How to get blood stains out of washable fabric

Aug 26, 2009 at 10:16 p.m. ET

How can you get blood stains out of clothing or other fabric? Here's a step-by-step process to help you remove staining from blood.

Step 1: Act quickly & carefully

How to get blood stains out of fabricTry to remove the stain as quickly as possible. The longer it sets, the harder it is to remove. Do not rub the stain, as this will cause surface damage to dyes and fiber. Work the stain from the reverse side to prevent the substance from penetrating and spreading.

Step 2: RINSE with water

If the fabric is washable, flush stained area with cool water immediately.

Step 3: Add detergent paste

Apply a paste of powdered detergent and water, and launder or soak the item in an enzyme presoak; then rinse, and launder as usual.

Step 4: Try a chemical solution

If the bloodstain remains, apply a few drops of ammonia or 3% hydrogen peroxide. Before using either product, check for color change on an inside seam or hem allowance. Follow with a bleach treatment if the stain persists and if it is safe for the fabric. Then repeat the treatment with detergent, laundering and rinsing.

Step 5: Soak to pre-treat

Soaking is a form of pre-treating that is carried out before the primary washing process. Heavily soiled or stained items may benefit from a soak before washing.

To soak, use a laundry presoak bleach, if it is safe for the fabric, or use laundry detergent along with water. Warm water is generally best, but in the case of a blood stain, cool water is recommended, as hot water often sets stains. Soaking time varies with the stain and type of fabric. Follow label care and product recommendations.

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For more info on this topic...For more tips on taking care of your laundry, see:
5 simple laundry tips

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Information courtesy Penn State Extension