a red dress on a swinger with blood on the floor

How to Get Blood Out of Clothes

We’ve all been there. One minute, you’re enjoying a fun day outdoors or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and the next, oops! A small cut or scrape leaves a pesky blood stain on your favorite shirt. But don’t worry! Accidents happen, and lucky for us, there are some cool tricks to tackle these stains head-on. Our article titled “How to Get Blood Out of Clothes” is just what you need. Whether you’re a kid who scraped a knee or someone who just had a minor kitchen mishap, we’ve got you covered. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be a pro at making those stains disappear. Plus, you won’t need any fancy stuff – just everyday items you probably have around your house. So, before you think of tossing that stained shirt into the trash, give our tips a try. We promise, it’s easier than you think to get those clothes looking as good as new!

Understand the Nature of Blood Stains

Before diving into how to get blood out of clothes, it’s essential to grasp why blood can be such a tricky customer. By knowing what you’re up against, you can take on these stains with confidence.

The Composition of Blood

Blood isn’t just a single substance; it’s a mix of several components. And guess what? Each of these can make removing blood from fabrics a bit of a challenge.


Blood is chock-full of proteins. These proteins tend to bind with fabrics, especially when they’re exposed to heat. That’s why hot water can sometimes make the situation worse, making the stain cling to your clothes like a kid to their favorite toy.


Iron gives blood its red color. Ever noticed how blood stains can have that rusty hue when they’ve been hanging around a while? That’s the iron at work.

Why Blood Stains are Stubborn

So, we’ve established that blood is complex, but why is it such a nuisance when it lands on our clothes?

When blood meets fabric, it doesn’t just sit on the surface. It seeps in, and those proteins we talked about earlier? They bond with the fibers of the fabric. It’s like they’re holding hands and don’t want to let go. This bonding, combined with the rich color from the iron, makes the stain not only noticeable but also tough to remove.

But don’t be disheartened! With the right knowledge on how to get blood out of clothes and a bit of elbow grease, those pesky stains don’t stand a chance.

Immediate Actions to Take

So, you’ve just discovered a fresh blood stain on your attire. Don’t panic! The sooner you act, the better your chances of getting that stain out. Let’s walk through the first steps to take when you’re in the “Oh no, I’ve stained my clothes!” moment. Remember, understanding these steps is crucial when figuring out how to get blood out of clothes effectively.

Dabbing vs. Rubbing the Stain

When you first spot that stain, your instinct might be to rub it vigorously. Hold on a minute!


Gently dabbing the stain with a clean cloth or tissue will lift away excess blood without pushing it deeper into the fabric. Think of it as lifting the stain off your clothes, bit by bit.


On the other hand, rubbing can spread the stain and force the blood deeper into the fabric, making it even harder to remove later. In short, when in doubt, dab it out!

Using Cold Water Instead of Hot

Cold water is your friend here. Remember those proteins in blood we talked about? Hot water can cause them to bind with fabric, setting the stain. Cold water, however, helps to prevent the blood from settling into the fibers. So, always rinse or soak the stained area with cold water first.

The Secret Power of Saliva

This might sound a bit odd, but your saliva has enzymes that can break down proteins, and guess what blood has? That’s right, proteins! If you’re out and about without immediate access to other stain-removing tools, spitting on a fresh blood stain (as strange as it sounds) and then dabbing it can be a quick first aid step. But remember, this method works best on fresh stains and when you’re in a pinch.

With these immediate actions in mind, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of how to get blood out of clothes. Always act fast, be gentle, and stay cool under pressure.

Pre-treatment Tips

Alright, you’ve tackled the immediate actions. Now, let’s move on to the pre-treatment phase. These steps are like a warm-up before the main event. They help prepare the stain so that when you finally wash your clothes, the blood stain says its goodbyes more easily. As we dive deeper into how to get blood out of clothes, these pre-treatment pointers can be game-changers.

Loosening the Stain with Cold Water Soak

Soaking is a time-tested method for many tough stains, and blood is no exception.

Why Soak?

Submerging the stained fabric in cold water for a few hours (or even overnight) can help loosen the blood particles. This makes it easier for subsequent treatments to do their job.

The Technique

Fill a basin with cold water, add a pinch of salt if you have it (it helps!), and immerse the stained garment. Occasionally, give the fabric a gentle rub between your fingers to help dislodge the blood.

Applying Salt or Hydrogen Peroxide for White Fabrics

White fabrics can be both a blessing and a curse. While stains show up easily, you also have a few more options for treatment.


Make a paste using salt and cold water. Apply this paste directly to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse. The abrasive nature of salt can help lift the stain.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is like a magic elixir for white clothes. Applying a small amount directly to the stain can help lighten it. But be careful, as hydrogen peroxide can bleach fabrics. It’s always a good idea to do a spot test on an inconspicuous area first.

The Role of Enzyme-based Pre-soakers

Enzymes are like little warriors against protein-based stains, including blood.

Why Use Enzymes?

These pre-soakers break down the proteins, making the stain easier to wash out. They essentially “eat away” at the stain.

