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You nick yourself shaving and the next thing you know there’s blood on the collar of your shirt. You get a paper cut on your finger that drips blood onto your favorite skirt. A grazed knee leaves a blood stain on your kid’s pants. Chances are you will get blood on your clothing at some point. Run the mark under the faucet and the blood may come out. But what happens when it doesn’t? Luckily there are plenty of household items that can help you get blood out of your clothes.

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Act Quickly

When you accidentally cut yourself, your first instinct is to brush yourself down and forget it ever happened. But if you get blood on your clothes, you have to act fast. Any delay will allow the blood to dry, and dried blood is notoriously difficult to get out of fabrics. Fresh stains are much easier to treat, so get to it as quickly as possible.

Portrait of handsome young black man shaving in home bathroom
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Cold Salt Water

The first rule when trying to remove blood is never to use hot water. Any kind of heat will set the stain and make it harder to remove. Place your blood stained clothing in a bowl of cold salty water and leave it to soak for 3-4 hours. Rub the blemish with some liquid detergent and wash as normal. The blood should be nowhere to be seen.

cold water salt remove blood Анатолий Тушенцов / Getty Images
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Vinegar

A very effective remover of blood is another product you’re likely to have in your pantry. Plain white vinegar can have your stain removed in a jiffy. Pour some directly onto the spot and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes. Blot with a towel or cloth and launder your item of clothing immediately. It has to be white vinegar. If you use balsamic, red wine, malt, or apple cider vinegar, you will have a different type of stain to deal with!

blood stain white vinegar MillefloreImages / Getty Images
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Ammonia

If you have some ammonia in your home, your skirt or pants could be saved. Dilute a tablespoon of ammonia in one cup of cold water. Using a cotton swab, gently dab the mark with the diluted ammonia. Change the swab whenever it becomes reddened from the blood, or you will rub the blood back onto your clothes. After 30 minutes, rinse your clothing in cold water. Ammonia is always handy to have around as it’s also great for getting rid of urine and perspiration.

ammonia cotton bud Tiacrousephotography / Getty Images
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Cola

If you’re out and about and get blood on your clothes, head to the nearest convenience store and pick up some cola. The carbonic acid in cola makes it great for cleaning things. Simply soak the stain with the soda, and it should gradually disappear. You’ll get the best results if you can soak the fabric overnight.

cola blood remover joshblake / Getty Images
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WD-40

WD-40 has many uses. But did you know it’s good at helping to remove stains? Spray WD-40 directly onto the discolored area, wait a few minutes, and then launder as normal. WD-40 helps lift the blood off the fabric, so it comes out easier in the wash. Looking for a way to get lipstick, grease, dirt, or ink out of clothes? Give all stains the WD-40 pre-wash treatment!

wd-40 wd40 spray stains Reimphoto / Getty Images
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Cornstarch

If you can catch the blood stain early, try using cornstarch to rescue your outfit. Mix cornstarch with cold water to create a paste and gently rub it into the spot. Leave the item to dry before brushing off the remnants of paste. If there is still traces of the mark, repeat the process. Keep with it, and that stain will vanish.

cornstarch water blood stain Pawarun / Getty Images
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Hydrogen Peroxide

If you get blood on a light-colored item of clothing, reach for the hydrogen peroxide. This only works for fresh stains, so you need to be quick. Apply 3% peroxide directly onto the blemish and rinse with cold water. Don’t panic if the hydrogen peroxide starts to bubble. This is a normal reaction as it begins to dissolve the proteins in the blood. It just means it’s working!

hydrogen peroxide stain pedphoto36pm / Getty Images
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Meat Tenderizer

Meat tenderizer is not what you would expect to get blood out of clothes. However, give this a go, and you may be surprised. Use cold water to soak the fabric for a few hours to soften it and help loosen the stain. Make a paste using one tablespoon of unseasoned meat tenderizer and two teaspoons of cold water and apply it to the blood spot. Leave to dry for an hour, remove any excess paste, and wash as usual.

unseasoned meat tenderizer Evgeniy Skripnichenko / Getty Images
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Saliva

If you’re on the move and don’t have any handy household products around, there is one last option you can definitely access. Use saliva to get the blood out of your clothes. As bizarre as it sounds, it may actually work. An enzyme in saliva will break down proteins that are found in the blood. Dampen the area with cold water, work up some saliva, and spit onto the stain. Rub in the saliva and rinse with cold water.

Whichever technique you use to remove blood from your clothes, it may not work the first time. Blood can be stubborn, and you may need to give it a couple of tries. But persevere, and you will eventually get rid of that stain - once and for all.

stains on shirts

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