I haven't tried anything, because I have had the "faded blot" experience where the cleaner removes a little of the stain but makes the rest impossible to get off. Are there any products or tricks that can that remove blood stains from shoes? I'm hoping to avoid stain removers that will not discolor the shoes.

  • Be aware that a general stain remover doesn't exist, as the different (chemical) origins of stains have different bases and as such can't have a general cure. In that respect is this question too broad, so please tune in your question towards the blood stain on the sneakers, and ask or search for other specific cleaning methods when the problem arises.
    – holroy
    Jul 14, 2015 at 8:09
  • For some perspective on this problem: goodreads.com/quotes/… and youtu.be/MY-VPcEZFEk?t=59
    – Gdalya
    Sep 2, 2019 at 18:20

7 Answers 7


In reference to removing blood, I've had good luck with hydrogen peroxide. This might need to be done while the blood is fresh though, I have only done it with fresh blood. Just pour a good amount on the blood, let it finish bubbling, blot the liquid up and repeat as necessary.

Warning: I don't remember if I've done this with colored fabrics so there is a possibility of bleaching the color out by doing this. I would test on an inconspicuous area first.

  • 3
    You sir, sound like an axe murderer
    – Aron
    Jul 14, 2015 at 14:39
  • I've used hydrogen peroxide to remove blood from colored fabric without fading a day or two after the fact. In order to do it without bleaching, add directly to the blood and rinse using water after about 30 seconds. You will probably have to repeat, but I've done it several times without fading. There may be better ways, and I suspect that the water actually slows down the process (fewer bubbles on additional treatments, though that may just be from less blood), but it has worked for me.
    – Coder-guy
    Jul 14, 2015 at 19:22
  • Yes. This worked with a towel used for a nosebleed. Even though the blood stain was dry, undiluted 10% hydrogen peroxide removed it without affecting the coloured towel. Magic! All I did was pour some directly on the stain from the bottle and let it work.
    – Stan
    Feb 28, 2017 at 16:44
  • Most anytime I get blood on anything, hydrogen peroxide is usually my best bet. But I think it might depend on the material of the shoe. Oct 31, 2023 at 16:34

Right after you get blood on your shoes, immediately begin trying to get the stains off. No matter what method you try, that will greatly improve the chances of it working effectively, especially with the method that I typically use and will mention here. To do this, soak your shoes in cold salt water for 1-2 hours. The time can vary, but usually it will it will be somewhere in that time frame. After it soaks, you may want to scrub the stain a bit with some soap or laundry detergent. If you can't get it just by scrubbing, you can also throw it into washing machine, then into the dryer.

  • But what would that do to the colors of the sneakers?
    – Shokhet
    Jul 15, 2015 at 13:11
  • @Shokhet I have found that this method does not discolor sneakers or other types of clothes. It is much safer than most chemical products.
    – michaelpri
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:24
  • I'll take your word for it :-) ... Never tried this, myself
    – Shokhet
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:29

No hack answer this, but there's only one thing that might work well - Vanish, the powder stuff in a container that you mix with water in the right ratio. Drop the sneakers into the solution and soak for six hours, then run them through the washing machine. Only suitable if your trainers can be put through such a process though... but this seems to get out the most resistant stains except for rust. You can only do this if the sneakers are not leather, and the eyelets for the lace holes aren't made of metal.

Otherwise, Vanish Gold might do it - never tried it personally - that's a liquid and you apply it direct to the stain, rub it in with the cap for a while, then put through the wash.

  • where I live, Vanish is toilet cleaner. What's the chemical in the Vanish where you live (and/or where do you live?) Jul 15, 2015 at 13:51
  • Oh dear! Certainly don't mean toilet cleanser - I'm in the UK. Its called Vanish Oxi Action fabric stain remover (the powder in the container) marketed by Reckitt Benckiser - they have a website www.vanish.co.uk, don't think it'll show as a link under a comment
    – Bamboo
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:18
  • This sounds similar to what is sold here in the US generally as "color safe bleach" under several brand names including Chlorox2 and OxiClean. I forget the actual chemical and I'm on mobile so it's difficult for me to look it up.
    – briantist
    Jul 16, 2015 at 1:14
  • @briantist Having looked at both, OxiClean appears to be the same thing as Vanish Oxi Action in the UK.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 16, 2015 at 10:08

I use cream of tartar (from the spice aisle) for blood. Make sure you don't wash the stain with hot or warm water first.

Wet the spot with cold water, sprinkle on some cream of tartar, rub it in, let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then, without rinsing, do some scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Then continue scrubbing while rinsing under a stream of cold water.

I'm not so sure this next idea will help, but as a second step, you could try the following, which is popular in Mexico for general spot removal on white fabric: squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice on the spot, and put the article in the sun for a few hours. Then wash and rinse well.

As a final step, the shoe cleaning aisle in a store will have some white liquid stuff designed to put on white leather shoes, and you could try a dab of that to even out the color.

  • It's worth noting that cream of tartar and lemon or lime juices are all acids, so it's likely they work similarly to each other and to other weak acids.
    – briantist
    Jul 16, 2015 at 1:11
  • I don't know why, but cream of tartar has worked better for me than anything else I've tried. Jul 16, 2015 at 14:56
  • I just meant that it might work in similar way, chemically. Not trying to refute it. The fact that it's a powder might help with that, in that it may keep more contact with the stain for longer.
    – briantist
    Jul 16, 2015 at 15:31
  • @briantist, maybe so, also maybe there's an abrasive effect. Jul 18, 2015 at 2:43

When I was a professional costume builder, there were countless times that my finger got stabbed, resulting in drops of blood on the costume.

In several Canadian costume shops I've worked in, the common solution was to put a small wad of cotton thread in your mouth until it is wet and then dab the blood spot with it until the blood disappears. This is to be done immediately before the blood has too much of a chance to dry and "set".

It is said that there is an enzyme in your saliva that will react with your blood to remove it (can't use your saliva with anyone else's blood though).

I looked it up online many years later and didn't find any scientific corroboration with the concept. The theatre is an environment that is very steeped in tradition and superstition so there may be some truth to the idea or it could be a myth made up to to discourage stitchers from wasting a lot of time getting up to wash costumes with multiple products several times a day.

However, I have also noticed, from personal experience, that this method works better than using water. Maybe it works well because you are addressing the problem a lot faster than if you got up and walked over to a sink?


This reply is specific to Nike Air Max 90s, all white leather with a mesh upper front / toe area. A Dried in blood stain on the mesh front of a pair of box fresh spanking white shoes. Dont Panic! The mesh is plastic/polyester and wont stain. 4 hours after incident on a 30 degree hot day. My son laughed and said I might as well throw them away! I simply held a paper towel on the inside and gently scrubbed with cold water in circular motions so the toothbrush penetrated through the mesh. It removed 99% of the blood stain and a faint mark was left on the mesh. The leather wiped clean and the stitching seems to have lost any redness. I went back after 30mins and couldnt tell which shoe was stained, I had to check which one was damp inside. Moral of the story, check what material the blood stain is on! It may not be game over....


Magic erasers (melamine sponge) abrade material, have been recommended for shoes.

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