We all have accidents occasionally, causing us to gash our skin and start bleeding. To make things worse, blood loves to stain!
There is nothing more frustrating than grazing your knee and ruining your favourite pair of trousers at the same time.
Unfortunately, trying to get blood out of clothes can seem like an impossible task. Act quickly, and the situation becomes much more manageable. But if the blood has a chance to dry, it becomes even more challenging to shift.
Thankfully, not all is lost! There are ways to get dried blood out of clothes, and this guide reveals all there is to know.
How Do You Get Blood Out of Clothes?
Fresh blood stains can usually be removed with soap and water. However, old blood stains that have dried into the fabric are much harder to remove. They call for a harsher chemical: hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide for stain removal is a common yet effective cleaning hack. However, misuse this chemical, and it can cause fabric discolouration, damaging your clothes further!
To avoid this, use this step-by-step guide on how to get dried blood out of clothes using hydrogen peroxide without causing additional damage:
Step 1: Test a hidden area
Hydrogen peroxide bleaches products in the same way chlorine bleach does and is commonly used as a hair lightener in hair dyes.
Therefore, using hydrogen peroxide on clothes can discolour the fabric, especially when dealing with dark or coloured garments.
You should always perform a patch test first to check that this discolouration doesn’t ruin your clothing.
To perform a patch test, take a small amount of the chemical and put it on a hidden area of the garment, such as under the collar or cuff.
Let it sit there for around ten minutes. Can you notice any signs of bleaching? If so, your item isn’t suitable for this blood removal method (don’t worry, we’ve some alternative techniques below).
Step 2: Pre-treat with hydrogen peroxide
Assuming no damage results from the patch test, your clothes are safe to clean using hydrogen peroxide.
Pre-treat the stain by applying a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the dried blood.
Let it sit here for ten minutes. You can leave it slightly longer, but be extremely cautious for more delicate materials.
The chemical should start lifting dried blood from the fabric during this time. Once the time is up, take a cloth rinsed in cold water and gently blot at the stain.
Whatever you do, never rub the stain and never use hot water! This can push the blood deeper into the fibres and make your efforts unsuccessful. Blot gently in an up and downward motion.
Step 3: Wash in the washing machine
Take your blood-stained clothes and put them on a standard washing cycle in the washing machine.
You can use any laundry detergent, but it’s better to use a detergent with enzymes like Ariel Original Washing Liquid. The enzymes will help break down the remaining blood.
You can even pour a little directly onto the stain after treating it with hydrogen peroxide for extra stain removal power.
It might be tempting to use a hot cycle to help remove the blood, but this makes things worse!
Hot temperatures help set the stain deeper into the fabric, undoing all your hard work. Instead, stick with a cool 30 °C wash for blood stains. This also uses less energy and keeps the cost of washing low!
Step 4: Leave your clothes to air dry
Once the washing cycle has ended, take your clothes and hang them out to dry. You can either do this on an indoor airer or a washing line in the garden.
However, never dry your blood-stained clothes in the tumble dryer. Just as washing at high temperatures can cause the blood to set, as can drying at high temperatures. It’s advisable not to tumble dry your clothes until the blood is completely removed.
When your clothes have dried, inspect them for blood stains and repeat the above process if necessary.
We also have some alternative stain removal methods listed below if hydrogen peroxide doesn’t seem to be doing the job.
How to Remove Dried Blood Without Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the most effective way to remove dried blood from clothing, but it isn’t for everyone.
Did you hit a barrier at step one before? Did your clothes show signs of damage after your patch test? Have you stained a delicate material this isn’t suitable for chemical cleaning?
Or perhaps you don’t like the idea of using chemicals on your garments?
Whatever your reasoning, not all is lost! Here are some alternate substances you can use to remove dried blood if our hydrogen peroxide method isn’t working for you:
- Lemon juice or white vinegar: Both of these everyday household items can be used for stain removal. Use the same method as above and perform a patch test first. If all is good, apply lemon juice or white vinegar instead of hydrogen peroxide.
- Bicarbonate of soda: Also known as baking soda, bicarbonate of soda is another stain-busting household item. Take a tablespoon of the powder and mix a little water to form a thick paste. Apply this directly to the stain and leave for 30 minutes before laundering as normal.
- Commercial stain-removal products: If none of the above methods were successful, consider purchasing a commercial stain removal product. Always check the bottle to see what materials the stain remover can be used on, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.