Whether it’s from an injury or your period, any clothing — white blouses, blue jeans, sundresses and even lingerie — all call for the same cleaning approach. Before you try your hand at removing blood stains, check the care labels on your clothing to make sure that bleach (the stain-busting MVP) won’t discolor or ruin the fabric. Always use the care instructions as your guide and bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and non-colorfast colors is never recommended.
If you’re dealing with a type and color of fabric that bleaches well, follow the expert tips in this guide on how to get blood out of clothes from Carolyn Forte, Executive Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. If your garment can’t tolerate either chlorine or non-chlorine bleach, skip these steps and rely on the other stain treaters, detergents and remedies to do the work — or try a specialty product specifically made to target blood stains, like Carbona Stain Devils #4. And if you’re not sure about the safety of any product, test it on an inside seam or hem of your garment first.
While you might be curious to try out homemade cleaning remedies, like vinegar, baking soda or toothpaste, if you want to banish stains, Forte says it’s better to stick with tried-and-tested cleaning products that work time and time again and to always follow the usage and dosage directions on the product’s label. They can often change as product formulations are updated or improved.
How to Get Fresh Blood Out of Clothes
Like most other stains, blood is easiest to remove when it’s fresh. As soon as you notice blood on your clothes, head to your medicine cabinet and laundry room to gather supplies, and then get to work by following these steps:
- Soak the stain in cold water as soon as possible. If the stain is super fresh, place it under cold running water and try to flush out as much of the fresh blood as you can.
- Sponge the stain with hydrogen peroxide or rub bar soap into the stain and scrub by hand in cold water.
- Apply laundry pre-treater or rub in an enzyme-containing liquid laundry detergent, and wash the remaining stain in warm water with a fabric-safe bleach until the stain is gone.
- Refrain from putting the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.
How to Get Dried Blood Out of Clothes
Just because you waited to remove a blood stain, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Instead, you’ll just need a little patience and some heavy-duty stain remover. Follow these steps:
- Pre-soak the garment in a mixture of cold water and laundry detergent or a stain- removing product, like Carbona Oxy Powered Laundry Soaker.
- Pre-treat or rub the stains with bar soap and launder with fabric-safe bleach.
- If this doesn’t work, repeat the pre-soaking step above for a longer period of time or mix 1 qt water with 1 tsp laundry detergent and 1 tbsp ammonia, and let the garment soak in the solution (this may take several hours, depending on the severity of the stain). Then pre-treat and launder the item again.
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