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Does spitting on stains help with removal? Saliva is high in amylase that should help with the breakdown of protein rich stains like blood and semen. It also contains antimicrobial enzymes and antibacterial compounds. Does semen contain any kind of surfactant agents?

So, my questions are: Does spitting on a semen stain aid in or add to the cleanup? On which stains are saliva beneficial and how long does it have to sit?

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    $\begingroup$ Why spit when you could just use soap and water? $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Jul 25 '15 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ Amylase doesn't break down proteins. It breaks down amylopectin -- a type of starch (sugar) molecule. Proteins are broken down by proteases (not found in saliva or semen), and many available stain removers use proteases. $\endgroup$ – MCM Jul 25 '15 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ @MCM Why don't you make this into a real answer? $\endgroup$ – Chris Jul 27 '15 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ As a chemist, I understand the amylase enzyme comment. Amylase in our mouth does help break down sugar compounds. However, there are other components in our saliva such as acids that could help in the removal of stains as well as water or sodium. I found that saliva helps with grease stains due to the sodium component within saliva, as saliva contains more than just the enzyme amylase. $\endgroup$ – Anonymous Jul 22 '18 at 21:52
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It would depend on the stain - and more specifically the material and staining agent. Saliva contains blood clotting agents so I doubt it would help with removing blood stains. The enzymes in saliva are unlikely to help with the stain removal.

The water in saliva would be more likely to help, dissolving the stain. So your probably better off with water.

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I've been spitting on anything red ( of biological origin (blood, wine, ketchup) for decades and seeing the stains dissolve and disappear like magic. Spit on it generously, let it soak for a few seconds, rub it in with your fingernails; see it disappear.

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  • $\begingroup$ do you have any biological explanation for your observation? Can you add any credible sources to back up what you're saying? $\endgroup$ – Vance L Albaugh Jan 15 '17 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Observation is senior to theory. Not the other way around. You can easily perform the test and reproduce the results. Having a somewhat bad case of psoriasis, I regularly deal with dried blood stains in bed sheets (the plaques break during the night, smearing blood on the sheets, which then dries by the morning). The saliva trick does work to a remarkable extent, pure water doesn't. The phenomenon is easy to observe and replicate. I always assumed this was a well understood issue, but if not, it could be one of those "oh, that's funny..." observations that science thrives on. $\endgroup$ – Sylverdrag Dec 20 '17 at 6:08
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Just did this and it worked. On a fresh curry stain which is notoriously difficult to remove. The guys acting like experts in the previous posts are just wrong. Not sure if it's the enzymes, the water or some other substance contained in our saliva, but it works like magic. Apply generous amount of saliva, let it soak for a couple mins and scrap vigorously with your fingernail. Stain disappears like magic.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any biological explanation for your observation? Can you add any credible sources to back up what you're saying? $\endgroup$ – Chris Aug 10 '17 at 4:47

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