The best way to remove semen stains

You may have been taught to use distilled white vinegar to wash your windows or bicarbonate of soda to clean burnt-on pans, but it’s less likely that you were taught how to deal with this stain.

Accidents happen, and with all stains, the sooner you tackle it, the better the chance of getting it out. Here’s how to remove semen stains from your bedsheets, clothes and carpet.

On washable fabrics

For most fabrics, washing immediately with a biological detergent will be enough to remove the semen and prevent staining.

Alternatively, fresh stains are usually removed easily by rinsing with cold water. It’s important to use cold water because higher temperatures can coagulate the protein in semen and set it into the fabric fibres, causing a permanent stain.

If the stains are old or crusted and on any fabric other than silk or wool, remove any dry matter first with a soft brush, then steep in an enzyme-based pre-soaking agent before laundering as normal, preferably with a biological washing detergent.

On silk and wool

For both new and old stains on silk and wool, the best course of action is to make up a pre-soaking solution of water containing a detergent for delicates (check the label for dosage) and leave to soak before washing as normal.

On carpet

In most cases semen stains on carpet should come out easily, but it’s best to act fast and clean the stain before it dries.

  1. Sponge the affected area with a cool water and detergent solution.
  2. Repeat using plain water to remove any detergent, then blot with dry paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Leave to dry naturally. If any powdery, dry matter remains, use a soft brush to remove it and vacuum the area thoroughly.

If the semen has dried on, don’t panic! Use a soft brush to loosen any dried residue before vacuuming, then follow the same steps for cleaning fresh stains.

On mattresses

A mattress is a pretty big investment, so if semen does find it’s way onto there, you’ll want to deal with the problem as quickly as you can to avoid a long-term stain.

A good quality mattress protector will help avoid this, but if a stain has seeped through the sheets on to the mattress, the area can be spot cleaned.

  1. Use a damp sponge or cloth to dab the stain with cold water, then spot clean with a stain remover for upholstery or alternatively a weak detergent solution can be used.
  2. Gently sponge with water to remove any detergent residues, but it’s important to avoid over-wetting the mattress.
  3. Blot dry as much as possible and allow to air dry completely before making the bed

On upholstery

Upholstery fabrics are very varied and it’s best to follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean stains from your sofa or chairs.

  1. As a general rule, use cold water and blot the stain gently.
  2. If the stain doesn’t shift, use a weak detergent solution or a spray upholstery cleaner but always test in an inconspicuous area first to check for colour fastness.
  3. Avoid over-wetting upholstery and blot dry to remove as much moisture as possible.

If the stain is dried on, use a soft brush to remove any dried matter before treating as above.

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