When Cleaning Up Blood Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper Towels

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    When Cleaning Up Blood Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper Towels


    Spills and accidents involving blood are common occurrences, whether in healthcare settings, homes, or public spaces. Responding to blood spills and cleaning them up appropriately is crucial to prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens and maintain a clean and hygienic environment. While paper towels are often the go-to choice for cleaning up blood, cloth towels offer several advantages that make them a better alternative.

    Advantages of Using Cloth Towels

    1. Superior Absorbency: Cloth towels possess superior absorbency compared to paper towels, making them more effective at soaking up and retaining blood. This is particularly important in cases of large blood spills or when the blood has soaked into fabrics or carpets. Cloth towels can absorb a greater volume of blood, minimizing the risk of spreading bloodborne pathogens and ensuring a more thorough cleanup.

    2. Enhanced Durability: Cloth towels are generally more durable than paper towels, allowing them to withstand multiple uses without tearing or becoming flimsy. This durability makes cloth towels a cost-effective option in the long run, as they can be washed and reused numerous times. In contrast, paper towels tend to break apart easily when wet, requiring more frequent replacements and generating more waste.

    3. Reduced Waste: Using cloth towels instead of paper towels significantly reduces waste production. Paper towels are single-use products that end up in landfills after disposal, contributing to environmental pollution. Cloth towels, on the other hand, can be reused multiple times, reducing the burden on the environment and promoting sustainability.

    4. Improved Hygiene: Cloth towels can be washed and sanitized at high temperatures, ensuring thorough removal of blood and bloodborne pathogens. This makes them a more hygienic option compared to paper towels, which may not be effective at eliminating pathogens, particularly if they are not disposed of properly.

    Steps for Cleaning Up Blood with Cloth Towels

    1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment:

      • Don gloves, a mask, and eye protection to minimize the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
    2. Contain the Blood Spill:

      • Use cloth towels to absorb and contain the blood spill. Press the towels firmly against the spill, allowing them to soak up as much blood as possible.
    3. Rinse and Wring Out Towels:

      • Rinse the cloth towels with cold water to remove excess blood. Wring out the towels thoroughly to minimize the risk of spreading bloodborne pathogens.
    4. Sanitize the Towels:

      • Wash the cloth towels in hot water (at least 160°F/71°C) with detergent and bleach. This will effectively sanitize the towels and eliminate bloodborne pathogens.
    5. Dispose of Blood-Soaked Towels Properly:

      • Dispose of heavily blood-soaked towels as biohazardous waste according to local regulations. Alternatively, soak the towels in a bleach solution for 30 minutes before laundering to ensure proper disinfection.

    Additional Considerations

    1. Label Cloth Towels:

      • Clearly label cloth towels designated for cleaning up blood to prevent accidental use for other purposes.
    2. Train Personnel:

      • Provide training to personnel on the proper procedures for cleaning up blood spills using cloth towels, including the importance of wearing personal protective equipment and proper sanitization techniques.
    3. Monitor Usage:

      • Implement a system to monitor the usage of cloth towels and replace them regularly to maintain their absorbency and hygiene.


    Using cloth towels instead of paper towels for cleaning up blood offers several advantages, including superior absorbency, enhanced durability, reduced waste production, and improved hygiene. By following the recommended steps and taking appropriate precautions, cloth towels can be used safely and effectively to manage blood spills and maintain a clean and hygienic environment.