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How to Get Blood Out of Sheets

Any stain on your sheets is a bummer – especially if they’re your favorites or they’re brand spanking new. But blood might be the most annoying kind of stain. Removing blood is tough, but certainly possible. If you’re not diligent about getting rid of it quickly, a dried blood stain can hang around forever. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to remove blood stains on sheets.

Cleaning bottle and gloves

How to Get Blood Out of Sheets

  • Use Cold Water Only
  • Dab, Don’t Rub
  • Use a Powerful Stain-Fighter
  • Machine Wash as Usual

As it turns out, dried blood is actually one of the most common stains your sheets may see. It’s tough to get rid of because blood naturally clots. Not only do blood cells stick close to each other, but they also stick close to your fabric, making it hard to convince them to turn loose and leave your sheets alone.

The situation isn’t hopeless, however. You just have to be smart about it. And you have to act quickly – as soon as you know there’s blood on your sheets, you should spring into cleaning action. Don’t put it off until the next time you’re scheduled to wash your sheets. The longer the blood is allowed to dry, the tougher it will be to get out. We’ll show you how to get dried blood stains out of both synthetic fabrics and natural sheets like organic cotton or bamboo sheets.

How to Get Blood Out of Sheets

sheets on bed

If a bloody nose, a bleeding bug bite, or an open cut has marked your favorite set of sheets, don’t lose hope. In fact, even if a blood stain has dried, you still have a good chance of getting rid of it with a little planning and effort. We’ll show you several different tips and approaches to try.

Use Cold Water Only

Always wash bloody sheets with cold water. If you use hot water from your washing machine to try to get rid of a blood stain, you’re in trouble. Hot water will simply set in the stain, so stay away from it. In fact, stay away even from warm water. Since your blood contains proteins, applying heat basically “cooks” the blood stain into your sheets. Make sure the stain-fighting water you’re using is as cold as you can get it. Cold water might actually be more powerful than you think, especially when combined with the right laundry detergent and some top-notch stain-fighters.

Dab, Don’t Rub

Be careful not to rub blood stains on sheets. When treating a blood stain, dab up any blood that’s still on the surface of your sheets. Using a clean cloth or paper towel dipped in cold water, dab the stain to grab any blood on the surface that hasn’t yet soaked in or dried. But don’t rub – that just spreads the stain to a broader area and pushes it deeper into the fabric.

Once you’ve dabbed, dunk the sheets in water and let them soak in a basin of cold, clean water. For dry blood stains, you may want to leave the sheets to soak for an hour so that the water can help loosen the stain. If you think the stain is extra-stubborn, you may even want to let those sheets soak overnight before washing them.

Use a Powerful Stain Fighter

After soaking your sheets in cold water, it’s time to use a powerful stain remover. You have some pretty good choices when it comes to everyday household items and commercial products. There are many cleansers and liquid detergents that can help you remove a blood stain from your favorite stretchy sheets. You might need to try a few of these to find out which will work best for your sheets – there’s no one perfect combination or approach, so feel free to experiment. Let’s take a look at some of your best options.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a champion when it comes to getting blood stains out of your sheets and other fabrics. Chances are you have some lurking in your pantry, your laundry room, or your bathroom cabinet. Just be careful – if your sheets are darker in color, the hydrogen peroxide might bleach it or cause it to fade. You can always test the hydrogen peroxide on a small section of darker sheets before you apply it to your stain. For white sheets or lighter-colored sheets, hydrogen peroxide can be a miracle worker.

After you’ve soaked your sheet in cold water, simply pour a little hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and watch it start to bubble. Once the fizzing dies down, very gently rub the sheet together to help work the stain out of the cloth fibers. If you’re very careful, you might also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help work the stain out of the fabric.

Rinse with cold water, and if the stain is being stubborn, apply more hydrogen peroxide and repeat the process as many times as you need. If you don’t have any hydrogen peroxide on-hand, you can also try this same process with lemon juice, which can have a similar stain-fighting effect.

Salt Water

faucet with running water. Salt water

If you’re sleeping on silk sheets, salt water is probably your best bet for spot-cleaning a blood stain out of such a delicate fabric. It works on other sheet fabrics, too. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of cold water, and then wet the stain with a clean towel. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

Another approach is to soak your sheets in a large basin of salt water for a few hours before spot-cleaning. You can also use the soak cycle of your washing machine. This is especially helpful for stubborn dried blood stains.

Salt and Dish Soap

When combined, salt and dish soap make a powerful stain remover. Mix one tablespoon of dish soap and two tablespoons of salt, then apply it directly to the stain. After it sits for about 20-30 minutes, rinse and repeat as necessary. Use can also use a toothbrush – just remember to be gentle.

Baking Soda or Cornstarch

Make a cleaning paste out of baking soda or cornstarch and a little cold water. Rub the thick paste onto the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse gently. If the stain leaves some residue, repeat the process until it’s completely gone. You can also mix hydrogen peroxide with the baking soda for a more powerful stain remover.

Meat Tenderizer

Using meat tenderizer sounds like an unlikely way to remove blood, but give it a try. Meat tenderizer works a lot like baking soda and cornstarch for stain removal – as long as you use an unseasoned meat tenderizer. Make a paste and apply to the stain using a clean cloth or paper towel. Let it sit and then rinse. Repeat until the stain is gone. The meat tenderizer’s ability to break down proteins is what makes it effective in getting out blood stains.

Commercial Stain Treatment Products

There are many advanced stain treatment products available at local stores. Most detergent brands offer a product that’s designed specifically for hard-to-remove stains like dried blood. To use any of these products, just wet or soak your stained sheets in cold water and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for spot treatment.

Many detergent brands also make an enzyme cleaner, which is really good at getting out biological stains, like blood. To remove dried blood from white sheets, you can always try bleach – just be careful to dilute it before applying directly to a stain. You might also be able to use a bleach pen to spot treat your stain. You can also soak your sheets overnight in a mixture of borax, liquid detergent, peroxide, and water. Keep in mind that if your sheets are silk, don’t use bleach on them – even if they’re white.

Ammonia or White Vinegar

Both ammonia and white vinegar are stellar when it comes to blood stain removal. If you’re using ammonia, make a diluted mixture of equal parts ammonia and water before dabbing all over the stain. Let sit and then rinse. If you don’t have ammonia on-hand, some people have had success using an ammonia-based window cleaner, too. If you’re using vinegar, follow the exact same process as outlined for ammonia.

Cola

We’re not bonkers, we promise! A cola drink can help lift blood stains out of your sheets. If you’re desperate and you have a pop on-hand, use it to soak your stain or just pour a can of soda directly on the stain. The carbonation and phosphoric acid in the drink can help the stain turn loose from the cloth fibers. Who knew?

Shampoo

shampoo bubbles in woman's hand

Shampoo works well if your sheets are cotton – but don’t try it on your bamboo sheets, linen sheets, or silk sheets. For cotton sheets, pour a little bit of shampoo directly on the blood stain and work it into the fabric. Rinse with cold water. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get your cotton sheets looking brand new again.

Machine Wash as Usual

Once you’ve finished your stain treatment, you can run your sheets through a regular wash cycle as long as you only use cool water. Avoid using the dryer and let your sheets air dry if you’re unsure whether the stain is really gone. If you run your sheets through the dryer before the stain is completely removed, you run the risk of making it permanent. For a stubborn stain, you can start the whole process over again until it’s really gone.

Removing Blood Stains from Sheets

At bedtime, you want to slip into fresh, clean, cooling bed sheets – not sheets that remind you of the last time you had a nosebleed in the middle of the night. It’s not always easy to keep your crisp, beautiful white sheets completely free from stubborn stains. But you don’t have to toss out sheets you love just because of a pesky blood stain. With some careful attention and quick action, removing blood stains is not that difficult. You can wipe out any memory of blood on your sheets, keeping them looking good and stain-free for years to come.

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