The Importance of Cleaning up Biohazards in Your Home
Everyone has cleaned up a biohazard at some point. If you have ever had a bloody nose that dripped on the bathroom floor or your pet vomited on the rug, you have technically had experience with the cleanup of biohazardous materials.
The problem, of course, comes when you are not dealing with a small problem that can easily be handled with some latex gloves and bleach. When you encounter a more sizable biohazard in your home, it is especially important to make sure that it is contained and cleaned up correctly, while protecting yourself and your family from possible infection or contamination.
That is not to say that small biohazards should not be treated with caution. They should! Here, we discuss how to handle all sorts of biohazards, large and small, and when to call in the professionals.
What is a Biohazard?
Biohazardous waste is defined as waste contaminated with potentially infectious agents or other materials that are deemed a threat to public health or the environment. Common biohazardous materials you may encounter include:
- Bodily fluids
- Vomit and feces
- Rodent droppings
As mentioned before, it is not uncommon for people to come across some of these materials throughout the course of their lives. It is, however, important to know how to properly protect yourself against these contaminants, clean them up correctly, and to understand when you need to enlist hazardous cleaning services. To learn more, watch our video How Bad Are Contaminants in Sewage?
Steps of Biohazard Cleanup
Whether the job is big or small, there are four main steps to biohazard cleanup:
- Containment and cleanup
Even if you are cleaning up something minor in your home, following these steps is still important. You never know what pathogens may be hiding in the bodily fluids of even close friends and family. Improperly handling blood could expose you to Hepatitis B or C, as well as HIV, while feces might contain Hepatitis A or parasites.
Cleaning Up a Routine Household Biohazards
It is important to protect yourself by wearing latex gloves at the bare minimum, and you can also wear protective eyewear and a mask to increase your protection against pathogens. Contain the material by using a separate trash bag for these materials, and sealing it off immediately after use. Double bag and do not put anything sharp in the bag, to avoid the possibility of puncturing it. Avoid the temptation to open windows or turn on fans as this can spread the contaminants and create a bigger cleanup problem.
Cleanup will depend on the substance in question. For liquid spills that need to be quickly absorbed, you can cover the area in cat litter or salt before proceeding with cleanup.
Blood in particular should be cleaned using a bleach solution. You can combine ½ cup bleach with 1 gallon of water. After cleaning up the initial material, leave the bleach solution on the area to disinfect it for around ten minutes. Some flooring materials will not be color safe, so you can test the bleach solution on a small area before treating the larger surface.
Vomit and feces should initially be removed using paper towel, and then a disinfectant cleaner or bleach solution to sanitize.
All materials that come into contact with biohazardous waste should be disposed of in a tightly sealed plastic trash bag.
Biohazards Requiring Professional Assistance
There are some situations that you simply cannot safely handle without the aid of professional biohazard remediation professionals. Examples of biohazards requiring professional assistance include:
- Unattended death
- Drug lab
- Sewage overflow
- Rodent infestation
- Hoarding situation
In all of these situations, you are dealing with a dangerous exposure to pathogens, either via direct contact or through the air. Pathogens can enter your body through your respiratory system, mucous membranes, or by entering through a wound. Even if you take precautions, it is essential that all remnants of the biohazard be completely removed so that the space is safe for future habitability by you and your family.
Professional Biohazard Response
The first step you need to take when facing a major biohazard like those listed above is self containment, by getting yourself and your family out of harm’s way. There may be the urge to attempt to begin the cleanup yourself, but keep your safety in mind and understand that you could be putting not only yourself, but those around you, in danger by interacting with potential contaminants.
A professional biohazard removal company like Abbotts can come in and assess the damage at this point, and begin the process of biohazard decontamination. We have the tools and knowledge necessary to properly contain, clean, sanitize, deodorize, and restore your property to its original condition.
If you are facing any one of these biohazardous situations, or something similar, please give us a call right away. We will provide a free consultation and let you know whether professional biohazard removal is necessary. Our biohazard removal certified technicians will help bring your home back to its original clean and safe condition.