On a recent shopping adventure to Marshall’s, I found the perfect set of white sheets. They featured a light grey, trellis-like pattern that looped from edge to edge. They were flawless. That is, until a midnight visit from Aunt Flo turned the brand-new set into 600-thread-count crime scene. At the time, I wiped a tear from the corner of one eye, said a few words in their honor, and threw them in the trash. Now, I need absolution. I asked laundry experts how to remove blood stains from precious bed linens.
Lindsey Boyd, cofounder of The Laundress, tells me that when sheets are personally victimized by nose bleeds, razor cuts, and periods, they need to be treated as soon as possible. “We’ve removed blood many times from most fabrics. However, we always recommend treating these types of stains sooner rather than later,” she says. First, you’ll need to check the tags to see exactly what fabrics you’re trying to rehabilitate. But generally, the process will look like this.
How to remove blood stains from bedsheets
- Apply your stain remover of choice. (You can use a DIY solution, an all-natural option, or a drugstore buy.) Follow that up with a sprinkle of all-purpose bleach alternative. Together, the two should form a paste.
- Using your thumb or a brush, work the paste into the fabric with the help of cold water—not hot! hot water will set the stain!—and 1/2 cup of white vinegar to remove any odors.
- Soak your poor sheets for 30 minutes in cold water.
- Remove and repeat the process as many time as you need to get rid of the blood for good.
- Wash as usual.
While the instructions for materials like nylon, polyester, and linen are similar, delicate fabrics need a gentler touch. For example, silk should never be treated with anything too harsh. (Bye, bye, bleach.) If all else fails: “Drugstore products such as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol are what we call last ditch efforts,” says Boyd. Fingers crossed steps one through four will return your sheets to their original glory. If not, decide whether you want to go for a harsher chemical or just (sigh) buy new sheets.
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