Once upon a time I secretly believed that I am special and my blood was blue – Just because I saw these blue veins on my hands. My foolishness aside, among all the races, countries, personalities of the world for men and women, blood is red. And it stains bad.
The dirty red color that blood stains develop into, is hateful for all the people who value their clothes and sheets.
It does not take much to get those stains – just live in the tropics and you will have sheets upon sheets stained with mosquito blood. The person who shaves in the house, ( gender equality there-it could be a guy or a girl) makes a nick and wipes with your newly bleached white towel. Then kids come home scratched from play with bloodstained clothes. I am not even starting on the period stains.
However you get the stain, blood stains are not the most difficult stain ever. With some elbow grease and tricks, most stains disappear.
What to do about the blood stains on clothes?
First and foremost, if possible, Tackle it as soon as it is made.
Dab or Wash the bloodied area soon as you spot it. Pun aside, this is the best way to remove blood out of fabric. When you spot clean the area where blood is spilled as soon as it happens, the blood shade vanishes like it never was.
The main caveat in treating blood stains is
Wash with cold water. Only with cold water. Blood is a protein stain and will set permanently if heat touches it. So hot water wash, hot pressing with iron, heat in the dryer -all are banned for blood stains
The next important thing is that whatever you read here, use your natural instincts and pretest any new product on an inconspicuous place before trying it on the face of the garment. Check the garment care label to see what is allowed with the fabric and what is not. Wool, Silk and nonwashable fabrics need specialist care or atleast special care.
Steps to remove blood stains
Take a small basin with clean water and a small piece of clean cloth. Wet the cloth with the cold water. Blot the stain from the periphery into the center of the stain. This way the color does not get into the nonstained areas. You should try to dab away the whole blood from the area. You can use a diluted salt solution for better results
If the blood stain color is gone, dab with a dry cloth to dry the area. Launder as usual
This dabbing action is what saves the day for things you cannot put into the washing machine or bucket-like upholstery, carpeting, bedding etc. Ensure that the material is washable, though
For un-washables clothes/upholstery, you can spread a mixed paste of raw starch or face powder with water ; when it is dry flake it off.Brush everything off.
If the blood shade is still there, take some dishwashing liquid or shampoo or enzyme detergent. Dilute with some cold water. Dab this on the stain with another clean cloth. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. For very stubborn stains you may have to soak the article for more than 30 minutes.
Dab with a clean wet cloth Or use a scrubbing brush gently on the stain. When the stain looks gone, wash or dab away the soap residue
A detergent with enzyme is especially meant for removing protein stains. Blood is protein. Read more about the effectiveness of these detergents here. Enzymes in detergents are said to be an alternative to chlorine bleach for removing some stains easily from fabric – but use with caution. You may be allergic to it and do not use with protein fibers -silk and wool.
If the stain is still persistent – it may, if you forgot to tackle it when fresh – you may need to do more. Old blood stains are stubborn.
So How do you get blood out of clothes that have set in?.
Use the following solutions. These methods may cause discoloration in colored clothes so use with caution
First, flake off any residue – dried blood particles.
1 Soak the area in a salt solution (table salt dissolved in cold water) Keep for 30 minutes. Launder.
2 One effective solution many people vouch for is a solution of 1 tsp Ammonia in 600 ml water. It is supposed to remove dried up blood stains.- But ammonia needs careful handling – like mixing it in a ventilated area and using gloves etc
3 Another solution is to apply a few drops of full strength Hydrogen Peroxide on the stain. Use a scrubbing brush to scrub the stain and then rinse thoroughly with water. You may need to reapply this more than once for stubborn stains. But you should realize that Hydrogen Peroxide is a bleaching agent and can cause discoloration. You can use it diluted in a ratio of 1:9 to avoid this.
4 Finally, if nothing works – use bleach. But I have never had to reach this part. Most stains disappear at Step 2.
To remove any stain without fading the colour of the clothing is tricky. Use most of the stain remover solutions with extreme caution to prevent this. You can read about some common stain remover solutions to stains here
Interesting reading: Blood is not blue. This article explains why?.