D.I.Y. Remove Blood Stains from Cotton

Kathie Bergquist
Written by Kathie Bergquist

I was in a studio apartment in Prague teaching in a summer abroad program when I woke up to an unpleasant surprise. My period, which is erratic and difficult to predict, arrived overnight and the white cotton sheets I was sleeping on and the white cotton feather bed cover underneath it were blotched with a saucer-sized crimson stain. If I was at home this would be less stressful: I’d simply change the sheets and toss the soiled ones in the wash. However, the linens in this apartment had just been changed by the cleaning service that came once a week. If I didn’t do something about these blood stains, I’d be stuck with them for a week.

white sheets resized

I did what any modern woman would do in this situation. I turned to the Internet, which is how I discovered a nearly miraculous simple home remedy for blood stains on cotton: shampoo.

Here’s how it works.

  • Saturate the stain with shampoo. I used Avalon Organics lavender, but I doubt that matters.
  • Using as much elbow grease as you can muster, scrub the fabric together, hard. Keep scrubbing. Scrub like a scrubby mofo. Scrub!
  • Periodically, rinse the stain with cold water (always cold water! NEVER hot water. Hot water will set the stain).
  • Add more shampoo and begin the scrubbing process again.
  • Repeat the rinse and scrub steps until the stain disappears. This may take a while (20 minutes), but keep the faith and keep scrubbing.
  • Watch with wonder as the stain fades and fades and fades until it vanishes before your very eyes. In the case of these cotton sheets, the stain completely disappeared. There was not even a trace.
  • When you have a chance to launder the cotton, make sure you do so in cold water (it’s better for the environment, anyway).

There you have it! A simple home remedy to save your cotton linens and clothes from dingy, ugly stains.

You’re welcome!

P.S. Remember the key: scrub! Also, only cold water!

About the author

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ms. Fit Mag. She teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago and edited of the anthology. "Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast" and is co-author of "A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago." Pulled reluctantly into a fitness lifestyle by her wife and partner of many years, Bergquist is now a runner, a boot camper, and a yogini.


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