If you’ve seen the show Hoarders, you already know that cleaning up a hoarder property is not for the faint of heart. In addition to the sheer amount of waste and garbage that’s located in hoarder houses, there are plenty of psychological issues that cleaners and others connected to the process may have to deal with if the hoarder still lives on the property. How the hoarder behaves as go through cleaning will determine the outcome.
What Is a Hoarder?
A hoarder is a person with a mental disease called hoarding disorder. They are unable to let go of anything or to part with any possessions. They can be taking a walk outside, find an old rock, and bring it home. They could have ordered something from amazon.com that came in unusual packaging. They’ll keep the packaging. There’s no rhyme or reason to what they’re hoarding. They’re simply collecting everything, and letting go of any of it causes them tons of stress.
Hoarding disorder has been recognized as an official mental illness. People who suffer from the disorder often have to go through intensive therapy in order to get help.
Hoarding Destroys Families
One heartbreaking thing about hoarding is that it can destroy a family. If a married couple lives together and one of the spouses is a hoarder, that can make life extremely difficult for the other spouse. It can be very heartbreaking to see their spouse struggling with a mental Illness, but it’s also frustrating because no amount of reasoning will do anything. Eventually, the sheer amount of waste and mess causes intense stress and anger, causing relationships to collapse.
Some hoarders have children. If those children are minors, Children’s Services could get involved. This is because a hoarder house by its very nature is extremely unsafe. Child Protective Services were to come to the home and deem it unsafe, the minor children in the home could be removed.
Losing their loved ones is usually the reason that many hoarders decide to get help. The lucky ones are the ones who realize that if they don’t get help, they could lose everything, including their homes and their loved ones.
Hoarder Houses Can Be Seized
Local governments can get involved with hoarder houses that have been deemed unsafe for habitation. Hoarder houses are usually filled with tons of biohazardous waste. This waste includes human waste, garbage, animal waste, hidden animal carcasses, sewage, and a host of other substances that make living in the house nearly impossible.
Hoarders often allow their hoarding to spread into other people’s homes. This is especially true of people who live in apartment buildings. Vermin and pests could easily travel from the hoarder’s apartment to other residents’ homes. No amount of exterminating the building will do anything because the source of all of the issues remains. In these circumstances, the city will get involved. They could get a court order that states that if the house is not cleaned, the hoarder could be evicted. This can happen even if a hoarder owns a home.
Cleaning Up a Hoarder House
Hoarder house cleanup is extremely important because it needs to be done properly. Biohazardous and infectious waste fills hoarder homes, creating all sorts of serious health risks. Biohazardous waste and infectious waste is extremely dangerous because it contains pathogens. Pathogens are microorganisms that cause diseases in humans. They include organisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
These types of pathogens are literally all over a hoarder house because of the types of waste that you find there. Hazardous substances like human waste and animal carcasses are filled with dangerous pathogens that could cause the spread of disease. This type of infectious and biohazardous waste requires a special type of cleaning. This is why it makes sense to work with cleaning companies that have experience dealing with hoarder house cleanup.
The teams will bring in OSHA-approved and EPA-approved cleaners, solvents, disinfectants, and tools that will help them eliminate all pathogens from the site. All of the waste that’s collected will need to be packed up into special containers so that it can be properly and safely disposed of. Once the waste is collected, it will be transported to a medical waste facility where it will be destroyed.
In addition to knowing how to clean a hoarder house properly and get rid of the biohazardous and infectious waste located there, cleaning teams also need to know how to protect themselves from the waste that they’re going to be coming into contact with. They’ll be wearing PPE gear that will cover them from head to toe so that their clothes don’t get contaminated. Special coveralls will cover their clothes. Shoe covers or special boots will help protect their feet substances they’ll need to trudge through. Goggles, face shields, and respirators will help protect the mucous membranes located in their mouths, noses, and eyes. These areas are very susceptible to contamination.
Hoarder House Cleaning Takes a Team
If you’re going to be responsible for cleaning a hoarder house, and the hoarder will still be living in the home once the cleaning is done, it’s going to take a team of people to get everything done properly. The cleaning crews will come in and handle the practical matters of making sure the house is brought back to its original state. Mental health professionals may need to be involved to help ensure that the hoarder does not create a scene or make things more difficult for the cleaners.
Hoarder house cleaning can take a lot out of everyone involved in the process. You’ll need to work with teams that understand how difficult this can be emotionally for the hoarder who needs to move back into the home after cleaning is done. Choose teams that work with proficiency, professionalism, and empathy.