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Hofmann, Michaela; Adamec, Jiri; Anslinger, Katja; Bayer, Birgit; Graw, Matthias; Peschel, Oliver; Schulz, Martin M. (2019): Detectability of bloodstains after machine washing. In: International Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 133, No. 1: pp. 3-16
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Abstract

Bloodstains on textiles can provide useful information for the forensic reconstruction of a crime. Surprisingly, little is known about the applicability of bloodstain traces after a textile was machine washed. In this study, we investigated the effect of machine washing on bloodstains on both cotton and polyester cloths. The influence of the washing detergent, the type of washing machine, the washing temperature, and the duration of drying of the bloodstain prior to washing as well as the drying temperature was investigated. Additionally, the molecular analyses of a subsample of the experiments were conducted. We found that although the primary morphology of the traces is often blurred, the presence of blood on the textiles can still be detected in many cases. Blood can also be transmitted to previously blood-free textiles during the washing process, leading to a positive Luminol or Combur (R) reaction of these samples. When traces of blood can be detected via the Luminol reaction, a molecular identification of the blood donor was successful in 28% of the cases.