The Blood Stain / Peroxide Trick

I don’t know how the bio / infection control specialists in the room are going to feel about this little bit of advice, but I learned this many years ago and I don’t seem to throw away nearly as many uniforms¬†as I did before I added this trick to my repertoire.

So you run that bloody call and you walk out of the hospital room and survey the damage. Blood on your pants. Blood on your uniform shirt. Blood in your hair…how did that get there?

It’s major bio-cleanup time.

The shirt comes off. Next it’s a good scrub of the arms, hands, face. (Hair?) The pants will have to stay for now. But wait! Before you bag that uniform shirt up, grab the hydrogen peroxide out of the back of the rig and pour it on every blood stain. Hit the pants too. Pour it right on.

I’ve found that if I can keep peroxide on the blood stains until they hit the washing machine,¬†most stains will disappear completely. I have noticed some minor fading of the color on my blue uniform shirts where I’ve applied the peroxide, but never the pants. Voila. Blood gone and one less uniform requisition form to fill out.

Now go wash your hair. (Not with peroxide.)

What about you?: Do you have any good bio cleanup advice? What’s your favorite cleanup trick?

Read more of the goodness:

The Art of Using trauma Shears

The Art of The Nasopharyngeal Airway

Remembering The Glasgow Coma Score

Six Techniques to Nail The IV Every Time

The S.O.A.P. Reporting Breakthrough

Comments

  1. Good advice. I have never tried it on my blue shirts, but used it on the white ones for years. Worked great and the white never faded once! ;-)

  2. Bruce Saunders says:

    I’ve been doing the same thing with peroxide for over 10 years now, and keep passing the tip on whenever I can. It doesn’t have to be a strong solution either- the 3% solution works just fine, and doesn’t bleach out colours in most cases.
    Just about the worst thing to try with blood stains is using hot water- it seems to fix them in!

  3. Hey, I’ve been using that trick for a couple years. I love it. The only caveat I would give is, if you use peroxide on a light colored shirt, the stain’s not too bad and you’re tempted to put it back on, don’t do it – if it gets exposed it to sunlight, it’ll turn your shirt yellow. I learned that the hard way. Thanks for the tip, I love your blog!

  4. Tammy K says:

    That is a great tip. I have been using it for some time now. Recently we had a suicide attempt via gunshot to the head. A bloody mess to say the least. After cleaning our cot, we used the peroxide trick to find spots on our cot that needed more scrubbing. The peroxide bubbled on any blood spots. Works Great! Love your blog!

  5. Steve Whitehead says:

    @Tim, I started on a white shirt too. But never had to much trouble with colors. I’ve never noticed any fading on pants. I think the medical stuff is just to weak to bleach.

    @Bruce Ew yeah, Hot water is bad juju for any stain.

    @MichaGray I’ve seen that too. Thanks for the heads-up.

    @TammyK What a great idea. Thanks.

  6. Cathrine says:

    Ok, so a couple things, one, I didn’t learn this trick til I started working in the hospital, works great on scrubs. second, as for not using peroxide to get the blood outta your hair, one of the docs/PA’s had me clean up a lady who had a lac to the head, in her hair, so lots of blood, all dried up, stickied on. Anyways, he recommended the blood shampoo, which was peroxide mixed with some sterile water or saline. you go about 1:2, or more, so that the peroxide doesn’t burn, and it comes pretty much right out, just like it comes out of the uniforms. Now I would only recommend this as a temporary fix, until you can get home and shower, but it can work.
    As for the person that said don’t use hot water, well no, but cold water (and some soap) does wonders at getting out blood too, just requires a bit more scrubbing then the peroxide. Besides, a bit of peroxide is nice to make sure you got it all though :)

  7. Casey Snyder says:

    Skip the peroxide altogether. The most simple and effective way to avoid setting a blood stain? Throw the clothes in the washer and set it to COLD water. Not warm, not hot, COLD is the key. This keeps the actual red blood cell from lysing. The cells remain whole/intact.

    Let the cold cycle complete, then launder as normal. No more having to track down some H2O2 or risk it bleaching your precious threads. :-)

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  1. [...] be every bit as interesting as it was in April here at The Spot. I started by telling you about the hydrogen peroxide, blood stain trick and then moved on to a few thoughts about assessment and scope of practice. Then we spent a few [...]

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