Obsessive hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) marked by the extreme storage and collection of items, food, paper, valuables, and sometimes animals. Hoarding is known to occur in 2- 5% and across all socioeconomic data. When hoarding situations get out of control, they begin to affect both the person’s and their family’s life negatively. Not only are there emotional and mental stressors from living in this type of environment, but there are many dangerous health risks to the individuals and neighbours residing in or near the home.
There are also risks of environmental damages from hoarding to the actual property itself as well as to neighbouring properties. These include but are not limited to mould contamination, rotting food contamination, pet urine and feces contamination. A host of circumstances can cause unhygienic substances to absorb into carpets, flooring, drywall, baseboards, insulation, wood framing and furniture. Over time, contaminants that absorb into building and furniture materials amplify hazardous moulds, which then find sources to feed on and replicate quickly, causing health hazards for anyone exposed to them. The more ongoing and repeated exposure to these hazards, the higher are the risks to the persons’ health.
At GTA Property Service Group, our team is trained to work and collaborate in a discreet, empathetic, and respectful manner with all parties involved. The parties may include family members, property managers, landlords, lawyers, protective service workers, social workers and mental health professionals. We understand the intricacies involved and the delicate nature of the work and steps taken in hoarding cleanup cases. At the forefront of hoarding cleanup is to make the person or persons’ living environment clean, free of clutter and safe. Hoarding cleanup consists of risk and damage assessment, content sorting, decluttering, disposal, sanitizing, decontamination, reorganization and restoration.
Creating a Safe Work Environment
After assessing any risks and property damage, we create a safe work environment for our team and any other professional with whom we are working by implementing sorting and cleaning stations and ULV fogging the accessible areas with disinfectants.
Content Sorting and Junk Removal
Our lead technicians and supervisors are certified in contents management, enabling them to carefully sort items and valuables, separating them into salvageable and non-salvageable categories. The challenge in most hoarding cleanups is that most things are non-salvageable and have been badly damaged from cross-contamination. They have become hazardous from the hoarding and can spread disease-causing bacteria. We do our best to sort and sanitize highly valuable items or those sentimental in nature, such as photos, trophies, heirlooms and other memorabilia. We remove any garbage or contents that cannot be saved to an off-site location and take steps to ensure proper disposal of any environmental or hazardous waste.
Sanitizing and Decontaminating the Home
Once we remove the garbage and non-salvageable items, we pull up any contaminated carpeting or flooring that cannot be successfully saved. We then determine which method or methods are the most appropriate to clean and sanitize the remaining surfaces. Possible sanitizing methods may include but are not limited to the following:
- ULV fogging of all surfaces, including appliances and furniture, using hospital-grade safe disinfectants designed to kill bacteria and viruses.
- Thermal fogging of all areas to attack remaining lingering malodours.
- Electrostatic disinfectant application to all surfaces of the home, including areas around electronic items using either electrostatic technology via the Total Clorox 360 system or the Victory VP200ES Professional Sprayer.
- Manual wiping and washing of all remaining vertical and horizontal surfaces using a government-approved broad-spectrum disinfectant cleanser.
- Vacuuming of any remaining dust and debris in the home.
- Steam cleaning of all remaining hard surface flooring or carpeting.
- Air scrubbing machines installed during the cleaning process to facilitate air exchanges and filter as many mould spores and contaminants from the indoor environment as possible.
- Biohazard materials are addressed and contained by technicians certified in trauma scene cleaning and infection control before being disposed of under applicable provincial laws and protocols.
Property Restoration After Hoarding
After we have thoroughly sanitized the home, we can help reorganize belongings and contents for our clients. Depending on the severity of any property damage, hoarding cleanup may require our auxiliary services. Our team is IICRC certified to clean and manage the most extreme situations or hazards caused by hoarding. We offer air quality testing, trauma scene cleanup, water damage, mould or fire & smoke remediation, asbestos abatement, structural drying, odour removal and remodelling and reconstruction. We have many years’ experience in property damage mitigation, remediation and restoration. We are ready to serve you with all aspects of restoring your property to a healthy and sanitary condition.