Halloween costumes may look great, but stains on clothes are a royal pain when they occur by accident.
We spoke with cleaning expert Carolyn E. Forte about how to deal with these serious stain offenders. She’s directed the Good Housekeeping Institute Lab for Home Appliances & Cleaning Products and Textiles, where she’s worked on a lot of bloodstains and understands what works best. The best news? You’re likely already to have a stain solver in your medicine cabinet. Here’s how to get blood stains out of clothing, furniture, and carpets.
Cleaning Blood Stain out of Upholstery and Fabric
How to Clean blood stains out of upholstery
Here’s a solution that professional cleaners swear by. If your carpets or upholstery don’t react well to hydrogen peroxide, try using a liquid dishwashing detergent instead. Here’s how to remove blood from a sofa, among other things.
To begin, combine one tablespoon of dish soap with two cups of cold water in a large mixing bowl. Wipe the stain clean with a clean white cloth. Continue to dab the stain until it fades away. Then, use a clean washcloth to soak up any excess liquid and wipe dry. If you want even more stain removal power, try using an appropriate carpet or furniture cleaner for pets. Enzymes are common in the majority of these items and are effective at removing blood stains.
How to clean blood out of clothes
First and foremost, do your homework. Act swiftly! Bloodstains can be difficult to remove because they dry quickly. The first step is to sponge the region with cold water. Heat will set the stain, so keep the water as cold as possible. You should only use enough water to dampen the stain, not so much that it spreads. Dab with a wet towel then blots with a dry one until the blood is removed. Continue until no more blood can be removed using this method.
Hit the medicine cabinet and take this one item.
Get your hydrogen peroxide! Simply dab a little bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and watch as the crimson bloodstain fades away. If old or stubborn stains persist, repeat applications as needed. After the stain is gone, rinse the area with cold water to remove any peroxide that may remain. ER nurses swear by this method to remove stains from clothing.
“Of course, you’ll want to test it in a hidden location first,” adds Forte. “Like many other bleach products on the market, hydrogen peroxide is typically colour-safe and even safe for silk and wool.”
The following comments are from Dr. Forte and address the claim that peroxide causes damage to textiles: “Peroxide shouldn’t harm fibres in tiny doses. It should always be washed out, regardless.”
What should you do if your clothing is delicate? According to Forte, any garment with a care label that reads “Dry Clean Only” or anything that will water spot, fade, or can’t be washed safely at home should be taken to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. It’s better safe than sorry!
The experts advise using several different laundry treatments to remove blood stains.
Do you want to use a detergent that is a bit more powerful? For any washable textile that can’t tolerate even a colour-safe bleach, Forte suggests using Carbona Stain Wizard and washing in an enzyme detergent, such as Tide Liquid Coldwater Detergent.