Whether you’ve had a kitchen mishap while peeling vegetables or gotten a surprise nose bleed, blood happens. Cleaning fresh blood stains is simple, but what are you supposed to do when the blood has already set and dried into the garment? Removal is a little trickier, but no fret– with just a few steps and a little elbow grease, your garments can be restored.
Removing Dry Blood Stains
While cleaning a fresh blood stain is always preferable, sometimes you have no choice but to deal with the stain when it’s already set. But what makes blood so tricky to remove, especially when it’s dry?
The answer lies within the chemical makeup of blood. Blood is made up of 4 components: plasma, platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Within red blood cells are a protein called “hemoglobin”, which gives the cells its signature red coloring and acts as a clotting agent when exposed to air. This clotting factor is great for healing wounds and preventing blood loss, but when blood comes into contact with fabrics the proteins bind quickly to the fibers, creating a stain.
Before getting started, identify the fabric. Stains affect different fabrics, and the removal method depends upon the type of textile. Check the care labels attached to your garments before proceeding with stain removal.
- Rinse and soak in cold water. When rinsing out the blood stain, avoid hot water at all costs. Heat will set the stain and further bind the blood to the fibers. Instead, rinse through the back of the stain with cold water to loosen the dried blood and make removal easier. Avoid rinsing directly on top of the stain, as it may push it further into the fabric. Submerge and soak in cold water for up to an hour.
- Treat with hydrogen peroxide. For lighter fabrics, blot the stain with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to effectively remove dried blood stains. Hydrogen peroxide may have a bleaching effect and should not be used on dark fabrics. Instead, substitute the peroxide with vinegar for your darker colored items.
- Add soap. If the stain remains after a hydrogen peroxide treatment or you don’t have peroxide on hand, you can use soap or laundry detergent to work out the rest of the stain. Simple apply a small amount of soap directly to the stain and thoroughly massage it in to work the soap into the fibers. Let it rest for 15 minutes then rinse with cold water. Repeat this step if necessary until the stain has come out.
- Run it through the washing machine. To finish it out and clean the dry blood stain once and for all, add your garment to your washing machine and run it on a cool cycle with the detergent of choice. Once washed, let the garment air dry.
- Use an enzymatic cleaner. If the stain persists, you’ll need to use an enzymatic cleaner to biodegrade the blood. Enzymatic cleaners work by breaking down the proteins of the blood at a molecular level. For an effective clean, look for a product that contains protease that’s designed to completely break down protein particles. Please note that enzymatic cleaners should never be used on wool or silk, as they will ruin the fibers. For all other fabrics, always test a small area first before treating the rest of the stain.
Benefits of Wet Cleaning Dried Blood Stains
If all else fails and your blood stains aren’t budging, feel free to stop by EcoClean and let our professionals handle the stain. Stains are hand-treated by our cleaning professionals then cycled through our wet cleaning machines for an effective, eco-friendly clean that is proven to remove all stains with ease. Our wet cleaning machines are completely programmable, for a clean that is perfectly suited for your items to wash out all blemishes.
If you’ve tried any at-home remedies, just let us know, as this may affect the measures we take to remove the stain. While very old blood stains may not be treatable, we’ll do our best to remove the stain.
Now that you know how to clean dry blood stains, removal is a breeze. For more handy stain removal tips, check out our page here.