Bold tips for removing blood stains from fabric

Bloodstains are notoriously difficult to get out, but don't despair, there are several effective methods — some of them quite surprising — that will do the job effectively.

Bold tips for removing blood stains from fabric

1. Speed, cold water and no vigorous scrubbing

  • Keep in mind these three points when you come across a bloodstain that needs removing:
  • Tackle a bloodstain as quickly as possible. The stain is much harder to remove as the blood dries.
  • Always use cold water to flush a bloodstain, because any kind of warmth, be it from water or from the dryer, could set the stain.
  • Refrain from scrubbing too vigorously. Otherwise, you'll leach the stain into the clean fabric that surrounds it.

2. For blood spilled on clothing

  • Blot the stain with cold water on a clean rag.
  • Don't rub.
  • If the stain persists, mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with 250 ml (1 cup) of cold water in a bowl and dab it on the stain, allowing it to set for at least 10 minutes.
  • Rinse by blotting again with a clean rag wrung out in cold water.
  • Use a dry rag to blot it dry.
  • If the stain won't come out, add a splash of ammonia to the detergent mixture and try, try again.

3. For white or colour-fast fabric

  • Hydrogen peroxide can work wonders on garment bloodstains, but only if the garment is white or otherwise colour-fast. Test the fabric first by dabbing peroxide on a cotton swab, then on an inconspicuous area. Spread out the stained area over a sink or laundry tub and pour full-strength hydrogen peroxide through the stain. Scrub gently with a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush. Rinse with cold water.
  • In a pinch, and right after a bloodstain occurs, pour soda water through it or dab and blot carefully with a clean rag.

4. For bloodstains on washable upholstery

  • Cover a fresh spot as soon as possible with a paste made from equal parts cornstarch and cold water.
  • Rub gently and dry in the sun, where the blood should leach into the cornstarch.
  • Brush lightly. If this doesn't work, try the technique a second time.
  • Or make a similar paste with polenta and water or talcum powder and water and follow the same procedure.

5. For dried bloodstains on carpeting

  • Cover the stain with a paste of equal parts borax and cold water.
  • Let this dry, then vacuum up the dry powder.
  • Or, sprinkle a fresh carpet stain with table salt, then with cold water. Gently blot with a clean cloth and wipe with a sponge.

6. For bloodstains on cotton bedding and clothing

  • An unlikely but often effective method is to use shampoo. The key here, as always, is to attack the stain right away.
  • Douse it with a capful of shampoo (any kind will do), making certain the shampoo covers every bit of the stain.
  • Rub the area until the shampoo is completely absorbed, then wet with cold water.
  • Once those telltale bubbles appear, scrub vigorously with a stiff-bristled nylon nailbrush.
  • Rinse the stain in cold water.
  • If a ring remains, repeat.
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