Dried Blood Stain Removal

white shirt with blood stain

Dried blood stain removal can be challenging, but many easy treatments and techniques can help you eliminate these rusty colored stains from clothing, bedding, upholstery, carpet, and other fabrics. While a very old, set stain may be impossible to remove, even dried blood stains can be effectively lightened with patience and the proper treatment.

About Blood Stains

Any blood spill, from a minor scratch to a major cut, can stain fabric quickly. The hemoglobin in the blood and other coagulating factors cause it to clot and bind together quickly when exposed to air, effectively binding it to whatever surface it is spilled on, including fabrics. While that clotting ability is ideal for healing injuries, it makes stain removal more challenging.

Easy Dried Blood Stain Removal

While a fresh blood stain will be easiest to remove, it is not impossible to remove dried blood stains.

  1. Gently brush or scrape off any clotted blood that is not firmly attached to the fabric. On carpeting or upholstery, vacuuming the area repeatedly will help remove loose dried blood.
  2. Rinse the area with running cold water through the back of the stain to loosen and dissolve the blood. Avoid rinsing through the top of the stain, which can force blood particles deeper into the fabric's fibers. On fabric surfaces that cannot be rinsed, blot the area with cold water.
  3. Soak the fabric in cold water for 10-60 minutes to dissolve as much blood as possible. Only soak the affected area and if the water becomes very tinted, change it to clean water to avoid spreading the stain.
  4. Rinse the fabric with hydrogen peroxide or blot it with a rag or towel soaked with peroxide to dissolve and remove the remaining stain. For mild stains, this may be effective in completely eliminating the dried blood stain.
  5. If the blood is not completely removed, treat the stained area with a mild bubble bath or liquid laundry detergent, working it gently into the fibers with a soft toothbrush. Avoid harsh scrubbing motions that could tear or damage delicate fibers.
  6. Rinse the stained area and check for any remaining blood stains. If necessary, repeat the spot treatment until the stain is completely removed.
  7. Launder or clean the fabric according to the manufacturer's instructions.

This technique should be effective for most dried blood stain removal, but repeating the treatment or longer soaking may be necessary for deeper, stronger stains.

More Blood Stain Removal Treatments

If cool water, hydrogen peroxide, and laundry soap are not enough to remove a blood stain, these other techniques may be more suitable depending on the size and depth of the stain and the type of fabric affected.

  • Treat the stain with window cleaner and rinse in cool water before laundering.
  • Create a thick paste of unseasoned meat tenderizer and water, apply it to the stain, and wait for it to dry completely before scraping or shaking it off. The enzymes in the tenderizer will help break down the blood stain.
  • Soak the stained area in salt water or the saline solution used to clean contact lenses.
  • Soak the stained area for several hours in milk before rinsing and laundering.
  • Rinse the stained area with white vinegar or club soda before regular cleaning.

Blood Stain Removal Tips

Patience is the key when trying to remove dried blood stains. Try the simplest cleaning techniques first, then opt for more elaborate measures if necessary. To save your fabrics while eliminating blood stains…

  • Treat the stain as quickly as possible before it has a chance to permanently set.
  • Avoid using hot water or any heat treatment on blood stains. Heat will set the stain, making it impossible to remove.
  • Always test treatments on an inconspicuous area of fabric before attempting stain removal, particularly for delicate fabrics.
  • Work from the outside edges of the stain to the inside to avoid inadvertently spreading it to a wider area.

Preventing Blood Stains

The best way to remove any stain, including blood, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. To minimize the risk of blood stains…

  • Use secure, properly sized bandages on any cuts or injuries, and change them frequently so they do no become saturated and leak onto clothing or other surfaces.
  • Avoid light colored fabrics in the kitchen, such as rugs, aprons, or mitts, where cuts and small injuries may occur.
  • Use a washable mattress pad to keep blood from injuries or menstruation from leaking onto mattresses.

With appropriate dried blood stain removal techniques, it is possible to lighten most blood stains until there are barely noticeable or even completely removed. While there is no fast way to remove blood stains, with patience you can restore your fabrics.

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Dried Blood Stain Removal