person treating mattress to get blood out of it
Care Tips

How to Get Blood Out of Sheets

    Last Updated
    February 17, 2022
    min read

    Whether you have a bloody nose, scraped knees or it's that time of the month, sometimes blood gets on the sheets.

    Removing blood is not easy, however it's possible. It's important to know how to remove blood from sheets and act quickly. Our guide walks you through how to remove fresh blood and dried blood from sheets, pillows and a mattress.

    How to Get Blood Out of Sheets: 5 Easy Steps

    5 steps to remove blood

    The key to getting blood out of sheets is to act quickly. You don't want the blood to sit for too long as it becomes more difficult to remove. Below are our methods for removing blood from sheets. This method also works for removing blood from pillows, pillow cases, duvets, mattresses and other types of bedding.

    Step 1: Use Only Cold Water

    Always use cold water. Applying heat can bake the stain into the fibers of your fabrics.

    Start by running your sheets under the cold faucet after pulling them off the bed to "flush" away any excess blood. Cold water will help to wash and lift the stain without setting it. The reason you want to run your stained sheets under water instead of just throwing them in the wash is that the force from the faucet will help to "push" the stain away from the fabric fibers. That could mean better results when you do the wash.

    Step 2: Dab, Don’t Rub

    Dab the stained area with a cold wet washcloth. Dabbing is great for lifting any blood that's still sitting on the surface of your sheets. You'll push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers if you try to rub away the blood. You also risk making the stain bigger by rubbing it. The key to dabbing blood out of sheets effectively is to use a clean cloth or paper towel that's been dipped in cold water. Next, gently dab the stain without putting pressure on the stained area.

    Step 3: Soak in Cold Water

    Let your sheets soak in a basin of cold water or a bathtub for 30 minutes or more. You'll generally want to soak blood stained sheets for at least 30 minutes. Give it at least an hour if you're staring at some dried blood. You can also make the call to leave your sheets soaking overnight before tossing them in the washing machine if you're dealing with what appears to be a stubborn stain.

    Step 4: Use an Effective Stain Fighter

    stain removal steps

    Once you are done soaking, it's important to use a tough stain fighter. While you may not think the stain looks bad enough to use something beyond detergent, the truth is that you can never go back to "try again" once you've missed the opportunity to zap a fresh stain.

    We recommend using hydrogen peroxide and water. Add the stained area to a bowl or small container. Then pour hydrogen peroxide ( ¼ to ½ a cup) and add cold water. Soak for 24 hours, if the stain is not gone, repeat the process.

    Step 5: Machine Wash & Air Dry

    Once the sheets soak for 24 hours, you can machine wash them. The regular cycle is fine as long as you remember to only use cold water. It's also important that you air dry your sheets instead of tossing them in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can "bake in" any stains that haven't been fully lifted to make them permanent. You'll miss your chance to try more stain-removal efforts if you put your sheets in the dryer.

    How To Get Dried Blood Out of Sheets: 3 Easy Steps

    3 steps to remove blood

    1. Use Cold Water

    After taking your sheets off the bed, place them under a cold faucet to allow any excess blood to roll off. You should also soak sheets in cold water overnight before running them through the wash with cold water. Heat should not be used on blood stains!

    2. Dab Stains

    Gently dab blood stains with hydrogen peroxide or other listed stain fighters below. If the stain doesn't resolve. Repeat process with additional stain removers.

    3. Machine Wash

    Machine wash your sheets using cold water and a mild laundry detergent. Then air dry your sheets.

    If the stain doesn't come out right away, repeat the process and consider using additional stain removers listed below. If you have a white sheets, bleach when diluted is a great option to remove dried blood.

    10 of the Best Stain Removers for Blood

    1. Salt and Dish Soap: Combine two tablespoons of salt with one tablespoon of liquid dish soap before adding the mixture to the pre-dampened stain. Shampoo also works! Let the salt and soap sit for between 20 minutes and 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.

    2. Baking Soda or Cornstarch: Make a paste using four tablespoons of baking soda or cornstarch with roughly one-fourth cup of water. Allow the paste to dry for up to 30 minutes. It should "soak up" the stain!

