How to remove blood stains from bedding, clothes, carpet and more

Knowing how to remove blood stains quickly and efficiently is key to saving sheets, mattresses, clothes, carpets from discolored splodges

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If you need to know how to remove blood stains from sheets, a mattress, clothing or even the carpet and upholstery – we can help. And yes, it happens to the best of us. Whether it's a kid's grazed knee, that time of the month or a sporadic nosebleed, it's not the most enjoyable job but it's key to get to it quickly to avoid permanent blood stains around the house.

When removing blood stains, what's great is that you can use natural ingredients to clean up blood. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon and saliva (yep) will all work. Although the best cleaning supplies do promise to do the job, some contain harsh and strong-smelling chemical agents like ammonia. Not ideal if you've got a young family or pets. Not to mention that a good flush of cold water can often do the trick... so why splash out on toxic treatments?

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How to remove blood stains from sheets

You will need:

  • Access to cold water (straight from the faucet is fine)

Whether you're dealing with a nosebleed or blood on sheets, you can employ lots of different methods to remove any staining efficiently.

1. Run the stain under the cold tap

Keep the fabric taut and ensuring you don't allow any colored water to run over the rest of the clean fabric. This simple treatment might be enough to get the job done and it's the best way to tackle blood on clothes also – even if they are white. If this hasn't worked, take a look at the methods for dried-on blood stains further down.

Menstrual blood or nasal bleed gone through the sheets? Chances are that our guide on how to clean a mattress may come in handy.

How to remove blood stains from a mattress with salt

The best mattresses can be an investment, so if you've managed to get blood on your bed topping and haven't already invested in one of the best mattress protectors – don't fret, as in most cases, it can be fixed.

And before you type 'how much does a mattress cost?' into your search engine, stop right there! It's far cheaper to sort out the problem in hand, without needing any specialist products or equipment.

In fact, if you like to dabble in the occasional bit of baking you're guaranteed to have this super-cheap, miracle-working ingredient in your store cupboard. So stop looking at uber-expensive replacements because your mattress will look like new with this natural hack.

You will need:

  • 2 tsp of salt (no need for fancy sea salt flakes or Himalayan pink –  table salt will do)
  • 300ml of cold water
  • An empty spray bottle
  • 2 x cleaning cloths (this 24-pack from Amazon can be used for cleaning and beauty)

1. Blot the stain

Start by gently blotting the stain with paper towel being careful not to rub or scrub at the stain, as this will spread and embed it into your mattress.

2. Create a diluted salt solution

Mix 2 tsp of salt with 300ml of cold water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray over the stain.

3. Dry the affected area

Blot the area with a dry cloth to absorb the excess liquid. Repeat until the stain is gone, use a damp cloth saturated in cold water to remove any remaining solution. Dry with a clean, dry cloth. 

A Vitality Visco Double Mattress on a bedframe with grey upholstered headboard

(Image credit: Harvey Norman)

How to remove mattress blood stains with baking soda

If you're scared of using a synthetic product to remove blood stains from a mattress, try using baking soda. This white powder, also known as bicarbonate of soda is used to give cakes their rise and can also be used in spring cleaning and to help lift blood stains out of upholstery.

You will need:

1. Create a diluted baking soda solution

To do this, measure out 4oz of bicarbonate of soda and 600ml cold water. Mix together in a bowl.

2. Apply the solution

Apply the solution to the stained area with a cloth. Leave it on for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the solution

Use a damp cloth to remove the solution, being careful not to be too aggressive with any harsh rubbing. Use a clean towel to absorb excess and dry the mattress.

A large bedroom with a four-poster bed and pink carpet with beige wall paneling decor

(Image credit: Carpetright)

How to remove blood stains from carpets

It might be soft and cushioning under foot, but cleaning a carpet to remove blood can be a little daunting at first. The good thing is that most new carpets are made from modern materials such as polypropylene which boasts stain-resistant qualities.

While many of the best carpet cleaners promise to remove a variety of stains and splodges, it can be a little inconvenient to head out to the store to pick up a dedicated cleaner – especially if you need to administer some first aid to treat the blood-related accident, or worst still, head to the emergency room.

Instead, there are more immediate ways to assess the incident.

Scenario A: wet blood

You will need:

  • Paper towels/clean cloth
  • Access to tepid water (tap water from the faucet is fine)
  • A small bucket or bowl to hold water

1. Stop the spread of blood at the site

If the blood is still wet, first blot it carefully with paper towel or clean cloth to remove as much of it as possible and to stop it from spreading.

2. Blot and rinse

Blot and rinse the affected area using the tepid water from your chosen container, ensuring you are not transferring bloody water back on to the stain. This might mean refreshing the water and/or cloth regularly. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Scenario B: dried-on blood

You will need:

1. Loosen the blood particles

If it has completely dried – and it does dry quickly – use a stiff brush to loosen it, being careful not to spread the blood across the carpet.

2. Sweep up the loosened surface blood and rinse

Vacuum up the loosened surface blood, then apply cold (not warm or hot) soapy water to the stain with a white cloth.

3. Blot and rinse

Blot and rinse as per step 2 of removing wet blood stains tutorial.

How to remove blood stains from upholstery

exposed brick wall with large white sofa, cushions and soft rug -

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Before you begin, check any manufacturer instructions on cleaning upholstery. If you are unsure – and particularly for velvet, silk or antique furniture – it might be best to consult a cleaning professional, even before trialing the best upholstery cleaners.

The term upholstery can apply to a number of different homewares from sofas to cushions. So if you want to know specifically how to clean a couch or even our favored approach to cleaning a microfiber couch – we've got an in-depth guide for cleaning seetees.

