How to Remove Blood From Carpet
You needn’t be a CSI to get a rug spotless again after an accident. Whether the stain is fresh or has been there for a while, here's how to make it go away.
Blood happens. Not often, hopefully, but when a kid skins a knee and lays wailing on the living room rug, or the dog catches his paw on something sharp, they can leave a bright red trail. After you administer first aid, you need to act immediately to remove the stain.
Follow these steps, stat, and your carpet—any pile, any material—will be clean again. If you didn’t notice the blood until after it dried, this guide has advice for tackling that, too. Here’s what you need to know about removing blood from carpet.
Before You Begin
The longer the blood is on the carpet, the better chance there is for the stain to set. Hot water is excellent for cleaning some messes, but heat will make the blood stain set on carpet. Always use cold water when cleaning blood out of carpet. Cleanup also goes a lot easier if you gather all the materials you need before starting the process.
Precautions with Different Carpet Materials
Different types of carpeting call for different care and cleaning techniques. Always read care instructions and test a cleaning agent on inconspicuous areas before using it on a visible portion of the carpet.
Here is what you need to know about cleaning specific types of carpet:
- Wool: To remove stains from wool carpet, gently blot the spot, because aggressive scrubbing can damage the pile. Wool retains moisture, so it’s critical that you use only as much water as you need to treat the stain.
- Nylon: This type of carpeting is prone to fading and discoloration, which is why it’s important not to skip the patch test before using any cleaner. Do not scrub nylon carpet, either—it may ruin the pile.
- Acrylic: This carpet material tends to show stains more quickly than other materials do. It’s important to attend to blood stains in nylon carpet quickly.
- Polyester: This synthetic material is fairly stain resistant, and it’s one of the easiest carpet materials to clean via blotting.
- Olefin: Considered stain resistant due to its processing during production, olefin carpet won’t discolor as other materials do. Olefin is damaged by friction, so do not scrub blood stains roughly. Instead, blot to remove them.
Choosing a Blood Stain Remover
Hemoglobin in the blood acts as a binder, causing it to stick stubbornly to carpet fibers. This binding action is one reason blood can be difficult to remove from carpets. When choosing a blood stain remover, make sure to select one intended for your situation. Some are better for cleaning dried blood, and others better for fresh blood.
Note that dedicated stain removers can be a little harsh on your carpets. We recommend trying gentler solutions first and only using commercial stain removers for stubborn stains.
- Dishwashing liquid: To make a dishwashing liquid stain remover to use on dry or fresh blood stains in the carpet, mix 2 cups of cold water with a tablespoon of the dishwashing liquid.
- Ammonia: When dishwashing liquid doesn’t get the job done on a dried blood stain, some DIYers find success mixing a ½ cup of lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon of ammonia. After treating the stain, blotting the spot with a cloth dipped in cold water. This solution is not recommended for wool carpets.
- OxiClean: This well-known, versatile cleaner works for cleaning many types of stains, including fresh blood stains and some dried blood stains. OxiClean works by creating enzymes that break down the stain in order to make it easier to remove. This is another cleaning solution that should not be used on wool carpet.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide works by breaking up the chemical bonds in the blood, making them colorless in the process. This method usually requires several applications, but can be used on fresh or dried blood stains.
How to Remove a Fresh Blood Stain From Carpet
When there is a fresh blood stain on your floor, make sure to follow these instructions to remove the stain and avoid damaging the carpet. Always address the stain as quickly as possible to prevent it from permanently staining the carpet fibers.
Prepare all your materials in order to proceed with ease and speed, and have patience with the process. Diligently following these steps will help you remove blood stains from carpet.
STEP 1: Blot away blood with a dry paper towel.
Gently blot the affected area with an absorbent paper towel to remove any excess blood. Be careful not to scrub or rub, as this will spread and worsen the stain.
STEP 2: Prepare your carpet stain remover.
Mix a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent with a couple of cups of cold water in a bowl or small bucket. Be sure to use very cold water; hot will set the stain into carpet fibers, making the frightful discoloration nearly impossible to remove. Be stingy with the number of drops of dish detergent you mix in! Soap that remains after cleaning will attract dirt, replacing the blood stain with a dark spot.
For larger or stubborn stains, try hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, or OxiClean in the same way. Mix one of these liquids with water in a diluted solution (do not mix these cleaners together!), and dab it on the blood stain. Be aware of your carpet’s material and only choose blood stain removers that will not damage your carpet.
STEP 3: Dip a clean white cloth in your cleaning solution and blot the stain.
Wet a clean white rag or cloth (an old T-shirt works well) with the cleaning solution and gently sponge it on top of the stain, again taking care not to rub or scrub. A white rag offers a visual confirmation that you are successfully lifting the blood stain out of the carpet, and unlike some color-dyed cloth, it will not add further discoloration to the spot you’re trying to clean. Continue wetting the cloth and blotting the stain, until all the blood comes up. Depending on the size and depth of the stain, you may need to repeat several times.
