A closeup image of a finger with a bleeding cut.

How to remove old blood stains from clothes

You’ve probably noticed that (unlike you) your kids tend to forget their small cuts and scrapes in a matter of hours. Now, if only their clothes would recover as quickly! The truth is, with a little help, they can – even after the area has completely dried up, you can still remove blood stains from clothes with the right method. Here’s what to do.


How to clean blood stains from clothes

First, we’ll show you how to remove blood stains from clothes that aren’t delicate – things like cotton or synthetics. If you’ve found a stain on your favourite silk blouse, skip this part and scroll on down to the guide for delicate fabrics below. 

Top tip: Hot water will set the blood stain, whether it’s dried on or not. So step away from the hot tap, and use cold water instead! Start as soon as you spot the blood stain, as they’re easier to remove when they’re fresh.


Here’s how to remove a blood stain after it has dried: 

  1. Gently scrape off any clotted blood on the fabric’s surface. Use a spoon, card, or a very blunt knife to carefully lift the dried blood away.
  2. Dampen a clean cloth with cold water, and lightly press it against the stain. 
  3. Rub a small amount of bleach-free biological detergent (Surf excel Liquid will work well here) into the stained fabric. Some detergents contain a small amount of bleach, which is bad news for anyone trying to remove blood stains: just like heat, bleach can help the stain set into the fabric, making it much harder to get rid of.
  4. After 10 minutes, rinse the garment in cold water. 
  5. Wash at 30 degrees or less, depending on the care label instructions.


How to remove blood stains from delicate fabrics

Blood stain removal from clothes made of delicate fabrics, like silk and wool, is a little different: you’ll need a gentler approach. Remember to check the label before you start. If your garment is ‘dry clean only’, bring it to a professional.

  • Silk: Fill a spray bottle with 250 ml cold water and one heaped tablespoon of salt. Shake to combine. Spritz the solution onto the stain and use a clean cloth to very gently rub it in. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse in cold water. Finally, follow the instructions on the garment’s care label to wash it as normal.  
  • Wool: Pour a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stained area, then use a clean cloth to gently massage it into the wool. Leave it on for five minutes before rinsing it out using cold water. If the stain hasn’t disappeared after this treatment, just repeat these steps as often as needed. Finish by washing the item according to the care label instructions. 


Top tip: Always remember to carefully read the instructions on the products you’re using for blood stain removal. Test new stain removal methods on a hidden part of the garment before treating the stain itself.  

That’s how to remove old blood stains from clothes – simple, right? For more quick, easy ways to remove tough stains, check out our Washing Tips and Tricks section here.

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