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Show full transcript for Body Fluid Cleanup video

In this lesson, you'll learn how to clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, whether floors, tables, or equipment. But first, let's address some safety issues pertaining to cleanup.

Personal Protective Equipment

Before disinfecting any contaminated areas or surfaces, first ask yourself if you have the proper PPE – personal protective equipment – to complete the job safely.

PPE you may need includes:

  • Gloves, always
  • Face shield and/or eye protection
  • An apron or gown

In most cases, these three items will be enough, and in many instances, gloves alone will suffice.

When should you use a disposable apron or gown?

Whenever there's a reasonable chance you could get bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials on your clothing. The biggest problem involved with getting pathogens on clothing is cross-contamination, and we'll get into this more in a minute.

When should you use a face or eye shield?

Whenever there's a reasonable chance of spraying or splashing. If you're cleaning dried blood off a counter, you probably don't need to go that extra mile. But what if you were disinfecting a piece of machinery with many parts at or around eye level? Mostly it just comes down to common sense.

Having the proper cleanup equipment and personal protective equipment is the first step in any cleanup project. Make sure you have everything you need for the task at hand. And always err on the side of caution.

Pro Tip #1: Not all gloves are created equally. Always use medical-grade gloves when cleaning bloodborne pathogens and OPIM. While the term industrial-grade sounds strong and safe, this isn't always the case, as industrial grade gloves tend to have larger pores than medical-grade gloves, which may not keep all the bad stuff out.

Also, one pair of gloves isn't going to cut it. In order to keep from re-contaminating the scene, or even contaminating another scene, you'll change your gloves a few times in the course of one cleanup job. Which brings up a good point …

Warning: Pay attention to what you're touching with your contaminated gloves. It should go without saying to avoid touching any part of yourself, but also be sure not to touch clean surfaces or equipment that hasn't been contaminated. But if you do, it's not the end of the world; just remember to disinfect those as well.

Cleaning Supplies Matter

There are only two essential supplies you need: paper towels and bleach. Don't use toilet paper or napkins or even low-quality paper towels. The paper towels you use should be commercial grade and able to withstand the task at hand without falling apart.

Bleach is super cheap and super effective, so there's no point in substituting. However, if you are going to substitute, make sure the cleaner or disinfectant you're using is up for the job. As in specifically manufactured to kill microorganisms and protect against all viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens and infectious materials.

Body Fluid Cleanup Procedure

The first thing you want to do is make sure the scene is safe. If there are any sharp objects, like broken glass or needles, remove those using tongs (or another safe method) and put all sharps into a contaminated sharps disposal container so you can disinfect them or dispose of them properly later.

For the purpose of instruction, let's assume you're cleaning off a table with a modest amount of dried blood. There is no chance of spraying or splashing, and unless you're really reckless, you shouldn't have to worry about contaminating your clothing.

Pro Tip #2: The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends a bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. This solution should be strong enough to kill any bloodborne pathogens and infectious materials you may encounter.

  1. Put on your 1st pair of medical grade gloves and remove any sharp objects.
  2. Wipe up as much of the dried blood as you can using a paper towel. Be sure to keep the blood isolated to the table or the paper towels. If you get some on the floor, be sure to disinfect it as well.
  3. Remove your 1st pair of gloves as shown in the video – using glove on glove for the first, and bare finger against your wrist for the second. Throw away both gloves.
  4. Put on your 2nd pair of medical grade gloves.
  5. Mix your bleach solution in a spray bottle and liberally spray the solution on the table where the dried blood was located.
  6. Wipe down with paper towels and make sure all the blood is visibly gone.
  7. Remove your 2nd pair of gloves using the same protective method as before.
  8. Put on your 3rd pair of gloves. (Yes, this is a bit of a pain. But if you don't do it this way, there's no point in cleaning up, as the risk of infection will likely still remain thanks to dirty gloves.)
  9. Lightly mist the surface of the table with your bleach solution and allow it to evaporate. The time it takes for the liquid solution to evaporate equals the time it takes to completely kill any pathogens remaining.

Pro Tip #3: In general, when handling or cleaning up infectious materials and bloodborne pathogens, your goal is to create barriers. These barriers will halt the spread of infection, whether the barrier is a piece of protective clothing or a safe container to dispose of infectious materials.