Tackling blood stains on your sheets is actually more common than you may think. While blood can be one of the hardest stains to get out of sheets, it isn’t impossible. Today, I’m going to show you some tricks and tips for getting blood stains out of your sheets.
Why Are Blood Stains So Hard To Remove?
Blood is classified as an organic stain because it contains proteins. We learned in school that proteins are life’s building blocks. Protein itself is chemically reactive. When blood is exposed to heat or other chemicals, these proteins bind to each other or clot. So, when it gets on fabrics, it also bonds to the fabric.
TIP: Fresh stains are much easier to clean than dried stains.
Things you should NOT do when cleaning your sheets:
- Expose the stain to hot water or heat
- Pre-treat fabric that needs to be dry cleaned
- Use a strong acid on cotton, such as straight vinegar
- Use an enzyme treatment on an organic fabric, such as silk or wool
The Cold Water Trick
This is one of the best methods on how to get rid of bloodstains from your bed sheets.
Depending on the amount of blood, you want to try to blot up as much of it as you can first, using a paper towel or cotton cloth. Cotton is one of the best things you can use for this because of its high absorbency. The downside is that, if your sheets are cotton, it will be a bit harder to blot a bloodstain up.
DON'T: Rub or scrub the stain because this can make it spread and grind it in more.
2. Cold Water
Now you are ready to run that bloodstain under cold water to flush it out. This is the most essential part of the process. You can either dab the stain with cold water and a cloth, or you can run it directly under the cold water tap. The cold water keeps the stain from setting if you get to it soon enough. Ice cubes can also be used if its for a small stain (see video below).
Once you’ve flushed the stain you can move on to pre-treating it, but you need to check the care instructions for your sheets first. As I mentioned earlier, things like an enzyme stain remover will destroy some organic fabrics, such as silk. First, make sure you are using a pre-treatment product that is safe for your type of sheet. For white sheets, you can use hydrogen peroxide, if the care instructions allow.
For either option, you will be mixing the pre-treatment solution with cold water in a bowl and then soaking the stain for a bit. All of these steps will help keep the blood stain from setting into your fabric.
Your next step is washing the sheet. Do this on a cold water cycle, using a detergent that has enzymes in it (again, make sure it is appropriate for the material of your sheet).
What are enzymes? I keep talking about enzyme treatments, so let me explain what these are and what they are designed to do. An enzyme is created biochemically and works to target proteins, such as blood, urine, or sweat. Enzymes are biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Sheets that have been treated to remove blood stains should be air-dried in a cool setting. Never use heat to dry it. The reason for this is that in case the blood stain hasn’t been entirely removed, you don’t want to risk setting it with heat.
Other Household Items That Help Remove Blood Stains
There are other things that you can use when trying to get pesky blood stains out of your sheets. This is especially so if they have had time to dry and set in, and the cold water and enzyme tricks aren’t working.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide and Lemon Juice
Hydrogen Peroxide Swan Topical, 32 oz, Pack of 2
I mentioned hydrogen peroxide earlier (see useful video below) as a pre-treatment for fresh stains. You can also use it for dried blood stains too, as well as lemon juice. These two are best for light-colored sheets because they have a natural, but gentle, bleaching effect. If you are planning on using these on darker sheets, I would test a small patch first to make sure it doesn’t damage or discolor them.
7. Meat Tenderizer
I know, it sounds a bit grim. However, unseasoned meat tenderizers have been found to be an effective way of getting blood out of fabrics. You sprinkle the powder over the stain and then add cold water. Mix it to create a paste, and then leave it to sit on the stain for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse it off with more cold water and then wash the sheet.
Salt can be used for dried-on bloodstains, much like a pre-soak. Fill a bowl, sink, or bucket with cold water, add about a cup of salt, and then stir. Soak the sheet or the part that is stained, in this mix for about 3 hours. Rinse with cold water and then wash. Salt is great for removing a number of stain types as well, like grease, mildew, and much more.
9. Stain Stick
Yes, I’m talking about the stain stick you get in DIY shops. This is a good option if you’ve done the cold water trick and are still seeing some faint staining. Just rub the stick on the area and leave it for about 20 minutes, then wash the sheet.
This tip is great for when you are traveling and in a bind (like RVing, etc), and know you won’t be able to properly treat stains before you get home. Soak the stained area in cola and allow it to soak for a few hours. Cola works due to the chemicals in it, that works as a lifting agent for stains. This will make it easier to remove when you finally wash it.
Tip: Use your rinse cycle – It's a tough job, removing blood stains from sheets. If you have a rinse cycle setting on your washing machine, it can make the process a lot easier. Some machines even have a soak cycle, which is also handy. Always remember to use cold water and allow to air dry afterward.
There’s no need to panic if you find bloodstains on your sheets. Following the steps, I’ve given, and the additional tricks for more stubborn stains, you should be able to get your sheets back to their pristine condition in no time. Always remember, rinse the stains as soon as possible in cold water to keep them from setting!