If you forget to care for a blood stain right away, have no fear! Here’s how to remove set-in blood stains from clothes and other fabrics!
This past year we had a lot of rain and with that rain came lots of mosquitoes. My kids love playing outside and quickly amassed multiple mosquito bug bites, which they went on to itch, and itch, and itch, despite mom and dad repeatedly telling them NOT to itch!
From the itching and scratching, they developed scabs, which they then loved to pick! This meant they were bleeding all over our house, on their clothes, on their bed sheets, and more.
I wasn’t able to treat every blood stain on these fabrics quickly and promptly, which is much, much easier than trying to remove set in blood stains! Dried blood stains are tricky and difficult. The more traditional blood stain removal methods don’t frequently hack it!
So, I did some experimenting to discover how, if at all, you could remove dried blood stains, set-in blood stains, old ones that perhaps already went through the wash or dyer. Not everything I tried worked, and one product seemed to work the best, although some stains I still could not lift, the stains that had been through the wash and dryer one too many times, and ignored for too long.
So, if you are dealing with old blood stains from bloody noses, cut lips, bloody picked scabs, or whatever, here’s how to remove blood stains from fabrics and clothes.
How to Remove Dried Blood Stains on Clothes
First, some general tips for removing blood stains:
- Never use warm or hot water on a blood stain. Doing so may bond it permanently to the fibers of the fabric.
- Always flush the stain first with cold water and gently rub to remove any loose bits.
- Work stains from the backside first.
- Test spot to see if any method will damage the fabric or dye it.
- Don’t put the fabric in the dryer until the stain is completely removed or you risk it permanently setting into your fabric.
- Never mix ammonia and bleach
Method 1: How to Remove Blood Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide and Hot Iron
Hydrogen Peroxide is generally really great for removing blood stains on fabrics and doesn’t usually bleach the material either (though it might, so test a small area first if you are worried). I found, however, that it does not work very well for old blood stains unless you do the following (found this tutorial idea here):
To Remove Blood Stains with Peroxide You will need:
- Blood Stained Material
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3% is preferred)
- Spray Bottle
- Clean Cotton Rag (or cotton balls)
- Hot Iron
- Ironing Board
Instructions for Removing Blood Stains with Peroxide:
1. Pour some Hydrogen Peroxide onto the stain.
3. Pour more hydrogen peroxide on the stain, and let it sit and soak for 5-10 minutes.
5. Place the still wet material onto the ironing board, and go over the set in blood stain with the hot iron until the stain disappears!
6. If the stain is still there, resoak the blood spot again, and go over again with the iron.
7. If you notice a light ring on the fabric from the peroxide, spray with fresh clean water via a spray bottle, and go over those areas with the iron. Do the same for your ironing board if there is a ring on it (there was on mine after doing this).
*Try to avoid rubbing the stain as rubbing and scrubbing can cause pilling or fraying of your fabric if you aren’t careful. If you are worried about it doing so, skip the blotting step altogether.
**Only use the highest heat allowed for the material you are working with! You don’t want to melt or damage your garment!
I was able to successfully remove this blood stain spot from my white sheets using this method! Here is the result:I found this method worked pretty well; but, it wasn’t perfect. Sometimes you could still faintly a light yellow spot left behind from the blood stain. It could be because that particular blood stain was older and more set-in, or because it isn’t the best, most effective, blood stain removal method.
How to Remove Blood Stains with Ammonia
Instead, I found this laundry stain removal tip to be much better! Ammonia works better to lift the old set-in blood stains from clothes! I did this method multiple times with overall very satisfactory results.
In fact, the following stain that I removed using ammonia, I had already tried removing with a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and sunshine to no avail, like none at all! This ammonia began working immediately! It is impressive stuff.
When you work with ammonia, it is a good idea to wear gloves and use it in a ventilated area. You may also want to spot test an area of the clothes first for color fastness as well, but I have done this on colored fabric with little to no difference in color. It’s best to wash the garment immediately after treating though.
Alright, here’s how to get rid of blood stains using ammonia:
Materials Needed to Remove Blood Stains with Ammonia:
- Blood stained material
- Small dish/bowl
- Cotton Balls
- Gloves (optional)
Instructions on How to Remove Blood Stains with Ammonia
1. Pour an about 50/50 mixture of water and ammonia into a small dish or bowl.
2. Put on gloves (optional) and then dip a cotton ball into the ammonia/water mixture.
3. Apply ammonia to the blood stain and gently begin to rub it into the stain.4. Rewet the cotton ball (or get a new one) frequently, letting the ammonia sit for a few seconds in between, and rescrub the stain with the ammonia-covered cotton ball.
5. If stain persists after multiple passings, you can dip a toothbrush into the ammonia water and *gently scrub with it onto your fabric.
6. Blot the stain one more time with an ammonia-soaked cotton ball.7. Launder normally.
*Scrubbing fabric can damage the fabric, so make sure it is up to the friction before trying this.
I did this on several spots on a white pillow case my kids had. It did a great job of removing them all! I then went on to use it on cotton bed sheets, blankets, and more. For set-in blood stains, ammonia is my favorite chemical to get the job done. I am usually one for more “natural” products, but am also a big fan of ammonia, despite the noxious smell!
Here is the pillowcase before and after!!
Amazing, right?? There have been a few blood spot stains that I have not been able to remove with ammonia, but I think they are just really old and been through the dryer one too many times, but it still will generally lighten them up regardless!
Obviously, it is best to treat blood stains immediately, but sometimes they sneak by, or get forgotten. Use these methods and remove set in blood stains! Yeah! Your sheets, pillow cases, and clothes will thank you for not throwing them out, and your scab-picking kids might rejoice too, as you won’t be quite as hard on them for bleeding all over everything… again… as you have this cleaning tip up your sleeve!
For even more tried and true cleaning tips, be sure to pick up a copy of my ebook Speed Clean the Deep Clean: A Collection of Time-Saving Cleaning Tutorials and Tips for Busy Moms.
More Laundry and Stain Removal Tips
Want More Parenting, Penny Pinching, and Simple Living Tips?
Subscribe and get my best advice delivered right to your inbox. As a thank you, you'll receive these three laundry room printables for FREE.