Balancing Safety & Effectiveness: Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Cleaners in Crime & Trauma Scene Restoration.

When cleaning-up a trauma scene, visual inspection for tiny droplets of blood can be challenging. This is particularly true when the potentially affected surface has an irregular pattern, as is common in building materials such as stone or decorative wood, or when the surface is a dark color. Spraying with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide can make the task of finding and cleaning blood spatter much easier.

The reason hydrogen peroxide (also referred to as peroxide) foams when exposed to blood is that it reacts with catalase, an enzyme found in blood and other cells. During the reaction with catalase, oxygen atoms separate from the peroxide molecules, producing oxygen bubbles and water. Surfactants in peroxide-based cleaners work synergistically with the bubbles to break up organic stains and form a foamy emulsion of cells and other blood components that is more easily wiped or rinsed away.

But the instability that makes peroxide a good cleaner can also work against you. Unless the cleaner is stored properly, the peroxide may decompose in the bottle and render the cleaner much less effective within a short time frame. And even in ideal storage conditions, unless the formulation is adequately stabilized, it may still break down before you use it up. Buying a product with a higher concentration is not necessarily the best way to address peroxide decomposition, since more peroxide can pose a threat to you and your crew. So what do you need to look for and do to get the most out of a peroxide-based cleaner?

Select a concentration for both safety and utility
A cleaner that contains 6% or 7% peroxide will have plenty of cleaning power and is great for cleaning blood from concrete and other construction materials. In most forensic restoration jobs, you will not need a more concentrated peroxide solution and you’ll save money by not paying the fees associated with shipping a HAZMAT. Solutions containing 8% peroxide or higher are classified as HAZMAT and will require more specialized PPE and greater attention to how the product is handled and used.

Stronger is not necessarily better, and concentrations higher than 8% will expose you and your team to more risk. Even though hydrogen peroxide is viewed as an environmentally friendly ingredient, the current TLV (Threshold Limit Value) is 1 ppm (1 part peroxide per million parts of air, averaged over an 8 hour shift), because peroxide can do a lot of damage to your eyes and lungs. When working with high concentrations, use a full face respirator with the appropriate cartridges and protect your skin with chemical resistant gear.

Keeping your peroxide fresh
Three environmental conditions can cause your peroxide cleaner to decompose prematurely:
• UV light
• Elevated temperature
• Agitation

Although some manufacturers conduct testing that involves trucking their products across the desert, you’ll get the most out of your peroxide-based cleaner if you store it at room temperature, away from sunlight, until you’re ready to use it.

Diluting peroxide
When using peroxide to detect blood spatter, a concentration of 1% to 2% will generate enough foam to be seen easily. You can use a 7.5% peroxide cleaner for detecting blood, but if you’ll put 8 ounces of that cleaner into an empty 32 ounce bottle, then fill it with clean water, you’ll have a 1.8% peroxide solution and your one gallon bottle of 7.5% peroxide will make 5 gallons of blood detection spray. Several important considerations when diluting peroxide:
It is best to dilute just before you plan to use it. Stabilized peroxide solutions are made with a very precise balance of hydrogen peroxide, stabilizers and other ingredients. When you dilute the solution with water, you change the equilibrium and the solution will not be as stable.
Dilute with water that doesn’t contain dissolved minerals. The dissolved minerals in hard tap water can react with the peroxide and cause it to weaken. Manufacturers blend with deionized water to maximize the stability of their peroxide solutions. If your tap water is hard, consider diluting as close to the time of use as possible, or you may want to dilute with reverse osmosis treated water. If your tap water contains very little dissolved minerals, you may be able to dilute several days or weeks before you plan to use it.
Pour from the original bottle into the container that will hold the diluted solution. Don’t add water to the original bottle of cleaning solution unless you plan to use it soon. Water will change the equilibrium and cause your cleaning solution to grow weaker with time.
Peroxide that lasts longer
Stabilizing technology has come a long way since brown bottle drug store peroxide was first introduced. Peroxide-based cleaners with a shelf life of 3 years from the date of manufacture enable local distributors to keep more product on the shelf without being concerned that it will expire before it is purchased and that the peroxide will be at full strength when it is used on your job site.

To sum it up
A stabilized hydrogen peroxide cleaner with a concentration of 6-7% is strong enough to clean crime and trauma scenes, but safer to use than solutions that contain more peroxide. When diluting down to 1-2% peroxide for detecting blood spatter, use the cleanest water available and dilute as close to the time of use in order to avoid degradation of your solution. Examine the expiration date on the bottle to ensure that the solution you’re purchasing is full strength. To keep your peroxide at full strength, store it away from sunlight in a cool place.
 

