I had bleach on my arm during blood tests. Will it affect the results?

Q. Can presence of Clorox cleaner on my arm affect my blood tests?

Answered by
Dr. Prakash. H. M.
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 11, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jul 26, 2023

Hello doctor,

I had blood tests done. There was some Clorox cleaner or bleach on my arm. Can this affect the result?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Based on your query, my opinion is as follows. Whenever blood is drawn for test, the specific area is cleaned and then needle is inserted into vein to draw the blood into a sterile tube. Even if there is bleach in skin after cleaning, the negative pressure to draw blood is not done till the vein is pricked. So, there is no possibility of bleach entering blood sample. Also, the amount drawn is usually 2 to 5 mL and the small quantities of bleach, which is minute going by needle size will not influence the test. Your test results will not vary because of bleach. It will be correct only. Do not worry.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the response. The internet has articles that talk about contamination, letting the area dry, etc. What do you say? Does it make sense? I am curious when you say no possibility, but I just had a lot of the bleach mix on arm prior to going in. I read some of the articles which quoted as inadequate skin preparation is a common cause of blood culture contamination. Bacteria normally found on the skin can contaminate the specimen if the collection site is not cleaned properly. If there is inadequate drying time of the antiseptic, then it is critical that there be meticulous preparation of the skin prior to venipuncture to prevent contamination of the specimen which could result in inappropriate antimicrobial therapy. Please help.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The quotes you have sent talk about bacterial contamination leading to inappropriate antimicrobial therapy. They do not talk about having wrong results in counts or other biochemical values. So, unless the blood sample is taken for culture and you are suffering from high grade fever, the results should not vary even with inadequate cleaning. The only risk is an introduction of the infection into your body from skin. The most important and maybe a good thing is you had Clorox on your arm. One of the ingredients in Clorox bleach is sodium hypochlorite, which can kill bacteria. So, all the bacterias are killed due to Clorox and additional antiseptic procedure would also have been taken, so a double clean. There is no risk of bacterial contamination or introduction of infection into your body at present. Tests are not affected, not to worry. However, Clorox as such cannot be used as an antiseptic as it contains other chemicals too and could be toxic. Avoid direct skin exposure in future.

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