How to remove stains and blood from white shirts

Updated March 23, 2017

Nosebleeds, spilt wine or spaghetti sauce may cause you to toss out an otherwise perfect white shirt. However, if you act quickly, you may be able to salvage the stained clothing. A bloodstain, for example, is largely made up of iron. Because of this, it practically bonds to fabric almost instantaneously. If not treated correctly and before the stain sets, the shirt will be ruined forever.

Submerge the shirt in a bucket of cold water. Cold water helps prevent the stain from setting as well as dilute the stain. Hot water causes the protein in blood and the grease in food to adhere to the fabric, which causes the stain to set faster. Allow the shirt to soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Mix a teaspoon each of cornstarch, cornmeal and talcum powder in a bowl. Rub the mixture onto the stain. Wait for the paste to dry and brush it off with a small scrub brush. If the stain is still present, move on to Step 3. If the stain is no longer present, wash the shirt with a mild detergent in cold water, and then air-dry.

Blot the stain with a light-coloured towel soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Use a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide instead of an older bottle, because the solution loses its potency after time. Continue blotting the shirt until the stain fades away. Wash the shirt with a mild detergent in cold water, and then air-dry.


Blotting the stain with a dark-coloured towel may cause the colours in the towel to bleed onto the white shirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Cold water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon or mixing wand
  • Cornstarch
  • Cornmeal
  • Talcum
  • Small scrub brush
  • Light-coloured towel
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Mild detergent
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About the Author

Based in Chicago, Kenyonda Bradley has been writing for online publications since 2008. With more than 10 years of experience as a hairstylist, she is also studying to become an elementary school teacher.