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Dirty Secrets: Blood Stain Removal from Clothes


If you have a child who has ever fallen off their bike, tripped on the playground, scratched themselves climbing a tree, had a nosebleed, cut themselves, pricked themselves, or generally just gone about the everyday business of being a kid, then it won’t be any secret at all that blood is one of the toughest, trickiest stains to shift. Here are our top laundry tips on how to get blood out of clothes. The problem is that blood stains are not just any old red mark. A blood stain is an organic stain, which means it’s full of proteins, and proteins are programmed to bind together when heated, making them set fast into our clothes. This means it’s important to resist the temptation to wash blood stains out with hot water and instead approach it with slightly more caution.  

Emergency Action for Blood Stain Removal

So, how to remove blood stains on clothes? As soon as the accident happens (or at least once you’ve finished comforting your patient), run the stain under cold water. We’ll repeat that: COLD water. Hot water will encourage all those proteins to set the stain into the fabric. If it’s not possible to remove the garment to rinse it (few children would be happy to be seen in a public park in their underwear while you rinse their trousers), then dab the stain with something absorbent like a paper towel or cotton handkerchief to soak up as much blood as possible.  

Pre-soak Blood Stains on Clothes

Although Surf excel has been developed to get clothes brilliantly clean in a single, short wash, a tough, dried-in blood stain may benefit from a pre-soak to rehydrate it and start to make it loose. Soak the garment in a bucket of cold, salted water (we recommend one or two tablespoons of salt for every litre of water) for several hours before washing as usual. For any persistent marks, treat these with a warm solution of Surf excel Liquid Detergent rubbing the edge of the stain with the solution before leaving the garment to soak. A baking soda paste (two parts baking soda to 1 part water) is also a good trick for successful blood stain removal. Apply the paste directly on the stain and leave it for up to 30 minutes. After you’ve removed the paste, carefully blot the area with a damp cloth or paper towel then wash as normal.  

How to Wash Blood Stains

Make sure the entire blood stain is out before washing your garment with hot water otherwise you risk setting it into the fabric. Luckily all our products achieve excellent results at cold temperatures so if in doubt, use a cold wash. An enzyme-rich biological formula would pack more punch, but shouldn’t be used on certain delicate fabrics such as wool and silk – so always check the washing label of the item.  

Still Can’t Get it out?

OK, if it really won’t go (and sometimes they just won’t), let’s make sure no one can see it. A solution of 20% volume hydrogen peroxide can be used to bleach stains, diluted 1 part to 6 parts cold water. However, when using a bleaching agent, always ensure to test the colourfastness of your garment on a hidden spot first, find out how here. For more expert laundry tips on how to remove stains, visit the stain removal section.