Blood stains can be some of the most difficult marks to remove from clothing and upholstery, so it is hardly surprising that if you spot such a stain, your first reaction is likely to be one of panic. If you want to stand any chance of removing the stain, however, then you need to act calmly and quickly, with this simple guide to help you remove blood stains.

Identify the stained material. You may think that you know the composition of your sofa covers or favorite dress, but if you rush headlong into trying to remove the stain, you could make things far worse. Check for the label on clothing or upholstery or check the manufacturer's website for other items if you are unsure. It pays to know what you are cleaning.

Act quickly. This instruction may seem at odds with the first one, but it is worth remembering that the longer you leave the stain, the harder it may be to remove. Treat stains as quickly as possible, attempting to contain any stain or spillage with a dry, clean cloth or simply by holding the item in a way that prevents the blood from running.

Avoid heat. Generally speaking, applying heat to a blood stain serves only to make the stain more difficult to remove. Even if you are using a stain solution (homemade or otherwise), use cold water for the best results. It is also worth remembering this when it comes to drying the garment or upholstery. Avoid electrical dryers and simply allow the item to dry naturally. If there is any remnant of the stain on the item, the heat will bond it harder.

Blot the stain. For garments and washable upholstery, always blot the item with a clean cloth first. This will remove as much of the excess blood as possible. Do not scrub or rub the garment. By blotting, you will lift the blood from the garment, rather than pushing it further into the fibers. Work from the outside of the stain in to prevent it from spreading.

Clean the stain. Many blood stains can be removed with cold water, if the item is soaked. If this does not work, try mixing a saline solution from 1 cup of salt with 2 quarts water and soak for 30 minutes. Failing this, a bar of household soap can be used. Rub some of the soap onto the garment and gently rub the fabric together. A small amount of hydrogen peroxide can be effective if this still doesn't work, particularly on a small area. After any cleaning, always wash the item according to the care instructions.
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