    3. Cola: The phosphoric acid and carbonic acid in cola can actually absorb stains. Leave the stains saturated in cola for up to 30 minute before tossing your sheets into the wash.

    4. Meat Tenderizer: While it may seem odd, unsalted meat tenderizer works at lifting stains. Make a paste from a few shakes of meat tenderizer combined with water that you let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing your sheets with cold water.

    5. Commercial Stain Products: It's fine to use commercial stain removers instead of ransacking your cupboards for natural blood lifters! Just make sure the products you choose are intended for your specific sheet fabrics. A product like OxiClean is a good fit for many different types of fabrics.

    6. White Vinegar: Pour white vinegar directly on the stain to saturate it for about 30 minutes before rinsing it with cold water.

    7. Ammonia: Use ammonia during the "dabbing stage" mentioned above by mixing just a pinch with water. Never allow ammonia to sit on fabric for more than 10 minutes. You should also avoid mixing ammonia with bleach!

    8. Salt Water: Salt water gets blood out of sheets because its dehydrating properties will lift fresh blood from fabrics. Saturate blood stains in salt water for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with plain cold water.

    9. Fresh Lemon Juice: Gently rub in some lemon juice after soaking your sheets in cold water. You can rinse and repeat a few times until you see the stains minimizing.

    10. Uncoated Aspirin: Make a paste from one tablespoon of crushed aspirin combined with one-fourth cup of water for a small stain. Scrub the paste in using a soft toothbrush before letting it dry. Once the paste is dry, rinse with cold water! Just make sure you're keeping all medications out of reach of any children in the house while getting rid of a real headache of a stain using aspirin!

    Best Way to Get Blood Out of White Sheets

    If you're looking for how to get blood out of white sheets after unsuccessful tries with ordinary stain removers, consider trying bleach. The process for using bleach to get blood out of white sheets is to rinse the sheets with cold water, pretreat them with a fabric-safe bleach, and toss them in the wash. Use a "gentle" bleach product that won't weaken the fibers in your sheets.

    What Is the Best Stain Remover for Blood?

    Hydrogen peroxide works wonders on most blood stains without destroying fabrics and colors. You'll still want to test an area to check for fading if you're working with darker sheets. You'll love that hydrogen peroxide is so gentle, safe, and inexpensive. The reason why hydrogen peroxide is so powerful for removing blood stains is that it's an oxidizing agent.

    Getting Period Blood Out of Sheets

    Wondering how to get period blood out of sheets? All of the steps, tips, and techniques shared above will work for period blood! Feel free to repeat some of the suggestions a few times if you're trying to remove dried period stains from sheets.

    How to Get Blood Out of Mattress

    The process of getting blood out of a mattress varies slightly from cleaning a mattress. While getting to the stain while it's still fresh can make a big difference, it's not hopeless if you've found dried blood. Here are some tips for getting blood out of a mattress:

    Use Cold Water: Only use cold water to avoid setting mattress stains. Hot water can cause the stain to set into your mattress fibers.

    Dab: Never saturate the mattress in water. Some light dabbing with a "moist" cloth or towel can help to lift excess blood without spreading the staining.

    Try the Same Methods You Used on Your Sheets: You can try "dabbing" any of the cleaning solutions shared above for how to get blood out of sheets to see if they lift your mattress blood stains. A good tip is to vacuum up any of the homemade pastes you use with baking soda or cornstarch as a way to soak up the dried residue without trying to rinse your mattress.

    Use a Powerful Enzymatic Cleaner: Unlike your sheets, your mattress can't be thrown in the washer. This makes using a powerful, potent cleaning agent more important. Focus on enzymatic cleaners that contain enzymes that are capable of breaking down stains if you don't want to do "trial and error" with natural solutions.

    Unfortunately, most natural household cleaners like vinegar and baking soda aren't enzymatic. Enzymatic cleaners are any cleaning products that use enzymes in their formulas to help break down stains.

    Get a Mattress Protector: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to little drops of blood! Purchasing a mattress protector and topper can help to save your mattress for the next bloody mishap!


    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.