Removing Bloodstains from Your Shirts: A Comprehensive Guide

clean white shirt

Bloodstains on clothes can be a frustrating and persistent problem. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also be difficult to remove, especially if they are allowed to set in. 

Whether the stain is from a cut or a nosebleed, it’s essential to address it as soon as possible. 

In this article, I’ll outline various methods to help you remove both fresh and dried bloodstains from your shirts.

Let’s get started.

Understanding the Type of Fabric: Different Fabrics, Different Approaches

One of the first steps in removing a bloodstain from your shirt is to understand the type of fabric it’s made of. 

Different fabrics react differently to stains, so it’s essential to determine whether your shirt is made of cotton, silk, or some other material. This information will help you determine which method is best for removing the stain.

Let’s take a closer look at each method and what types of fabrics it works best on:

  • Cold water: This method is a go-to for most fabrics, especially when it comes to tackling fresh bloodstains. The cool water helps to rinse away the stain before it sets in.
  • Salt and baking soda: When it comes to cotton shirts, this mixture is a real lifesaver. Mix equal parts salt and baking soda, then gently rub it into the stain. Let it sit for a bit before rinsing it away with cold water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: This versatile solution can be a great option for removing bloodstains from most fabrics, but it’s always best to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t cause any damage.
  • Soaking in cold water: Dried bloodstains can be tough, but soaking the shirt in cold water can help. Let it soak for a few hours or overnight, then wash as normal.
  • Stain remover or laundry detergent: Both of these options can be effective on a wide range of fabrics. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully to get the best results.
  • Oxygen bleach: This gentle bleach alternative is safe for most fabrics, but it’s always a good idea to read the label and follow the instructions to the letter.
  • Ammonia: This powerful solution can work wonders on most fabrics, but it’s important to dilute it with water first and test it on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on a larger stain.
  • White vinegar: This common household ingredient can be a great option for removing bloodstains from most fabrics. Just be sure to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t cause any damage.
  • Lemon juice: When it comes to light-colored cotton shirts, lemon juice can be a real lifesaver. Simply rub the lemon juice into the stain, let it sit for a bit, then wash as normal.

No matter which method you choose, it’s always a good idea to check the care label on your shirt and test the stain-removal method on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t cause any damage.

Quick Fixes for Fresh Bloodstains: Act Fast to Minimize Damage 

If you catch the stain quickly, there are some simple and effective ways to remove it. Here are some quick fixes to try:

  • Cold water: Rinse the stain under cold water as soon as possible. The cold water will help to slow down the reaction between the blood and the fabric.
  • Salt and baking soda: Mix a small amount of salt and baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, rinse it off with cold water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Be sure to test it on a small area first to make sure it won’t fade your shirt.

Removing Dried Bloodstains: Soaking and Scrubbing for Dried Stains 

If the stain has had time to set, you’ll need to take a different approach. Here are some methods to try:

  • Soak in cold water: Fill a basin with cold water and add a small amount of laundry detergent. Soak the shirt in the water for a few hours.
  • Use a stain remover or laundry detergent: Apply a stain remover or laundry detergent directly to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the shirt as you normally would.
  • Oxygen bleach: Oxygen bleach is a type of bleach that’s safe for use on most fabrics. Mix it with water according to the package instructions, then soak the shirt in the solution for a few hours.

Common Household Ingredients for Bloodstain Removal

If you don’t have a stain remover on hand, some common household ingredients can also be effective:

  • Ammonia: Dilute the ammonia with water and apply it directly to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off with cold water.
  • White vinegar: Soak the shirt in a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it as you normally would.
  • Lemon juice: Apply lemon juice directly to the stain, then place the shirt in direct sunlight. The citric acid in the lemon juice can help to break down the stain, and the sun will help to fade it.

Prevention and Maintenance: Protect Your Shirts from Stains 

Here are some tips to help you avoid bloodstains on your shirts in the first place:

Avoiding bloodstains: Try to avoid getting blood on your clothes in the first place. If you do get a cut, use a tissue or cloth to cover the wound and prevent it from bleeding on your clothes.

Staying prepared: Keep a stain remover or a mixture of salt, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide in your first-aid kit. This way, you’ll be prepared to tackle any bloodstains that might arise.

Laundry tips: Don’t use hot water on bloodstains, as heat can cause the stain to set and become even more difficult to remove.


Removing bloodstains from shirts can be a challenging task, but with the right approach and some persistence, it’s definitely doable. 

Whether you’re using a commercial stain remover or a common household ingredient, the key is to act quickly and be patient. 

By following these steps and staying vigilant, you can keep your shirts looking clean and stain-free.

Do you have bloodstains all over your khakis too? See How to Remove Blood Stains from Khaki Pants: A Step-by-Step Guide.  

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels