Is There an Indicator That I Can Use to Detect Blood in a Spill or Residue in My Home or Business?

Odds are at some juncture in your lifetime you will face the prospect of cleaning up a spill, or the residue from spill, and not be entirely certain of its composition. Understanding what composes a spill or residue from a spill is vital in order to embark on the proper course of cleanup. For example, if a spill consists of inorganic material you will take one course and if it is something organic, like blood, you will do something else.

There are also safety issues to keep in mind. You will want to identify the presence of blood in a spill because of the reality that this type of bodily fluid can obtain dangerous pathogens. Blood can contain viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases and conditions like:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • MRSA

Testing for the Presence of Blood

There are specialty chemicals that are used by law enforcement and others designed to detect the presence of blood. If you spend any time watching television or going to movies, you likely have heard about crime scene investigators utilizing something called luminol.

Noting that there are commercial products available on the market that detect the presence of blood, you do not need to access them in order to identify a spill containing blood in your home or business. Rather, you have a simply and highly affordable option to you.

The Hydrogen Peroxide Blood Test

Hydrogen peroxide, which you may already have in your home, can be used as a means of detecting blood. Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is available on the market in different concentrations, the most common being 3 percent and 6 percent. You will want to use the 6 percent derivation when it comes to using hydrogen peroxide as a blood indicator. The 3 percent solution is what is used for health-related purposes.

Hydrogen peroxide is available in spray bottles. Ideally, purchase the solution in this type of bottle. In testing for the presence of blood, applying hydrogen peroxide with a spray bottle is the most effective way of using the solution.

If you’ve never purchased hydrogen peroxide, you will see that it comes in a brown bottle, including a spray bottle. Spray bottles on the market normally are not designed in brown. The brown coloring is important because it limits exposure of the hydrogen peroxide to sunlight. Sunlight exposure can cause hydrogen peroxide to break down into water quickly.

If you end up using a traditional spray bottle by pouring hydrogen peroxide solution into it, don’t save it for future use. Again, the clearer nature of a traditional bottle exposes the solution to light and will cause it to break down into water.

Actually testing for the presence of blood using hydrogen peroxide is easy. With a spray bottle, saturate the area or item believed to be contaminated with blood with “fresh” hydrogen peroxide. If blood is present in a spill, it fizzes.

Some people use this hydrogen peroxide on dried stains or residue as well. If there is blood present in the residue, it may not fizz if it is old. With that said, there is no health danger associated with blood that is thoroughly dried and so old that it doesn’t react with hydrogen peroxide. On the other hand, you won’t be able to rule out the presence of blood in old residue simply because of a lack of fizzing when it comes to needing information about how to clean the stain.

Finally, someone or something died on a hardwood floor, or if something else happened that caused the release or spilling of blood, there may be an issue with blood seeping under the floorboards. Hydrogen peroxide can assist you here as well.

Using the same hydrogen peroxide solution, you can spray it between the boards. One you’ve done that, you can look for fizzing or listen for a fizzing sound as a means of detecting blood.

Cautionary Note

Hydrogen peroxide can alter the color of certain types of items, particularly fabrics. Thus, before using it, you need to make certain that it will not alter the color or otherwise damage the area or item being tested for blood. When you do use hydrogen peroxide as a blood indicator, wipe it off the area or item on which it was applied immediately after the test.