One of the most dreaded stains that occurs on clothing, bedding or carpets is blood stains. There is a widespread belief that blood stains can’t be removed, and well-intentioned friends may suggest you quickly throw out the stained item and be done with it.

But alas, there is hope. Blood stains can actually be relatively easy to remove if you remember these easy and effective tips and tricks.

Cold water

The most important rule to remember when treating a blood stain is to use only cold water. Hot water will ‘cook’ the stain and make it more difficult to remove. Same holds true for putting a blood-stained garment into the dryer. Don’t do it. Wait until the garment has been fully cleaned with no trace of the blood stain before using a heated dryer, or you’ll be setting the stain for life.

Act fast

Wash as soon as possible. Procrastination will make removing the stain more difficult. If you catch a blood stain within hours, running it under cold water and rubbing with fingertips will remove most of the stain. A cold water wash in the machine may just take care of the rest, but if not, try an earth-friendly stain remover such as Ecover or GreenWorks Oxi. If the stain has set, soak in cold water for several hours to loosen the soil and then proceed with instructions below.

Homemade stain removers

Hydrogen peroxide, a common and very inexpensive household item, works wonders on fresh blood stains. As you dab peroxide on the stain, it should bubble up indicating that a chemical reaction is occurring that helps to dissolve and lift the stain. This solution is great for carpets and other large items that can’t be easily rinsed under cold tap water. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, baking soda dabbed onto a wet stain works just as well.

Use a damp washcloth to dab at the stain, being sure not to rub it in. For carpets, use an upward cleaning motion to bring stain to the top of carpet fibers. Rinse the washcloth, wring out and repeat until stain has lightened considerably or arm muscles give out. Be cautious of using too much hydrogen peroxide on delicate items, as it can weaken the fibers.

Mixing a dash of salt into the water can also help remove a fresh blood stain. The salt helps to break down and remove the proteins in the blood and promotes stain lifting action once you do launder the item.

Borax is yet another handy remedy for removing stains. A solution of one ounce of borax mixed with a pint of water is the ideal concentration. Allow garment to soak in this solution, and then run through a cold cycle in the washing machine.

A weird trick that many find helpful is using shampoo to remove blood stains. Pour a small amount of shampoo over the stain and rub gently under a stream of cold water or in a bucket filled with water. Launder on cold cycle, repeat if necessary.

With about six quarts of blood in the average body, blood stains are bound to happen sooner or later. Being well-informed and ready with handy tips and tricks for easy removal can prevent damage to your favorite digs. The key things to remember with blood stains are no heat, and no procrastination. The rest is bloody simple.

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