OSEA Safety Blog

How to Properly Clean Blood Off Surfaces

Friday, January 26, 2018 Sean Somerville

Bloodborne pathogens (BBP) are transmitted when blood or bodily fluid from an infected person enters another. Not everyone knows they have been infected with a BBP, so the key is to treat all circumstances as they have a life-threatening illness. Along with potential infection, blood can be hard to clean because it can bind to fabrics or porous materials. Often, just because a stain looks clean, doesn’t mean that it really is.

How to clean non-carpeted surfaces?

Cleaning blood off a hard, non-carpeted surface is easier than cleaning a rug, but precautions must be taken. After putting on disposable gloves, wipe up as much of the surface as you can before applying bleach to the infected area. Disinfect all non-disposable cleaning materials used as well. Double bag and tie tight the garbage bag with your gloves inside. Wash your hands thoroughly after. Any furniture that is made of metal or wood should be treated with the same precautions.

How to clean carpeted surfaces?

On a carpet, bleach and other decontamination products can ruin it, so the best way to treat the area is to use carpet shampoos and cleaners. Choose a product with some anti-microbial properties to help sanitize as much as possible. Depending on the size of the spill, you may choose to steam clean the area. Steam cleaning is the best way to protect against bloodborne pathogens. If there is blood on any cloth furniture, the same precautions should be taken.

There’s blood in the pool!

Don’t panic! There’s no action required other than attending to the injured person and ensure that they don’t infect anywhere else. Properly maintained pools contain enough chlorine to kill any BBP. The germs do not survive long enough when diluted into a chlorinated pool. There’s no public health reason to recommend closing the pool after a spill.

Blood outdoors?

Cleaning blood out of grass is difficult but the area should still be disinfected as much as possible with a disinfectant like bleach and thoroughly rinsed with water. Block off the contaminated area and move the outdoor activity elsewhere. Be sure to wear appropriate protective equipment and dispose of properly after cleanup.

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