Can You Use Bleach to Cleanup Blood?

If you face a situation in your home or elsewhere in which you need to cleanup blood, you may have some basic questions about the process. One such question is likely to be can you use bleach to safely and effectively cleanup blood? As is oftentimes the case, the answer to this question is not a definitive yes or no. There are some factors that come into play in regard to the use of bleach to cleanup blood.

Blood Cleanup with Bleach on a Hard, Non-Absorbent Surface

A primary consideration in using bleach to cleanup blood involves the type of surface where the blood is found. In simple terms, you need to contemplate the use of bleach on a particular surface in much the same way you would consider its use when doing laundry. Bleach has the power to permanently alter the color of an item in which it comes into contact. You certainly don’t want to damage permanently the coloration of any item in the process of cleaning up a blood spill.

Bleach typically is suitable when blood cleanup is necessary on a hard, non-absorbent surface. Examples of these types of surfaces include:

  • Tile
  • Ceramic
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Cement

In order to make absolutely certain that a bleach mixture will not damage a surface, you are wise to test it on a tiny portion of the material on a spot that is not easily seen.

Generally speaking, blood cleanup on a hard, non-absorbent surface is easier than is the case with a surface that is porous or absorbent by design. (These types of surfaces are discussed later in this article.)

Safety When Cleaning Up Blood

There are safety issues involved in cleaning up blood. Blood, and other bodily fluids, can contain potentially hazardous pathogens. These biohazards can include dangerous viruses of bacteria. For example, blood can contain:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • MRSA

Before you take any step to cleanup up blood with bleach, you much make certain that you have proper protective gear. When cleaning up blood, you need to use:

  • Goggles
  • Face mask
  • Disposable gloves
  • Smock or apron

There are limitations when it comes to the amount of blood you should elect to cleanup on your own. If a blood spill is over 8-ounces, you should seek the assistance of a biohazard remediation professional. 8-ounces equates to an amount of blood that is larger than the average dinner plate. Safety and ensuring that a blood spill thoroughly is cleaned up are the underlying reasons for seeking professional assistance when it comes to a spill over the size of a dinner plate.

Preparing a Suitable Bleach Mixture for Blood Cleanup

You do not want to utilize straight bleach to cleanup blood. The ideal bleach-based solution for cleaning up blood includes water. The ratio of the solution should be 1-part bleach to 9-parts water.

Applying the Bleach Mixture to a Blood Spill

A practical technique for applying the bleach solution you’ve created is to pour it into a spray bottle. Once in a spray bottle, saturate the blood spill thoroughly.

Allow the bleach to soak in for between 20 and 30 minutes. When that time period expires, wipe up the bleach solution and blood using some type of absorbent material. (See directions later in this article about how to properly dispose of items utilized in cleaning up blood.)

Once you have physically cleaned up the blood spill, spray the surface where the blood spilled a second time with the bleach and water solution. Allow the bleach mixture to remain in place for about 20 minutes and then wipe up the solution. Depending on where the surface being mitigated is located, you can also allow the bleach mixture to dry. This second step is taken to be positively certain that any dangerous pathogens that might be in the blood are eradicated.

Blood Cleanup on an Absorbent Surface

Bleach is nearly never going to be suitable when it comes to an absorbent surface, including such things as fabrics and carpeting. Even a 1 to 9 water to bleach solution can cause permanent damage to these types of items.

In these cases, steam cleaning or the utilization of cleaning products that contain an anti-bacterial agent are the best options. You might want to consider undertaking the steam cleaning or shampooing process twice to better ensure that any dangerous substances that may have been in the blood are eradicated as best as possible.

Disposing of Cleaning Materials

When you have completed the cleaning process, you need to take care in regard to how items used in cleaning up a blood spill are disposed. Ideally, all such items (including items used to wipe up the bleach solution and blood as well as gloves) are placed in a proper biohazard container. The container is then disposed of properly and not placed into regular garbage.