How to get blood stains out of sheets?
There are many reasons why you might get blood on your sheets. Night-time nose bleeds, mysterious cuts, a recently divorced friend who crashed in your guest bed and also happened to be a secret vampire...
However it got there, blood is a pain to clean from your sheets, especially if you have a set of eucalyptus sheets that you love deeply. But here are a few helpful hints to getting the stain out and making those sheets good as new!
Always use cold water!
You want to get that blood off the sheet as quickly as possible, the longer it’s there the harder it is to clean out. That’s because blood clots, and that makes it stick. Hot water can accelerate the blood clotting process, so you always want to use cold water. If the blood is still liquid, run it under cold water to flush it out as quickly as possible.
If the blood has already dried, this won’t work, but cold water is still your friend! All life on earth started in the sea, and the evidence of that still flows in our veins today. Our blood is salty, to match the seawater it evolved in. That can give you an advantage when it comes to shifting blood stains, via the process of osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of molecules from a concentrated solution to an unconcentrated one.
In other words, if you add salty blood to fresh water, the salt tries to ‘balance out’ and will move from the blood to the water. If it's dried blood in a sheet, leaving the sheet to soak in cold water means some of the salty blood stain will shift from your sheet into the surrounding water, and loosen the blood that remains, making your job much easier. That’s why soaking your sheet in cold water for 24 hours is step one for removing dried blood in every manual. Wooo, science!
Dab, don’t rub!
If it’s only a small stain, dab it with a disposable paper towel drenched in cold water before you start to soak it. But always dab, don’t rub! Rubbing the stain will spread the blood out and may make it more difficult to remove.
There are several common household substances which can be used as stain removers for blood. Always make sure that you first soak the sheets in cold water, and always, always dab them on, not rub them in!
Here are a bunch of the best stain removers for getting rid of dried blood. Try one of these, but remember to always soak it in cold water for 24 hours first. Once you’ve used one of these stain removers, wash the sheet on a regular cycle – using cold water – and with a mild detergent.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. Pour 100ml to 150ml of Hydrogen Peroxide on the stain, then dab it in with a disposable cloth or soft bristled brush. Leave for about ten minutes, then dab it again with cold water. IMPORTANT: this assumes you are drying white sheets. If the blood stain is on a colored sheet, then do a small test on a corner to see if it will bleach it, or try one of the other methods.
Lemon juice. If you don’t have Hydrogen Peroxide lying around, you can use lemon juice. Just use it in the same way, but be aware that you may need to repeat this a few times to get the same result. You can also make a solution of two parts lemon juice to one part baking soda, apply that paste and let it sit for five to ten minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
- Meat tenderizer. Yes, really! Unseasoned meat tenderizer powder can also do the trick. Sprinkle the powder over the stain and add a little cold water to make a paste. Gently dab to create a paste and leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing in cold water and washing.
- White vinegar. Pour white vinegar on the stain, leave it for 30 minutes, and rinse with cold water.
Painkillers. Because blood stains are a pain. Get it? Crush uncoated aspirin and mix with enough water to make a paste. Allow the paste to air dry, then gently brush off any residue and rinse the area with cold water.
- Ammonia. Mix ammonia and water together, dab onto the stain and then do a gentle wash in cold water.
- Stain sticks. After soaking the sheet in cold water for 24 hours, run the stain stick over the affected area and wait about 20 minutes before putting in the wash.
- FOR WHITE SHEETS ONLY. Mix four tablespoons of bleach with 60ml of water, apply to the stain and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes before rinsing with cold water and washing.
- Coke (the soda). Soak the stained section in Coke for a few hours before washing it. The chemicals in Coke help to lift the stain.
- Contact lens solution. Simply apply the contact lens solution to the stained area and let it sit for a few hours. Once through the wash, this will help you achieve nice clean sheet status.
Always air dry!
Always air dry your sheets if you’re trying to get blood out of them. Some of the blood may have been left behind, and the heat of a tumble drier can turn it into black pudding in your sheets (and not the good kind of pudding).
Air drying them allows the last few molecules to evaporate. You should also bear in mind that for a particularly stubborn blood stain you may need to repeat the above processes to get rid of it, and if you tumble dry your sheets you will make it much, much harder for yourself.
There is nothing better than slipping between lovely, fresh, clean sheets at night. If you do happen to get blood on your sheets, find the right method in this guide and you'll soon regain that wonderful, cozy, bloodstain-free, feeling.