When someone has an accident and gets hurt, your first instinct is to make sure that they’re okay, whether that involves some simple at-home first aid or a trip to the urgent care or emergency room. However, your next question is often how you’re going to get that blood stain out of your clothing, furniture or carpet. If you don’t know the medical history of the person the blood came from, you’ll want to wear neoprene or latex gloves while treating the stain, just to be on the safe side.
Like any stain, it’s important to treat blood stains as quickly as possible and avoid getting them warm or hot, which can cause the stain to set in the fabric, so check if the stain has completely disappeared before using warm or hot water in the washer or before tossing the item in the dryer. Here are a few easy insider tips on how to remove blood stains from soft furnishings and clothing using items you probably already have available.
How to Remove Blood Stains
Start with Cold Water
Like so many stains, starting by sponging cold water onto the stain can help to dilute it and remove it from the fabric. You don’t need to soak the fabric, carpet or furniture, simply apply cold water with a lightly-wrung sponge, dishcloth, washcloth or similar absorbent material. Rinse out the cloth or sponge several times between applications. This is a great first step that keeps the blood stain from setting while you seek additional treatment options.
For many ER nurses, hydrogen peroxide is a go-to solution for bloodstains. Its bubbling action makes the stain virtually disappear. However, leaving the hydrogen peroxide in the fabric can be damaging, so rinse it out of the fabric or dab the fabric with cold water after treating a stain this way. Though it can have some bleaching effects, it’s usually safe enough to use even on silk or wool.
No Kidding: Spit
If this sounds like an odd suggestion, you might be surprised at just how well it works. Your own saliva contains the enzymes to break down your own blood, making it about the closest stain treatment to hand when you cut yourself and drip on a favorite kitchen towel. Bear in mind that this trick won’t necessarily work on other people’s blood or with other people’s saliva.
Salt or Saline Solution
Salt is used in smoking meats to help break down long-chain proteins, which are also found in blood. This makes it a great option if you don’t have anything else available. However, if you use mineral-based salts, such as pink Himalayan, RealSalt or similar products, be aware that the other minerals may leave a stain of their own behind, so stick to the plain white table variety if possible.
Lemon Juice or Vinegar
These weak acids also work well to break down the long-chain proteins found in blood, so they work well to remove blood stains from fabric, upholstery and carpet. They’re weak enough to be used effectively on older materials and are often used as a go-to natural bleach for antique lace and handkerchiefs, with the bleaching effect realized by a few hours in the sunlight. However, make sure you rinse the material out after treatment.
A relatively plain bar of soap can work well to help remove blood stains. Soap is a surfactant, which means that it breaks down the surface tension of water and allows it to penetrate more deeply into a stain or surface, which is why it’s used for cleaning. Use cool water and gently rub a bar of soap over the stain to allow it to penetrate and remove the bloodstain.
There are a wide range of stain treatments available on the market that can be used to remove blood stains, but as with all other treatments, the sooner you apply them, the more likely you’ll be to get the stain out completely. One product mentioned time and again by experienced cleaners is Carbona’s family of stain-lifting products, especially their Stain Devil or Stain Wizard lines of stain treatments.
For small areas, ammonia that has been diluted by half with cold water works wonders to remove tough blood stains, but can be harsh if used on an entire garment or large area of carpet or upholstery. For this reason, it’s important to dab only a small amount on using a cotton swab or similar material, then rinse well with cold water to remove the ammonia that has been left behind.
Baking Soda Scrub
For tougher fabrics, a light scrub using baking soda works very well to help remove the bloodstain. Much like salt and saline solution, baking soda contains sodium, which works well to break down long-chain proteins found in blood. If you’ve got a particularly stubborn stain in a thick tee shirt, favorite pair of jeans or strong carpeting, a baking soda scrub can help remove the stained fibers from the surface.
Another quirky blood stain treatment, meat tenderizer works much as vinegar, lemon juice and salt do to break down long-chain proteins found in blood. Sprinkle it heavily onto the stain, then add enough water to form a paste. Once it’s dried, simply brush off the powder and launder as usual, repeating this or another treatment if it hasn’t quite finished getting the stain out.
When to Not Treat Blood Stains at Home
Like anything in life, there are exceptions to treating blood stains immediately at home. If you’re dealing with a delicate fabric, dry-clean-only clothing or an heirloom soft furnishing, you’ll want to avoid getting water on the item on the chance that it becomes water spotted in the process. It would be really frustrating to get the bloodstain out but still have the item ruined because of water spots! In this case, take the item to a dry cleaners as quickly as possible to make sure it’s being treated correctly.
By following some of these easy steps, you can quickly and effectively clean up blood stains at home. But what about cleaning up the rest of your home? Whether you’re laid up from an injury or just need a little more free time in the week, Cleaning Exec Cleaning Services can help you keep your home clean without a lot of extra effort. Please feel free to reach out today with any questions, for more information on our services or to get a free estimate for our exceptional team to clean up your home.