One More Reason To Despise Billy Mays

So, I don’t know about you, but I really don’t care how good Oxy-Clean works, the grating sound of Billy Mays’ voice is enough to keep me from spending money on it.  Whenever he appears on my TV, I am always thankful that I have a working “mute” feature.
Anyway – I came across an article today that made me think that Billy perhaps is more sinister than I’d supposed.  As it turns out, he (and the product he schills for) can help criminals get away with murder.  Literally.

We’ve probably all watched enough CSI like procedurals to know that investigators can swab or spray a stain and determine if it’s blood.  These tests rely on a chemical detection of the oxidation of the heme group* in (you guessed it) hemoglobin (the major protein in red-blood cells).  Actually, it's oxygen bound to the heme in hemoglobin that makes your blood red.

As it turns out, researchers in Germany have shown that Oxy-Clean (and other “oxygen” detergents, actually they use sodium percarbonate, but that’s another matter…) “oxidize the hell” out of the heme** in hemoglobin so much so that the chemical tests can no longer detect it.  In fact, the researchers are next looking into whether Oxy-Clean will damage DNA and make it “un-recoverable” from a crime scene.
So there you have it.  I can just hear Billy now… “Blood stains from murdering your spouse??  NO PROBLEM!!  Clean that problem away with OXY-CLEAN!!”
* Coincidentally, I wrote my PhD dissertation around experiments on a heme-containing protein, cytochrome c.  It’s the penultimate protein in the eukaryotic respiratory chain, you know.

** That's "haem" for you, Hannah.

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27 thoughts on “One More Reason To Despise Billy Mays

  1. Is this the same reason I was able to get blood out of my clothes with peroxide after Sophie almost took the tip of her finger off when she was a baby. Screaming baby with a bleeding finger sitting on my lap in the back of an ambulance. Let's just say, it was quite the mess, but the peroxide took it out of my favorite jean skirt, just like the nurses told me it would.

  2. this is very interesting. have you perchance seen the movie Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown ? [minor SPOILER. scroll down. or not.]there is a bit on the movie where the main character is filming a TV ad for a detergent and the narrative is that she is "the mother of the assassin" and the police can't convict him because his clothes are always immaculate. never a trace of blood.

  3. "haem"……haha! :) I'll never see that spelling w/o thinking of the Irish doctor we had in the blood bank for many, many years (just retired). I'll never forget how he said haemoglobin…it was almost poetic. (Also aphaeresis.)
    I'm wondering now if this is why Billy started hawking insurance……

  4. Well, I say we just don't tell the criminals about that because I love that stuff. (Not Billy Mays..that guy makes me crazy.) Oxyclean and magic erasers make my life so much easier. I'm not sure how it works, even after your explanation (sorry), but a scoop of Oxyclean in the white iced tea pitcher makes it look brand new. I thought maybe it was Oxyclean fairies that made the stain disappear but I guess a chemical reaction does make a lot more sense.

  5. My beloved used an oxy type of product on the tile grout on the kitchen floor even though I suggested that she use Lysol. Well it discolored the grout and it looks bad. But Billy Mays is a great presenter and as a Toastmaster I really admire his skill because he has my dream job.

  6. You got it. Actually, the stuff in oxy-clean (percarbonate) produces hydrogen peroxide when dissolved in water. But its a lot easier to store than peroxide, which is chemically unstable over time.

  7. I sort of realized that I am the one informing criminals here, not BM — so I feel sort of badly about that in retrospect — hopefully, there aren't any hardened criminal types in my neighborhood….<eyes Christopher Loyd suspiciously>

  8. Yeah — I would think grout is full of compounds that when oxidized, they become discolored. The nice thing is that the fibers in most carpets and clothes are protected against oxidation (at least for a while…) — though I don't think I'd use it on silk.

  9. Well in the jolly good words of Ani Difranco "Art may imitate life, but life imitates TV."
    hopefully, there aren't any hardened criminal types in my neighborhood….
    There weren't….. yesterday. I'm Australian, and anyone who has ever read (oh ok, or seen) Princess Bride knows that Australia is entirely populated by criminals.
    So… thanks for the tip, mate!

  10. Hmmm… **plots a murder**Glad to know that crap is good for something, cause it didn't do much else that it promised. But my swivel sweeper? Totally different story – I love that thing!

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