Hoarding is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that affects about 2-6% of the world’s population. This mental health condition is more 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.
DIY Hoarding Cleanup not Recommended
Due to the accumulation of many items in a tiny space, cleaning the area may not be easy due to the effort required and the potential health risks. That’s why you should not try DIY hoarding cleanup but instead consult a professional company. Here are some of the dangers of conducting hoarding cleanup on your own.
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 a reputable hoarding cleanup company for fast results.
2. Biohazard Contamination
When you embark on a hoarding cleanup exercise, you’re, in essence, 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. This means you may need to conduct a fumigation exercise, 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 professionals; another reason you should not embark on hoarding cleanup on your own.
5. Exposure to Physical Injuries
Apart from exposing yourself to health hazards in hoarding cleanup, you’re also at risk of potential physical injuries. The unstable piles of materials in the house can collapse and injure you 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 you need help from professionals with experience in hoarding cleanup.
6. Cleaning Equipment and Suppliers
As we’ve discussed earlier, hoarding cleanup is a labor-intensive and demanding task. You need a great deal of specialized cleaning equipment and supplies 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 with 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 some respiratory problems, including allergies. That’s why you need to engage a reputable cleaning company to accomplish the task.
Their cleaners have the appropriate protective clothing and tools to do the job satisfactorily without exposing themselves to health hazards. They have access to eye protection, puncture-resistant gloves, hard hats, biohazard suits, respirators, sturdy shoes/boots, and dust masks.
The 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. Plus, if you encounter any biohazardous materials when cleaning the home, you have no legal backing to handle and dispose of the materials, thus the need to work with professionals.
8. Strained Relationships
Conducting a hoarding cleanup on your own can result in strained relationships with the hoarder. Hoarders are comfortable living in an environment with piles of items, and trying to cleaning up the space can lead to misunderstandings between them and you.
Although you’re trying to get rid of the clutter with good intentions, the hoarder may feel you’re invading their privacy. Unwelcomed hoarding cleanups can lead to intense distress on the hoarder and anger directed to you.
Professional hoarding cleanup companies work with therapists and prepare the hoarder for the cleanup. It’s thus essential to seek the help of professional hoarding cleaners if you plan to clean the hoarder’s space. This exercise can be dangerous and should only be handled by experts.
Expert Hoarding Cleanup Services
As you’ve discovered from the discussion above, a hoarding cleanup is a laborious and dangerous exercise that needs to be handled with extreme care and professionalism. Instead of taking chances to conduct the exercise on your own, you can use our professional hoarding cleaning services to ensure your loved one resides in a healthy and safe environment.
We provide 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. They will work with you on a comprehensive strategy to clean the hoarder’s home. Besides, they have the relevant tools and equipment to do the task fast and right the first time.
Our therapists will assist your hoarder in overcoming their anxiety and lead a normal life. Call us now for immediate help. We take pride in helping hoarders live better lives!