US high school student Brynn Myers decided to tackle a forensics topic for her science fair project this year. And in the process, she discovered how to commit murder and hide the evidence thoroughly.
Myers, a 16-year-old from Missouri, wanted to find the most effective way to hide blood after splattering it everywhere. So she put a few drops of cow’s blood on several pieces of cotton cloth for her study, and used three kinds of cleaner to wash the cloths. She presented the results last week at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh.
Writing for Student Science blog Eureka! Lab, Bethany Brookshire describes the experiment:
She focused on three common household cleaners: bleach, laundry detergent and an oxygen-boosting cleanser. Chlorine bleach is used to remove deep-seated stains and to disinfect. Most laundry detergents contain surfactants — chemicals that make it easier for substances such as the dirt on your clothes to dissolve into the wash water. Oxygen cleaners contain chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, which also can disinfect surfaces …
When it comes to visible stains, the oxygen cleaner worked best. It took only a single wash to remove all visual signs of blood from the cotton washcloths. The bleach batch was still stained after the first and second wash, but came out clean after a third run. Laundry detergent left a pile of blood-stained cloths — even after three washes.
After running a few forensic tests on the cloths, however, Myers found that the blood was still detectable on them even when it wasn’t visible. Still, the oxygen cleaner defeated some of the toughest forensics tests. Myers may have discovered the ultimate murder clean-up tool. But she advises that her discoveries are actually a boon for forensic science.
If you find a crime scene with no traces of blood, Myers said, just look for traces of oxygen cleaner instead.
[via Eureka! Lab]