabric.
Laundry detergent works brilliantly following the hydrogen peroxide but before you put them in the wash. Gently work your liquid laundry detergent into the fabrics to help with removing blood stains from fabrics and get blood out of clothes. An old toothbrush is great for that to get started.
Once that's done, you can move on to the final step.
Simply rinse the fabric again before a machine wash. You can use a normal wash here if you like, so long as it isn't too hot, but a cold wash is probably best for stain removal.
Simply wash it with regular laundry detergent and then check the fabric once it is done.
DO NOT PLACE IN THE DRIER STRAIGHT AWAY.
Leaving it to air dry is best to make sure the old blood stains are gone. If they haven't, then you'll want to move on to the alternative methods we'll touch on below.
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An enzyme cleaner is one of the most effective stain remover products on the market when it comes to blood stains. They can't be used on wool or silk because it will break down the fibres here, but if it isn't wool or silk, then an enzymatic cleaner can actually biodegrade the stain, meaning the stained area is obliterated. Shop around to find the perfect product for you and then follow the instructions on the product to remove the stain.
Lemon juice works great too, because the acid helps break down the blood stain. The key here is following most of the steps detailed above, but instead of using hydrogen peroxide, use the juice of a lemon instead to start breaking down the stain before washing it in the machine.
You can use white vinegar in exactly the same way as hydrogen peroxide and a lemon's juice. Simply use it after you have soaked the fabric in cold water to break down the stain.
You can also use it in the cold water whilst soaking. Just pour in some white vinegar to allow the acid to break down the stain during the soak.
A bleach that is VERY mild can also work well when dealing with dried blood. Mix a weak solution of approximately 1 part bleach to 12 parts water, and work it in to the stain with an old toothbrush or something similar.
This will break down as much blood as possible before washing the fabric. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to apply the bleach solution to the stain, but make sure you only use this method on white fabrics and ALWAYS wear gloves to protect your hands.
Hand soap, surprisingly, works great here. You can rub bar soap directly on to the stain before soaking, after running with cold water, to let it start working on the stain right away. Hand soap has the ability to break down blood stains, but if the stain is particularly large or old, soap alone won't work. But it can certainly be a part of the cleaning solution.
Any powder or baking soda mixed with water to create a thick paste is great for applying to almost any stain - including both fresh blood and dried, because it helps remove the moisture whilst also creating a slightly abrasive texture for breaking down the stain.
Use equal parts to make the paste - 1 tablespoon of water for every tablespoon of baking soda. Then apply directly on to the stain and leave it for five minutes before gently scrubbing with an old toothbrush or similar. Then rinse before carrying on with the steps above.
Although not a completely new method, cold saltwater is another great product for removing blood. The salt helps break down the stain, and it's great to use during the soaking phase. Rather than just cold water, add salt during the soaking process to get the stain removal process started sooner.
Believe it or not, meat tenderisers work great here because they have all the abrasive elements of baking soda, so they work in similar ways. Just mix an unseasoned meat tenderiser with water to form a paste, and then work it into the stain with a stiff bristled brush again.
Then leave it for 5 minutes or so, before wiping away with a damp cloth and then soaking before putting the garment in the washing machine.
If you've tried and tried to get rid of old blood stains from a fabric in your home with no success, don't worry. Here at the Cleanup Team, we offer a range of cleaning services that could help you - so contact us today if you need further help.
With that said, today's article is filled with all the best tips and tricks to help you handle even the driest of blood stains yourself. So, follow our advice and you should be able to handle it all. Good luck!