Methamphetamine is a cheap and devastating drug that has been plaguing the streets of every major city in the world for quite some time. It’s highly addictive, and more importantly- it causes gruesome consequences to one’s skin, nervous system, and mental health. It goes without saying that meth is one of the most predominant villains of the modern age, and as such, it poses a great danger to our children, communities, and environment.
Contrary to what some people may think, meth labs aren’t some super high-tech facilities with dozens of scientists and multi-million dollar equipment. In fact, most meth labs are nothing but poorly executed improvisations that are usually a health hazard to everything around them. Some people turn their RVs into a meth lab, whereas others turn their whole house into a functional laboratory. Whatever the case may be, the important thing to remember is to stay away from such scenarios and probably report it to the police.
If you’re looking to buy a property, but you aren’t sure whether it was once used as a meth lab, it’s definitely a good idea to consider hiring a team of professionals who will conduct various tests and tell you what you’re dealing with. Even if you already live in a home that you find suspicious, don’t hesitate to pick up your phone and hire a team of professionals. Meth cleanup should not be taken lightly and should be handled by trained professionals.
Health and Safety Risks
As we’ve mentioned, meth poses a serious risk to one’s mental and physical health, but the thing that makes it a hundred times more dangerous is that it also affects people who are in the vicinity or are in contact with meth residue but aren’t necessarily users. Among other things, meth affects homeowners who live in a house that was once a meth lab.
Symptoms that may indicate exposure to meth include:
- Memory loss
- Aggressive behavior
- Sudden irritation of skin or eyes
If you start developing any of these symptoms, be sure to visit a doctor, and start thinking about hiring a meth lab cleanup company.
Some of the potential issues that can emerge from exposure to these chemicals include:
- Liver damage
- Kidney failure
- Brain damage
- Mental issues and Psychological disorders
As you can tell, the aforementioned issues are quite serious and in some cases, potentially lethal, especially for individuals with fragile bodies such as children or elderly.
Places Frequently Used as Meth Labs
One should never doubt human ingenuity, and the situation with improvised meth labs isn’t any different. People will cook meth in almost any environment as long as they have the needed equipment and a bit of knowledge.
Most requests for meth cleanup come from hotels, motels, apartment complexes, and foreclosed homes. These places are usually covert, remote, and relatively safe for meth cooks.
However, what happens with that real estate once the cook leaves, or hopefully gets arrested?
In essence, there are two possible scenarios – the home will either be cleaner or it won’t, it’s as simple as that. However, many people who buy or rent those properties take cleaning upon themselves, hoping that a DIY cleaning kit will suffice. Needless to say, it won’t. In fact, it’s much more dangerous to clean the house poorly than to not clean it at all.
With that being said, if you decide to deal with the problem yourself, there are more than a few things you should keep in the back of your mind, and more importantly – techniques you should follow and obey in order to avoid unpleasant scenarios.
Things to Consider When Cleaning
In case you think you’re up to the task and don’t want to cover professional meth lab cleanup costs, here are a few things you should keep in mind at all times.
Proper protection is paramount for success. Without it, you are at risk of being exposed to drug residue, which may not sound like a big deal as it’s just residue, but rest assured it’s just as dangerous as the drug itself, especially if you’ve never had any experience with similar things.
The good thing about protection is that the equipment is relatively affordable, meaning you don’t have to worry about budget-related issues. Gloves, respiratory masks, scrubs, and goggles are a must-have if you’re planning to DIY the cleanup.
Air Out the Property
Similarly to the previous step, this particular one is also a must-do. Whenever you decide to clean up a former meth lab, be sure to open all doors and windows for at least a couple of hours. Creating a draft is also a smart idea, but be sure you’re not standing in the middle of it, or else you may end up contaminating yourself with meth residue.
Remember – Everything is Contaminated
Many people think that removing kitchen furniture, tables, chairs, and other robust pieces is enough to keep the environment clean of contamination. However, it’s far from being true because air vents, HVAC systems, carpet, and even drywalls are usually highly contaminated as well. That means you should get rid of everything that has been a part of that house until you’re left with only walls and floors. DO NOT reuse any of the furniture or anything else from a contaminated home. This is yet another reason why people should hire professionals to deal with meth contamination.
Proper Disposal of Toxic Waste
While it’s highly recommended that you get rid of everything from the inside of a contaminated home, it’s also very important to follow certain protocols instead of just tossing toxic waste on the nearby landfill. In fact, improper disposal of toxic waste is illegal in many states.
If you’re not an expert, it’s probably a good idea to leave this particular step to the professionals. They have gone through extensive meth lab cleanup training and know exactly what it takes to clean up a property and dispose of the toxic waste according to protocol.
Disclosure is Mandatory
People who sell homes that were former meth labs are obligated by law to disclose that to the future owner. However, even if a cleanup crew had already intervened before you even met the owner, that doesn’t mean the home is safe or clean. It’s also not worth taking the risk and blindly trusting the previous owner.
What you should do is hire a test crew and let them conduct some tests in order to assess the situation and the level of contamination. Subsequently, you should probably pay them to get rid of residue and contamination, if there is any, and let them handle things in a professional manner.
Insurance Can Help in Some Cases
Many people overlook the fact that meth cleanups may be eligible for insurance claims. It highly depends on your location, state, county, and a bunch of other legislative factors. Nonetheless, it’s always good to check whether you’re eligible for insurance as it doesn’t cost you anything, and you have nothing to lose.
Meth Lab Cleanup Training
If you’re really adamant to DIY your way out of this mess, it’s probably a good idea to sign up for meth lab cleanup training. There are numerous online and in-person courses designed to train inexperienced individuals and teach them how to follow protocol while also taking care of themselves. As we’ve mentioned, going into the matter solo without any previous experience is an extremely dangerous endeavor and will more than likely cause serious consequences, mainly due to misuse of equipment or pure ignorance.
Meth Lab Cleanup Checklist
Whether you have decided to deal with the problem yourself or have already hired a crew, it’s important to have a cleanup checklist in the back of your mind and remember a few important steps to cleaning a contaminated property.
The list is as follows:
- Determine whether the property was used for meth production
- Air out the property, create a draft
- Get rid of everything that is inside, including furniture, rugs, etc.
- Use proper protocol when disposing of toxic waste
- Wear protection
- Clean all surfaces using household cleaning methods and recommended chemicals
- Clean HVAC and ventilation systems
- Clean the plumbing system (best to leave that to the experts)
- After the cleanup, air out the property for at least five days
- If stains and odors persist, hire a crew of professionals and have them evaluate as well as clean your home
The Bottom Line
Meth lab cleanup is a complex and serious process, and we would strongly recommend against resorting to most DIY solutions. Now, that doesn’t mean you cannot clean the house by yourself, but chances are you’re going to mess up something along the way and probably won’t even notice it. While this may sound pretty benign and irrelevant, every little oversight can cost you your health and potentially – your life. In case you have a family and small children, the risk of exposing them to contaminated stuff rises exponentially, especially when children are in question as they have a fragile organism and nervous system.
If you happen to decide to do it yourself, keep your and safety of others in the back of your mind, and always follow protocol. The protocol is there for a very good reason and deciding to ignore it will only increase your chances of failure and will ultimately jeopardize your wellbeing. Therefore, if you’re trying to figure out how to clean a meth house, the answer you’ll often get is – hire a team of experts and let them handle it the right way.
If you would like to know more about the dangers of contaminated spaces, meth, crime scene cleanup, and other closely related subjects, read our other articles!