If you face a blood spill at your home or business, there are procedures in place to clean up spilled blood (and other bodily fluids) depending in part on whether the spill occurred on a hard or carpeted surface. These procedures exist to keep you and others safe during the cleanup process and to ensure that the cleanup is thorough.

No matter the size of the blood spill, the first step you need to take is to quarantine the area. By this, it is meant you need to demarcate the area and keep others away until the spilled blood fully is cleaned up.

Before launching into a blood spill cleanup, you need to put on what is known as personal protective equipment. In order to optimize your own personal safety, and that of others, you need to always assume that blood is infected with a dangerous disease like HIV, Hepatitis, or MRSA. Proper personal protective equipment you need to wear includes:

  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Protective smock or apron

Cleaning up Blood Spill on a Hard Surface

The first step in cleaning up a blood spill on a hard is to prepare an appropriate disinfectant. If you are a business owner, you may want to purchase commercial chlorine- or iodine-based disinfectant and have it on hand in case of a blood spill.

Preparing a suitable disinfectant is not complicated. You blend 1-part chlorine bleach with 9-parts water.

Cleaning up Small Blood Spills

A small spill is defined as one that consists of 8-ounces of the blood or less. On a hard surface, this is blood that covers an area about the size of a standard dinner plate.

Making sure you are wearing all personal protective gear, gently place absorbent material like paper towels over the spill. Use enough absorbent material, like paper towels, to make sure all of the blood is absorbed.

Leaving the absorbent material in place, gently pour the disinfectant onto the spill area. Let the disinfectant soak the area for 20 to 30 minutes. At this juncture, remove the absorbent materials and place them into a biohazard bag.

Clean the spill area one more time with the disinfectant. You can use paper towels for this purpose. Place the paper towels into a biohazard bag when finished.

Carefully remove personal protective gear. Place disposable gear into the biohazard bag. If you use some gear that is not disposable, you need to make certain that the equipment is properly disinfected. Disposable gear is preferred.

Cleaning up Large Blood Spills

A large spill is defined as one containing over 8-ounces of blood. Make sure you wear appropriate personal protective gear.

Using absorbent material like kitty litter or diatomaceous earth, create a “berm” around the perimeter of the blood spill to prevent it from spreading further. Once the berm is created, slowly pout the absorbent material over the spill area. Work from the berm or edges inward to the center.

When you have thoroughly covered the blood spill area with absorbent material, gently and slowly pour the disinfectant over the entire spill area. Allow the disinfectant to soak in for 20 to 30 minutes.

Carefully place the absorbent material into a biohazard bag. You can accomplish this by using a hand brush and a small dustpan (which will need to be disposed of or thoroughly disinfected). Once this is completed, clean the blood spill area again with the disinfectant.

Carefully remove personal protective gear. Place disposable gear into the biohazard bag. If you use some gear that is not disposable, you need to make certain that the equipment is properly disinfected. Disposable gear is preferred.

Cleaning up Blood Spill on a Carpeted Surface

Using a chlorine disinfectant can damage the carpet. Thus, you need to take a different approach. The key to cleaning up a blood spill on a carpeted surface is to act quickly.

Contain the spill by surrounding it with absorbent material, like paper towels. (These absorbent materials will need to be disposed of in a biohazard bag once you commence the actual cleaning and sanitization process.)

The best course to take when it comes to dealing with spilled blood on carpeting is to use a steam cleaner. This is the surest way to ensure that the area will be sanitized. A recommendation is that you undertake the steam cleaning process twice.

In some commercial settings, carpet squares are used. The surest way to address a blood spill when carpet squares are used is to remove them and place them in a biohazard bag.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services such as biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, infectious disease disinfection and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.