Retro Saturday: Hiding the evidence- getting blood stains out of fabric

On Saturdays, we like to take the day off and spend it with our families. Sometimes. When they’re behaving. Here’s a blast from the past:

Dear Home-Ec 101,

How do I remove blood stains from fabric?


Lizzie B.

stripey-shirt.JPGIvy says:

Turn yourself in, Dr. Michael Baden‘s on the case now, I hear. I’ll answer the question anyway, though; I hear we have quite the following in prisons all across the nation.

Most everyone knows the old peroxide trick to get rid of blood stains. But some people don’t happen to have it on hand, and some fabrics might be ruined by it. My mother always swore by using contact solution (saline) on a blood stain, if you can catch it right away.

I also heard that soaking the fabric in milk overnight will do away with the stain quite well. If you have a set-in stain, try rubbing salt on it and scrubbing with water, then laundering as usual.

Good luck on that whole “avoiding jail” thing!

UPDATE: A commenter, Stacie told us about Folex. She says she has used it on all sorts to stains and fabrics, including vintage fabrics with no damage. She told me you can find it with the carpet cleaners at Home Depot and with regular cleaners at the grocery store. With such glowing reviews, I’d say it’s worth a shot!


  1. Carpet Cleaning NY on March 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Peroxide definately does the trick. Do not ever put peroxide on natural fibers. It may be ok if you get some blood on your $10 cotton sheets, but if you get blood on a $3000 wool sofa beware. Peroxide is an oxidizor. Against natural fibers you risk yellowing and damage. It’s great for synthetics though. And the best part about it is that is self neutralizes. It turns to nothing more than undrinkable water after being exposed to light for 24 hours. That’s why it’s always stored in black bottles.

  2. Dana on January 25, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Awesome Spray Cleaner from Dollar Tree is amazing, it takes most everything out 🙂

  3. Katherine on January 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Oxyclean (the kind in the tub, not the laundry version) mixed with water (following the directions on the tub for stain removal, but using an old toothbrush to rub into the stain) got out even OLD blood stains that had been washed and dried in the dryer many times on a t-shirt at our house.

  4. Mom of three on January 24, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I was reading a book where the main character was the doctor that did autopsies and it said that even if blood is gone to the naked eye, it can still be seen under a special light (like urine). So I don’t think anything is going to help if it’s a true crime scene.

    That would be a lot of saliva. 😉

  5. Taylor at Household Management 101 on January 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I know what not to do with blood stains — run them under or wash them, even immediately, with hot water. Hot water sets blood stains in. Run cold water over the garment when trying to get excessive amounts of blood out. (Don’t ask me how I know this 🙂

  6. Tara on January 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Old quilters’ trick: your saliva will get your blood off of fabric. Obviously, not a good fix for crime scene amounts of blood, but will definitely handle a finger prick while sewing.

    The story goes that only your saliva works on your blood (or, I guess, theoretically your identical twin’s saliva) but I haven’t really tested the hypothesis that fully.

    Since learning this trick, however, my mother and I both refer to how much we spit on a quilt as a measure of how often we pricked ourselves while sewing. If you ever receive a quilt from me, please know that I washed it before handing it over (ew!).

  7. Mom of three on January 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Zest Soap. Just scrub to gone. The fresher the stain the easier it comes out.

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