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November 29, 2012 1:14 PM   Subscribe

How to get blood out of a sweater (silk/cotton/cashmere blend)?

My husband was in a bike accident this morning and got blood on his clothes including a sweater which is a Banana Republic Silk Cotton Cashmere blend. It is 58$ silk, 38% cotton, and 4% cashmere per the tag, and I really don't want to mess up again today.

Normally on blood stained clothes I would use peroxide, but I think this might be too delicate, but I'm certainly not the stain removal expert. Any help would be appreciated. His bike got mangled (as did his face), and he broke his sunglasses and tore his jacket. The least I can do is save his sweater.
posted by hrj to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The last time I needed to get blood out of cotton (or poly-cotton), it came out easy with just cold water and shampoo plus some rubbing/scrubbing with fingertips and another part of the fabric. I found the solution with google, and many pages said to always use cold water--never hot--because hot water (for lack of better words) esssentially cooks the blood into the fabric. It worked even though the stain had set in for a few days.

So try cold water and shampoo first with a lot of gentle fingertip/fabric scrubbing.
posted by K.P. at 1:20 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nthing cold water.

For a soap/detergent: look for a brand of bar soap called "Fels-Naptha" or a brand called "Octagon". You can find one or the other, if not both, in most supermarkets by the soap. That stuff is amazing for getting out blood stains; I've gotten out old stains in clothing after they'd been dried and set in for a few days. Test it on some part of the sweater first to make sure it won't do anything untoward, but it probably won't -- wet the stain, rub it in, then scrub a little. (Scrub kind of gently in this case; the cashmere percentage is low, but it's still present.) Then rinse. You may need to repeat a few times.

Then once the stain's out go ahead and wash the whole thing the way you would ordinarily.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2012


I would hie thee to a dry cleaner for that fabric.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:38 PM on November 29, 2012


Cold water first. That should do it. If not, dry cleaner.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:48 PM on November 29, 2012


Dry cleaner - or cold water and Shout spray, handwashed. Soak for as long as need, keep reapplying the shout and letting it sit. Agitate the area gently but don't rub - it will pill. Lay flat to dry. You can try this first and if it doesn't work, then take it to the dry cleaner.

Hope your husband is okay.
posted by amaire at 1:50 PM on November 29, 2012


Thanks all -- I have it soaking in cold water with baby shampoo as that is what I normally use to clean the sweater. I tried to put a little soap directly on the stain.

I will report back.

And my husband is ok -- banged up and a little out of it (always wear a helmet -- he was only going a little over a mile and ended up unconscious!)
posted by hrj at 1:52 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille liquid soap gets blood out every time for me. I start by dribbling a little on the stain, then adding a little cold water and then briskly rubbing the fabric, adding more cold water as I go. If it doesn't disappear in one go, another typically does the trick.
posted by nanook at 2:36 PM on November 29, 2012


Nothing gets blood out of fabric like hydrogen peroxide. Just pour it on the blood and it begins foaming up, then wash like normal. I learned that tip from a lady who works in a hemodialysis center.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:47 PM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing gets blood out of fabric like hydrogen peroxide. Just pour it on the blood and it begins foaming up, then wash like normal. I learned that tip from a lady who works in a hemodialysis center.

This is correct, and I'm fairly sure hydrogen peroxide won't damage the material (but check for colorfastness). It works like a charm.
posted by pullayup at 3:10 PM on November 29, 2012


I would continue to soak in cold water, then do peroxide. I used it on a cashmere sweater years ago and I remember it worked fine. I believe I diluted it and applied in stages.
posted by pearlybob at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2012


So there's an enzyme in saliva that will break down blood and make it easier to remove. One's own spit works best, so though it's gross, maybe have your husband spit on the stains and rub it in gently? Then I'd wash the sweater in cold water.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:42 PM on November 29, 2012


Late to reply here, but my go-to for getting blood out is Clorox Two. A little directly onto the stain and you can see it foam up as it reacts with the proteins (or something, I'm no chemist or biologist). Knead in a little with your fingers, rinse with cold water, then repeat as needed until it is out. I've used this approach on cotton and wool, no problem.
Glad to hear your husband is ok!
posted by msbubbaclees at 7:43 PM on November 29, 2012


foam up as it reacts with the proteins (or something, I'm no chemist or biologist)

You're exactly right! Clorox Two contains hydrogen peroxide, and one of the proteins in blood is catalase, an enzyme which catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. The bubbles you see are oxygen.
posted by pullayup at 10:15 PM on November 29, 2012


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