What are the dangers of collecting menstrual blood in a jar for a week and then paint with it? Will there be any dangerous bacteria in the blood that could be airborne?

Is there any substance I can use to sterilize the blood? Will keeping it in the freezer be better?


  • 2
    Menstrual blood is a complex biological fluid composed of blood, vaginal secretions, and the endometrial cells of the uterine wall as they exist immediately prior to menses. (See this article) so as @CareyGregory points out, you need to treat it like any other blood as it is a biohazard at Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2). Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 12:08
  • You're uh... painting with it. That's definitely not going to be hygienic. Almost any animal substance is going to breed germs and attract rats.
    – Piomicron
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


First problem: Blood is an organic substance, and like all organic substances that aren't cooked, refrigerated or otherwise preserved, it will rot. You'll need to freeze or at least refrigerate it.

Second problem: It is a biohazard. Any diseases the donor had (known or unknown) will potentially be in that blood at infectious levels. Any bacteria introduced during or after collection will also grow very nicely in it unless it's refrigerated or frozen. You really should put a biohazard warning label on your art so people know it is potentially infectious. Keep in mind that some viruses can remain infectious in dried blood for weeks (eg, hepatitis B).

Third problem: Blood clots and congeals. After a week you won't have something you can paint with, and it will be black, not red.

You could try adding a chemical such as chlorine bleach or formaldehyde as a preservative, but I'm not sure what other effects that would have. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embalming_chemicals



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.