How to Clean Blood

"Hey, after you guys fix up my hand, do you think there's anything you can do about my fatigues?"

Cleaning blood is one of those topics that people try to avoid looking up on the Internet. No matter how innocent the bloodstain, there's always that nagging little thought in the back of your mind that someone, somehow, is tracking what you are looking up. And, of course, that someone will see that you want to clean blood and will naturally assume that you are a mass murderer trying to cover up a series of ghastly deeds, which will inevitably lead to a covert FBI operation in which they will come to your home in the cover of darkness, break down your door, smash through your windows, take your children away, and lock your ass up for good. Hi. I'm Eric, and I watch too many movies.

The fact of the matter is this: it can be a real pain in the hinder to clean blood up. The stuff just has an uncanny ability to bind to whatever it hits. It doesn't matter the source either. It could be nose blood on your shirt, menstrual blood on your mattress, blood from a cut or scrape on wood or concrete floors, or even blood that dripped out of a package of chicken onto . . . whatever. My point is, no matter where it is, it's never super easy to clean up blood. But it is doable. If you're looking to learn how to clean blood and how to clean bloodstains, read this article.

How to Clean Up Blood

Get to it as quickly as humanly possible. I know this seems extremely obvious, but it seriously is one of the very best things you can do for cleaning blood. The longer the blood sits untreated on whatever it got spilled or dripped on, the worse it's gonna be. I know what it's like to procrastinate. I happen to be really good at it. But, seriously, just suck it up and get to work on it immediately. If you have company, they'll understand.

How to clean up blood when it's still fresh. Whether you're trying to clean blood from clothing, upholstery, or carpeting, if you get to it right away, this method should do the trick for you. Begin blood cleaning by grabbing a bottle of club soda (cold) and a clean sponge. Drizzle the club soda onto the blood, let it sit for a couple seconds, and blot with your sponge. Always blot, never rub. Rubbing will imbed the stain further. You will need to repeat this step a few times. Rinse your sponge between blottings. If you don't have any club soda, use cold tap water. You may also wish to apply a little laundry or dish detergent mixed with water to the bloodstain. If you do use some type of soap, rinse it off with a clean damp sponge when you're done.

How to clean blood from fabric. If you've got some blood on an article of clothing, wet or dry, you have a couple of options. If the clothing is cotton or some blend including cotton, start by immediately removing the article of clothing and running it under cold water. Don't rub. Next, fill a sink with cold water, dump a bunch of salt (at least a cup) into it, and stir it around to get the salt to dissolve faster. Throw the clothing in and let it soak for at least an hour. If you don't want to soak the entire thing, make a paste of either table salt and water or baking soda and water, and apply it to the stain. Let the paste sit for at least an hour, and then wash the clothing in cold water with mild detergent.

How to clean blood from carpet. If the blood is still wet, start by grabbing some paper towels or a clean terry cloth towel and blot as much of the blood up as possible. Next (or if the stain is dry), mix 1 tablespoon of dish or laundry detergent with about a cup of cold water, drizzle the mixture on the blood, let it sit for a minute, and blot. Then mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia with ½ cup water, drizzle, wait, and blot. Finally, do the drizzle and blot thing with fresh clean water. Be sure to first try this method in an inconspicuous location to test for colorfastness.

Cleaning blood from a mattress. This is probably the most common place for bloodstains to show up. Turns out lots of things could happen here. The blood might be from a bloody nose, a scab that got torn off during the night, a period, or maybe even sex. I hear people do that. Whatever it's from, it's almost always dry by the time it's discovered. The first thing you should do is to at least try and blot some of it out. OK. You tried. Now grab some hydrogen peroxide and drizzle some on the blood, let it sit for about thirty seconds, and then blot it up. Now make a paste with your salt and hydrogen peroxide, and spread it onto the stain. Let it sit there for a couple of hours and try to keep it moist. This can be accomplished by covering the whole works with a damp rag. After a couple hours have passed, use a wet/dry vacuum to get rid of the salt. If the stain isn't entirely gone, it'll at least be noticeably diminished. If you're unsatisfied, do it again. Just make sure the mattress is completely dry before re-sheeting. You might be on the couch tonight.

Cleaning blood from smooth and hard surfaces. Be the blood wet or be the blood dry, this is pretty painless. If there's blood on vinyl, just put some soap and water in a bucket and wipe the spot down with a sponge. Just make sure the sponge is squeezed out pretty well so bloody water doesn't end up running and spreading the blood around. For marble, granite, concrete, linoleum, well-finished wood floors, etc., the same method applies. Soap and water is all it takes. If you're trying to figure out how to clean blood from poorly finished hardwood floors, I would strongly recommend using oxygen bleach.

Blood Cleaning Tips

Perhaps the most commonly used product for cleaning blood is ammonia. The stuff works great. People use it to clean blood off of carpets, rugs, sheets, clothes, mattresses, etc. The only problem is that it sometimes discolors whatever it is you're trying to clean. However, since blood discolors even worse than ammonia, I would say it's worth the risk. You just need to be damn certain to never mix ammonia with bleach. It will kill you. I promise.

As far as commercial blood cleaning products go, maybe the best thing you can purchase is a good ol' enzymatic cleaner. These are designed to be used on organic stains like blood. These products support the growth of bacteria that will break down the bloodstain. Just make sure to read and follow the directions for use. Sometimes the directions for use can differ depending on the type of stain. Another great thing to use for blood cleaning, on practically any surface or material, is some form of oxygen bleach like OxiClean. It's basically a super-charged hydrogen peroxide that comes in powder form and can be picked up from nearly any hardware store.

Alternative Methods for Cleaning Blood

Hydrogen peroxide. This is a common blood cleaner. Peroxide can be poured directly onto a bloodstain. All you have to do is let it sit and work for about thirty seconds, blot it out with a clean rag or sponge, and repeat if necessary. Try it first on an inconspicuous spot in case it fades the fabric.

Meat tenderizer. This may be the most highly recommended method for removing bloodstains. Make a 50/50 paste of meat tenderizer and cool water, smear it on the bloodstain, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and clean it off. If you're using it on the floor, a mattress, or upholstery, rinse it off with fresh water mixed with a little detergent. If it's on clothing, throw the article of clothing in the wash.

Spit. That's right. Spit. Simply apply a little saliva to your bloodstain. Saliva is a digestive liquid and will help break down the blood and its bonds. You can try it straight, but many people use spit with a little cool water and detergent to clean blood.

White vinegar. I've not tried this, but vinegar is reported to work well on getting rid of bloodstains on clothes and sheets that have already been through the dryer. Get the bloodstain wet with vinegar, let it dry, repeat if necessary, and rewash.