News & Information

Cleantec Hosts Second NYS Certified CE Course
7/24/2017

Cleantec Hosts Second NYS Certified CE Course

Once again, Cleantec collaborated with David D. Mackintosh to bring a NYS Continuing Education Course to local professionals. On July 20, David presented Emergency Claims (CE Course #4313) to a group of Insurance Agents and Brokers at Cleantec’s Liverpool office.
(continued)



The Dangers of Mold
6/30/2017

The Dangers of Mold

Living or working in mold-infested areas is dangerous. While there are varying levels of harm mold can inflict, the reality is sharing space with mold is risky. It is important to understand why mold is dangerous, how exposure can affect you, and warning signs of mold growth in your home or business.

(continued)



Coverage Issues Every Agent Should Know, Cleantec to Host CE Course
6/20/2017

Coverage Issues Every Agent Should Know, Cleantec to Host CE Course

David D. Mackintosh is once again partnering with Cleantec to offer a 3-credit Continuing Education (CE) course.

On Thursday, July 20, David will present CE Course #4313, Water Damage Claims from 8am to 12pm at Cleantec, 1232 Tulip Street in Liverpool. This course is designed to reacquaint insurance agents/brokers with ISO’s HO 3 policy (1999) and the 2010 update, specifically how coverage may affect customers’ claims and the restoration process.
(continued)



CleanTec Partners with Cleaning For a Reason
6/15/2017

CleanTec Partners with Cleaning For a Reason

Here at Cleantec, we believe cleanliness goes beyond simple appearances. Working in a clean environment has a positive impact on one’s being. As our company’s owner Frank Parella says, “We are not in the cleaning business. We are in the business of ensuring our customers are successful by giving them a safe and healthy environment to work in.”

Naturally, this philosophy extends to one’s home environment, which is why we are happy to announce our new partnership with Cleaning for a Reason.
(continued)



CleanTec Announces New Sales & Marketing Manager
5/26/2017

CleanTec Announces New Sales & Marketing Manager
CleanTec is expanding. The fast-growing emergency restoration and facilities management company welcomes Korrie Olszewski to the Cleantec family.
(continued)



Employee Honors, Serves Veterans During Trip to D.C.
5/25/2017

Employee Honors, Serves Veterans During Trip to D.C.
Marc Smith recently returned from a three-day trip in which he volunteered as a chaperon to veterans visiting Washington DC monuments erected in honor of their service.
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Prevent Flood Damage to Electrical Systems
5/10/2017

Prevent Flood Damage to Electrical Systems
Water and electricity do not mix – this is common knowledge. Electrical systems such as service panels, meters, switches and outlets are easily damaged by floodwater. Even more critical – Water damaged electrical systems are deadly.
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Create a Fire Exit Plan for Your Home
5/10/2017

Create a Fire Exit Plan for Your Home

House fires are unpredictable, which is why every household should have afire exit plan in place. Not only that – every household member should practice the fire exit plan. Here are some tips for developing and executing a fire exit plan:


(continued)



Ensure Your Fire Alarm Is Working Properly
5/10/2017

Ensure Your Fire Alarm Is Working Properly

Fire alarm systems are proven life-saving devices.

Conducting regular maintenance and ensuring proper operation of your fire alarm system is prudent as it will provide household members with ample warning in the event of a fire. On the other hand, failure to ensure fire alarm systems are operating correctly can decrease the alarm’s effectiveness. If an alarm activates falsely, household members may dismiss the alarm in a real emergency.
(continued)



What to Expect After a House Fire
5/10/2017

What to Expect After a House Fire
It goes without saying: a house fire results in serious damage. Even areas spared damage from direct flame may have damage caused by smoke and water.

Safety is first. Before entering a damaged home, obtain permission from the fire department. Fires can start again, even if they appear to be out. Watch for damage caused by the fire including roofs and doors that may be at risk of collapsing.
(continued)



Develop an Evacuation Plan Before Floodwaters Threaten
5/4/2017

Develop an Evacuation Plan Before Floodwaters Threaten
One of the perks of living in central New York is the abundance of water ways dotting our landscape. However, when the spring rains come, those beautiful features can become damaging and dangerous. Establishing an evacuation plan is smart planning and necessary, especially if you reside in a flood zone.

Here are some guidelines to consider if you reside in an area at risk for spring flooding:
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Should I Install a Water Alarm?
4/24/2017

Should I Install a Water Alarm?

