Cleaning a hoarder’s house is a very sensitive situation to be a part of, especially if the hoarder is still vacating the property. Each and every hoarding situation has a unique set of challenges with many different elements involved. Within the majority of hoarding homes, every room will have likely lost most, if not all of its practical use and be a serious fire hazard.
WHAT IS HOARDING?
Hoarding is a mental disorder where an individual acquires an excessive number of items, rubbish and possibly even bodily fluids. These items will then be stored within the individual’s property within a chaotic manner. Many of the items will have no monetary value and can very often be something as small as a food wrapping that the hoarder simply can’t bear to part with. This can very often result in the place becoming incredibly hazardous for anyone to live in. “Hoarding disorders are challenging to treat because many people who hoard frequently do not see it as a problem, or have little awareness of how it’s affecting their life or the lives of others.”
There are many factors involved when it comes to cleaning a hoarder house, from the size of the property to how severe the hoarder’s problem is. Subsequently, this can fluctuate the price enormously. The cost can often lead family members or friends attempting to take on the clean of the hoarder’s home themselves; this unfortunately, usually leads to an increase in expenses. Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising a hoarder’s home can become too overwhelming, resulting in the individual who attempted to take on the job now handing it over to a professional.
ELEMENTS THAT CAN INCREASE HOARDER CLEANING PRICES
Below, we have explored a few of the aspects that contribute to increasing the entire cost of cleaning a hoarder’s house;
The size of the property can play a massive role in the financial outcome of a hoarder cleaning service. The larger the home, the more space the hoarder would have had to fill. For example, if a hoarder was to live in a 2-bedroom apartment, the final cost is going to be a lot cheaper than if the hoarder lived in a 5-bedroom house.
The bigger the property, the more likely the house will have a variety of large items within each room that will need to be disposed of; objects usually include cupboards, furniture, floorboards etc. This can be an expensive cost; however, a necessary step to be taken. In many cases, large objects will allow harmful toxins to fester into their porous materials; this leaves the object being incredibly damaging to a person’s health. Depending on the extent of hoarding, some items will be able to be saved, only if they are adequately disinfected by a professional. However, this ultimately comes down to the severity of the hoarding and how long the items have been left without being cleaned.
NUMBER OF SPECIALISTS NEEDED
The size of the property will contribute to the decision made to determine how many specialists are needed and the time spent within the house. Suppose you are looking to have a hoarder’s house cleaned in a specific time limit, for example. In that case, a 5-bedroom home within two days, the number of technicians that will be needed to effectively and thoroughly complete the job will be increased, and thus result in the final cost increasing.
There is a variety of hoarder cleaning specialists that will have experience in different aspects of the job. For example, if you enter a hoarder’s house who has objects and materials stacked up in high piles, you can’t just simply pull the materials out. A specific strategy will need to be put in place to ensure no one is in harm’s way, however, a technician that has expertise in strategically removing objects in a safe manner will not be able to remove harmful hazardous substances. Each technician with most companies will be hired out at different costs as they will be trained in a different set of skills.
HAZARDS AND BIOHAZARDS
Depending on the severity of hoarding and the type of materials or objects, the hoarder has kept will determine how hazardous the property is. This will determine the kind of products and technologies the clean-up service will use. Coming into contact with bodily fluids such as blood, urine, vomit, and faeces can cause health issues for anyone who is living in the house. Contaminated areas can easily be transmittable around the house, resulting in the entire property becoming a biohazard. Not only is there a substantial risk of blood pathogens from human bodily fluids but there is a high chance that bugs, rats and other insects are festering throughout the house, under piles of rubbish that haven’t been moved for possibly years.
At this point, only a highly trained professional should be cleaning up the property. There are a variety of blood pathogens that live within bodily fluids for months when outside of the body. If an individual is to come in contact with any form of blood pathogens, they can become violently ill, with the possibility of death.
Specialist hoarder cleaning technicians will have the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when they arrive on-site. They will adequately dispose of the PPE at the end of the clean to ensure there is no risk of cross-contamination. An array of technologies, products and methods will all need to be used when it comes to biohazards within the house, which can result in the cost increasing. However, nothing can be spared when it comes to cleaning biohazards from a property; it is an absolute necessity.
DANGERS OF CLEANING A HOARDER’S HOME
While it is heavily advised you do not attempt to clean a hoarder’s house unless you have the experience, if you feel like you are up for a challenge, we have written a list below to keep you safe:
Protective equipment is crucial at all times – this will include eye covering, hard hats, masks, gloves, metal toed boots and a first aid kit on site.
Industry cleaning supplies to ensure all hazardous toxins that are not visible are no longer festering in any materials that are kept or the air.
Always work from the top of the house and work your way down to the bottom. Therefore, if you have decontaminated an area, there will be no reason for you to track any dirt or dust through.
Make sure you are always prioritising your health over everything.
Thoroughly evaluate, and disinfect every object you are planning on keeping.
Start with the small rooms that are upstairs first. Cleaning a hoarder’s house can be very overwhelming, so don’t jump straight in with the most oversized rooms in the house.
If you are going to attempt to clean a hoarder’s house, do make sure you are mentally and physically prepared and have all the relevant industry-standard cleaning products. The last thing you want to happen is to spend your money buying the incorrect products to clean and sanitising the house yourself, to then have to call out a hoarder cleaning service to complete the job.
If you believe the property is too much of a hazard, and you need a professional hoarder cleaning company, give ICE a call. Our support team are more than happy to run you through our process. If you have a floor map of each room within the property that needs to be cleaned along with images of the current property, our support team will be able to give you an accurate quote straight away.
HOARDING HOUSE CLEANUP SUMMARY
There is no one price fits all when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting a hoarder’s home, risking your health and the health of your loved ones is not worth it. A professional cleaning service needs to be put in place to ensure there are no harmful toxins left within the property or any belongings.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position needing a hoarder cleaning service, give ICE a call. We are a nation-wide company, we can be on-site within 60 minutes of your call, and all of our technicians are highly trained professionals.