Clean Slate: Master Crime Scene Cleanup

From chaos to calm: Unveiling the unsung heroes who restore serenity amidst the aftermath. Discover the world of crime scene cleanup.

While Hollywood recreates crime scenes in many movies and shows, have you considered the silent guardians working behind the scenes to restore a habitable space? Their work does not get much attention, but they deal with the aftermath that most of us couldn’t bear to confront. Gruesome work such as tidying up and disposing of blood, body parts, or other signs of a crime. 

While not a glamorous career, their work is paramount, aiding families and communities to move forward.  

Whether you’re driven by casual curiosity or earnestly considering a transition in your career, this piece aims to offer a thorough initiation into the world of a crime scene cleaner. I will delve into the prerequisites for becoming one, the essential traits and abilities required, the path to acquiring appropriate training and certification, and the possible benefits and obstacles associated with this profession.

Exactly What Does a Crime Scene Cleaner Do?

A crime scene cleaner cleans! It sounds simple enough, but oh, the horrifying mess. You must restore areas affected by murders, suicides, unattended deaths, or other instances where biohazard cleanup is required.

  1. Clean-up of Hazardous Materials

Human and animal remains, drugs and drug paraphernalia, or other potentially infectious materials. Your job will be to comply with federal, state, and local regulations to clean the area, ensuring all incident traces are removed and properly disposed of safely.

  1. Tragedies’ Aftermath

It is crucial to show professionalism, compassion, and understanding when dealing with grieving family members or individuals deeply affected by such a tragic event.

  1. Meticulous Documentation and Safe Disposal

It is necessary to record your cleaning steps in detail for legal purposes. The health regulations require the safe disposal of biomedical waste as well.

Qualities and Skills of a Successful Crime Scene Cleaner

Physical Strength and Stamina – Since this job requires much manual labor, it is vital that you be in top physical shape. For example, you may lift heavy industrial cleaning equipment, move furniture, and scrub floors and walls for hours.  A role like this requires endurance, flexibility, and strength.

Attention to Detail – Every inch of the space must be meticulously inspected and cleaned to ensure a safe and clean area. Biohazardous materials must be removed completely. Make no compromises!

Emotional Resilience – Clearing a location where a violent crime has occurred presents a dual challenge regarding emotional strain and mental exhaustion. Effectively performing your duties requires developing mechanisms to manage the emotions of sadness, shock, or revulsion that may arise.

Professionalism and Ethics – Though you are working where tragedy has struck, and emotions are raw, it is important to maintain your professionalism. A conscientious cleaner respects privacy laws, safeguarding personal items and sensitive details of the deceased confidentially.

Crime Scene Cleaner Requirements and Qualifications

  • Education

At a minimum, you need a high school education. Studying biology and chemistry specifically will prove advantageous when examining different substances and bio-waste disposal.

  • Health-Related Certifications

Hepatitis B vaccination. This vaccination is needed because you will work in an environment where bloodborne pathogens are present.

  • Physical Fitness

As a safety precaution, it is imperative that you be in top physical condition. The demands of this role require lifting heavy equipment, extended periods of standing, or meticulous application of cleaning techniques, so prepare in advance.

  • Biohazard Cleanup Training

Employers demand evidence of your proficiency in handling biohazardous waste substances and understanding their associated risks. For example, you should be able to contain and discard objects containing blood, bodily fluids, or other substances that could cause infection. By doing so, you and your community can remain safe.

  • OSHA Training

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training is an important qualification. A wide range of relevant courses are offered by OSHA, including courses on bloodborne pathogens and handling hazardous materials safely.

Acquiring Relevant Training and Certifications

Certification Programs – These groups provide courses on decontaminating crime and trauma scenes, covering disease spread, protective gear, and legal aspects of biohazard cleanup.

Purpose: Provides knowledge of handling biohazardous waste and other materials. 

Certification: Bloodborne Pathogens and OSHA courses in handling biowaste

Training is provided by National Institute of Decontamination Specialists and ABRA (American Bio Recovery Association).

Biohazard Handling – You’ll discover how to remove germs, use bio-solutions, and safely eliminate bio-waste. It’s not just theory; hands-on practice readies you for real situations.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Training – To safeguard against potential health risks, you’ll acquire knowledge about the proper utilization, removal, and disposal procedures of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This encompasses various gear like gloves, respirators, eye shields, and full-body suits.

NOTE: Certification isn’t just resume filler; it’s essential for your safety and others in risky work. Rigorous training proves your dedication and capability for the role’s challenges.

Recapping the Steps to Becoming a Crime Scene Cleaner

  1. High school education – Math and problem-solving skills
  1. Specialized training and certification –  Certified as a crime and trauma scene decontamination technician
  1. Gain work experience – Entry-level role with a crime scene cleanup company
  1. Apply for jobs – Craft a job specific cover letter and resume for each position
  1. Ongoing Training and Certification Renewals –  Opens doors in your career, such as moving into a managerial role or starting your own company

Crime Scene Cleaning: How to Apply

Job Search

Check job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or more job-specific –  American Bio Recovery Association. Don’t forget to search the websites of Restoration and cleaning companies also.


The subsequent phase involves crafting an application specifically suited for the position. Your application must showcase your training, certifications, and any pertinent experience you’ve acquired.


Congratulations on receiving an interview! This is your time to shine by highlighting your skills and qualifications. Practice interview questions with a friend or family member in advance. For example:

  1. “How would you handle cleaning a highly traumatic scene?”

Hint: Utilize training to address PPE usage, adhere to biohazard disposal rules, and note emotional resilience in the task.

  1. “What precautions would you take when dealing with a potentially infectious material?”

Hint: Stress the importance of following safety procedures and demonstrating your understanding of OSHA regulations.

Work Environment of a Crime Scene Cleaner

Physical Setting – Your location changes daily, so if you’re an office type with a set schedule, move on.  You could be in a home, a business, a car, or even an outdoor location. It may be small and cramped or large open spaces. Or how about climbing ladders or working in uncomfortable positions? All part of the job!

Work Hours –  Not your average 9-5 job. Your work hours are unpredictable, and you may be on call 24/7 because crime can happen anytime. An extensive clean-up can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the severity and scope of the incident.

Emotional Demands –  Emotional control, compassion, and respect are essential.

Safety Measures – You’ll handle risky substances like blood and bodily fluids, requiring full protective gear—suits, gloves, masks—for infection protection.

Providing Support for Healing – Remember your vital role in healing—restore safety and cleanliness to aid progress for communities and individuals. Despite being challenging, it offers fulfillment.

What is the Average Compensation for Crime Scene Cleaners?

Average salary – $41,868 per year

More broadly,  individuals working as crime scene cleaners in the United States have the potential to make approximately $35,000 to $80,000 annually. Nevertheless, this is a wide-ranging estimate, considering that earnings can differ significantly depending on geographical area, level of expertise, company dimensions, and other variables.

Along with a nice salary comes added benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some companies may also provide allowances for on-the-job meals and travel.

Final Words

While your path as a crime scene cleaner could present difficulties and frequently involve intense emotions, always remember that your efforts mark the initial stride towards recovery for numerous individuals grappling with the consequences of unfortunate incidents.

Being able to restore a semblance of normality to spaces marked by tragedy is often a source of job satisfaction that not many other careers offer.

Next Steps

Pursuing an unusual path, such as crime scene cleaning, is tough alone. Our committed coaches offer tailored advice for a strong start. Benefit from experienced guidance—take a confident step toward your desired career now!

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