If you have carpet in your home, no matter how careful you are, an accident is bound to happen eventually. While there are a variety of liquids that can have an immediate impact when they hit the floor, some are easier to remove than others. Unfortunately, blood is not one of them, so we’ve compiled a guide to help you get this challenging substance off your carpet.
Why Blood is a Challenging to Remove
When you have blood on your carpet, an accident of some kind has obviously occurred. It can happen when you cut your pet’s toenails too close and they sprint across the room afterward. It could also be from a bloody nose or something a bit more severe. Regardless of the reason, before you can clean blood from carpet it helps to understand why blood is hard to remove.
Clotting is something we depend on when injured as it helps stop bleeding, but it also helps blood dry quickly once it hits the floor. A bloodstain on hardwood can dry in just a few seconds, so imagine how it reacts when it falls onto your cushy carpet fibers. Iron and other minerals in your bloodstream don’t help matters, which is why you need to act quickly and not allow blood to dry on your carpet or rug.
Removing Blood from Carpet with Household Ingredients
As with many common carpet stains, most of the leading manufacturers have 2-3 methods to get blood out of carpet fibers. Thankfully, those methods don’t vary much, so you’ll only need a handful of household items for blood removal.
The main methods we are going to outline below are recommended by Shaw, Karastan, Mohawk, and others. While deemed safe, it’s still a good idea to test any cleaning solution on a hidden spot of your carpet before attacking the bloodstain head-on.
Your first step is to mix a solution of ¼ teaspoon of clear dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of warm water. When ready, put the mixture onto a white towel and apply it to the affected area. Shaw and some companies recommend allowing the cleaner to sit for between 3-5 minutes while other companies skip that step.
When you are ready to clean, begin to work the stain from the outside towards the center. Always blot gently as rubbing will only drive the stain further into your carpet fibers. To check your progress, you can use some water on another clean cloth to remove any detergent residue. If the stain is still present, you can repeat this process with any leftover cleaner you have mixed up, but if it’s gone, it’s time to start drying the carpet.
The best way to dry a carpet that’s been spot-cleaned is to find something flat like a plastic basin or tub. Place the object on top of a stack of paper towels or clean cloths, and then put something heavy inside the basin to help absorb any excess liquid. Check and replace your towels as needed periodically, as it can take hours for spots to completely dry.
If the recommended cleaning methods don’t work using ordinary detergent and water, ammonia is another alternative. Every company agrees that it can remove or reduce blood stains on carpet, even if they don’t use the same techniques.
Shaw’s advice calls for homeowners to mix up ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of clear unscented household ammonia. Apply the solution with a dry cloth where the blood has stained your carpet, and remember to blot, not rub. You’ll want to let this mixture sit on the carpet covered with a sheet of plastic wrap for several hours before checking on the stain.
You’ll also need to use undiluted white vinegar to neutralize the ammonia before cleaning up excess residue with a damp clean cloth. Karastan tells their consumers to use a similar process, but with 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stainmaster’s mix also uses 2 tablespoons, but with 4 cups of cold water.
None of these companies mention using plastic wrap aside from Shaw, but all agree you should wait to use your vinegar solution until you’re sure the stain has been removed. Never use any type of heat to speed up the drying process as that will only cause the blood to dry more quickly into the fibers.
Removing Blood from Carpet with Chemical Cleaners
Consumers interesting in trying chemical cleaners for tough blood stains have a wealth of options to choose from. While the Carpet and Rug Institute doesn’t have a category for certified blood-cleaning solutions, our experts have rounded up a handful of products that won’t let you down.
Our top recommendation is an all-purpose solution that’s geared for carpet but will work on sneakers, sheets, and clothing as well. Folex Carpet Spot Remover is safe for colorfast materials, requires no rinsing, and comes in a simple to use spray bottle. If you’re looking for something a bit more specialized, you’ll want to consider Carbona’s cleaning line.
Blood and dairy aren’t two things typically associated with one another, but Stain Devil’s cleaning solutions are designed to remove both. Their #4 cleaner can remove chocolate ice cream or blood from carpet and other materials like upholstery. There are other mixtures that can deal with blood from Carbona although this one is our pick.
If you’re looking for a company with name recognition, there are a few well-received products for blood from top brands as well. One would be OxiClean, which comes in a variety of formats, concentrations, and sizes. For carpets, our favorite is this spray bottle which can handle blood along with almost any other substance.
Consumers have reported some success with products like Resolve, but we prefer Spot Shot for the removal of minor bloodstains. Shaw also has their own carpet cleaner with R2X if you want a cleaning solution to match your brand of carpet.
Unless you’re dealing with a scene that’s worthy of a CSI investigation, you should be able to get blood out of carpet using one of the methods we’ve outlined in our guide. If the pro's advice and chemical-based cleaning solutions don’t work, don’t hesitate to call in a professional carpet before running the risk of damaging your carpet.