There is nothing worse than waking up with bloodstains on your sheets. Whether it’s that time of the month, you got a nosebleed while you were sleeping or your tots dove into your bed to show you a boo-boo, getting rid of those stains can be a Herculean task. So we called on the cleaning pros to walk us through the right way to go about it. Find out how to get blood out of sheets the right way below.
How to Get Fresh Blood Out of Sheets
According to Jessica Zinna, PhD, Tide Senior Scientist, blood is a complex mixture of proteins, cellular matter, sugar and fat. As a result, it requires a variety of ingredients for complete removal. Unlike other stains, Dr. Zinna urges us never to wash blood in warm or hot water because this can “cook” the proteins in blood and set the stain onto the fabric.
What you need:
Strong liquid detergent (like Tide Ultra Stain Release)
Step 1: Remove the excess. Start by brushing any excess blood off the surface of the sheets and rinse the stained portion of the sheet with cold water to dilute the stain.
Step 2: Pre-treat the area. Using a plastic bucket, create a soak solution by adding ½ dose (approx. 25 ml) liquid detergent like Tide Ultra Stain Release per gallon of cold water. Allow the stained portion of the sheet to soak for up to 30 minutes. To make sure the stained portion remains totally submerged, use a towel to add some weight to the sheet if necessary.
Step 3: Load sheets into washing machine. Without rinsing off the detergent, place the sheets into the washer. Leaving the detergent on the stain will provide an extra boost of cleaning power. Wash in cold water with one dose of the appropriate amount of detergent for the wash load size. (Again, don’t use hot water, as this will set the stain.)
Step 4: Repeat for stubborn stains. If the stain remains, wash the sheets again. Pretreat for 20 minutes the second time around, then rewash in cold water with another dose of detergent.
Bonus Tip: Do not machine dry the fabric until the stain has been completely removed because the heat from the dryer will set the stain. The way the stain looks going into the dryer is the same way it will look coming out, so make sure to check for complete stain removal before drying the sheets.
How to Get Dried Blood Out of Sheets
Dried blood might seem a lot more daunting than new stains, but don’t panic. The stain removal process is actually the same. The only difference is the fact that you may be able to scrape off a lot more of the stain when it’s dry.
How to Get Blood Out of a Mattress
It’s a bit trickier to get blood out of a mattress, but it still can be done. “Mattresses are difficult to clean—they can’t get too wet because that just makes it harder for them to dry out all the way,” says Mary Gagliardi, aka “Dr. Laundry,” Clorox’s in-house scientist and cleaning expert. “Drying out is critical because otherwise your mattress has the potential to become breeding grounds for mold or mildew. Products that would otherwise be effective at removing blood stains but must be rinsed with a lot of water aren't good for use on a mattress.”
What you need:
Mattress-friendly cleaner like the Clorox Urine Remover
Step 1: Apply cleaning product. Spray the urine remover onto the stains and let it sit for three minutes.
Step 2: Gently blot the area. Don’t scrub. Simply dab the treated area with a clean damp cloth.
Step 3: Dry. Go over the treated area with the upholstery attachment of a carpet cleaning machine to get more of the stain off the surface and help it dry faster. You can also run a fan to circulate air in the room and help speed up the drying process.
3 Alternative Products for Removing Blood Stains from Sheets
If you happen to get blood on your sheets before you have the chance to make a supermarket run and re-up on your laundry products, you can still clean your sheets with items in your pantry.
1. Baking soda and lemon juice. Our friends at Casper say lemon juice and baking soda can also do the trick. Just mix two parts lemon juice and one part baking soda, let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then gently dab the solution off with a damp clean cloth and cold water to rinse.
2. Cornstarch and baking soda. You can also try making a paste with a tablespoon of cornstarch, baking soda and cold water. Dab the stained area, then place the sheet in the sun to dry afterwards. Wipe off any excess and repeat the process as needed.
3. Aspirin. Crush 1 to 3 tablespoons of uncoated aspirin to a powder, then mix it with water to make a paste. Scrub the stained area with a toothbrush and let the sheet air dry. Repeat as needed.