Blood stains are the bane of woman’s underwear. Or bed sheets. Or tight shorts. I hereby dedicate this post to all women who experience the reluctance to get out of bed because you can’t bear the sight of waking up to a new blood stain again.
For fresh stains
1. Always, pre-treat the stain with cold water. Do this by dabbing the area with cold water.
It has to be cold water, because warm or hot water can make the stain permanent! Why?
“Blood stains are by definition an “organic stain,” and organic stains are caused by anything that contains proteins (feces, sweat, urine, etc). Proteins are the building blocks of life and pretty much everything else on this planet; this is what makes blood stains so difficult to remove, because proteins are chemically reactive and tend to bind to each other when they’re exposed to heat and/or certain chemicals.”
2. Blot out the already wet stain with a absorbent cotton towel, or layers and layers of paper towels.
Cotton and paper towels are your best friends when it comes to getting rid of stubborn stains. How then, do you blot a stain out without causing the stain to run, or become more permanent?
- Start from the stubborn borders of the stain, and work your way towards the main area
- Be gentle do not apply excessive pressure. Also, do not rub the stain, lest it spreads!
For older stains
If the stain has had some time to set, and it seems that the above method hasn’t worked too well for you, then try adding these into cold water to form a solution to dab that annoying stain our of the fabric!
Mix with cold water:
- White vinegar, or
- Salt (add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of cold water), or
- Baking soda and lemon juice, or
White vinegar, especially, can remove the smell of blood and thoroughly treat the stain. Salt is a mild method of treating stains, and is ideal for delicate fabrics like silk. Baking soda and lemon juice reacts with each other to lift the stain out.
If the stain still remains, keep spraying/dabbing the area – and do not expose to heat until the stain has been completely removed.
For bed sheets and mattresses
Dab the stain with cold water and detergent, and then dab it again with cold water to rinse off the solution.
You may consider using a toothbrush to gently clean off the stain. Be careful not to use too much water – the dampness may damage the upholstery of the mattress.
When the stain is completely removed, use a hairdryer to dry the area, and spread some baking powder on it overnight to absorb moisture.
Since blood is an organic stain, the best (read: Nature’s) way is to use enzymes to break down proteins in blood to remove it. Saliva (yes, your own saliva) contains the necessary enzymes to remove stains. It is a handy stain remover to have if you don’t have any water on hand!
You could also use an enzymatic detergent.
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong chemical which may be too harsh on your fabric – it is best used for white clothing.
Laundering tips (and other solutions)
What do you do after you have treated the stain? Before you put your clothes to the washing machine, you could soak them with some detergent or vinegar to get rid of every last bit of blood from the fabric fibre at least 10 minutes, or until stain is completely gone. Some sources recommend to throw the fabric into the washing machine with vinegar. This is also where enzymatic detergent comes in useful. However, do remember to check how to wash your clothing – if it needs to be sent to the drycleaners, then do so.
To summarise, here is a little table of all that I’ve mentioned above!