The forensic luminol test has long been valued for its ability to detect trace amounts of blood that are invisible to the naked eye. This is the first quantitative study to determine the effect on the luminol test when an attempt is made to clean bloodstained tiles with a known interfering catalyst (bleach). Tiles covered with either wet or dry blood were tested, and either water or sodium hypochlorite solution (bleach) was used to clean the tiles. As expected, the chemiluminescence intensity produced when luminol was applied generally decreased with the number of times that a tile was cleaned with water, until the chemiluminescence was neither visible nor detectable. However, when the tiles were cleaned with bleach there was an initial drop in chemiluminescence intensity, followed by a rise to a consistently high value, visibly indistinguishable from that of blood. Examination of bleach drying time suggested that any interfering effect becomes negligible after 8 h. (c) Copyright (D 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.