Few people relish the opportunity to clean up stains of blood and rotten dead bodies much like crime scene cleaners do. It’s an occupation that’s barely heard of in today’s world and only a few people are aware that this type of job even exists. But crime scene cleaning is an actual thing and it takes a lot of steel-nerves for an individual to consider this type of work as his daily occupation.
The crime scene cleaning industry is continuously growing ever since its inception in the early 90’s. Since it’s relatively new, a lot is unknown to the general public about how the industry operates. This has piqued the interest of many curious individuals who are eager to find out what happens behind the scenes of crime scene cleaning. Before we dive down into the dirtiest details of this bizarre job, let’s first define what crime scene cleaning is.
What is crime scene cleaning?
As the name suggests, crime scene cleaning is the process of decontaminating and sanitizing crime scenes that are a result of homicides, suicides, violent deaths, accidents, and many unfortunate events. To the untrained individual, they see blood stains and decomposing bodies. To crime scene cleaners, they see pathogens and biohazards. When left uncleaned, these harmful microorganisms can cause serious diseases and infections.
Crime scene cleanups are more than just cleaning up after someone’s death. It’s about ensuring that the area is completely clean and free of any substances that can pose a threat to human health. That’s why it requires significant training and knowledge before an individual qualifies as a crime scene cleaner.
The basics of crime scene & accident cleanups.
When a traumatic death occurs, it’s the job of crime scene cleaners to clean up the mess. A normal human being should not get involved in any cleaning whatsoever when a person dies. This is because all bodily fluids caused by death are classified as biohazards by federal regulations. This means that any blood, tissue, or fluids present at the crime scene can potentially cause infections and diseases.
Crime scene cleaners undergo specific training to safely handle hazardous substances. They are also trained to look carefully for any biohazards and pathogens that might have scattered throughout the crime scene, especially if it’s a bloody one. For example, blood stains might have dried up on furnitures, pillows, doorways, and other areas of the scene. They are required to carefully observe their surroundings and clean any bodily fluids that they come across.
Sometimes crime scene cleaners will pull out tools such as crowbars and hammers to break areas like wooden floors and in some cases, meth labs so they can decontaminate the area where biohazards and harmful chemicals are present.
How crime scene cleanups work
Most companies in the crime scene cleaning industry often receive a call from people to clean up the mess of suicides and accidents. These “unattended deaths” make up most of the workload of crime scene cleaners. Crime scene cleaners come equipped with a variety of tools to help them clean and sanitize the area. Upon arrival at the site, they will inspect the extent of the damage and what tools they will need to clean up the mess. On a normal day, most crime scene cleaners will come equipped with the following:
- Personal protective equipment such as gloves, chemical resistant boots, respirators, and other types of PPE depending on the situation.
- Waste containers for collecting biohazards. Heavy duty bags and sealed hard plastic containers are used to store bodily fluids.
- Standard cleaning supplies like spray bottles, brushes, mops, and sponges.
It’s not uncommon for crime scene cleaners to dig deep into their war chest of cleaning supplies when the extent of the damage is massive. When ordinary cleaning supplies aren’t enough to clean large amounts of biohazards, crime scene cleaners will use the following tools and equipments:
- Ozone machines to filter out foul odours at the site.
- Industrial strength deodorizers to remove smells from personal belongings and other stained items.
- Enzyme solvents that liquefy dried up blood and brain matter (which can be quite difficult to remove)
- Putty knives for scraping out dried matter.
- Carpentry tools like sledge hammers and saws.
- Chemical treatment tanks that store and suck up bodily fluids and help disinfect the contaminated areas.
Each crime scene comes with its own unique challenges that crime scene cleaners have to be ready for. Depending on the amount of biohazards present, the number of dead bodies involved, and the severity of the situation will require different tools and different approaches to effectively clean and sanitize the area.
The growth of the crime scene cleaning industry
Because of the sensitive nature of their work, crime scene cleaners are always called upon by property owners, families, and other companies to clean up a horrific death or unfortunate accident. More and more crime scene cleaning companies are starting to pop up and the industry is continually increasing its growth. For starters, most crime scene cleanups can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to $15,000 when you factor in the number of workforce required and the complexity of the situation they’ll be facing. It’s a lucrative business than most people realize and it’s certainly a rewarding job. But most crime scene cleaners often take pride not because of their salary, but by being able to help others in difficult times. Knowing that you’re there for the families to offer your sympathies and help them move on from such a traumatic event is enough for most crime scene cleaners to justify the brutal nature of their occupation.
Crime scene cleaning is unique on its own. It’s not for everyone, and it’s one of the most distressing jobs an individual could ever take. But knowing that there are a couple of people out there who are willing to face such a dreadful task is comforting enough for the families of those who have lost a loved one.