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16 Sep 2021

What's the easiest way to remove bloodstains?

Thanks to our recent tests, we've uncovered a cheap stain remover that gets dried blood out of fabric quickly and easily

Dried blood is one of the trickiest stains to deal with, as we found when testing nine fabric stain remover products from brands, including Astonish, Dr Beckmann, HG and Shout.

We also tried a number of cheap home remedies, including baking soda, lemon juice, washing-up liquid, white vinegar, salt and meat tenderiser powder.

Find out which low-cost stain remover blew all of the others out of the water when it comes to tackling dried bloodstains.

Discover the best branded fabric stain removers that can remove red wine, curry, tomato ketchup and melted chocolate stains

How to remove bloodstains

During our investigation, we found repeated suggestions of using meat tenderiser powder to get rid of bloodstains.

So we included it in our home remedy tests and were astonished by the results.

While most of the branded products had no issue with bloodstains on wool blend fabric, many struggled to remove it from the cotton blend material.

Meat tenderiser powder was easily the most effective product we tested for bloodstain removal.

It's also worth noting the powder usually costs £1.68, while the average cost of the commercial products we tested was £5.95.

What is meat tenderiser powder?

Not to be confused with the kitchen mallet of the same name, meat tenderiser or meat tenderiser powder is an ingredient containing papain from the papaya fruit, which naturally aids in the tenderising of meat by breaking down the proteins.

This not only gives you a more tender steak, but also can be used to break down protein-based stains such as blood or vomit.

How to use meat tenderiser powder to remove a bloodstain

Using a cloth or sponge, dampen the stain with water. Apply the powder, leave for 30 minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth.

If any of the stain remains, repeat the process or put it through the washing machine.

Where can I get meat tenderiser powder?

Meat tenderiser powder should be available in the world food aisle of any well-stocked large supermarket or in specialist Middle Eastern or South Asian supermarkets.

In our tests, we used this meat tenderiser powder from Amazon.

What other home remedies can remove blood stains?

As well as meat tenderiser powder, we also tested baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda), lemon juice, washing-up liquid and white vinegar as home remedies.

The table below shows how many cleaning attempts each needed to remove blood from the two types of fabrics.

Home remedyAttempts needed to clean bloodstain from wool blend fabricAttempts needed to clean bloodstain from cotton blend fabric
Meat tenderiser powder12
Baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda)12
Washing-up liquid13
Lemon juice23
White vinegar14
Find out how to use each of the home remedy stain removers we tried and how well they work.

How we tested fabric stain removers and home remedies

How we tested fabric stain removers and home remed

To test the commercial products and home remedies, we used wool blend and cotton blend fabrics.

We stained each type of fabric with red wine, curry sauce, tomato ketchup, chocolate and beef blood, and left each stain to dry for 10 hours before cleaning them.


Each product and home remedy had up to five chances to remove the stain. The more attempts it needed the worse it was considered to have done.

Odour, bleaching and the texture of the fabric

Once the stain had been removed, our researchers considered the condition of the fabric.

We checked the texture and odour of the fabric, comparing it with unstained areas and looked for any signs of bleaching.

Read our guide to cleaning your sofa to help you keep it looking fresh