⋅Blood Spills: When Can I Clean Them Myself?⋅

According to OSHA and the CDC, all bodily fluids are potentially contaminated with blood-borne pathogens: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Federal regulations state that all bodily fluids are considered bio-hazards because blood may carry the deadly HIV or Hepatitis pathogens for which there is no cure. For more information on these deadly diseases, please see our blog entitled The Dangers of Blood-borne Pathogens Explained.

So when is it safe to clean up blood spills or other bodily fluids yourself?

There is no specific answer to this question. We recommend that you attempt to clean up blood spills yourself only under these conditions:

  • The amount of blood is small enough that you can clean it by yourself with a few sheets of paper towel very quickly. Remember, the longer you are in contact with blood-borne pathogens and the chemicals used to kill them, the higher the risk of permeation to your protective clothing.
  • There are no sharps (anything with sharp edges, such as broken glass, razors, knives, needles) in the area.
    • If you find a sharp in the area, NEVER touch it with your bare hands. If it is contaminated, it will contaminate you if it breaks your skin. The FDA recommends that you call your local health department to find out what the local guidelines are for safely disposing of contaminated sharps.
    • If you find a sharp, the best option is to call a professional cleaning company like Advanced Bio Treatment.
  • There is no body tissue present.
  • The blood has not dried or congealed, which requires special enzymes to remove.
  • The blood has not deeply soaked a carpet because the padding and subflooring underneath may need replacing. Also, you cannot disinfect a carpet with bleach.
  • The blood is not on a wood floor because it can seep through the cracks and require special cleaning tools.
  • The blood is only on a surface that you can disinfect with chlorine bleach.

What precautions should you take to protect yourself and others?

  • Wear gloves, a mask, long sleeves, pants, and goggles to protect your skin, eyes, nose, and mouth from contamination from blood spills and bodily fluids. Blood-borne pathogens enter the body easily through the mucous membranes on your face and through any open abrasions on your skin. One tiny drop of blood on a mucous membrane or open abrasion can infect you with a deadly disease.
  • Wear other clothing underneath the exposed clothing for further protection and also in case you must remove the outer clothing due to contamination.
  • Block the area so that no one can enter until you have completed the cleanup.
  • Sop up any blood spills with paper towels or other absorbent material.
  • Place the paper towels in a plastic garbage bag.
  • If you use sponges or mops that you don’t want to dispose of, disinfect them by allowing them to soak in a chlorine bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. They should soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • After the blood is cleaned, disinfect every surface contaminated with blood by wiping the surface using paper towels and a bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water). Allow the bleach solution to remain on the surface for at least 20 minutes.
  • Place the paper towels in the plastic garbage bag.
  • Make sure that no blood is on your shoes or outer clothing before you move to an unaffected area. Otherwise, you risk cross-contamination of the other area. If any clothing is contaminated, remove it and place it in a plastic garbage bag. Wash contaminated clothing by itself in a bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water).
  • When you’re finished, dispose of the gloves by placing them in the garbage bag and sealing the bag.

When in doubt, Advanced Bio Treatment suggests you take no chances with your health or the health of others. We are available around the clock every day of the year. Call us at 800-295-1684 for a free estimate and a quick response time.

Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment