Waking up to a blood stain on your favorite pillow or bed sheet is, without a doubt, an unpleasant experience. But since blood-stained sheets are a fairly common problem, here’s some good news: there are all kinds of solutions to get rid of these stains.
To go about removing blood stains, it’s important to be proactive, work as quickly as possible, and use the right removal methods (or you can end up ruining your sheets in the process!). Read on to see how it’s done…
The Basics of Getting Rid of Fresh Blood on Your Sheets
Here are six basic things you should know, when dealing with freshly stained sheets:
Use Cold Water
Hot water can actually make blood stains set in more, which can lead to stubborn stains that are much harder to get rid of. Therefore, if you’re trying to remove fresh blood from your sheets - or even your clothes - always use cold water.
Place the stain under cold running water to flush out excess blood, and then let the stained area of the item soak in cold water to help loosen the stain.
Don’t Rub, Always Dab
Although rubbing your sheets as hard as you can may be your first instinct to get rid of a stain, aggressive rubbing is actually a bad idea (and will be counterproductive!).
Rubbing the stained area will actually spread the blood around, making the stain bigger. It may also cause the blood to seep further into the fabric, making the stain set in more firmly. This can then be difficult to remove.
The right way to work with a blood stain is to use a cold, wet washcloth and dab the stained area until the blood stain is less prominent. If the blood doesn’t come off completely, you can try some more advanced measures.
Soak the Fabric
Soaking your stained sheets (or clothing) before you throw them in the washing machine is a very important step for stain removal.
While your washing machine won’t work on an isolated area of the sheet, specifically soaking the stained area will. You can soak the entire item in cold water if you wish, but it’s better to only soak the stained area.
During the soaking step, you can even bring out the big guns (!) and use a stain remover. We’ll talk you through various, easy-to-find and cost effective stain remover options below.
If your stain isn’t too stubborn and fades reasonably well with soaking, proceed to the next step:
Once you’ve soaked the stained area of your sheets in cold water and/or used a stain removal solution, it’s time to give them a spin in your washing machine.
Throw your sheets in for a regular wash cycle using a mild detergent. As previously mentioned, cold water is your friend!
Try to avoid putting your sheets in the dryer after stain removal; the heat from the dryer can make any stain remnants harder to remove in the future. Air drying is, therefore, definitely the preferred method! You can either hang your sheets out to dry in the sun, or let them dry with a fan.
Once your sheets are dry, if the blood stain hasn’t completely gone away, feel free to repeat the soak and wash steps. You can even try out a different stain removal solution to get rid of the stain, when you soak your sheets for a second time.
If you’re dealing with a more stubborn stain, or the blood has already dried and set, the stain removal process will be a little different. You’ll have to skip dabbing it and go straight to soaking the affected area of the sheets in cold water overnight.
The Best Way To Deal With Dried, Stubborn Blood Stains: Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide interacts with enzymes in blood, known as catalase, which triggers an oxidizing reaction. This breaks down the chemical compounds that cause blood stains to cling to different fabrics.
Here’s how you should use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of blood stains on your bed sheets:
- Soak the affected area of the sheets in cold water overnight, to loosen any blood that has dried and clung to the fabric.
- Once all excess blood is removed, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and let it thoroughly absorb into the fabric.
- Let it sit for 10 to 25 minutes, depending on how stubborn the stain is.
- Gently brush the area; you can do so using a cleaning brush or a cold, damp towel.
- Once the stain has faded a little, wash the bedsheets in your washing machine, on a regular cycle. Use a gentle detergent.
- Once the sheets have been washed, check to see if the stain has been removed.
- If the stain still persists, reapply hydrogen peroxide and repeat the process.
- Once the stain is fully faded, air dry the bedsheets, and you’re good to go!
If hydrogen peroxide doesn’t work, you may need to use an additional stain remover. You can even try bleach, as long as it won’t damage the material of your bed sheets (this information can often be found on the product label).
If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide available in your home, there are other household stain removal alternatives that you can use! At the very least, these can be used to loosen the stain before it sets (buying you time to source some hydrogen peroxide to finish the job!).
