Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Want to Get Away With Murder? Use a Special Detergent

Gotta get rid of that evidence, you know?

By Boonsri DickinsonNovember 6, 2008 10:37 PM
Oxygen Detergent Bubbles - Flickr
(Credit: ntr23/Flickr)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Murderers desperate to get rid of evidence might want to consider using bleach to wash away stains. But not just any bleach will do. When old-school chlorine-based bleach is splashed all over blood-stained clothing, even if the clothes are washed ten times, DNA is still detected.

So for the criminal aspiring for perfection, here’s the secret you’ll need to know: It’s the oxygen-producing detergents that will get rid of any incriminating evidence for good.

Researchers at the University of Valencia tested oxygen bleach on blood-stained clothing for two hours and found that it destroys all DNA evidence. Forensic tests such as luminal tests rely on the ability of blood to uptake oxygen: A protein in the blood called hemoglobin (responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body) reacts with hydrogen peroxide and gives a positive test result.

Chlorine-based detergents contaminate blood, but leave behind intact hemoglobin. However, detergents such as Reckitt Benckiser’s Vanish produce oxygen bubbles, which cause the blood to degrade and no longer uptake oxygen.

Hopefully, anyone actually contemplating cleaning up bloodstains isn’t reading this.

Related Content:

The Future of Blood

Why Do Bruises Turn Yellow, Purple, and Green?

Artificial Blood May Lead to Very Real Death

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In