How to Use

Apply the enzyme-based pre-soaker directly to the stain and let it sit as per the product’s instructions. Afterward, wash as usual.

When it comes to figuring out how to get blood out of clothes, remember that patience and preparation go a long way. Pre-treating ensures that by the time you’re ready to wash, the stain is already on its way out the door!

Choosing the Right Detergent

Now, you might think any detergent will do the trick. But when it comes to blood stains, the type of detergent you pick can make all the difference. As we continue our journey on how to get blood out of clothes, let’s delve into the world of detergents and discover which ones are the true champions against stubborn stains.

The Benefits of Enzyme-based Detergents

Just as enzymes in pre-soakers help tackle stains before washing, enzyme-based detergents work wonders during the washing cycle.

What’s the Deal with Enzymes?

Enzyme-based detergents contain molecules that break down tough stains, especially protein-based ones like blood. These enzymes munch away at the stain during the wash, making it easier to rinse away.

Why Choose Enzyme-based Detergents?

They offer a more powerful cleaning action without the need for extra products or steps. So, if blood stains are a frequent issue, it might be worth making these detergents your go-to.

Reading Labels for Best Results

Just as we check food labels to know what we’re eating, checking detergent labels can give us insight into how our clothes will be cleaned.

Key Ingredients

Look for terms like “protease” or “enzymatic action” to indicate the presence of those stain-fighting enzymes.

Washing Instructions

Some detergents work best at certain temperatures or washing cycles. Following these instructions ensures that you’re getting the maximum cleaning power out of your detergent.

Safety and Care

Detergents can have ingredients that might be harsh on certain fabrics or colors. Checking labels helps you avoid any accidental damage or color fading.

Understanding how to get blood out of clothes often boils down to choosing the right tools for the job. And in the world of laundry, the right detergent can be your most valuable tool. So, be picky, read those labels, and give your clothes the care they deserve!

Machine Washing Techniques

Once you’ve pretreated that pesky blood stain and chosen your trusty detergent, it’s time for the main event: the machine wash. But wait! Before you hit ‘start’ on that washing machine, there are a few things you need to know. Ensuring you follow the best practices is crucial in our mission of how to get blood out of clothes. Let’s dive into the essential techniques.

Setting the Right Water Temperature

Water temperature plays a crucial role in the stain-removal process.

Cold Water for Blood

Since blood is protein-based, hot water can cause it to set into the fabric. Always start with cold water, especially if the stain is still visible.

Warm Water for General Cleaning

If you’ve managed to remove most of the stain through pre-treatment, a warm wash can help cleanse the fabric thoroughly. However, always be cautious of the fabric’s care label.

Considering the Load Size and Cycle Type

How you load your washing machine and the cycle you choose can influence stain removal.

Avoid Overloading

Ensure there’s enough space for clothes to move freely. This ensures that the detergent is distributed evenly and that the clothes are cleaned properly.

Cycle Type Matters

For heavily stained clothes, a longer, more intensive cycle might be beneficial. But remember, delicate fabrics need gentle cycles to prevent damage.

Re-checking Stains Before Drying Clothes

Before you transfer those clothes to the dryer, take a minute.

Inspect the Stained Area

Ensure the stain is completely gone. The heat from the dryer can set stains, making them harder to remove later on.

What if the Stain Remains?

If you still see a hint of the stain, it’s worth retreating and washing again. Patience is key; sometimes, stubborn stains require a couple of rounds of treatment.

With these machine washing techniques in mind, you’re equipping yourself with the best strategies to ensure that when it comes to how to get blood out of clothes, you’ve got all bases covered. Happy washing!

Hand Washing Techniques

Sometimes, the good old-fashioned way can be the most effective, especially for delicate fabrics or when you don’t have a washing machine handy. Hand washing might seem straightforward, but there’s an art to it, especially when deciphering how to get blood out of clothes. Let’s explore the techniques to ensure you’re giving your garments the best possible care.

Gentle Rubbing Motions

The way you handle the fabric can influence the stain removal process.

Why Gentle?

Vigorous scrubbing can spread the stain or damage the fabric. Instead, opt for gentle, circular rubbing motions, which help lift the stain without being too harsh.

Using Soft Tools

Consider using a soft brush or cloth to help with the process. This ensures you’re being effective without putting too much strain on the fabric.

The Use of White Vinegar or Baking Soda

Natural solutions like white vinegar and baking soda can be surprisingly effective.

White Vinegar

Its mild acidic nature can help break down the stain. Dilute some white vinegar with water, apply to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then rub gently.

Baking Soda

Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply this to the stain, allow it to sit for up to an hour, then rub gently. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive and can help lift the stain.

Rinsing and Repeating as Necessary

Hand washing requires a bit of patience.

Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’ve treated and rubbed the stain, rinse the fabric thoroughly with cold water, ensuring all product and stain residues are washed out.

Check and Repeat

If after one round of hand washing the stain persists, don’t be disheartened. Sometimes, a second or even third attempt is necessary. Remember, persistence is key.

Hand washing, when done correctly, can be a gentle yet effective method. As you navigate how to get blood out of clothes, knowing these hand washing techniques ensures you’re well-prepared, regardless of the situation or resources at hand.

