Though blood stains are notoriously difficult to remove from fabrics and surfaces, there are many ways to attempt to remove them. Blood contains hemoglobin, which is the protein that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body, and that is why it is so hard to remove. Blood stains look dark, rusty and brown when they dry and can eventually even turn black.
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Removing Blood on Wood
Although it can be hard to remove blood from wood, there are several tips available. First, blot the stains (right away if possible) with a paper towel but be sure not to rub the blood into the wood. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stain and allow it to rest for 60 seconds. Dip a cleaning brush in white vinegar and scrub gently. You may also mix half a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid into a cup of cold water. Dip a clean rag into it and see if you can use this to remove the stain.
For dried blood on waxed (not unfinished) hardwood, you may use a steel wool pad but do not apply too much pressure or you will make scratches. If the steel wool removes the blood, wipe down the area with a damp, clean cloth. Some people also choose to use bleach on stubborn blood stains, but in most cases, the wood will subsequently need to be restained. (Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is also a bleaching agent.)
When cleaning blood on wood or other surfaces, do not use cloths that are soaking wet. This could make the blood run and spread the stain out even further. It is better to blot at the stain with a damp cloth.
Removing Blood Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
If blood has stained your carpeting or upholstery, there are several methods you may use to try to lift the stain. Carpet and upholstery can also be stained by bleach and hydrogen peroxide, so try using dish detergent instead. Add 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of cold water. Mix well and then dunk in a clean white cloth. Dab the stain with the solution until it disappears and then sponge it with cold water and blot it dry with a clean white cloth.
In some cases, a carpet or upholstery cleaner designed to remove pet stains can work. These usually have enzymes that work on blood stains. Some laundry pretreatment products also contain stain-removing enzymes. Apply as directed and then sponge away with cold water.
Removing Blood Stains From Clothes
The best way to remove blood stains from clothes depends on whether the stain is fresh or dried. For fresh blood stains, soak the garment in cold water immediately or place it under cold running water. You can use bar soap and scrub the stain by hand or apply a laundry pretreatment product with enzymes. Wash the clothing in warm water using a fabric-safe bleach but do not put it in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed.
Dried blood stains can be soaked in laundry detergent or in a stain remover mixed with cold water and then pretreated and laundered with a fabric-safe bleach. If the stain is still there when you take the garment out of your washer, you can try soaking it again. This time, add 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of laundry detergent into 1 quart of water and let it soak for a few hours. Pretreat and try washing it again in your machine.