Accidents happen in our day-to-day lives, whether a slip of the knife into your finger while you’re making dinner, or a fall from a bicycle leading to a grazed knee or scraped palm.
Sometimes these incidents can lead to dreaded blood stains on your favourite white clothes.
The good news is that there are ways to quickly eradicate these unwelcome stains!
As with many other types of stains, the quicker you get to the stain, the more likely you are to be successful in fully removing it.
Here’s a simple method for getting blood out of white clothes.
How to Get Blood Out of White Clothes
Step 1: Soak in cold water
As soon as you get blood on your white clothes, take the item of clothing off and rinse it with cold water.
Using cold water is the secret! The cold water will help to flush the blood from the fabric before it sets into the fibres and stains.
Timing is also crucial here; the longer you leave the blood on your white clothes, the more the proteins will bind to the material.
If you cannot immediately take your clothing off (say you are in a public place, for instance), you must still act fast.
Take a paper towel and soak up as much blood as possible. Soak a second towel in cold water and dab the bloody patch gently.
As long as the blood stays wet and cold until you can remove the garments and rinse them, the blood shouldn’t set deeply into the material.
Step 2: Dab hydrogen peroxide onto the stain
Since your garment is already white, hydrogen peroxide is the obvious next step to removing the stain. The chemical will not cause any damage to the fabric or colour of your white item and is an effective stain remover. It also has excellent anti-bacterial properties.
If you are hoping to act fast but don’t have bleach or hydrogen peroxide to hand, there’s always the option to use white vinegar. This is a common household product that is famous for its stain-removing abilities.
Pour the vinegar directly onto the stain and leave it to soak for 15-30 minutes before continuing with the other steps on this list. Vinegar is most effective on fresh stains.
Alternatively, you can use a bar of soap and rub this in circular motions directly onto the fabric. This should help remove any remaining blood that wasn’t flushed from rinsing.
Once you’ve rubbed the area for a few minutes, place your white garments back under the cold tap and rinse off the bubbles.
Use your thumb and fingers again to loosen the remaining blood. The blood should have disappeared, but if not, keep alternating with cold water rinses and soap.
Step 3: Add washing up liquid or liquid laundry detergent
Washing up liquid is also a common household ingredient that is very handy when it comes to stubborn stains. Pour a layer of the liquid onto the stain and blot the area carefully with a sponge or damp cloth.
Step 4: Hand wash or run through a cold wash cycle
The next step in the stain removal process is to wash your white garment. You can do this by either hand washing or using a cold wash setting on your washing machine.
Add your favourite detergent and even put in some fabric-safe bleach if you have a product you trust in your machine.
Step 5: Air dry
It’s important to always air dry any item that had a serious stain, especially if you’re not completely sure that the stain is fully gone.
Using a tumble dryer can be dangerous as it can cause what’s left of the stain to set into the fabric for good.
If you hang the item up to air dry and then notice once it’s dried that there are still traces of the stain, then you can simply repeat the process above and hope that the second round will have that final push to fully remove the mark.
If the stain is still visible after the first wash, it is a good idea to turn the garment inside out and repeat the steps on the list on the inside of the item as well. Working on the stain from the other side can be a good way to break it apart and push it out of the material.
How to Get Blood Out of Delicate Whites
When dealing with delicates, removing blood from whites is even more challenging.
Delicate silk blouses or lacey underwear cannot be thrown into the washing machine, nor should they be exposed to hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agents.
Thankfully, there is an old hack that uses salt. Salt has strong dehydrating powers and will lift up water and blood directly from the fabric. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Soak in salt solution
You first need to make a saltwater solution, using one teaspoon of table salt for every cup of cold water.
How much of this solution you need depends on the size of the stain. You’ll be soaking the stained area in this solution, so make sure you have enough.
Next, take your blood-stained delicates and rinse them under the cold tap to remove as much blood as possible. Put your delicate whites into the saltwater solution and let them soak for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Rinse & apply salt paste
Once the time is up, remove your clothes from the saltwater solution and rinse in cold water. The salt should have absorbed most of the blood, leaving your whites stain-free!
If your delicates remain discoloured, make a paste using table salt and your usual delicates laundry detergent. Apply this paste to the blood-stained area and leave it for 30 minutes.
This direct salt application should remove the remaining bits of blood. You can then rinse off the paste, handwash your whites as usual, and leave them to air dry.
Other Options for Removing Blood from White Clothes
If none of the above methods work or you don’t have any of the essentials to hand, there are several other everyday items you can use to remove blood:
- Bicarbonate of soda: Make a paste using bicarbonate of soda (also called baking soda) and water and apply this directly to the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water and launder as usual.
- White vinegar: Soak the stain in a bowl of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and launder as usual. Alternatively, pour a little white vinegar directly onto the stain and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing and washing.
- Lemon juice: Apply a little lemon juice directly to the stain and blot with a clean, dry towel until the blood stain vanishes. Lemon juice can bleach clothes, so it should only be used to remove stains on white clothing.
- Ice cubes: You can even use ice cubes for fresh blood stains! Take an ice cube and rub it over the stain for several minutes. It works in the opposite way to heat; the cold temperature causes the blood to dissociate from the fabric and wash right off.
If the stain is still noticeable after a second wash with the products on this list, the final options are to try an enzymatic cleaner.
This is a product that can be bought in supermarkets or on Amazon and contains enzymes that will break down dirt molecules and eradicate lingering smells. Most animal odour products are enzymatic cleaners.
If you are still able to see the stain after trying everything on the list then it may be too late to salvage your white garment, but you will know that you tried all your options.
An adventurous book lover with an animal obsession and a proclivity for travel and spontaneity. Used to passionately despise cleaning but has grown to enjoy it thanks to learning all the best tricks and shortcuts to guaranteeing a stress-free routine and a spotless home.