Special Techniques for Set-in Stains

Every now and then, we come across a stain that’s been overlooked. Perhaps it’s a cherished shirt rediscovered at the bottom of a laundry basket or that pair of jeans you thought was beyond saving. Set-in blood stains require special attention. But fear not, because when it comes to how to get blood out of clothes, even the most stubborn stains can meet their match.

The Role of Meat Tenderizer

Meat tenderizer? For clothes? It might sound surprising, but this kitchen staple can be a secret weapon.

Why Meat Tenderizer?

Meat tenderizers contain enzymes that can break down proteins. And since blood is protein-based, a tenderizer can help dissolve the stain.

How to Use

Create a paste by mixing meat tenderizer powder with a bit of water. Apply this to the stain, let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then rinse. But, always test on a small, inconspicuous area first, as tenderizers might affect fabric color.

Re-soaking and Sun Drying

Sometimes, nature provides the best solutions.

Why Re-soak?

Similar to our earlier step, soaking can help soften and lift set-in stains. For stubborn stains, an overnight soak can make a significant difference.

The Power of the Sun

After soaking, let the garment dry in direct sunlight. The sun’s UV rays can help fade and break down the stain, acting as a natural bleach.

Seeking Professional Help for Delicate Fabrics

Certain fabrics, like silk or vintage cloth, might be too fragile for home treatments.

When to Seek Help?

If you’re unsure about a fabric’s reaction or if DIY methods haven’t worked, it might be time to consult a professional cleaner. They have specialized techniques and products that can salvage even the most delicate items.

When dealing with set-in stains, it’s all about combining patience, creativity, and persistence. With these techniques up your sleeve, understanding how to get blood out of clothes becomes less of a challenge and more of a mastered skill. Whether it’s reaching for the meat tenderizer or seeking expert advice, there’s always a solution to bring your garments back to life.

Dos and Don’ts of Removing Blood Stains

In the intricate dance of stain removal, a few missteps can sometimes set you back. But equipped with the right knowledge, you can navigate the process seamlessly. As we wrap up our guide on how to get blood out of clothes, let’s bullet-point the essentials—the dos and don’ts—to ensure you’re always on the right track.

Quick Overview of Best Practices


  • Act Quickly: The fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove.
  • Cold Water is Your Friend: Always use cold water to prevent the stain from setting.
  • Test First: Before applying any product, always test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric.
  • Patience is Key: Sometimes, stain removal requires multiple treatments. Don’t rush; be persistent.
  • Check Before Drying: Ensure the stain is completely gone before using a dryer.

Common Mistakes to Avoid


  • Avoid Hot Water: It can cause the blood proteins to set, making the stain harder to remove.
  • Never Rub Aggressively: This can spread the stain or damage the fabric. Gentle dabbing or rubbing motions are preferable.
  • Steer Clear of Mixed Chemicals: Don’t combine multiple cleaning agents without knowing their reactions. This can damage fabrics or create harmful fumes.
  • Don’t Assume One-Size-Fits-All: Different fabrics have different care needs. Always read care labels.
  • Avoid Overloading the Washer: Giving clothes space allows for better stain removal.

Mastering the art of stain removal is about knowing what steps to take and which pitfalls to sidestep. With these dos and don’ts in mind, you’re not only learning how to get blood out of clothes but also ensuring that every garment, no matter how stained, has a fighting chance to shine again.


Stains, especially those as stubborn as blood, can often feel like unwelcome narratives on our garments, telling tales we’d rather forget. However, equipped with the right knowledge and techniques, these stories can be rewritten. Our comprehensive guide on how to get blood out of clothes has taken you through the journey from immediate action to machine washing and even dealing with those tenacious set-in marks. Remember, stain removal isn’t just about the right products; it’s about patience, persistence, and understanding the fabric’s needs. With the dos and don’ts in your arsenal, you’re now better prepared to tackle any stain that comes your way. So the next time you or someone you know faces that dreaded blood stain, take a deep breath, roll up those sleeves, and know that with the right approach, every garment can have its fresh start. Happy laundering!


Hot water can cause the protein in blood to set, making the stain more challenging to remove. Cold water is more effective at breaking down fresh blood stains.

Yes, table salt can help in breaking down the blood stain when combined with cold water to create a saline solution. Apply, let sit, and then rinse.

Enzyme-based detergents are particularly effective for protein-based stains like blood. If blood stains are a regular laundry issue, consider using these detergents regularly. However, always read the garment’s care label before washing.

Yes, the UV rays from the sun can help fade and break down blood stains. Sun drying is a natural bleaching method and can be especially useful after a soak or pre-treatment.

Meat tenderizer contains enzymes that break down proteins. Since blood is protein-based, applying a paste of meat tenderizer and water can help dissolve the stain. Always do a patch test first!

It’s advisable to avoid mixing chemicals unless you’re sure about their reactions. Mixing can sometimes damage fabrics or produce harmful fumes. Stick to one method at a time.

For stubborn stains, consider seeking professional help, especially for delicate fabrics. Sometimes, professional cleaning methods can salvage garments that seem beyond saving.