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Hoarding: How To Remove Biohazard Waste

Updated: 7 days ago

Hoarding - How To Remove Biohazard Waste Graphic

Hoarding is a recognized mental disorder that stems from trauma, brain chemistry, stress, and genetics. To an overlooker, the sight of a hoarder's space may lead to feelings of deep discomfort and concern.

However, to a hoarder, this is their safe space. Sadly, hoarding disorder can lead a person's home to become anything but safe. It is often a biohazard.

A hoarding disorder has likely allowed for the accumulation of biohazardous waste, which attracts vermin and roaches, further adding to the waste.

Many areas of a hoarder's home can be cleaned up with a bit of effort and the correct disinfectants. However, when biohazardous materials or waste are involved, the correct protocol must be followed to avoid any further contamination or infection.

It is in your best interest to leave this part of a hoarding cleanup to the professionals who will know how to remove, handle, and dispose of the waste per state regulations.

Biohazards Associated With Hoarding

When embarking on a clutter cleanup, biohazardous materials and waste may not be immediately visible.

The piles and areas of accumulated clutter often provide a perfect environment for rodents and other infestations to breed and leave their droppings. If a hoarding situation involves animals, you are certainly going to encounter varying degrees of animal waste.

Discarded food attracts insects and rodents and will eventually become moldy. These other living creatures in the household will be feeding and, therefore, defecating.

Mice and rat infestations also come with a slew of health risks on their own. Their fleas and feces can contain numerous viral and bacterial organisms, some of which can be airborne. This can lead to serious and sometimes fatal respiratory and cardiac illnesses.

Mildew thrives in areas that are warm and moist. Rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms are especially prone to this. The clutter may have caused improper drainage and sewage blockages which allow for a build-up of moisture and stagnant liquid.

Biohazardous waste in a hoarder home may come in the form of:

  • Mold

  • Mildew

  • Animal feces and urine

  • Human waste (blood, vomit, feces, urine)

  • Rodent droppings and urine

  • Infestations

  • Discarded food products

  • Sewage blockages

Other hazards associated with hoarding

Health concerns aside, hoarders' homes pose many other risks that can result in serious bodily harm, injury, or homelessness.

These risks include:

  • Tripping and falling over clutter

  • Increased fire hazards

  • Eviction

  • Removal of pets or children

If you have a hoarding situation that you would like handled safely, professionally, and correctly, get in touch with Chore-ology. We understand that this situation requires a level of understanding and sensitivity, and can provide hoarding clean-up services to best suit your needs.

How To Remove Biohazard Waste

During clean-up, it is likely that you will encounter human and animal waste. This, as well as the abovementioned biohazards, must be removed properly. Once you have completed the initial stages of cleaning a hoarder's home, it is time for the removal of biohazardous waste and materials.

It is in your best interest to seek professional biohazard decontamination services to help during this process. These professionals are well-versed in how to clean and properly dispose of hazardous matter.

This process involves:

1. Assessing the situation

Walk through the affected areas to determine the severity of the hoarding situation. If, for instance, the home contains medical waste or animal hoarding, other materials may be required or authorities will need to be called.

2. Wearing appropriate gear

Even during your walk-through, the proper attire must be worn to protect yourself from any biohazardous material. This falls under your personal protective gear or personal protective equipment (PPE).

Your PPE attire would be comprised of:

  • Waterproof, impenetrable rubber gloves

  • Rubber boots

  • Waterproof coverall suits (head covering included)

  • Goggles

  • Face mask

These items ensure that the person cleaning is protected from coming into contact directly or indirectly with bacteria and other contaminants that pose great health risks.

3. Using the correct types of equipment and cleaning products

Since you will have to handle biohazardous materials, the equipment and products you use will need to meet regulation standards. These types of waste may not be placed into regular trash bags, and the areas will sometimes require cleaning products that cannot be found at your everyday local store.

Examples of specialty equipment and products include:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved red biohazard plastic waste bags

  • OSHA-approved red biohazard bins

  • Shovels

  • Long-reaching brushes

  • Foggers or ozone machines for deodorizing

  • Enzyme solvents

  • Scrapers or putty knives for hardened material

Other products and equipment that are used would be things such as bleach, peroxide, mops, sponges, buckets, and cloths. However, you will need to safely dispose of these things after use and they may not be reused for a different cleanup.

4. Proper disposal of waste

When disposing of your biohazardous waste, you cannot leave it for the regular trash services to collect. The waste must be contained in an airtight, leakproof, puncture-resistant, rigid container displaying the biohazard symbol.

This waste is removed by professionals and is autoclaved (a method of removing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores via steam and pressure), burned, or disposed of in the sewer depending on its consistency.

5. Decontamination of the affected areas

Once the area has been cleaned and the waste removed, further decontamination should be done to ensure no trace amounts of the hazardous material are left behind. Disinfectant wipes and foggers can be used to thoroughly rid the area of harmful debris.

How Hoarding Affects Your Health

As mentioned, hoarding situations are a result of a mental disorder. Besides this, it can affect the person's physical health. When your living space is cluttered with waste, you are exposed to and inhaling all the microscopic bacteria and viruses that may be present.

Long-term exposure can lead to severe health complications and even death. A hoarder's home can become a breeding ground for all kinds of severe illness:

  • Staphylococcus

  • E. coli

  • Hantavirus

  • Histoplasmosis

  • Tuberculosis

  • Hepatitis

  • Pinworm

  • Respiratory illness

  • Dermatitis

In the United States, between 2% and 6% of the population is afflicted by varying levels of this illness. There are many dangers associated with this disorder which can be avoided with a proper clean up. The cleaning of a hoarder's space requires more than just a broom and a few trash bags.

Appropriate steps must be taken when cleaning out biohazard waste and should be dealt with by professionals. At Chore-ology, we remove and decontaminate biohazardous waste as a result of this disorder. This is done with great efficiency, sensitivity, and discretion.

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