There are three main circumstances in which you may need the help of a specialist company to help clean premises after a death.
The first is when the death itself has caused a problem. This may just be a mattress or chair that has been damaged by body fluids and the family would rather dispose of it than try to get it cleaned. Unfortunately sometimes the circumstances of the death are such that an entire room or more may need special attention. These are usually deaths that have involved violence or an accident.
The second circumstance is when the lifestyle of the person who has died makes the place where they have lived, and sometimes died, difficult to deal with for the family or executor. This may be because there are items associated with intravenous drug use or perhaps a hoarding lifestyle has resulted in a quantity of belongings to be cleared that is overwhelming and may even make access difficult or hazardous.
Thirdly, sometimes people die at home but are undiscovered for a period of time. Although the body will be removed by a funeral director on behalf of the coroner, it is quite common for the home to be in a state of disorder.
First and foremost a family should not feel at all embarrassed to find themselves in this situation. It is not uncommon and the professionals involved will have encountered it many times before.
If the family has not already seen where the death occurred but has been advised by the police or others that specialist help may be needed, it is worth thinking carefully whether you want to enter the property before seeking specialist assistance. A company should be able to provide a family with protective clothing if this is necessary.
There are a number of companies which advertise their services as trauma or forensic cleaning services. Often the police or a funeral director is able to advise a family on services available in their area. However you are welcome to call us and we can give you the contacts details for companies.
The company should be able to assure you that they will be able to identify and retrieve personal items which the family wish to be kept and that if necessary they will be cleaned. They should also be able to provide references if requested to do so and a full quotation for the work to be undertaken.
Practical specifications which the company should meet include insurance with all their staff being trained and also vaccinated appropriately. They should have a waste carriers licence and be registered with the Environment Agency for waste production and be registered with an incinerator for waste disposal. Environment Agency consignment notes should be used when appropriate and copies produced on request to demonstrate when and where any hazardous waste has been taken.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Darren Price of Pinnacle Specialist Cleaning Services for providing expert information for this page.