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How to Clean Up After an Unattended Death

Suicide death cleanup and biohazard remediation

Discovering an unattended death can be a deeply emotional and overwhelming experience. In the midst of grief, the task of cleaning up the scene, often referred to as unattended death cleanup or biohazard remediation, can feel daunting.However, proper sanitation and restoration are crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and others. This guide provides essential steps for unattended death cleanup, emphasizing respect and safety throughout the process.

Why Professional Biohazard Remediation is Crucial

Unattended deaths often involve decomposition, leading to the presence of biohazards like bodily fluids, bloodborne pathogens, bacteria, and viruses. These pose significant health risks if not handled appropriately. Exposure to such contaminants can cause serious illnesses, including respiratory problems, skin infections, and even life-threatening diseases.

Professional biohazard remediation companies possess the training, equipment, and experience to safely and effectively decontaminate the space. These technicians understand the complex science of decomposition and utilize specialized techniques to remove biohazards without causing further damage to the property.

What to Do First After an Unattended Death

If you suspect an unattended death, call 911 immediately. Law enforcement will secure the scene, conduct a preliminary investigation, and notify the next of kin.  Do not enter the scene until authorities have declared it safe.

Once authorities have released the scene, prevent unauthorized access to prevent further contamination and ensure the privacy of the deceased. You can achieve this by:

  • Locking all doors and windows of the property.
  • Posting “Do Not Enter” signs clearly visible around the affected area.
  • Limiting access only to authorized personnel, such as law enforcement or biohazard remediation technicians.

The Unattended Death Cleanup Process

A qualified biohazard remediation company will follow a comprehensive process to ensure the safe and respectful restoration of the property. Here’s a general outline of what to expect during unattended death cleanup:

  • Initial Assessment: The professionals will assess the extent of the biohazard contamination in the property, including the presence of bodily fluids, visible mold growth, and structural damage. They will then develop a customized cleanup plan that outlines the scope of work, estimated timeline, and cost.
  • Containment: The affected area will be sealed off with plastic sheeting and caution tape to prevent the spread of contaminants throughout the property. Personal protective equipment (PPE) like biohazard suits, respirators, and gloves will be used by the technicians throughout the process.
  • Biohazard Removal: Biohazardous materials like bodily fluids and tissues will be carefully removed using specialized tools and techniques. Contaminated materials will be placed in sealed biohazard containers for proper disposal according to local and federal regulations.
  • Disinfection and Deodorization: Powerful disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be used to eliminate remaining bacteria and viruses on surfaces throughout the affected area of the property. Specialized techniques are used to address lingering odors caused by decomposition. These may involve fogging, deodorizing chemicals, and air scrubbers.
  • Restoration: The affected area will be thoroughly cleaned and restored to a safe and habitable condition. This may involve structural repairs, replacement of porous materials like carpeting and drywall commonly affected by biohazards, and repainting. The biohazard remediation company may also recommend professional cleaning services for non-contaminated areas of the property.

What You Can Do to Help During Unattended Death Cleanup

While the actual cleanup should be handled by professionals, there are steps you can take to facilitate the process:

  • Gather Important Information: Collect any documents related to the deceased, such as insurance policies, property ownership details, and contact information for next of kin. Having this information readily available will help expedite the process.
  • Make Decisions About Personal Belongings: Decide what items you wish to keep and what can be safely discarded. The biohazard remediation company can assist with the separation process. Salvaged belongings may require professional cleaning and disinfection before they are safe to handle.
  • Be Patient: The restoration process can take time, depending on the extent of the damage and the complexity of the situation in the property. Trust the professionals to do their job effectively and communicate openly about the timeline.

Additional Considerations After Unattended Death Cleanup

  • Emotional Support: The emotional toll of discovering an unattended death can be significant. Seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional to help you cope with grief and navigate this difficult time.
  • Insurance: Many homeowner’s insurance policies cover biohazard remediation in the event of an unattended death. Contact your insurance company to understand your coverage and navigate the claims process.
  • Legal Considerations: Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, there may be legal implications.Consult with an attorney specializing in probate law to understand your rights and responsibilities.
  • Property Management: If you are a landlord dealing with an unattended death in a rental property, it’s crucial to follow the terms of your lease agreement and local landlord-tenant laws. Contact your attorney for guidance on handling the situation appropriately and lawfully.

Finding Closure After Unattended Death Cleanup

Unattended death cleanup is a complex and sensitive process. By understanding the steps involved and seeking professional help from qualified suicide restoration companies, you can ensure the safe and respectful restoration of the property. Remember, prioritizing your safety and well-being is essential during this challenging time.

Here are some resources that may be helpful:

  • The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): ( offers support and resources for those coping with trauma, including grief after an unattended death.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): ( provides information and support for mental health conditions, including grief and loss.

We understand that this information may be difficult to process. If you have any questions or require further guidance after an unattended death, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional biohazard remediation company or a mental health professional. You are not alone in this difficult time.

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