Straight Talk!: Restoration in Hoarding Houses [Video]


In this edition of Straight Talk! with Jeff Cross, Jeff Jones of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, discusses performing restoration in hoarding houses. Jones, a certified bio-forensic restoration specialist and forensic operator, talks through photographs from one such job to explain the work involved. These are extremely sad situations, Jones said, because “someone’s life has been put out of balance.” Jones believes the restoration professional’s job is to “put things back in balance so that people can get on with their lives.”

Hoarding houses often present “an extremely unsanitary, hostile environment” that restoration teams must enter. Jones explains that to safely work in these environments, professionals must wear personal protective equipment from head to toe, including full microporous fiber suits, shoe covers, two pairs of medical-grade nitrile gloves, and powered air purifying respirators, which provide respiratory protection as well as help keep workers cool while performing hard physical labor.

These jobs often involve removing everything from the house, followed by “hands-on, detailed, forensic cleaning.” Jones approaches this type of cleaning by starting with an ATP reading, which gives a baseline cleanliness level. Subsequent readings help professionals determine when the environment is clean so that disinfecting can begin. “You cannot disinfect a dirty surface, so you want to get those scores down to where you know now the disinfectant can do what we want it to do,” Jones said.

An ATP score of 12 and below is food-safe, while 10 and below is hospital/surgical-safe. These readings give restoration professionals a scientific measure for determining when their work is complete. “Everything that we do in the world of forensic restoration needs to be based on science—the science of cleaning and professional disinfecting,” said Jones.

Watch the complete episode of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross below, and find more Straight Talk episodes on

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Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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