Last week, Aftermath discussed the difficult task of cleaning blood from carpet and other porous surfaces. This week we tackle the question of proper methods to remove blood or other bodily fluids from harder, more resistant surfaces. While these materials are designed to be easy to clean, disinfection requires some knowledge and planning. This article will address what surfaces are considered non-porous, as well as highlight the preferred process to clean these areas, should you decide to manage a small spill yourself.
Though homeowners rarely encounter blood spills, commercial and industrial settings such as factories and hospitals see a much higher number of incidents. As a result, flooring in these environments is more likely to be non-porous; builders typically use ceramic, vinyl, linoleum, or metal in areas where there is heavy traffic or where spills of any type are common. The premise is similar in private residences; hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms are frequently constructed of these materials to reduce wear and limit the need for repairs or heavy cleaning. Spills on hard surfaces may spread over larger areas, however, so it is necessary to contain the spill quickly.
It should be noted that concrete and wood are considered semi-porous; there is some debate on whether these surfaces can be cleaned, or if they should be removed altogether when damaged by blood or other potentially dangerous fluids. In the case of these materials, it is best to contact a biohazard cleaning company for evaluation and proper treatment.
EPA registered disinfectants are approved for use on hard surfaces; unlike carpeting, these areas can be effectively treated by following the manufacturer’s directions on the label. (LINK) Using bleach is not recommended. Not only can it cause respiratory distress, but it requires proper dilution and can be challenging to employ effectively for complete sanitization.
If you experience a small blood spill on a non-porous surface and decide to clean it yourself, you should:
1. Isolate the area where the spill occurred to prevent risk of cross contaminating unaffected areas.
2. Wear PPE. Gloves and mask are the minimal suggested requirement.
3. Wipe up the spill as much as possible with a towel.
4. Treat the area with an EPA-registered disinfectant. Follow the directions on the bottle, including dilution and cure times. This ensures the product’s efficacy.
5. Materials used to clean the area (mops, rags, sponges) should be discarded as medical waste in proper manner in accordance with the law
Cleaning blood and other bodily fluids off non-porous surfaces is easier than dealing with carpets, but it is still necessary to remain careful. According to OSHA, precautions should be taken whenever handling bodily fluids; all human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) should be treated as if known to be infectious for bloodborne pathogens. As always, large spills are best remediated by a professional biohazard cleanup service like Aftermath.
Next week, catch our third and final installment in our series on carpet cleaning, where we will discuss the detailed processes used by Aftermath technicians to remediate carpeted surfaces. For additional information on blood cleanup or other forms of trauma cleaning, or for immediate assistance, call 877-872-4339.