What Is Hoarding?
Recently, our Founder, Mike Hogan, published a video announcing that First Call Restoration offers hoarding cleanup and crawlspace encapsulation. Last week, we provided you some information on crawlspace encapsulation.
This week, our goal is to answer questions related to hoarding. Specifically, we will explain what hoarding is and why it is essential that you hire a professional, like First Call Restoration, to clean this up.
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Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that affects about 2-6% of the world’s population. This mental health condition is most prevalent in adults over 55 years of age.
An individual with this condition collects and holds items that most other people consider worthless. Family and friends of hoarders are then compelled to remove these items to make the area tidy and organized, resulting in conflict with the person suffering from hoarding disorder.
Hoarders are emotionally attached to their collections and can compromise their own safety and relationships just to hold on to those items. But when the well-being of the home’s occupants is in danger, cleaning up a hoarded home is necessary. Listed below are the top 8 dangers of hoarding and the primary reasons we do not recommend that hoarding cleanup be a DIY project.
Top 8 Reasons DIY Hoarding Cleanup Is Not Recommended By First Call Restoration!
1. Labor-Intensive Exercise
Hoarding cleanup is a tough job that requires an effective strategy to accomplish. First, you need to decide which items you’ll discard, what you’ll donate, and what will end up in the dumpster.
You’ll also need to know where to start and how to move from one room to the next to effectively accomplish the task. The best strategy would be to begin with an inspection of the entire house, including the closets, drawers, clothing pockets, and purses.
This laborious task involves handling huge piles of trash, decluttering, and sanitizing the entire house, besides repairing damaged property. Depending on the hoarding extent, the task can take a long time to complete, and that’s why you need to contact First Call Restoration for fast results.
2. Biohazard Contamination
When you embark on a hoarding cleanup exercise, you’re exposing yourself to severe sanitation issues. Dirt and debris collect fast and in large quantities in this environment, making it the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
Hoarding cleanup means you’re handling different biohazards, including live and dead animals, feces, urine, and other body fluids. Exposing yourself to these conditions, including pathogens such as bacteria and fungus, without protection is extremely dangerous.
3. Pests and Rodents
The decomposing materials and rotting foods may also attract different types of pests and rodents to the house. You may need to fumigate, which can only be done by a licensed cleaning company.
Rats, cockroaches, flies, and other pests are lured to the house by animal waste and rotting food. These pests and rodents are biological agents that spread diseases to animals and humans living in these unsanitary conditions.
4. Mold Growth
Excess clutter in the home limits airflow and ventilation, creating the ideal breeding ground for mold growth. The accumulation of items in the house also makes it impossible to detect water intrusion.
This water intrusion leads to extensive mold growth and can even affect the house’s structural integrity and become a health hazard to the occupants.
Mold removal is an exercise that should only be handled by First Call Restoration because we are mold remediation experts!
5. Exposure to Physical Injuries
Apart from exposing yourself to health hazards, you’re also at risk of potential physical injuries. The unstable piles of materials in the house can collapse as you attempt to declutter and clean the house.
Also, hoarders scatter items haphazardly all over the place, increasing the chances of you tripping and falling and sustaining fractures, wounds, and sprains. It’s also dangerous to try lifting heavy items on your own, another reason to hire professional hoarder cleaning crews from First Call Restoration.
6. Cleaning Equipment and Suppliers
Hoarding cleanup is a labor-intensive and demanding task. A great deal of specialized cleaning equipment and supplies are required to accomplish the job.
These items include cleansers/disinfectants, trash bags, empty boxes, step ladders, vacuum cleaners, sponges/cleaning cloths/wipes, gloves, buckets, mops, and shovels. You also need to know where to dump the trash. Some of this equipment and tools may only be available from professional cleaning companies.
7. Unsafe Environment
A hoarder’s home is characterized by poor air quality. When the habitat is disturbed, mold spores, odor, dust, ammonia, and other pollutants are released continuously into the atmosphere.
If you breathe this contaminated air for prolonged periods, you may develop respiratory problems, including allergies. That’s why you need to engage First Call Restoration to accomplish the task.
Our cleaners have the appropriate protective clothing and tools to do the job effectively without exposing themselves to health hazards. We have access to eye protection, puncture-resistant gloves, hard hats, biohazard suits, respirators, sturdy shoes/boots, and dust masks.
Our cleaners are also provided with bug sprays, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and flashlights to ensure they can handle any challenge they encounter during the hoarding cleanup.
8. Fire Hazard
Fire is the main danger in a hoarded home because much of the clutter consists of flammable materials.
Fires can also occur when objects cover a heat vent or damaged wires.
Moreover, clutter obstructs residents in case of a fire and first responders may not be able to navigate a hoarded home to recue residents.
Safety Is The Number 1 Priority of Hoarding Cleanup
Hoarding clean-up is not an easy task, and it is best done by First Call Restoration because we have the expertise and equipment to perform the job efficiently and safely. With this in mind, we implement the following.
- Ensuring safety – Workers must wear protective gear, such as disposable gloves and dust masks, to guard themselves against bacteria and diseases. They should also have a fire extinguisher, repellent spray, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit on hand.
- Cleaning supplies – Technicians also need tools and cleaning equipment to remove the trash and clean the home. Equipment includes heavy-duty trash bags, empty boxes, buckets, universal cleaning agents and disinfectants, etc.
- Preparing a staging area and dumpster – A free, open space, (staging area) such as the yard is required to temporarily place the contents that are emptied from the home. A large dumpster is also needed to dispose of the debris.
- Decluttering the home – Once the staging area is ready, workers tackle the home starting in the room with the closest exit to be able to escape quickly in case of emergency. The trash and clutter from the room is removed from top to bottom.
- Sorting out the contents – Local regulations must be checked for handling items that can’t go directly into the trash (like paints or explosives). Then, the trash and debris is bagged and thrown in a dumpster. Salvageable items are sorted out into items to keep and to donate.
- Repairing and cleaning the home – When the entire home is clutter-free, repairs should be done. These can include repainting, re-carpeting, or damage restoration (after fire, water, mold, or biohazard damage). Then, all the contents in the house including the salvageable items are disinfected.
Got Hoarding Questions?
Hoarding cleanup is a laborious and dangerous exercise that needs to be handled with extreme care and professionalism. First Call Restoration provides high-quality, compassionate, and reliable cleaning services. Our technicians have the needed skills and experience to handle and manage a hoarding cleanup of any magnitude. If you have questions or want to learn more about our hoarding cleanup services, please call us, (845) 226-0868 or send us an e-mail. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
Experts at hoarding and bio-hazard cleanup
Contact us today
We do hoarding and bio-hazard cleanup in Beacon NY, Brewster NY, Carmel NY, Hopewell Junction NY, Goshen NY, Middletown NY, Millbrook NY, Mount Kisco NY, Newburgh NY, Poughkeepsie NY, Rhineback NY, Walden NY, Wallkill NY, and Wappingers Falls NY!