Dry Blood Stains

Just a quick look down to my thumb while I’m writing this is a reminder to me that cuts are a part of life. The other day, I cut into my thumb while I was cutting a tomato. I didn’t have much of a clean-up, I rinsed it right away and used a tissue to dry it before putting on a bandage, but it doesn’t always work out this way for everyone.

Cleaning a fresh blood stain is always preferable to a dried one. Usually, a quick rinse or soak with cold water will do the trick before the stain sets in. But many times, blood will set long before you even know there is a stain.

Sometimes, children will try to hide blood stains from minor cuts from parents for fear of getting into trouble. Or a cut you thought was protected by a bandage actually bled through the cotton. And ladies, we all know the frustration when our feminine protection shifts without realizing it.

So on the occasions where you’re dealing with a set-in stain, here are a few tried and true methods to removing dry blood stains.

White Vinegar:

Vinegar has amazing cleaning powers, and is an incredibly inexpensive way of dealing with many household messes. Vinegar tops the charts for curing dried blood stains because it’s been proven to get out the worst stains, like those that have already gone through the dryer!

  • If the stain is small, pour some vinegar in a bowl and submerge the stained area for about 30 minutes, then take a peek and see what is remaining and if it needs more time to soak.
  • If the blood stain is larger, lay a towel under the stained area then soak with white vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary until the stain is removed.
  • Wash as usual but don’t put in the dryer until you are positive the stain is gone.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

Another tried and true product for cleaning dried blood stains is hydrogen peroxide. Simply pour the hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain and let sit for a about 5 to 10 minutes, then blot it with a clean sponge or rag. Although it works great on whites, for colors, make sure you start with a drop in an inconspicuous part of the clothing first to make sure that it won’t ruin the color.

Hydrogen peroxide will turn to water when exposed to light so wrap the area with plastic wrap (so it won’t be absorbed) then cover with a towel.


Ammonia will take dried blood out of anything as quick as a flash. However, it might take everything else with it. Again, with whites, ammonia is an easy solution, but you may want to use another method for any colors. But if all the other methods have failed, try ammonia. A big blood stain that won’t come out of something will be as ruined as one that’s been cleaned with ammonia, so you might as well try it as a last resort.

Tips for Treating a Dry Blood Stain:

  • As a first option, soak in cold water overnight then move on to other options.
  • Before treating, don’t leave a clean section of clothing under the stain. Move it out from under the stain or when you treat the stain it could transfer to a clean area of clothing.
  • If you’re not sure how a stain remover will react with your clothing, test in an inconspicuous spot first for colorfastness.

There are commercial products with enzymes that help remove blood stains, and many non-chlorine bleach products work as well. But it’s just as easy to use a household product and save the money and your clothes.

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