Dead Body Cleanup Services : How It Works

by | Aug 14, 2023

It’s never easy to lose someone you care about, and the logistics can be just as difficult to navigate. What do you do when you find a dead body, and how does dead body cleanup work? Fortunately, there are plenty of professional services that will help you through these trying times.

Ensuring Safety After a Dead Body is Removed

Safety should be your top priority, especially if the body has been left unattended for a long time before being discovered. This is what is called an unattended death, which can pose a health risk to anyone who enters the area, even after the body has been removed.

While it may be tempting to touch their belongings or walk around the place where they were discovered, the best thing that you can do is leave the area and call a biohazard cleanup specialist. There will be another time to go through their belongings and the memories attached to them.

The sooner a specialist can assess the area, the sooner you can tell what kind of cleaning will be necessary and whether it’s safe to enter other parts of the building while the rooms are being disinfected.

If you need to enter the building once cleaning has begun, always be sure to defer to the specialists’ guidelines, such as wearing professional-grade gloves and a mask. This reduces the risk of inhaling or touching any particles that could cause a health risk. In some cases, the building may be too small for entry once cleaning begins.

Who Should You Contact After a Dead Body Removal?

Depending on the circumstances of the death, you may first contact the police or the hospital to notify them about the death. Once the body has been removed, however, it can be unclear who is responsible for the dead body cleanup process. Typically, it’s left to the owner of the building or property where the death occurred, but it may also become the burden of the family or those who discovered the body if the owner of the property is unknown.

In either case, it may become your responsibility to call a specialist for sanitizing the area. This is when you need to call a biohazard cleaning company. If the body had been left undiscovered for some time, it’s important to ensure the company also has experience with what is called an “unattended death”. If the body is left to decompose, bodily fluids can saturate into the area, such as the flooring or fabric in any room. This is much more difficult to clean, may involve different cleaning procedures, and it is important to ensure the area will be properly sanitized.

It’s important to understand that you don’t have to go through this process alone. Even while you are working through the details with a funeral home or biohazard cleaning company, you should establish connection with friends and family members about the event to allow yourself to begin healing and grieving. A grief counselor can also help you work through the trauma.

Why You Can’t Do the Body Decomposition Cleanup Yourself

Before biohazard cleaning companies were well known, it wasn’t uncommon for families and friends to take care of the cleanup themselves. Unfortunately, this poses a significant health risk to the individuals left alive, as the decomposition process can create bodily fluids and natural gases. These biohazard substances can carry dangerous bacteria or pathogens depending on the circumstances of death and the condition the body has been in.

Not only do the visible signs of the death need to be removed by a specialist, but it’s difficult to know when the space has been truly sanitized without professional equipment and experience. Furthermore, the odor can linger for a long time without professional cleaning, and this persistent smell can trigger painful memories and grief. Professional biohazard cleanup companies have the experience, training, and equipment necessary to handle these difficulties, allowing you to take a step back and start the process of healing sooner.

Unattended Death is a Difficult and Complex Situation

Unattended death can become a complex situation when it’s time to clean the room. Even if the death didn’t occur too long ago, environmental conditions like high humidity or warmth can accelerate decomposition. There are many variables in an unattended death, and the inability to know when the individual passed away, or how far the decomposition has progressed, can be a frightening experience to whoever discovers the body.

Biohazard cleaning specialists must also factor in these variables when considering what health risks it poses, what equipment they will need to completely sanitize the area, and how long it will take to accomplish the task. It’s not uncommon for an unattended death to take a longer time to clean and sanitize than an attended death. In more severe cases, unattended death cleanup can require deconstructing part of the building or destroying furniture if the material cannot be properly sanitized.

Benefits of Hiring a Dead Body Cleanup Company

There are many benefits to hiring a dead body cleanup company. First and foremost, it prevents you from having to do the work yourself, which could be hazardous and traumatizing to even the most capable people.

These specialists have complete training to ensure there is no cross-contamination of materials, following OSHA guidelines to create a safe control area to work within. Not only does this minimize the risk of spreading biohazardous material, but it ensures that the area that needs cleaning does not expand.

Additionally, they have the necessary disinfectants, cleaners, and deodorants to completely sanitize the area. These products help them thoroughly and efficiently eliminate harmful bacteria, and additional safety checks with their equipment will ensure there is not a single molecule of hazardous material left. Equipped with personal protective equipment, these specialists are prepared to handle the cleaning process without posing any risks to themselves.

