What Are The Dangers Of Cleaning A Hoarder's House?

Thursday 2nd February 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Lots of items in a kitchen CONTENTS

 

Although it seems an obvious solution, you should never clear out a hoarder’s home for them. It will not help with their hoarding disorder, and puts you at risk of health problems and injuries. You must  get them help first, and then bring in professional cleaners.

At ICE Cleaning, our technicians provide quick and thorough hoarder cleaning services. They can discreetly remove unnecessary belongings and provide any other required services, such as mould remediation and pest control. They are available nationwide, 365 days a year.

Keep reading to find out why you must not clean a hoarder’s property yourself.

Their possessions might fall on you

Most hoarders stack their belongings up in disorganised piles. Should you attempt to remove anything from these piles, they might collapse on top of you. Professional hoarder cleaners will know how to safely remove their possessions.

There also might be lots of trip hazards if the hoarder has left their things on the floor. This is especially a problem if you are carrying items out of the property and cannot look down.

Structural damage makes the property an unsafe environment

The large amount of possessions in their homes can damage the property itself. The uneven distribution and weight of their belongings could make floors buckle, and the walls and support beams collapse. You may get seriously injured if you are in the property at the time.

Mould, water damage, and rodents chewing through building materials might compromise the integrity of the house, too.

You may be exposed to pests

A hoarder’s home is perfect for pests as there is lots of decomposing material and rotting food to feed off, and plenty of hiding places. Insects and rodents can live and breed without detection, quickly creating a huge pest problem.

Pests can be very dangerous to be around. Mice, for example, could carry Listeria and Salmonella in their urine and droppings. When you clean up a property with an infestation, you may come in very close contact with them and their waste, and might even get bitten.

Mould can cause health problems

Hoarders’ properties provide the optimal conditions for mould to grow and spread:

  • In extreme cases, it can be difficult to reach windows to open them and let in fresh air, resulting in high humidity
  • There might be decaying organic material which provides a food source for the mould

Mould produces allergens which can trigger an allergic reaction, resulting in symptoms like a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Prolonged exposure to toxic mould could cause more serious health problems, like insomnia and memory loss. You can find out more in this blog.

Professional cleaners have the personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe while exposed to mould, and should be able to remove it, too.

Blocked airways make cleaning dangerous

Hoarders typically have poor airflow in their homes because it can be hard to open windows, and their possessions might fall on or block vents. This can result in higher levels of carbon dioxide in the property, making breathing difficult if you are in there for a long time.  

Some cleaning chemicals could also produce noxious fumes which are harmful when breathed in. If there is not enough airflow to carry them out of the property, your health will be at risk.

Professional cleaners have PPE to ensure they do not inhale any fumes or come in contact with any chemicals, and will follow safety protocols when using them.

You might have to clean up biohazards

It can be difficult to carry out routine maintenance in a hoarder’s home. For example, when a clogged toilet spills sewage in a hoarder’s property, professionals might not be able to do the necessary repairs and clean up the affected area.

You must never attempt to clean up sewage or faeces and urine yourself. They could contain harmful microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses which may cause health problems such as gastroenteritis. You can find out more about how sewage might harm your health here.

Only professional biohazard cleaners with the equipment and training to safely remove it should do this. They will be able to closely follow the regulations involved with cleaning, transporting, and disposing of sewage, and can then decontaminate the area.

ICE Cleaning’s technicians have plenty of experience cleaning for hoarders, including providing the other specialist cleaning services that may be required, like biohazard cleaning.

Get in touch

Contact us today to book our technicians for hoarder cleaning by calling 0208 066 0360 or sending us an email at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

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