Crime scene cleanup is not something anyone can do. State laws and federal regulations dictate who must clean the area and how. Highly technical training and knowledge of bio-hazard material is a requirement for this field. Specialized cleaning firms and crews use specialized equipment like steam machines and industrial cleaning supplies to remove blood, fluids, and debris from the scene of a crime. These teams can help private citizens or perform services for prisons and areas with secure confinement.

Do Police and Detectives Clean Crime Scenes After Collecting Evidence?

No. These professionals complete the investigation and release the scene for cleanup. Officers do not have the licensing to do this job to state requirements. The property owner is the person responsible for seeing and paying for outsourcing this job. Homeowners cannot do the cleanup themselves because of the risk of bodily danger, death, and illness from toxins and blood-related diseases.

In the event of the death of the owner, the party responsible for the property is the person who gets this assignment. Commercial cleaning companies have guidelines and regulations to follow when performing a crime scene restoration. That reason is why a specialist is necessary to perform this task.

Why You Need Certified and Licensed Cleaners

Bio-hazard cleanup teams achieve certification for chemical and blood exposure before working in crime cleaning firms. Specialized equipment like respirators and bio-hazard suits protect the team from exposure to methamphetamine chemicals or body tissues. Double wall gloves and complete body coverage ensures no materials from the crime scene can end up at a worker’s home or business after the job. Cross-contamination guidelines and the use of sectors break up the work area and minimize the risk of transfer of dangerous materials. ATP testing and checks for microorganisms ensure that no one leaves harmful material behind after the cleaning. Finally, proper disposal of the removed items is necessary to protect the environment and the general population.

Crime Scene Cleanup Crews Go Through Thorough Vetting and Safety Training

Whether a city contract a cleaning crew to clean up the jail cells or a private homeowner needs a homicide area restored after a fatal break-in, these specialty crews provide an invaluable service. Knowing what qualifies as medical waste and what materials need incineration is crucial to crime scene cleaning. Because many crime scenes involve illegal activity, finding cash and valuables is possible. Performing criminal background checks is one way these specialty firms ensure honest workers maintain the integrity of the scene and the company image.

Safe Cleanup Is Necessary to Save Lives

Reducing the emotional trauma by restoring the property to the original condition is one way that crime scene cleaning crews protect the public. The stress of cleaning up a home where a family member died would push some people to the brink of suicide or a mental breakdown. Mold, mildew, and blood-related pathogens can breed bacteria and infect the scene and inhabitants or visitors. The scope of the mess and how deep the bodily fluids seep into porous materials affect the methods and timeline for renovating the scene.

Typical Equipment for Crime Scene Cleanup

  • Approved containers for waste
  • Air purifiers and ozone machines
  • Industrial disinfectants
  • Industrial disinfectants strong enough for use in hospitals
  • Protective gear
  • Physical cleaning tools like long-handled scrubbers and sprayers
  • Putty knives and scrapers
  • Razor blades
  • Shovels
  • Cleaning foggers to penetrate into microscopic areas where dangerous materials may linger after disinfecting and sanitizing
  • Buckets, spray bottles, and standard cleaning items
  • Chemical tanks for soaking large materials
  • Ladders, tarps, and plenty of tapes
  • Camera or video equipment for documentation
  • Vehicle to transport equipment – must have a steam cleaning tank

Meth Labs

Many crime scenes include drug cleanup. Methamphetamine labs leave behind residual poisons that can sicken or hospitalize people who use the space. Crime scene cleaning crews have the protective gear and knowledge to remove all poisonous material and get chemicals out of the space. When the job is complete, the home or business is safe for use ensuring no one suffers exposure to the toxic materials. Performing this task to the best ability of the cleanup team is essential when children live in the home.

Blood and Bodily Fluids

No one wants to think about someone dying at the hands of a burglar or violent criminal, but these things happen every day. What is worse is that there are double the suicides as murders in the United States each year says the National Institute of Health. Someone has to be the one to clean up these areas and make them habitable again. Crime scene cleanup crews remove brain matter, blood, and tissue from these scenes to restore the area and make it safe again after violent acts.

Residues From Police Activity

Another thing specialty crime restoration teams do is get rid of residual dust and messes from police investigations. Fingerprint dusting is a common material professional cleaning crews must remove when performing crime scene restorations. Chemicals like pepper spray or tear gas can linger and seep into fabrics and porous materials. Without proper cleaning, these toxins can continue to aggravate and harm occupants. Understanding how to get rid of these irritants requires extensive training, experience, and advanced equipment.

What a Crime Scene Specialist Experiences When a Call Comes In

  • Extreme odors and sights
  • The need to drop everything to head to the cleanup site 24-7
  • Emotional connections to the scene from seeing family photos and mementos
  • Distraught family members and property owners
  • Witnessing possible dead bodies before the coroner moves them
  • Unpredictable scenes
  • Possibility of further violence
  • Exposure to illegal activities
  • Susceptibility to pathogens and bacteria like Ebola or Anthrax

Current and Future Use Depends on a Proper Restoration

Crime scene cleaning crews have more than surface issues to deal with and clean. The safety of the occupants is just as vital as the health and well-being of the specialty cleaners during and after the cleanup. Steam cleaning equipment and heavy-duty cleaners ensure the area gets proper disinfection. Protecting the environment and the people who are left behind after a horrific event is the number one goal of crime scene restoration teams.

Cleanup After a Hoarder

When someone who keeps everything suffers a crime like an assault or burglary, police often dust for fingerprints, take photos, and move stuff around. Cleaning this mess requires a specialty crew because of the extra dangers to the workers. The job is more intense and takes longer to perform because of how much the crew must remove to complete the task. Falling clutter, tripping risks, and potential bacterial exposure are more likely when cleaning up after a hoarder. Structural problems are also common at these scenes because the hoarder has too much stuff to move to perform maintenance and repair tasks.

Rodents, Roaches, and Maggots

Federal and state regulations require proper sanitizing after removing a body or cleaning up an area with pests. Rat droppings and roach feces breed bacteria and pose health risks to occupants and property owners. Steam cleaning and industrial chemicals are the only things that will properly remove these dangers. When it takes a while to find a body, maggots are common at the scene. Cleaning up after them requires special training and a strong stomach.

Crime scene cleaning is not something you can call the maid for, especially after death. Exposure to diseases like HIV and hepatitis require specialized suits and masks to protect the crew. Knowledge of local and federal requirements for cleaning up after murders and crimes is critical for cleanup crews. Restoring a home or business takes time, skill, patience, and proper handling to do the job correctly.

Author

Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services such as biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, infectious disease disinfection and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.