How to get rid of blood stains in carpet
Blood stains can be the worst to deal with! It could be in the aftermath of an accident and other times it could be your child simply waking up to a nosebleed overnight and now you have a bloody trail from bed to bathroom.
Whatever the situation might be, blood stains are best dealt with immediately.
This is due to the nature of red blood cells being easily absorbed into the fibres of your carpet and starts to form a very strong bond.
Haemoglobin, the main component in blood, is made out of Iron which gives its characteristic red color. When exposed to air, it oxidizes to an iron oxide, which is basically rust. You want to remove blood before it reaches this stage. Otherwise there are a few additional steps you’ll need to do to fully remove the stain.
Let’s get into it!
Firstly, only use cold water to remove blood stains. Hot water can easily “cook” the blood proteins, changing them while they are inside your carpet fibres and making it far more difficult to remove.
Blood is water soluble so use this to your advantage. Liberally wet the blood stain with plain cold water, and use a rag to soak it up. Do not rub as you will drive the blood deeper into your carpet and spread it out.
Just soak and blot it back out with a rag. Repeat as much as needed till the blood spill lightens. You have a pale red, almost yellowish stain left.
That pale yellow is the actual liquid part of blood called plasma. If only the yellow stain remains, that’s great as most of the red blood cells will have been removed. Now we can use a white vinegar solution to discolor the plasma stain and make it disappear.
Simply mix one part of white vinegar with one part of cold tap water to make a solution of roughly 4 pH.
You want to remove all if not most of the red blood cells as we do not want them to change shape (denature) within your carpet fibres and be stuck within. It is more difficult to discolor iron-based red blood proteins than it is to discolor pale yellow plasma.
Soak the blood stain spill with the vinegar solution and you can see the yellow spot actually disappear. Allow the solution to sit for about 1 minute before blotting it away with a rag. Remember, do not rub. Rather, with a pinching motion, pull the edges of the spill towards the centre and lift. Almost like you are picking up loose cereal pieces rather than a wet mess.
When most of the spill’s liquid is removed, repeat till the stain is gone.
This works great when we simply have blood plasma to deal with. However, if the blood stain is old and the red blood cells have already hardened and changed shape, it can be trickier.
First step is to rehydrate the red blood cells with plain cold water. This takes time so be patient and do not rush it and try to use dish soap, vinegar or other cleaning products. You want to be able to extract as much of the red blood proteins without changing its protein shape.
Soak, wait for a few minutes, pinch inwards and pull the stain out with a rag and repeat. Get as much of the possible then repeat the process with the vinegar solution.
How much of the stain you remove will depend greatly on the type of fibre that your carpet is made of. Natural fibre carpets will readily absorb blood and once within, it can be very difficult to coax back out. It might take several soaks to fully extract so take your time.
You want to prolong this stage of stain removal and get as much out of it as possible to remove as much of the red blood proteins. The yellow plasma of the blood stain will have already been removed.
If the stain remains, that means the iron-rich red blood proteins are firmly bonded to the carpet fibres and need to be oxidized out. This is what most carpet cleaning solutions are made off.
While they work quickly and get results, oxidations actually change the shape and chemical makeup of these proteins to make them water soluble and thus be removable.
The issue is, especially with natural fibres, the protein within the carpet fibres will also be changed and can weaken them. Worse, it can also release the color dyes within the carpet fibres and you can have color run.
Basically you have replaced your blood stain for another “stain” as a discolored carpet.
Which is why you have to be careful with most carpet cleaning solutions and always test on an obscure piece of carpet (like in a closet or corner of a room) to test for color run. and not let it stand on the stain for too long.
If you see slight bubbling as you use the cleaning product, do not let it sit too long as the chemical reaction is quite vigorous. Quickly pinch inwards with a rag and soak the stain with cool clean water to dilute the oxidising cleaner to stop the reaction. The stain should be noticeably lighter.
Check that there is no color run from your carpet. This can be difficult to tell when the carpet is wet so wet a patch of carpet close to the stain to see its natural color when wet for comparison. Repeat as necessary till the blood stain is gone!
If this still does not get the blood stain out and you absolutely need it gone, now is the time to call your local carpet cleaning professionals. And you could get the whole home’s carpet deep cleaned at the same time. Bonus!
At Carpet Cleaning Airdrie Pros, we are passionate about carpet & upholstery cleaning.