How do I clean the blood stain from my hardwood floors?
July 22, 2007 10:06 PM   Subscribe

I cut my foot pretty severely on a broken glass, and now it looks like someone slaughtered a pig on my hardwood floor. How do I get the blood stains out?

While cleaning this afternoon, I accidentally broke a glass, overbalanced, and stepped on some of the shards with my bare feet... I'm absolutely fine now, it's not even that painful, but I bled pretty profusely from two cuts on my foot for a little while. Once I had patched myself up (and finished lamenting my own stupidity), I tried to clean up. Unfortunately, I live in an old building where the lacquer topcoat for the hardwood floors is all scuffed up, and in places almost gone, so now it looks like my blood kind of soaked into the wood itself. I did my best to clean it (cold water, murphy's oil soap), but it still looks really bad - like something out of a CSI episode.

I have been Googling for cleaning tips, but most everything is how to clean blood from clothing and sofas and things, or places recommending exactly what I did to no effect. Does anyone have experience cleaning blood off wood? Is there something I can do to at least make it less red, so its not so obvious? Would some hydrogen peroxide or bleach help, or do I risk an even bigger stain? Thanks, Hive Mind!!!
posted by gemmy to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
paging scarabic
posted by jourman2 at 10:20 PM on July 22, 2007

I'd try peroxide, but it might bleach the wood (though it sounds like it's pretty well beat already. And if the wood is light it won't be as noticeable.)

If your wood is rather dark, you might just wait a week or so for the blood to oxidize to its final dark color to see how noticeable it really is.
posted by Ookseer at 11:13 PM on July 22, 2007

If you've already cleaned up as much as will come off, leave the stain alone. It won't stay red for long.

Old wooden floors are supposed to have marks. Gives 'em character.
posted by flabdablet at 11:41 PM on July 22, 2007

Cold water, if that doesn't get rid of it, add a bit of peroxide and try that. Obviously you might want to try it out somewhere less visible first to make sure it doesn't have any horrible effects on the wood. Oh, and you'll probably end up with a patch of especially clean floor where the blood was which might look a bit weird.

If all else fails, get a floor sander.

Sources: This, this, this and this.
posted by public at 2:13 AM on July 23, 2007

Best answer: I've heard that oxygen based bleaches are good for getting blood out of clothing. They fizz a lot more, when mixed with water. In the UK, it's called Oxy, in a pink tub. I've no idea about the US though.
posted by Rabulah at 2:36 AM on July 23, 2007

Rabulah's idea regarding the oxygen based cleaner is available in the U.S. This was going to be my suggestion. Also, notice that this is safe for colored clothes or items as well. I would try that on your floor. (We use it for laundry and other random wonders)
posted by NotInTheBox at 5:05 AM on July 23, 2007

FYI- the oxiclean is available at most local grocery stores and pharmacies.
posted by NotInTheBox at 5:06 AM on July 23, 2007

Call or stop by the police station and ask for the name and number of a company that cleans up places after a person has died there. They exist and can probably help you much more than any of us can.

Failing that, I've never had to do this but I'd cover the spot in potato flour for 48 hours to pull the moisture out and then hit your hardware store for pet stain remover which is enzyme based and let that soak into the wood. It should go in easily since the wood is now "thirsty". Now cover in clean potato flour again for 48 hours to pull the moisture out again, and hopefully a lot of the enzyme and blood with it, and repeat as many times as necessary to get a feel for if the enzyme treatment is working.

I'm afraid oxyclean and hydrogen peroxide solutions would oxidize the blood and darken the stain, which could be good or bad depending on the color of the wood I guess. Bleach and ammonia is just nasty DNA killing stuff that'll probably hurt the wood. Start gentle (enzyme) then work your way up the chain to oxidation and then bleach OR ammonia. Don't use both together or even separately on the same spot due to the possibility they'll mix (=death). Ventilate extremely well no matter where you are in this process, even on the enzyme segment.

Follow it all up with a good oiling. Could you let us know how it goes?
posted by jwells at 5:12 AM on July 23, 2007

Mod note: a few comments removed -- knock it off or go to MetaTalk if you have trouble distinguishing wisecracks from helpful comments
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!!

I had never used Oxyclean before, because it seemed like one of those "too good to be true, only works on TV" kind of things, but I picked some up on the way home from work.

Based on the tips here and on the tub, I mixed it with water and used it to dab at a small area of the stain. It fizzed a little, and after some work and extra rinsing it cleaned it up pretty well. I let the cleaned part dry for a bit, and it really faded the red and cleared enough of the stain to be a LOT less noticeable. The rest of the stain did just as well, so that once it's dried out a little more it will be just about the right color!

I marked Rabulah as best answer, because it was the first "Oxy" post. I appreciate all your efforts though! It's good info that I'm sure to use at some point in the future, particularly as I would never have thought of either options (CSI-ish cleaner/pet enzyme cleaner) in jwells answer! :)

I thought I saw a "did you get a tetanus shot?" comment early this morning? It should definitely be a concern for anyone who gets cut deeply like that, so thanks, but I'm still good for another 3 years from my last booster.
posted by gemmy at 4:16 PM on July 23, 2007

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