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How to Remove Blood Stains from a Mattress

Removing blood from a mattress sounds gross, but it's gotta get done. Here's how.

How to Remove Blood Stains from a Mattress

cleaning company cleans the mattress. General cleaning of the mattress.

Whether it's nose bleeds, cuts or unexpected first periods, sometimes kids' mattresses get stained with what seems like impossible-to-remove blood. We chatted with cleaning experts to find out how to remove blood stains from mattress casings and make them look brand new.

How to remove blood stains from a mattress

It's important to treat blood stains on a mattress (or anywhere else) quickly. That's because the rich pigments coming from our red blood cells leave nearly impossible-to-remove stains when they hit porous fibers. If you have a waterproof toddler mattress or crib mattress, there's a good chance it's encased in a plastic-like material that repels fluids.

Adult and bigger kid beds, especially trendy memory foam styles like the Helix Kids Mattress, tend to be encased in porous materials like cotton or wool. These cozy fabrics are especially prone to lasting blood stains, so it's important to treat them immediately if possible. Fresh blood is easier to clean.

"You can use white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains from mattresses," explains Marla Mock, president of Molly Maid and a cleaning expert with years of stain expertise.

How to remove blood stains from a mattress with vinegar

"If you’re using white vinegar, pour a small amount directly onto the stained area," says Mock. "Let the vinegar soak in for about 10 minutes. Then, blot the area dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Repeat the steps if the stain is not yet removed. To get rid of the vinegar smell afterwards, blot area with a wet towel."

Then let it air dry. This stain-removing method also works on mattress toppers.

How to remove blood stains from a mattress with peroxide

"If you choose to use 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains from mattress casings, pour a small amount directly onto the stained area. The blood stain will foam up on contact with the hydrogen peroxide. Blot the foam away with a cold, wet towel and let the area sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat the steps if necessary."

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Again, air drying is important and you should always blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth rather than rubbing it into the mattress. This cleaning method isn't supposed to mimic a meat tenderizer's aggression. Think soft, slow and calculated movements.

Tools you'll need

  • 3% peroxide: This specific formula is different from the brown-bottle drugstore peroxides we all have in our medicine cabinets. It's far more concentrated and works harder at removing the peskiest stains, though the regular bottled stuff works in a pinch.
  • Distilled white vinegar: Don't use your good ACV or fancy red wine vinegars—they'll leave more stains. Use the old-fashioned distilled, cheap white stuff that comes out clear.
  • And in the future, it's probably a good idea to invest in an affordable, crinkle-free mattress protector. We like this cooling, breathable mattress protector that comes in a variety of sizes.
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Additional tips for removing blood stains from mattresses

  • If you notice a lingering smell after using either white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to remove the blood stains, you can deodorize the mattress by sprinkling a bit of baking soda on the treated area once it has dried completely. The baking soda will eliminate any smells. After 15 minutes, use a vacuum with a crevice attachment to remove the baking soda.
  • Or, consider using a stain-fighting wet vacuum like the Bissell Little Green Machine. It makes cleaning up vinegar and hydrogen peroxide residue a breeze. It works just as well on luxury mattresses as it does on affordable Walmart twin mattresses for your kid's top bunk. Plus, you can add your vinegar or peroxide solution directly to its tank and let it both pre-treat, soak and remove the blood stains all at once.

Why does blood stain so bad, anyway?

Blood stains are organic and full of a rich combination of proteins that bind together. When proteins are heated (you know, like being in warm blood) they bind together even more tightly—and this is what makes blood so difficult to get out of mattresses, clothes and porous surfaces in general.

It's also why it's so important to only use cool water and cleaning fluids to treat blood stains and help with breaking down the proteins. Oh, and never throw blood-stained items into a washing machine with warm or hot water. It just won't work when you're cleaning blood, and could even make matters worse.

Plus, blood is full of pigment-rich hemoglobin and other coagulants that are designed to bind when exposed to air. That's why we get scabs when we bleed and why blood clings to any fabric it touches for dear life.

And if you've got blood stains with even more protein in them, expect to use more intense stain removal methods. Those proteins are a chore to break up unless you've got all the right gear.

Is period blood harder to clean from a mattress?

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Period blood looks pretty similar to regular blood—and that's because it is. It is made of the same blood that pulses through your veins or drips out of your nose when the air gets too dry, only with the addition of an endometrium lining. That's the lining that coats a uterus and is released in bits, typically every month.

The color and consistency of period blood can vary a bit from typical blood for this reason. And, as a result, all that added protein can make the stains a bit harder to remove than a few drops from a standard nosebleed. Consider using one of the best pads for a heavy flow before heading to sleep, and if that's not enough—move on to stain removal.

A protein-dissolving stain remover we love:

Carbona Blood Stain Remover #4

carbona blood stain remover #4, how to remove blood stains from a mattress Merchant

This hard-working stain remover was formulated with protein-rich stains in mind. It breaks up baby formula, eggs, ice cream and yes—period blood. Each concentrated bottle offers more than enough product to treat an entire mattress, so be sure to use just a few drops at a time on moderately sized stains.

Plus, it's safe for almost every type of fabric and mattress out there. Apply a little and then try using the spray and steam functions on your handheld upholstery vacuum to make the most of this product.

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This article was originally published on Apr 26, 2023

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