Different sofa fabrics react in various ways to water and other cleaning agents, and we'd hate to be at blame for ruining a vintage heirloom or brand-new sofa. So if in doubt, test the below on an inconspicuous area first.

You will need:

1. Blot the stain with paper towel

Start by gently blotting the stain with paper towel. Don't rub or scrub at the stain, as this will spread the stain and embed it into the upholstery. 

2. Use a damp sponge or white cloth

Then, using damp sponge or white cloth that's been dipped in cold water, carefully blot at the blood stain. Starting from the outside of the stain and working inwards will stop the stain from spreading. 

3. Apply seltzer

Next, apply some seltzer on to the stain and blot up with paper towel. Repeat this process and only stop when your kitchen towel no longer has bloody deposits on it. Do not over-soak the stain or you may spread it.

4. Created a diluted laundry detergent solution

Mix one part gentle laundry liquid with four parts cold water in a spray bottle and apply to the stain. Scrub carefully with a sponge (a circular motion will stop it spreading), rinsing out the sponge regularly to avoid blood transfer. 

Continue until the stain is removed, then apply cold water to the area and blot dry to remove any soapy residue. Repeat until the soap is removed.

How to remove dried blood stains

When you're dealing with a dried blood stain on clothes or carpets, use a stiff brush (a toothbrush will do) to scrape off the residue, which you can then vacuum up. 

For clothes, sheets and fabrics, it is still worth running the stain under the cold tap (not warm or hot), rubbing at it with your fingers to loosen it. For mattresses, upholstery and carpets, apply cold water to the stain with a white cloth instead. Then try one of the the following methods:

Remove blood stains with hydrogen peroxide

You will need:

If soap isn't doing the trick and the fabric is white cotton, you could dab it with hydrogen peroxide to lighten it. Rinse again in cold water, then soak the stain with a pre-treatment stain remover, assuming the fabric will allow it (check the care label if you are unsure).

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(Image credit: Future)

Lighten the blood stain with lemon and salt

You will need:

  • A fresh lemon (half left over from your lunch/dinner prep will do)
  • Table salt
  • A damp, clean white cloth
  • Your washing machine

Your fave salad dressing ingredients could help you to remove blood stains. If we're getting super sciencey, it's all down to the lightening powers of citric acid combined with sodium chloride – smart, huh?

To benefit from the zesty powers of this yellow fruit, cut a lemon in half and rub one half over the stain. Follow this with a sprinkling of table salt and leave this to absorb for ten minutes. Take a damp cloth to dab it with and then use a washing machine for a final rinse.

Remove blood stains with vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar is a great natural way to clean off blood stains due to the acetic acid which breaks down blood. Simply dab the area with a cloth soaked in white vinegar then run it through your washing machine/rinse off as usual.

Use saliva to remove blood stains

Remember when mom or grandma used to spit into a tissue to wipe your face? Same same, but different. Not just an old wives' tale, using saliva is a quick way to remove blood stains and it's especially useful if you're out and about with no other stain-busting ingredients to hand.

This is because drool contains protease – an enzyme that can literally eat away at the protein base of the stain.

Use a saline solution to remove blood stains

You will need:

Another useful tip if you're on the move, contact lens wearers can dab saline solution onto the stain to help lift the blood. Dispense a little on a clean white cloth and apply to the affected area to remove stains.

Remove blood stains with aspirin

You will need:

  • Aspirin
  • Access to water
  • A small bowl
  • A teaspoon
  • A clean white cloth

Not just for blood-thinning, aspirin can be used to make a stain removing paste. Crush up some pills and mix the powder with a little water in a bowl with teaspoon to make a paste that can be applied to the blood stain.

Leave it on for a few minutes then remove the mixture with your teaspoon. Then remove any excess gently with a dampened cloth.

A product pack shot of Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils for blood and proteins

(Image credit: Dr. Beckmann)

Using commercial products to remove blood stains

Once the stain has gone (mostly) put your sheet or clothes on a cool wash, using an enzyme detergent or an all-purpose stain remover like Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils (available on Amazon), which breaks down blood and other protein-based stains.

Do not dry the fabric in a tumble dryer or beneath hot sun if the blood has not lifted at this point. Instead, repeat the steps above. Drying a blood-stained fabric with heat will simply set the stain. If the stain has lifted completely then leave it to dry in sunshine.

If you're treating upholstery that can't be removed, your carpet or a mattress, let it air dry – don't be tempted to use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Expert tips on how to clean blood stains

Melissa Maker, author and creator of Clean My Space has an interesting but effective solution for dry blood stains.

Shes says: 'Toothpaste and saliva. Use toothpaste on fabrics that can be washed in a washing machine or by hand. Apply toothpaste to the blood stain and let it dry. Rinse with cold water,'

'You’re probably wondering about saliva… Believe it or not, the enzymes in saliva which help digest your food can also break down proteins in blood. It might sound gross, but you can spit on the blood stained area, rub it out and then soak in cold water. It really works!'

Lucy Searle

Lucy is Global Editor-in-Chief of Homes & Gardens having worked on numerous interiors and property titles. She was founding Editor of Channel 4’s 4Homes magazine, was Associate Editor at Ideal Home, before becoming Editor-in-Chief of in 2018 then moving to Homes & Gardens in 2021. She has also written for Huffington Post, AOL, UKTV, MSN, House Beautiful, Good Homes, and many women’s titles. Find her writing about everything from buying and selling property, self build, DIY, design and consumer issues to gardening.