What is Crime Scene Cleanup?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Crime scene cleanup is a profession which focuses on the safe cleanup of crime scenes, including scenes of violent crimes, body disposal, drug manufacturing, acts of terrorism, chemical or biological contamination, and so forth. Members of this profession receive special training so that they can handle hazardous substances safely, and in return for their expertise, they can earn very high salaries, especially in urban areas where the services of crime scene cleanup professionals are in high demand. Work in this field requires a strong stomach and a high level of physical fitness, as crime scene cleaners work in hot, confining biohazard suits for long hours.

When a crime occurs, classically the scene is examined by forensic investigators, and then released, leaving the family of the victim or the owner of the site where the crime occurred with the responsibility for cleaning it up. Cleaning up crime scenes is not just unpleasant. It can also be dangerous. In a meth lab, for example, the scene may be heavily contaminated with dangerous chemicals, while the site of a violent murder would contain a number of biological hazards like blood and brain matter which need to be dealt with safely.


Crime scene cleaners are capable of cleaning and restoring area where a crime occurred. Their skills include safe disposal of hazards, along with construction, as it is often necessary to take out walls, carpeting, and other components of a room to ensure that it is cleaned properly. In addition, they may have training in handling human remains, as crime scene cleanup can involve picking up what the coroner left behind.

In addition to dealing with crimes, crime scene cleanup can also include cleaning out so-called “trash houses” which have been filled with garbage by tenants, along with containing sites of suspected contamination, such as homes containing disease-carrying rodents. These professionals use special equipment to get the job done, including personal protective gear, biohazard containers, and heavy solvents which are designed to clean a wide variety of surfaces.

Cleaners may also offer psychological support to families of victims of violent crimes. When someone dies in the home, for example, crime scene cleaners work to clean the site quickly, retaining as many possessions as possible and discreetly disposing of things which have become contaminated.

Workers in this field have to be prepared for long and irregular shifts, as a crime scene cleanup company can be called to the scene of a crime at any hour, day or night. The sooner cleaners arrive at the site of a crime, the easier their task will be, as many substances present at crime scenes tend to penetrate, stain, and linger.


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