Cleaning of a crime scene
After an act of violence in a home or business, the police may suggest that you hire a forensic cleaner.
Forensic cleaning is the cleaning up of a crime scene. It restores a property to a safe and hygienic condition.
Forensic cleaning involves:
- getting rid of odours, stains and fingerprint dust
- disinfecting and sanitising the property
- removing and safely disposing of bio-hazardous material.
It may also involve removing and safely disposing of furnishings, floorings, bedding and other items that are difficult to restore. Many hard furnishings can be treated and cleaned onsite.
Responsibility for cleaning
The property owner or tenant is usually responsible for forensic cleaning.
If you are not sure whether you are responsible, contact Legal Aid Queensland for free legal advice.
Some insurance companies cover the costs of forensic cleaning under landlord insurance.
If you are a victim of crime and your insurance company won’t pay for forensic cleaning, we may be able to help you.
Find out more about financial help for victims of crime.
Finding a forensic cleaner
The Queensland Police may be able to give you the contact details of companies that specialise in forensic cleaning.
Alternatively, search the internet for 'forensic cleaning'.
Choosing a forensic cleaner
When you are choosing a forensic cleaner, there are a few factors to consider.
Type of property damage
If bio-hazardous materials are involved, such as blood and body fluids, you need to hire a forensic cleaner. If not, you may only need to hire a domestic cleaner.
Extent of property damage
Depending on the extent of property damage, it might be better to replace parts of the property, such as walls or furniture, rather than restore them.
Depending on the damage, some personal items, such as photo frames and souvenirs or dressing tables and beds, might need to be destroyed. You have the right to ask for a complete list of items removed for destruction.
Alternatively, you might wish to have items of sentimental value cleaned rather than destroyed. You have the right to request this. However, additional cleaning might add to the final cost.
Expertise and experience
Forensic cleaning is a specialised service charged at an hourly rate. Check that the service provider you hire is trained and experienced in forensic cleaning.
Forensic cleaning can be a lot more expensive than domestic cleaning. Different companies charge different rates. Ask for a list of fees and an idea of how long the job will take to complete. Also, set a maximum budget for what you are willing to pay.
Hire someone close to where you live to keep the cost down. Find out if there are companies that specialise in forensic cleaning in your local area.
Accessing the property
If your property has been declared a crime scene, no one (including the homeowner) may enter it.
You’ll need to discuss with the police when you can access the property and when forensic cleaning can take place.