Blood stains are fairly common and annoyingly noticeable, and they can be tricky to remove. A blood spot on a cotton pillowcase should be tackled as quickly as possible, preferably before the blood has dried and before regular laundering. Getting blood out of a pillowcase is usually possible using just cold water and common household cleaning products. Always avoid heat, which will set the stain. If the stain has already set, the job is more difficult but not impossible. Start tackling blood on a pillowcase with a spot treatment, move on to a presoak and finally launder the pillowcase using only cold water throughout.
Initial Spot Treatment for Blood on a Pillowcase
Always tackle blood spots on a pillowcase as quickly as possible upon noticing them. If the blood is still wet, immediately rinse the stain under cold running water to remove as much of it as you can. Follow this with a spot treatment using one of several possible products and an old toothbrush for scrubbing. Options include white vinegar, liquid dish soap, liquid laundry detergent, bar soap and pastes made by mixing cold water with baking soda or talcum powder.
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Scrub the product into the blood spots on the pillowcase and rinse with cold water, repeating if necessary until as much of the stain is gone as possible. For tougher stains, let the product sit on the stain for several minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Tougher Spot Treatment Options
If none of these household products removes blood on a pillowcase or if you'd prefer to skip straight to more aggressive spot treatment options, try ammonia, hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Apply a dash of ammonia to a soft white cloth dampened with cold water and dab the stain with it until it disappears. Treat only white cotton pillowcases with bleach, applying it directly to the stain before rinsing with cold water. Hydrogen peroxide can sometimes lift colors from fabrics, so test it on an inconspicuous area before treating colored fabric with the product. Apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and rinse it out with cold water.
Presoak Treatment for Blood on a Pillowcase
If spot treatments don't get all the blood out of a pillowcase, move on to a presoak treatment. Fill a sink, plastic basin or bucket with enough cold water to soak the pillowcase and add approximately 1 teaspoon of laundry detergent per quart of water. For extra stain-removal power, add a stain removal product following the manufacturer's instructions or add 1 teaspoon of ammonia per quart of water.
Soak the pillowcase for several hours, checking to see if the stain has lifted. Continue to soak the item for as long as it takes to lift the stain. For the toughest blood stains on a pillowcase, you might need to repeat the spot treatment and presoak techniques trying different products. Do not let the fabric dry until you've finished all stain removal attempts or else the stain will set and be even more difficult to remove.
Launder the Pillowcase
Once you've completed the spot treatment and presoak techniques, launder the pillowcase on a cold-water setting using your usual laundry detergent. Ideally, you will launder the pillowcase after the stain has disappeared. Otherwise, laundering should remove the final traces of the stain.
Check to make sure the stain has lifted before drying the pillowcase. If the stain remains after washing, consider repeating the spot treatment, presoak and laundry steps. Only dry the pillowcase after you've completed the stain removal steps.