Professional cleaning services handle many types of spills and stains, body fluids and blood being two of the more unappealing. Infectious disease concerns make it important to be cautious when dealing with these substances. While uninfected blood does not present a health threat, workers are not usually aware of the health status of the individual who generated the blood. Therefore, cleaning professionals should use the OSHA universal precautions when dealing with wet or dried blood.
In a commercial environment, safety or hazard plans should include a reporting, cleanup, and waste disposal procedure for body fluid or blood spills. When these substances must be removed from carpet, following certain steps reduces infection risk. Protective equipment including disposable gloves and a pocket mask, splash goggles, or a face shield are recommended.
Since pathogens are the most viable immediately following a spill, rapid response is required. Cleaners should use an absorbent material like salt or cat litter to create a barrier around the spill perimeter. Pretreating the area with a mild detergent solution of one teaspoon dishwashing liquid for every one quart of water helps deactivate or kill viable pathogens. The solution should be left on the spill for approximately ten minutes.
The area can then be blotted with paper towels. Dirty towels should be placed into a plastic bag that should then be sealed. If the fluids are present in carpet, they should be extracted using a wet vacuum. Carpet should then be rinsed by using cool water to wet the area and suctioning up the water with a wet vacuum or hot water extraction carpet cleaner machine. During extraction, fluids should not be distributed beyond their initial boundaries.
A disinfectant solution should then be applied to affected areas of carpet. Using a standard EPA-approved chemical germicide can inactivate most of the pathogens. The product should be tested on an inconspicuous area to ensure that it will not damage carpet fibers or dyes. An alternative disinfectant is 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or three percent hydrogen peroxide.
The disinfectant should remain on the carpet for ten to 20 minutes. The carpet must then be saturated with a neutral shampoo or solution of dishwashing liquid and water. After leaving the detergent on for five to ten minutes, the carpet should be repeatedly flushed with water that is then extracted. Damp areas of carpet can be force-dried with fans. All equipment used during this carpet cleaning process should be cleaned and sanitized.