Whether they come from scraped knees, bug bites or a little fight over the remote control, blood stains can be really hard to get out of clothes and sheets. But ER nurses will tell you that even dried blood stains aren’t a lost cause and can be easily removed with the use of some common household products and a little bit of patience.
The first thing to remember is that it is always easier to remove a stain when it is still fresh, so don’t delay. Also, be sure to pretest any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to make certain that it will not discolor or damage it.
Run the stain under cold running water, agitating it gently to loosen up the dried blood particles. If possible, hang the fabric to dry in the sun, as it is particularly effective at breaking down protein-based stains like blood.
Soak the stained fabric in cold water for about 10 minutes or so to help dissolve as much of the blood as possible. Do not rub the fabric during this time, as this will force the blood deeper into the fibers of the material. This soak method is especially good for linen and cotton, but it can be used on a variety of other fabrics as well.
If the fabric is still damp, pour on a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and blot it with a paper towel until most of the stain has been lifted. This is an especially effective treatment for lighter colored fabrics. If you prefer not to use peroxide because it has a bleaching effect, substitute it with vinegar.
Apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent to the stain and work it into the fabric with your fingers or a cloth. If you have a machine with a special stain removal cycle, use that as it is a great way to break down stubborn protein-based stains.
If any of the previous treatments haven’t worked, try an enzymatic cleaner. These products are specifically formulated to break down protein-based stains and are ideal for blood stains. They are also very gentle, making them a great choice for delicate fabrics.
After the stain has been thoroughly washed and rinsed, dry the fabric as you normally would. Be sure to avoid the dryer as heat can set blood stains permanently. If the garment feels stiff after drying, it probably needs to be laundered again. Repeat the process as needed until the blood stain is completely gone and your fabric is clean and ready for use. If you follow these simple steps, you can revive your favourite clothes and sheets and impress everyone who sees them with your mad stain-removing skills. Your kids will probably thank you too, as they won’t be so quick to judge the next time they smear their bedsheets.