Hoarding has become an increasingly growing problem in family households over the last few years. The excessive clutter has contributed to decreased quality in homes and in some cases, the hoarded items appear impossible to clean. Such situation requires the help of trained professionals who are experts at cleaning households with hoarded objects. There are plenty of safety hazards associated with hoarding cleanups due to the presence of bacteria, filth, and other harmful microorganisms. Today we’ll talk about how hoarding cleanup services work and find out how a hoarder’s home is restored to its original state.
What is hoarding?
Before we get started, it’s important to define what hoarding is. Hoarding is a psychological disorder where an individual excessively stores items to the point that it’s completely unreasonable. This condition makes it difficult for a person to get rid of objects that are of little to no value, thinking that they might find a use for the items someday. This obsession of keeping objects eventually turns into clutter that impacts the overall quality of life inside a household.
Because of how unsanitary hoarding is, a home full of clutter can transform into the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, moulds, and fungi to foster. This can present a number of different safety hazards that put family members at risk of acquiring diseases and other health problems.
How professional cleaners clean a hoarder’s home
Cleaning a hoarder’s home requires proper knowledge, equipment, and training on how to handle pathogens and other harmful microorganisms. Professional cleaners adhere to OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) standards and practice universal precautions to clean up the clutter safely and efficiently. Professional cleaners aim to achieve the following when cleaning a hoarder’s home:
- Contain the affected areas to avoid cross-contamination
- Eliminate all traces of biological materials
- Disinfect and sanitize with hospital-grade disinfectants
- Ensure that the area is free of pathogens
- Deodorize the home
The cleaning technicians wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from the biohazards present in a hoarder’s home. Respiratory equipment is also used to avoid exposure to airborne pathogens such as E. coli, Histoplasmosis, Hantavirus, and many more. Professional cleaners follow a strict protocol to remove hazardous substances while adhering to local and federal regulations. Utmost care and compassion is exercised with each client and immediate assistance is provided with full discretion.
Cleaning checklist of a hoarding cleanup
A solid strategy is required when cleaning a hoarder’s home. Because of the complexity of each situation, the cleaning technicians will take several crucial steps in order to achieve a favorable result out of the cleanup. There are five key steps to cleaning a hoarder’s house and these are:
1. Evaluate the situation
The technicians will first inspect the overall condition of the home and find out what items were hoarded. They’ll look for traces of biohazards and pathogens and assess how much work will be needed to clean the entire property. Once they have identified the severity of the situation, they can proceed to the next step which is:
2. Form a cleaning strategy
This will vary from client to client and the cleaning strategy will depend on how much biohazards and pathogens are present within the area. The hoarded items are first sorted out before prioritizing which areas of the home need cleaning first. Once a cleaning strategy is in place, it’s time to identify which materials are needed to give the home a deep clean.
3. Gathering the supplies.
Appropriate tools and equipment are required to effectively clean a hoarder’s home. Some of the most common cleaning supplies used are:
- Industrial-strength deodorizers
- Hospital-grade disinfectants
- Non-porous suits
- Breathing apparatuses
- Traditional cleaning supplies (mops, sponges, brushes, buckets, and spray bottles)
- Ozone machine (to eliminate odours)
A set of hand tools are sometimes used to break down certain areas of the home that are heavily contaminated with biohazards. These areas need to be broken down so that the cleaning technicians can have full access to cleaning the pathogens.
4. Sorting hoarded items
Before the actual cleanup is performed, the hoarded items are sorted out. This makes it a lot easier for the technicians to disinfect, deodorize, and sanitize the entire home once the clutter has been removed. All the useless stuff will be disposed while any salvageable items will be stored. Sometimes salvaged items are cleaned and sanitized before being handed to donations for later use.
The final step and perhaps the most crucial part is deep-cleaning the entire home.
5. Deep-cleaning the entire property
Cleaning a hoarder’s home is not just about making the home look clean. It’s about ensuring the home is free of harmful microorganisms that could pose a threat to human health. The entire property is disinfected, deodorized, and sanitized from the top down. Any structural damage is repaired prior to the cleanup and any remaining furniture and appliances are thoroughly cleaned. The technicians will inspect for any signs of pathogens before declaring the home fully clean.
A lot goes into hoarding cleanups and it requires the expertise of trained professionals to fully clean a hoarder’s home. Hoarding cleanups present complex health and safety risks that is best left for the professionals to tackle. Whether you need hoarding cleanup for an affected family member or friend, hoarding cleaners provide compassionate cleaning services to help hoarders live a healthy, normal life once again.