Stain Remover Alternatives To Hydrogen Peroxide
Don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand? Looking for some other methods that will help you get rid of a blood stain? Never fear! We’ve got a list of common household stain slayers for you right here. In fact, we bet you already have some of them at home!
Lemon juice is a natural bleach or whitening agent that helps remove stains from fabric, ceramic, and plastic. It’s a great alternative to harsher bleach and chemicals due to its milder nature (while still being highly effective, especially when exposed to sunlight!).
Soak your sheets in cold water and apply lemon juice to the stained area. Make sure the lemon juice is properly absorbed, and then rinse off with cold water. Repeat this process until the stain fully disappears.
White vinegar is a powerful and effective cleaner that thoroughly cleans all kinds of surfaces; it even kills bacteria and germs, and helps neutralize bad odors! All these properties can really come in handy when dealing with blood stains.
Soak the stained area of your sheets with white vinegar and let sit for approximately thirty minutes. Rinse off with cold water. If the stain hasn’t completely disappeared, repeat this process.
While this may seem like an unusual (maybe even absurd!) solution, unsalted meat tenderizer powder can actually be extremely effective in removing blood stains from bed sheets.
Just sprinkle some tenderizer over the stain, and add a little water to it. Gently rub the two together to create a paste-like mixture, and let this mixture sit on the stain for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse it off with cold water.
Salt water is great for removing blood stains from delicate fabrics like silk sheets. It’s also fairly straightforward and simple to make. Just dissolve a teaspoon of salt in one cup of cold water. Wet the stain with the salt water solution (using a towel), and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
While lemon juice is an effective tool on its own, adding baking soda to the mix is extremely helpful if you’re dealing with a stubborn stain.
Make a solution using one part lemon juice and one part baking soda, and apply it to the blood stain. Let it sit for around 10 minutes, and rinse with cold water. You can use the leftover solution for a second round if the stain hasn’t completely washed off.
Dish Soap and Salt
Salt is a great cleansing agent that works extremely well when combined with dishwashing soap. Mix a tablespoon of dish soap with two tablespoons of salt. Wet the stained area with cold water, then submerge it in the soapy, salty mixture for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, and repeat if needed.
Ammonia is used in all kinds of cleaning agents, from kitchen and window cleaners to bathroom cleaners, so it’s no surprise that it also works on blood stains!
Dilute your ammonia with a bit of water, and dab it onto the blood stain. Then, wash the sheets in the washing machine as you normally would, and air dry them.
Cornstarch and Baking Soda
Cornstarch and baking soda, both inexpensive and easily accessible ingredients, are extremely effective for cleaning. Simply mix a tablespoon of cornstarch and baking soda with cold water to form a paste. Apply this paste to your stain, and dab it until it’s absorbed by the fabric.
Place the sheet outside in the sun. Once the solution has dried, wash away any excess residue. Repeat the process if the stain remains.
Other Effective Cleaners
If the above methods don’t work for you, don’t despair! There are still other methods you can use to clean your stained sheets, such as:
- Bleach - Bleach is best used for white sheets. Dilute four tablespoons in a quarter cup of water, then let the mixture soak into the stained fabric for about 45 minutes before you rinse it off.
- Stain sticks - These are readily available (and extremely useful!). Stain sticks must be applied to a damp cloth, rubbed onto the stained fabric and allowed to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.
- Cola - Soaking the stained section of your sheets in coca cola and allowing them to sit for a few hours can actually help to remove blood stains. Performing this step before machine washing will make stains easier to remove with a normal wash.
- Club soda - Pour club soda onto your stain and allow it to fizz. Blot the stain until it fades, and then rinse off.
- Oxiclean - wet your sheets with cold water, then allow them to soak into a solution of cold water and Oxiclean for approximately six hours, before machine washing.
- Contact solution - Spray your contact solution over the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Repeat until the stain fades, then wash your sheets as normal.
Whether it be due to a middle-of-the-night nosebleed, your children climbing onto your bed with a bloody knee or elbow, or an unfortunate leakage during that time of the month, getting blood stains out can be difficult. However, there’s good news - it can be done!
With the right advice and the right tools, you can make your sheets look good as new. We hope this helps!