As many as 8 in 10 Britons admit to hoarding in some form. It has been calculated that the average Brit has up to £514 worth of unused items lying dormant in their home, with almost a quarter of us (23%) having excess clutter stored in a bedroom, the majority of which (70%) has not been touched for more than a decade.
Hoarding, however, is more than just a bit of clutter or a few unused items lying around. It can be a serious problem where an excessive number of items are stored in a chaotic manner– as demonstrated by this week’s National Hoarding Awareness Week.
Extreme hoarding can also become a real health and safety issue. For example, it can prevent adequate cleaning of a property, enabling mould and bacteria to form unabated or can reach levels where access to amenities such as bathrooms and kitchens is blocked. In such cases a thorough deep clean will be required to restore a property back to a useable and safe state.
Our advice for those managing properties where a hoarder has been residing is don’t try and tackle the clean-up alone. A serious post-hoarding property clean can take a single person several days or even weeks to complete; it’s certainly not a one person job. Plus, there can be some strange and potentially dangerous encounters along the way. Our teams have come across just about everything you could imagine when cleaning up after hoarders, including a house which was filled with numerous bottles and plastic containers, all containing urine. Drug paraphernalia and sharp objects are also relatively common.
The safe and controlled removal of needles, syringes and other sharp objects, for example, is extremely important. This type of waste can carry harmful diseases and could cause serious infections if not removed and disposed of correctly.
Similarly, biohazards such as bodily fluids and faeces can carry viruses like Hepatitis B and HIV. The safe decontamination and cleaning of areas that may contain biohazards is vital to reduce and eliminate the risk of infection from exposure.
The cleaning and disposal of this waste should be dealt with by a specialist disinfection team, who are trained to sanitise an area using specific biohazard cleaning removal equipment, and who have access to the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
After a property is decluttered, simply wiping down the surfaces with disinfectant isn’t always enough. Professional cleaning experts are trained to use the most effective cleaning techniques. Ultra Low Volume (ULV) disinfectant fogging, for example, creates a mist of disinfectant that can be applied to a large area quickly. The disinfectant mist settles on top of, underneath and on the sides of objects, soft furnishings and hard-to-reach areas, offering maximum surface area coverage.
While ensuring an affected environment looks clean is a large part of the battle, bad odours can remain after the hoarded items are removed, and the initial clean has taken place. A professional cleaning service can really help in this regard. After using ULV fogging, we can apply a second scented residual fog to the area, which eliminates bad odours and leaves a fresh scent that lasts between 24 and 48 hours.
Depending on the items collected and the state of the property, cleaning up after hoarders can be difficult and potentially dangerous. This is precisely why you should bring in the experts, who will use their experience and specialist equipment to ensure a property is clean and safe to be to re-let or sold as quickly as possible.
If you would like to find out more about how Rentokil Specialist Hygiene can help, get in touch or book in a free survey today: