Get Fresh or Dried Blood Out of Clothes in 4 Steps


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After an unexpected start to your period overnight, a mishap with the pruning shears while gardening or a sudden nosebleed, you may think all hope is lost for your favorite garments. Blood stains are notoriously stubborn and difficult to remove from fabrics. In our extensive testing of stain removers and laundry detergents, blood is one of a handful of stains that many products struggle to remove completely — but it isn’t impossible. It pays to act fast and use the right products if you want to get your clothes back to their original appearance.

Even though you might be curious about using home remedies, like vinegar, baking soda or toothpaste, if you want to banish stains, says Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, it’s better to stick with tried-and-tested cleaning products that work time and time again. And always follow the usage and measurement directions on the product’s label. They can often change as product formulations are updated or improved.

Before you try your hand at removing blood stains, check the care labels on your clothing to make sure that bleach (the stain-busting MVP) won’t discolor or ruin the fabric. Always use the care instructions as your guide, and take note that bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and noncolorfast garments is never recommended. If you’re dealing with a type and color of fabric that bleaches well, follow the expert tips from Forté in this guide to how to get blood out of clothes.

If your garment can’t tolerate chlorine or non-chlorine bleach, opt for other stain treaters, detergents and remedies listed in our guide to do the work — or try a specialty product specifically made to target blood stains, like Carbona Stain Devils #4. And if you’re not sure about the safety of any product, test it on an inside seam or hem of your garment first.

How to get fresh blood out of clothes

Like most other stains, blood is easiest to remove when it’s fresh. The steps below are the same for most types of colorfast fabrics, including jeans and white cotton tees, and will even work well for removing blood stains from sheets. As soon as you notice blood on your clothes, head to your medicine cabinet and laundry room to gather supplies, and then get to work by following these steps:

What you’ll need:

  • Bar soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Fabric-safe bleach
  • Laundry pre-treater
  • Enzyme-containing liquid laundry detergent
  1. Soak the stain in cold water as soon as possible. If the stain is super fresh, place it under cold running water and try to flush out as much of the fresh blood as you can.
  2. Sponge the stain with hydrogen peroxide, or rub bar soap into the stain. Pour the hydrogen peroxide onto the sponge, not directly on the stain. Scrub the stained garment by hand in cold water.
  3. Apply a laundry pre-treater, or rub in an enzyme-containing liquid laundry detergent. Machine wash the garment in warm water with a fabric-safe bleach.
  4. If the stain remains, repeat the steps above. Refrain from putting the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.
bottles of cleaning products to get rid of blood stains

How to get dried blood out of clothes

Just because you waited to remove a blood stain doesn’t necessarily mean it’s permanent. Instead, all you need is a little patience and some heavy-duty stain remover. Follow these steps:

What you’ll need:

  • Stain-removing laundry soaker
  • Bar soap
  • Fabric-safe bleach
  • Enzyme-containing liquid laundry detergent
  • Ammonia
  • Laundry pre-treater
  1. Presoak the garment. Prepare a mixture of cold water and one to two teaspoons of liquid laundry detergent or a stain-removing product like Carbona Oxy Powered Laundry Soaker. Allow the garment to soak in the mixture for several hours or overnight.
  2. Pretreat with a laundry pre-treater, or rub the stain with bar soap. Then, launder in warm water with fabric-safe bleach.
  3. If that doesn’t work, repeat the presoaking step. Presoak for a longer period of time, or mix one quart water with one teaspoon laundry detergent and one tablespoon ammonia and let the garment soak in the solution. (This may take several hours, depending on the severity of the stain.)
  4. Pretreat the stain and launder the garment.

Expert tips to keep in mind

  • Though it’s easy to assume differently, period blood can be removed from clothing using the same steps and products as blood stains from a scraped knee, nicked finger or cut on your ankle.
  • When removing blood stains from jeans, turn your jeans inside out to apply stain remover directly to the spot that is stained.
  • Remember to never use hot water on blood stains to avoid setting the stain into the fabric. If you’ve forgotten and already washed a blood stain in hot water, you can try the steps above, but you may not be able to completely remove the stain from the fabric.

Ultra Oxi Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide Ultra Oxi Liquid Laundry Detergent
Credit: Amazon

Splash-Less Liquid Bleach

Clorox Splash-Less Liquid Bleach
Credit: Clorox

Oxy Powered Laundry Soaker

Carbona Oxy Powered Laundry Soaker
Credit: Carbona

Laundry Stain Remover and Color Booster

Clorox 2 Laundry Stain Remover and Color Booster
Credit: Clorox
Headshot of Amanda Garrity

Amanda Garrity is a lifestyle writer and editor with over seven years of experience, including five years on staff at Good Housekeeping, where she covered all things home and holiday, including the latest interior design trends, inspiring DIY ideas and gift guides for any (and every) occasion. She also has a soft spot for feel-good TV, so you can catch her writing about popular shows like Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias, Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart and more. 



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