We’ve all been there: While attempting to balance bags, boxes, and bundles of toys in your arms, you miss a step and take a tumble. Even after you dust yourself off and carry on, there may be telltale signs of your spill, like blood stains on your sleeve or pant leg. Cleaning up your wound — even if it’s minor — should always be your first concern, but then it’s best to get rid of the blood on your clothing, especially if it’s still fresh.
All different types of clothing — white blouses, blue jeans, dark-colored dresses, and so on — call for the same cleaning approach. Before you try your hand at removing blood stains, check the care tags 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, but in most instances, bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and non-colorfast colors is not recommended.
If you’re dealing with a kind of fabric that bleaches well, follow this guide on how to get blood out of clothes by Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. While you might be curious to try out homemade cleaning remedies to banish stains, like vinegar, baking soda or toothpaste, Forte says it’s better to stick with tried-and-tested products that work time and time again, whether you’re handling fresh or dried blood stains.
How to Get 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 this how-to guide.
- Soak the stain in cold water as quickly as possible. If the stain is super fresh, place it under cold running water to flush out as much of the blood as possible.
- If fresh, 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 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 Clothing
Just because you waited to remove an old blood stain, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Instead, you’ll just need a little patience and some heavy-duty stain remover.
- Pre-soak the garment in a mixture of cold water and laundry detergent or stain remover like Carbona Oxy Powered Laundry Soaker.
- Pre-treat and launder with fabric-safe bleach.
- If this doesn’t work, 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 clothing.
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