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How to Get Blood Stains Out of Clothing

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Photo: FotoDuets (Shutterstock)

Blood stains on clothing can be difficult to remove—especially if they’ve had time to soak into the fabric. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that you can try to get rid of them. Here’s what to know.

How to remove blood stains

Though there are multiple ways to get blood stains out of clothing, every method has one thing in common: Taking action as quickly as possible. The more time the blood has to set, the harder the stain will be to remove. Here are a few techniques to try:

Soap and cold water

If you’re able to get to work on a blood stain right away, some soap and cold water may do the trick. Hold the stain under the faucet while running cold water, then flip it over and run cold water through the other side of the stain.

Next, rub a wet bar of soap—or a few drops of liquid hand soap or dishwashing liquid—on the stain. Then rub the fabric against itself to remove as much of the stain as possible. Finally, rinse both sides of the stain with cold water. Repeat the process if necessary. When the stain is gone, pop the item in the laundry as usual.

Other methods

If soap and water doesn’t get the job done, there are a few other techniques to try. Regardless of which one you choose, start by running cold water through both sides of the blood stain. Then, give one of these a shot:

  • Hydrogen peroxide: Peroxide may bleach some fabrics, so do a small test on the inside of the garment first. If everything looks OK, pour some peroxide on a white or light-colored cloth, then dab it on the blood stain until it’s removed. Rinse with cold water, then launder as usual.
  • White vinegar: Pour a small amount of white vinegar onto the blood stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Next, blot the stain with a paper towel. Rinse the area with cold water, repeat if necessary, then launder as usual.
  • Cornstarch: Make a paste of cornstarch and cold water, then spread a thick layer over the blood stain. Allow the garment to dry—ideally in the sun. When it’s dry, brush the cornstarch off, rinse with cold water, repeat if necessary, then launder as usual.
  • Enzymatic stain treatment: Pretreat the stain with enzymatic stain treatment, using a laundry brush to scrub it in. Then launder as usual.

Check the stain (or ideally, the place where it used to be) after washing the garment, but before allowing it to dry. If the stain remains, try another one of the techniques above: Putting it in the dryer will set the stain and make it even harder to remove.

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