How Death Cleaning Specialists Work

These specialists follow a thorough and systematic protocol when cleaning any unattended or attended death following the removal of the body. While their specific methods may vary with the specific circumstances of the death and the layout of the property, these specialists are trained and experienced in the process.

Always choose an experienced company to take care of your dead body cleanup needs, as these specialists are caring and compassionate. They understand the real affects death has on us all, and throughout the discreet cleaning process they ensure to remain respectful of the home and belongings.

No matter how recent the death was, it can be a traumatic event. These cleaners understand the need for emotional sensitivity in the moment, while working swiftly to return the property to a safe and sanitized state.

Step 1: Assess the Situation, Estimate the Scope of Work

When the cleaning company arrives, the estimator will put on their protective gear and survey the situation. They will assess the scope of work, determining how many people will be needed to perform the work, and what condition the scene is in. They may also ask questions about the body or the discovery. Once they have all the information, they will provide you with an estimate.

Step 2: Protect Against Cross-Contamination

Once the work is underway, these professionals work quickly to establish a control area to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the safety of everyone involved. They work diligently and discreetly, though they may need to utilize signage in the immediate area.

Step 3: Remove All Visible Traces of the Incident

Finally, the real cleaning can begin. These professionals will remove all visible signs of the biohazardous material, thorough in their search to ensure that everything is as clean as possible before moving onto the next step. Certain materials may need to be disposed of if they are unable to be cleaned. From here, they can begin deep-cleaning the area, getting down to the molecular level and going beyond visible signs of contamination to start sanitizing the area.

Step 4: How Cleaners Sanitize After a Trauma or Dead Body

These professionals have disinfection equipment and technology at their disposal to effectively clean the remaining biohazardous material and ensure there is no chance of contamination once they leave. These chemicals are safe for use on multiple surfaces and are EPA-rated disinfectants used for this specific purpose.

Before the specialists leave, however, they do one final check to ensure there is no remaining biohazard using ATP testing technology. This guarantees the area has been efficiently cleaned by detecting any kind of adenosine triphosphate on surfaces, which is produced by human cells. This leaves the area as sterilized and disinfected as a hospital room.

How Much Does Dead Body Cleanup Cost?

Typically, the cost of a dead body cleanup will range – on the low end – from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the severity of the scene and the amount of time the body has been decomposing. On the higher end of the scale, it may cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. It’s important to understand that this is an average cost, however, and not necessarily what you can expect every company to charge. Some companies will be less costly, depending on their scope of work or the conditions they are working in. While estimates are given after the initial site assessment, this may not precisely reflect the final cost.

Most dead body cleanup companies price their services as a complete estimate like these numbers, but if they go over that estimate, they may begin to charge an hourly rate. This hourly rate, on average, ranges anywhere from $200 to $300 an hour as it involves multiple people performing a hazardous job.

Fortunately, most homeowners or liability insurance covers this kind of cost. The person that owns the property is responsible for footing the bill and filing a claim.

Can The Smell of a Dead Body Be Harmful?

No, the smell of a dead body is not harmful once the room has been professionally cleaned and sanitized. Fortunately, the smell dissipates after the room has been properly deodorized as well. It is a natural reaction to feel nauseous or need to vomit after smelling a dead body, especially if decomposition has progressed.

What can be harmful to your health, however, is the gases from a decomposing body. Most often, we associate this as the smell, since these gases can produce a smell, but it is actually a mixture of biohazardous gas that emanates from the body.

If the body has not been removed, it’s best to avoid getting close enough to it that you can smell it. Always follow the guidelines of a professional cleaning company. If you are in the vicinity of a discovered body or the bodily fluids of a recently removed body, you should stay away from the site until a cleaning company can assess the situation properly.

Can You Get Rid of a Dead Body Smell?

Yes, you can get rid of a dead body smell. While the smell itself may not be harmful, it certainly is not pleasant, either. Your body is naturally inclined to feel disgusted by the smell of death, and unfortunately, it’s highly sensitive to this smell as well.

Typically, after a professional cleaner has sanitized and deodorized an area, the smell will be significantly reduced if not completely gone. For any minor lingering smells that may be in the air, you can set bowls of baking soda in each room affected by the smell. This will absorb and neutralize any leftover, harmless odors.

In some cases, faint lingering smells are more a symptom of the mind convincing your body that it smells something when it doesn’t, because memory and smell are linked together. Recent memories of the death or recalling a memory of the death can lead you to smell the dead body, even if you hadn’t smelled it a moment before.

If the smell persists or gets stronger, you should contact the cleaning company again and follow their advice as this could mean that there is remedial sanitization or deodorization that needs to be performed.

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