Whether it’s from a paper cut or a nosebleed, blood stains on your favorite clothes can be frustrating. Dealing with stubborn blood stains can be challenging, which is why we’re here to provide you with effective techniques to restore your clothes to their former glory.

Here, we will share tried-and-true stain-fighting methods for tackling blood stains head-on. From using hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to the power of good ol’ soap and water, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and strategies to successfully eliminate these unwelcome marks. 

Read to learn how to banish those pesky blood stains once and for all!

Why Are Blood Stains Difficult to Remove?

As you probably already know, blood stains can be extremely difficult to remove from clothing. That’s because blood contains a protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is what causes blood to clot when it gets exposed to air. The ability to clot prevents blood loss and helps wounds heal more quickly.

Unfortunately, hemoglobin is also what causes blood to bind to fabric surfaces, making the stains a pain to get out of your favorite clothing and garments.

How to Get Blood Stains Out of Clothing (Different Methods)

A woman looking at blood-stained pants

While removing blood stains from your favorite clothes might seem impossible, these tried and true methods can get the job done if followed correctly. Read on to learn how to remove blood stains from clothing step-by-step.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a staple in most medicine cabinets that work well on fresh and set-in blood stains. However, hydrogen peroxide can bleach some garments, meaning it’s crucial to spot-test before continuing with this approach. 

Before you start, you will need hydrogen peroxide, water, and a light-colored cloth. To begin, test for color loss in an inconspicuous spot on the article of clothing. 

Next, apply the hydrogen peroxide to the cloth and gently dab away at the stain. For larger stains, using a spray bottle to mist the area can help you work faster. Cotton swabs may work just as well for smaller blood stains.

Finally, after successfully removing the stain, dip the cloth into clean water and rinse.

Enzymatic Stain Removers

Enzymatic stain removers help clean up pet accidents and other messes; however, they are also great for breaking down blood stains on clothing. These stain removers employ enzymes and other proteins to break apart stain molecules. Enzymatic stain removers contain enzymes, which digest proteins and fats in stains, making them highly effective against blood and chocolate stains. For this technique, you will need an enzymatic stain treatment product, laundry detergent, and a laundry brush.

First, flush the stain with cold running water BEFORE applying the remover. Next, apply the enzymatic stain treatment to the blood stain. If you are working with a set-in stain, use a laundry brush to break it down further. Finally, launder the item as you according to the garment’s care tag.

Note: After laundering, ensure that the stain is gone before drying. Do not put the item in the dryer if it is still there, as heat will cause it to set.

How to Get Fresh Blood Out of Clothing

Like many other stains, blood is easiest to remove when it’s still fresh. You should always try to attack stains head-on as soon as you notice them. Here are some ways you can quickly get rid of blood stains while they’re still fresh.

White Vinegar and Water

As soon as you notice blood on your clothes, head to your kitchen and look for distilled white vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is effective for removing fresh blood stains from fabric. While undiluted vinegar can work, it can wear down the fibers of the fabric over time.

Use a solution that’s one part vinegar and two parts water on the stain and soak it for 10 to 20 minutes. Next, blot the garment with a damp cloth, rinse, and repeat as necessary. 

Soap and Water

Soap and water are another tried and tested method that successfully removes most blood stains on clothing or similar items, especially fresh stains. For this method, you can use any liquid dish soap or detergent.

First, flush the blood stain with cold running water. Next, run the water through the BACK of the stained garment so that you push the blood away from the fabric; sometimes, this is enough to eliminate the stain.

Next, apply the soap to the front of the stain using your thumb or forefinger. Rub a small amount of liquid dish soap into the garment. Work the soap into the blood stain and rub the stained fabric against itself. Alternate between rubbing in the soap and flushing the area with cold water to help get it out faster.

Finally, launder as usual according to the care instructions.

Getting Blood Out of White Clothes

When it comes to removing blood stains from white clothing, time is of the essence. When washing blood-stained whites, it’s best to avoid chlorine bleach, as bleach causes a chemical reaction that will actually worsen protein stains (like blood). Instead, use an enzymatic stain remover.

If you cannot immediately clean a blood-stained garment, dab the stain with water or, if possible, flush it with cool running water.

How to Get Fake Blood Out of Clothing

A white shirt with fake blood stains on it.

Fake blood often contains oils and food products like corn syrup, making it just as challenging to remove as the real deal if you do not act quickly. Before you try to remove the fake blood stain, ensure that the garment is washable; delicate fabrics such as wool or silk may require professional help, or you may damage the garment.

If the fake blood stain is on a washable garment, soak the stained area with cold water as soon as possible. Make sure to soak the fabric all the way through, as this will make it easier to remove the fake blood from the garment.

Next, soak the garment in a color-safe oxygen-based bleach (such as OxiClean) and follow the product instructions. Alternatively, you can try to pretreat the stain with a detergent by rubbing it gently into the fabric, allowing it to sit overnight before laundering the garment according to the care instructions.

Note: Avoid putting stained clothes in the dryer (or exposing them to other kinds of excess heat) to ensure they don’t set.

Let ZIPS Take Care of It

A ZIPS associate helping a customer

When fighting blood stains, swift action is the key to getting the best results. By employing the methods above, you can confidently tackle these stubborn stains. And if you ever run into a blood stain that seems impossible to get rid of, consider enlisting the help of ZIPS.

At ZIPS, we treat your garments with the utmost care to maximize their longevity and keep you looking your best every day of the week–hold the blood stains. Find a location near you, and let us take care of it today!