How to Remove Blood Stains From Household Materials

By: Editors of Consumer Guide & Austin Henderson  | 
Drops and splatters of red on a white background
Accidents happen, and sometimes they're a bit grisly. graphixel / Getty Images

­­Blood stains can be the bane of laundry day and a real puzzle when they land on various materials. From your favorite shirt to the living room carpet, these stubborn marks seem to have a knack for appearing where they're least wanted.

Learning how to remove blood stains from any material is key, and lucky for you, we've got a full arsenal of tips and tricks to tackle these pesky protein stains.


Fresh Blood Stains vs. Dried Blood Stains

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of removing blood stains, let's start with a fundamental understanding of why these stains are so tricky. Blood is a protein stain, which means it requires specific methods to break it down effectively. The right approach can make all the difference.

There's a significant difference between tackling a fresh blood stain and a dried blood stain. Fresh stains are like uninvited guests who haven't overstayed their welcome yet — relatively easier to handle.


Cold water is your best friend here, as it doesn't set the stain like hot water can. On the flip side, dried blood stains are like guests who've decided to move in: They need more persuasion (and elbow grease) to leave.

5 Universal Stain Removal Tips

Regardless of the material, some general rules apply to all blood stain removal efforts.

  1. Act fast. The sooner you address the stain, the better your chances of removing it completely.
  2. Use a cold water rinse. Start with cold water to prevent the stain from setting in further.
  3. Apply gentle treatment. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which can damage the fabric and spread the stain.
  4. Adjust stain remover choices appropriately. Depending on the fabric, options like hydrogen peroxide, liquid laundry detergent and baking soda can be effective, but finicky materials like silk and leather require special care.
  5. Spot test. Always do a patch test on an inconspicuous spot to ensure the treatment doesn't damage the material.


Removing Blood Stains From Clothes

Dealing with a blood stain on your clothes can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it's entirely manageable. Whether it's a fresh spill or a dried spot, knowing how to treat different types of fabrics is crucial in effectively banishing those stains.

Washable Fabrics

Washable fabrics like cotton, linen and polyester can generally handle more rigorous cleaning methods. Here’s a step-by-step guide:


  1. Rinse in cold water. Flush out as much blood as possible.
  2. Apply a stain remover. A mix of liquid laundry detergent and cold water works wonders. For more stubborn stains, add a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide or make a paste with baking soda.
  3. Gently rub. Work the stain remover into the fabric.
  4. Launder as usual. Wash with cold water and check if the stain is completely removed before drying.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide can bleach or discolor some fabrics. It's usually safe for white or very light-colored fabrics, but you should always spot-test in an inconspicuous area first.

Delicate Fabrics

Delicate fabrics like silk and wool require a softer touch.

  1. Dab with a damp cloth. Use cold water and avoid rubbing the stain.
  2. Apply a mild detergent. Opt for a detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.
  3. Rinse and repeat. If the stain persists, repeat the process, being careful not to damage the fabric.


Removing Stains From Hard Surfaces

When blood finds its way onto harder, less forgiving surfaces, the cleaning approach shifts slightly. Nonporous surfaces such as countertops and tiles are less absorbent than fabrics, but they still require a careful touch to prevent damage while effectively removing the stain.

Nonporous Surfaces

For hard, nonporous surfaces like countertops and tiles:


  1. Wipe with a damp cloth. Use cool water to remove as much blood as possible.
  2. Clean with a gentle detergent. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can scratch the surface.
  3. Dry thoroughly. Prevent water spots and further staining by drying the surface completely.

Porous Surfaces

Porous surfaces like wood and stone need a bit more care.

  1. Blot the stain. Use a clean, damp cloth to absorb the blood.
  2. Create a poultice. For stubborn stains, a paste made from baking soda and water can draw out the stain.
  3. Rinse gently. Avoid soaking the surface and dry immediately after rinsing.


Special Cases: Carpets and Upholstery

Blood stains on carpets and upholstery can be daunting, but they're not invincible.

  1. Blot, don’t rub. Use a clean cloth to absorb as much blood as possible.
  2. Apply a solution. Mix a mild detergent with water and gently apply it to the stain.
  3. Rinse with cold water. Carefully dab the area with a damp cloth.
  4. Dry thoroughly. Ensure the area is completely dry to avoid mildew.


Busting Through Stubborn Stains

Here are some pro tools for those particularly stubborn marks — and you probably already have them in your cabinet!

  • Hydrogen peroxide: This is a great option for white clothes, but be sure to spot test first.
  • Distilled white vinegar: Mix with water for a natural, gentle cleaning solution.
  • Salt or baking soda paste: This mixture is ideal for absorbent surfaces like carpets.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.