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How to Get Blood Out of a Mattress

Picture of a dog on a mattress

Blood on a mattress can be a challenging stain to remove. Thankfully, there are several different things you can try to restore your mattress to looking and smelling like brand new. If you’ve just discovered you’ve got blood on your mattress, what is the best way to remove it?

Why is it Important to Remove Blood Stains Right Away?

Treating a blood stain as soon as it is discovered is an important key to your success. Though blood stains mar the overall appearance, the more important component to address is the fact that blood contains bacteria that can affect the life expectancy of your mattress. The sooner you can attend to a fresh stain, the better your chance of eradicating it completely.

What Do I Need to Know Removing Blood from My Mattress?

There are several simple things you should know to help restore your mattress to looking new and clean. One of the most important things to keep in mind is warm or hot water will set the blood stain, so you will want to use only cold water in your removal attempts. Hot water causes the proteins found in the blood to bake, making the stain adhere more deeply to the fabric. This one simple mistake is all that it takes for a blood stain to be permanently etched on your mattress. In all blood stain removal efforts, you will need to take care to only use cold water.

What are the Most Effective Methods for Removing Blood from a Mattress?

For fresh stains that are rather small in size, you most likely have everything you need in your pantry to get that blood out for good. The items you will need to remove fresh blood include:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Cold water
  • A spray bottle
  • Towels

Before you begin your stain removal efforts, you will want to carefully remove as much liquid from the affected area as possible. Paper towels or rags are an excellent choice for absorbing the fluid.  When sopping up any moisture, you’ll want to be sure to blot the stain not rub it. Rubbing causes the blood to move deeper into the fabric, making it far more difficult to remove.

After the liquid has been removed from the stain, you can then apply a generous amount of baking soda to the surface. This can be followed by a mixture of vinegar and cold water combined at a ratio of 50/50 and applied with a spray bottle.

The mixture will begin to bubble as it works on the blood stain. Allow the mixture to penetrate the stain for a minimum of thirty minutes. When the area begins to appear dried, you can then vacuum any remaining film from the mattress. If this process does not remove the stain the first time, you can safely repeat it several times.

Since vinegar carries a very potent smell, you can neutralize the odor by spraying the mattress with vodka and allowing to dry.

For more stubborn or dried blood stains, a different approach may be required. The items you will need to address the problem of more difficult blood stains are:

  • ½ cup of cornstarch
  • ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Toothbrush

To utilize this method, you must begin by mixing the cornstarch, peroxide, and salt together. When combined properly, it will form a paste. Apply the mixture directly to the stain and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Following this, you can use the toothbrush to gently work the cleaning agent into the affected area.

Once the mixture has permeated the stain, use a clean towel and some cold water to remove any remaining residue. Allow the mattress fabric to dry. As with the vinegar and baking soda method, you can safely repeat this approach several times, if necessary, until the stain is gone.

Another effective remedy for dried blood stains is what is commonly referred to as the meat tenderizer method. There are natural enzymes found in this common commercial product that are designed specifically to process the proteins in blood, making the stain easier to remove.

The items you will need for this method are:

  • 1 tablespoon of meat tenderizer
  • 2 teaspoons of cold water
  • Vacuum

Combine the meat tenderizer and water to make a stiff paste. Apply the paste directly to the stain and allow the cleaner to sit until dry. Once a dry residue forms, you can then use a vacuum to remove any remaining powder from the surface of the mattress.

What are Some Other Methods that Work on Very Stubborn Blood Stains?

If the stain you have been working on has been impervious to all of your other cleaning attempts, it’s time to try something stronger. Here are several different methods you can try:

  • Ammonia

Ammonia is an exceptionally strong chemical and should be reserved for use when all other methods have been exhausted. Ammonia is toxic if swallowed and can destroy delicate fabrics, so take great care to only apply this cleaner to the stained area of the mattress.

Precautions should be taken when using ammonia. Mixing it with other chemicals can cause deadly chemical reactions. Bleach, in particular, should be avoided when working with ammonia.

To treat a blood stain with ammonia, mix one tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of cold water. You can then take a towel and gently blot the solution on the stain and watch it disappear! To protect your hands and your lungs, be sure to wear gloves and keep the windows in the room open while you work. 

  • Enzymatic cleaners

Enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective at removing stains such as dried blood. They work much like meat tenderizers, breaking down the proteins found in stains to make them easier to remove.

Enzymatic cleaners can be found in most grocery or hardware stores. Sometimes, they are found in the pet section as they are also very good at removing urine smells left behind by household pets.

Since enzymatic cleaners are very potent, you will need to carefully read the label on the bottle you purchase and follow the directions fully. Since you will be applying the cleaner directly to fabric, you will want to select one that is safe for use on upholstered furniture.

Enzymatic cleaners should be treated differently than other types of cleaners. Instead of putting the cleaner on the blood stain itself, apply it to a towel then carefully blot the stain.

How Can I Prevent Blood from Getting on My Mattress?

Of course, the most effective way to remove a blood stain from a mattress is to prevent it from getting on there in the first place! Thankfully, mattress covers are readily available at most department stores and are quite inexpensive. These can act as a protective barrier against stains of any sort. They are easily removable, so they can be thrown in the wash for refreshing. Best of all, since they are very economical; if they become stained beyond all hope, you can simply throw the mattress cover away and buy a new one. 

Found a blood stain on your mattress and wondering if it can be removed? Try one of our recommended methods to get your mattress looking and smelling brand new in no time!

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