How to Get Blood Stains Out of Clothes

Save your favorite pants and shirts by learning how to get blood stains out of clothes.

While blood is a difficult stain to remove, it’s not impossible. Many techniques work to break down blood, but not all are safe for dark fabrics.

remove blood stain from clothes and upholstery

Here’s what to try.

How to Get Fresh Blood Stains Out of Clothes

Removing a recent blood stain from clothes is much easier than a set-in stain. If the blood is fresh, blot it with a paper towel. Then, follow these steps.

Step 1: Run the Clothing Under Cold Water

Since blood is a protein, treating it with hot water will cause it to “cook,” setting in the stain. So, start by running the affected items under cold water, using your hands to rinse the blood out of the garment.

Step 2: Scrub with Dishsoap

With your garment wet, add a drop of dish soap to the stain, and scrub with a soft-bristled brush.

Step 3: Rinse Well

After scrubbing, rinse well. If some blood remains, use one of the methods below.

The Top Way to Get Dried Blood Stains Out of Light-Colored Clothes

Hydrogen peroxide removes blood, but since it can bleach some fabrics, it’s best left for light-colored clothing. 

Step 1: Start with Dish Soap and Water

Start by running the garment under cold water and using your hands to remove as much blood as possible. Then, squirt dish soap on the stain and use an old soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub. Rinse well.

If that doesn’t work, allow the garment to air dry and move to step number two. (Do not put the item in the dryer; the heat will set in the stain.)

Step 2: Dab with Peroxide

Soak a cotton bowl or paper towel with 3% hydrogen peroxide and dab the stain until it lifts. Switch out the cotton ball as needed.

Step 3: Rinse

Rinse the clothing under water to remove the peroxide. Run the item through its regular wash and dry cycle if the stain is gone.

How to Remove Dried Blood from Dark Clothing

Try an enzymatic cleaner if you don’t want to risk lightening your favorite pair of jeans.

Enzymatic cleaners are most common for cleaning pet urine and feces but have many uses. They work by breaking down bacteria and organic matter, making them helpful for removing blood from fabric.

Step 1: Run the Clothing Under Cold Water

Run the item under cold water, using your hands to agitate the stain.

Step 2: Spray with an Enzymatic Stain Treatment

Saturate the blood stain with an enzymatic laundry cleaner. Then, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub. Follow the directions on the bottle, allowing time for the cleaner to work if necessary.

Step 3: Wash on the Cold Cycle

Wash the clothing on the cold cycle or per the instructions on the cleaner you’re using.

Step 4: Inspect

If the enzymatic cleaner removed the stain, you can dry your items as usual. If not, treat it again, following the same steps.

Tips for Removing Blood from Fabric

  • Avoid all types of heat on blood stains. Heat makes the blood harder to remove.
  • While bleach may remove a blood stain, it will also lighten any fabric that’s not bright white.
  • If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet, try dabbing the stain with undiluted white vinegar.
  • Hydrogen peroxide works best to get blood stains out of a white shirt.