When it comes to water damage, the sooner you know there is a problem, the better. That is why homeowners opt to install a water alarm. This self-contained electronic device provides an alert when there is potential water damage. When the device’s sensor comes into contact with water, an alarm is sounded.
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Insurance Agents, Brokers Gain Valuable Knowledge
4/21/2017

Insurance Agents, Brokers Gain Valuable Knowledge

Cleantec recently collaborated with David D. Mackintosh to bring a Continuing Education Course to local professionals.

On March 30, David presented Water & Fire Loss (CE Course #3789) to a group of Insurance Agents and Brokers at Cleantec’s Liverpool office.


(continued)



Four Steps to Ensure Your Sump Pump Is Working Properly
4/14/2017

Four Steps to Ensure Your Sump Pump Is Working Properly

Spring is here, and in Central New York that means rain. Now is the time to test your sump pump and make sure it is working properly. Here are four steps to ensure your sump pump is working properly:


(continued)



Mark Lamphear Promoted to Senior Director
4/6/2017

Mark Lamphear Promoted to Senior Director

Mark Lamphear has been promoted to Senior Director responsible for all project, maintenance and restoration work in both Syracuse and Ithaca.

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Water & Fire Loss Continuing Education Course
2/23/2017

David D. Mackintosh will present a Water & Fire Loss Continuing Education course (#3789) from 8am to 12pm Thursday, March 30, at Cleantec, 1232 Tulip Street in Liverpool.

Please RSVP by calling (315) 463-5353. Space is Limited. Reservation held by $20 Donation to be given to the American Cancer Society.
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Dangers of Ice Dams, How to Prevent Them
2/20/2017

Dangers of Ice Dams, How to Prevent Them

With heavy snowfall come ice dams. Most commonly caused by improper insulation and/or construction, an ice dam is a block of ice that builds up on the edges of your roof. Heat from your home inadvertently warms your roof causing the snow to melt. The resulting water runs toward the edge of the roof where it meets cold air and freezes forming ice.

These thick blocks of ice can be dangerous and cause serious damage. Here we have listed potential dangers of ice dams, how you can prevent them and steps to remove them and fixing the damage they cause. 
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Ask the Right Questions About Mold, Part V
1/24/2017

The contractor took care of the mold. Am I done now?

Definitely. Maybe ... If the assessor and the remediation contractor completed each of their jobs, everything should be completed.


(continued)



Ask the Right Questions About Mold, Part IV
12/23/2016

I’ve decided to have a remediation contractor do the work. How can I tell a good one from a bad one?

Like most trades and professions, consider the following factors when choosing a remediation contractor:
- Education
- Licensing
- Experience
- Reviews
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Ask the Right Questions About Mold, Part III
12/9/2016

“I have my assessment. Now, who can clean this up for me?”

You have three choices: 1) Do nothing; 2) Clean it up yourself; or 3) Call a professional.

NYS mold law states a homeowner is not required to have a licensed contractor remove visible mold from an area less than 3-feet by 3-feet. The state considers this minimum amount to be safe for a homeowner to clean up. However, there are exemptions to this law (Click here to learn more).
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Steps to Restore a Home After a Fire
12/2/2016

Steps to Restore a Home After a Fire


One of our customers recently experienced a tragedy when their home caught fire. This video explains the first steps in restoring a home to its pre-fire condition.


(continued)



Ask the Right Questions About Mold, Part II
11/21/2016

“I already know I have mold in my house. Can we skip the assessment and get right to work getting rid of it?”

Here at Cleantec, we get this question frequently. Unless the client does the work themselves (this is possible, but there are restrictions), the answer is no. An assessment is necessary in New York State. This news can be discouraging for the client. However, the assessment provides several benefits (in addition to being required by NYS).
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Ask the Right Questions About Mold, Part I
11/10/2016

How do I know if I have mold in my home?

I get this question every day. My answer is always the same: Yes, you do have mold spores in your home. But, you are asking the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself these three easy questions:
(continued)



How Long Does a Smoke Detector Last?
11/10/2016

How Long Does a Smoke Detector Last?

Safety is priority when it comes to your home, which is why professionals recommend replacing smoke detector batteries on an annual basis. But did you know, the National Fire Protection Association also recommends homeowners replace their smoke detectors every 10 years.
(continued)



Removing Tile Flooring
9/28/2016

Removing a tile floor can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Before you get started, make sure you have the necessary tools you will need in order to remove the flooring. Some of the tools you might need are:


(continued)



Four Reasons to Clean Your Air Ducts
9/27/2016

In preparation for the fall and winter weather, you should be sure your heating system is working properly - that includes getting your air ducts cleaned. Here are four reasons to have your ducts cleaned before you crank up the heat.
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