STEP 4: Finish by blotting the stain with dry paper towels.
With a dry section of cloth or absorbent paper towels, blot the remaining water from the carpet to dry it as much as possible. If it’s a large area, consider bringing a fan into the room to help circulate the air or use a hair dryer on a cool setting only. Drying the area quickly reduces the chance that any blood set deep down in the carpet pile will wick up and become visible.
How to Remove Set-In Blood Stains From Carpet
When you act fast, a fresh blood stain is easy to correct. A dried or set-in blood stain, on the other hand, will be more challenging to remove. Following these steps will help you remove set-in blood stains from your carpet.
STEP 1: Use a stiff brush to break up the dried blood.
The stain has already set, so the goal here is to avoid damaging the carpet fibers under and surrounding the dried blood. Take a clean, stiff brush to the area, and brush firmly to loosen the dried blood stain from the surface of the carpet fibers. Brush firmly, working from the edge of the stain toward the middle, instead of brushing from the middle outward. In situations where the blood has caused the fibers to stick together, use a small, dull or plastic knife to help loosen flecks of blood.
STEP 2: Vacuum the stain thoroughly.
Once you have brushed and loosened the dried blood, run a vacuum over the carpet to catch any flecks that might have come up in the brushing. Make sure you don’t skip this step, as vacuuming helps make cleaning dried blood from the carpet easier. A quick once-over with the vacuum can also help you identify the size and severity of the stain better.
STEP 3: Apply the stain remover.
From the list of stain removers in the Choosing a Blood Stain Remover section above, determine which one is most appropriate for your carpeting, then apply a small bit of the stain remover to the carpet inside a closet or another inconspicuous place. Let it sit until it dries—unlike a fresh blood stain, you have time to clean a dried blood stain, as it has already set. If, after some time, the carpet hasn’t discolored, the stain remover should be safe to use on a more visible area of your carpet.
Apply just enough of the stain remover to cover the spot on the carpet—use any more than that and the stain could spread. You only want to add enough stain remover to keep the stain moist. Soaking the spot could damage the flooring underneath the carpet.
STEP 4: Let the stain remover sit.
Leave the stain remover on the stain for 1 to 5 minutes so that it can really soak into the fibers of the carpet. To work effectively, stain removers need enough time to soak into the carpet fibers and really get into the stain.
A lower-pile carpet will take less time to absorb the stain remover, whereas a high-pile carpet will require a few minutes before the cleaning agent saturates the fibers.
STEP 5: Blot the stain with water, let dry, and repeat the cleaning process as necessary.
After the stain remover has been left on the dried blood stain for a few minutes, it’s time to blot the stain with a white cloth and cold water. Blot, don’t scrub, as the latter will push the stain further into the carpet fibers. After you have removed as much of the blood stain as possible, let the area fully dry. A fan may speed up the drying process.
If the stain is still visible when the carpet is completely dry, restart the cleaning routine again. Stubborn stains may require several rounds of cleaning until they disappear or become minor enough not to be noticeable.
You likely don’t want a permanent blood stain on your carpets as a reminder of a cut, scrape, or other terrible injury. Several people don’t know how to remove blood from a carpet, and this information can be the difference between maintaining your pristine carpets or living with aesthetic damage.
This step-by-step guide on how to remove blood from carpet walks you through cleaning up this type of mess. To lift fresh or dried blood stains from carpet requires you to act quickly, blot and not rub the stain, and use a stain remover that’s safe for your carpet. It can take a few rounds of cleaning, but with our tips and techniques, the appearance and freshness of your carpet can improve.
FAQs About Removing Blood From Carpet
Getting blood out of carpet can be a time-consuming chore, but the result can be a stain-free carpet. Blood stains need to be treated in a specific way to avoid making the stain worse and driving it deeper into the carpet fibers. To learn a bit more about how to remove blood from carpet, read through these frequently asked questions and answers.
Q. What is the best carpet stain remover for blood?
There is no definitive best carpet stain remover for blood, as each situation is unique. From carpet material to the severity of the stain, there are advantages for each type of carpet stain remover for blood stains. To be gentle on your carpet, we recommend starting with less abrasive carpet stain removers, like liquid dish soap before moving on to products like OxiClean. In general, the best stain remover is quick action; the faster you clean a blood stain, the easier it will be to remove.
Q. Does vinegar get rid of blood stains in carpet?
There are some homeowners who swear by using vinegar as a stain remover for blood. We agree that vinegar can work in removing blood stains from a carpet if done quickly, with speed playing a huge role in successfully removing the blood stain. Unfortunately, the longer vinegar sits, the more likely it is to stain, which is why we recommend you try liquid dish soap first.
Q. Does steam cleaning remove blood stains from carpet?
Steam cleaners are great for many things, but they are not recommended to remove blood stains from carpet. Hot steam can cause the stain to set into the carpet, and in some cases, cause the stain to spread. Always use cold water when trying to get blood stains out of carpet.