If you tested your property for meth residue and the preliminary results came back positive, you should evacuate the premises in order to preserve your health and think about forming a plan on how to clean drug residue before returning to your home. There are several adverse health effects of living in a house that was previously used as a meth lab. Methamphetamine contains a variety of toxic chemicals that can cause nausea, vomiting, chemical burns, skin rashes, depression, and anxiety. In some severe cases, living in an ex meth lab house can cause chronic infections that can lead to death if not treated immediately.
This article is going to go in-depth on the topic of how to clean a drug house and what is the best course of action when you find out your property has meth residue all over it. Before we dive in, let’s take a moment and explore why is Meth so dangerous.
What Chemicals Are in Meth?
Meth is a highly addictive synthetic drug made of various toxic chemicals and substances. The list of ingredients can vary, but it almost always includes pseudoephedrine, phosphine, and acetone. These three chemicals present the biggest threat to your well-being and can cause both short-term and long-term health issues.
If you have kids and you’re looking to move in your entire family into a new place, it’s a good idea to inspect the neighborhood first, as children are more susceptible to developing health issues associated with exposure to Meth. If your children are in the near proximity of a meth lab, there is a high chance of them developing severe health issues that can scar them for life.
What Are the Dangers of Cleaning a Meth Lab?
It’s essential to be aware of all the risks before proceeding to commence the cleanup process. We highly recommend hiring an expert cleaning service to do it for you, but even then, it’s beneficial for you to know what are some of the dangers involving a regular meth house clean-up.
Aside from being infested with highly toxic chemicals, meth labs are prone to catching fire due to the volatile compounds used in the manufacturing process. Even entering a meth lab before conducting a proper test can present a serious risk. You can be exposed to meth residue through inhalation, direct skin contact, or ingestion.
If you decided to purchase a property you know was used for a meth lab, be wary of homemade booby traps left behind by criminals. While the property was probably previously inspected by law enforcement, we urge you to be cautious. Experts have reported they’ve found hidden explosive devices such as gasoline-filled light bulbs that are used to keep unwanted intruders away and protect the inventory.
What Government Agency Regulates Meth Clean-Up?
There isn’t a government agency that officially regulates the remediation of properties used for meth production. Rather, priorities for such cleanups are governed by state and local laws. That being said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a document called “Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup” that aims to explain how to clean a meth house properly.
Homeowners, cleanup contractors, and others involved in meth lab remediation should definitely have access to this document. However, every state has a different clearance mandate that regulates if a property is considered habitable or not. In other words, each state differs in the amount of meth residue allowable in a property for it to be deemed a safe space to live in.
If you’re using our home meth testing kits to test your property, you’ll be able to measure samples as low as .02 mg/100 cm2.
Now let’s get to the gist of this article and go through all the steps required to rid your property of any drug residue. This is how we conduct the procedure at Spaulding Decon. Bear in mind that other contractors might have a slightly different approach.
How to Clean Meth in 10 Steps:
1. Surveying the Area
Inspecting the property and the surrounding area is arguably one of the most important steps. It gives the cleaning crew an idea of the level of contamination and sets the course of the entire cleaning process. When surveying the area, our technicians are equipped with the latest personal protective equipment, as any exposure to toxic substances can be hazardous. This includes special protective glasses, gloves, steel toe boots, and protective suits.
2. Ventilating the Building
Allowing clean and fresh air to enter the contaminated building is crucial. Using blowers and negative air scrubber machines is also necessary to completely replace the air inside. If there is a functional HVAC system in the building, it should be shut down to avoid spreading toxic particles into the air.
3. Developing a Cleanup Plan
After assessing the property, conducting tests, and performing the initial decontamination phase, it’s time to define the scope of work and develop a plan. This comprehensive plan should cover a variety of scenarios and outline what kind of cleanup methods are required in order to restore the property successfully.
The plan should cover things like:
- The levels of contamination in each room of the building.
- What kind of protective equipment is necessary
- What type of cleaning machines are required
- Security concerns and structural integrity
- Cleaning and waste disposal methods
- Cost estimates
A well-laid-out plan can streamline the cleaning process, making it less time-intensive and more cost-effective.
4. Removing Contaminated Objects
Once a plan is in place, we can commence the cleaning process by removing every affected object, including all carpets. Some of the items will be discarded entirely as they are too contaminated to be cleaned. After removing everything affected, we will once again ventilate the area for at least 24 hours.
5. Vacuuming the floors
We use commercial-grade vacuums equipped with special HEPA filters that are ideal for all floor types as well as above-ground areas such as walls. Vacuuming walls will remove any particles and is necessary before washing them.
6. First Stage of Washing
Once we’re done with vacuuming the area, it’s time to commence the first stage of washing hard surfaces. We make sure to reach all the nooks and crannies, especially those that are not visible at first. Using our previous experience and comprehensive test kits, we make sure the entire property is thoroughly washed. We do not use bleach as it can react with the toxic chemicals associated with Meth, producing a toxic gas as a result. Instead, we opt for detergent water solutions.
7. Addressing the HVAC System
The HVAC system needs to be completely shut down prior to and during the remediation process. It also needs to be thoroughly tested using special test kits in order to determine the level of meth residue found in the system, as well as the spread of contamination. Disinfecting air ducts is a challenging task that can compromise the remediation process at any time. Luckily, Spaulding Decon’s professional technicians have the necessary equipment and experience to handle this daunting task.
8. Second Stage of Washing
The second stage of washing involves using an effective cleaning agent that does not react with common chemicals used in the production of Methamphetamine. We clean from top to bottom, meaning we start from the ceilings and finish with the floors to prevent spreading contamination onto the lower sections. Each wash is followed by a thorough rinse using clean water. Exhaust vents, lighting fixtures, and hard surfaces such as counters and shelves are cleaned several times.
9. Addressing the Plumbing and Septic Systems
Meth producers often pour the residue into sinks and toilets. This can result in corrosion or in some cases, even make your plumbing system flammable. There have been instances where individuals tried cleaning their property on their own only to cause a fire and inflict even more damage to the property, not to mention put their lives in danger. We make sure to check your plumbing system and clean it with all safety precautions in mind. We will also inspect your septic system if there is one. This is usually done at the very end of the remediation process.
10. Clearance testing
After the job is completed, we will make sure to determine if the clearance levels are satisfactory and that they meet the standard set by state and local laws. If the re-occupancy clearance levels are not met, the site should be cleaned once more. Encapsulating the walls and the ceiling with primers and pain is also advisable in this case.
If you’re dealing with a property that’s been deemed an ex-drug lab, call Spaulding Decon today, and find out why our company is among the top-rated meth clean-up services in the country.