Recent Biohazard Posts

Hoarding Or Collecting?

5/19/2017 (Permalink)

Know The Signs - SERVPRO of West Chester has handled many of these upsetting situations and is here to help.

We used to tease my mom that she was a QVC hoarder because she used to buy and buy and buy to the point that three spare bedrooms would be piled high with boxes and most were unopened. When we would ask her about this, she’d always say, “It was a terrific Today’s Special Value.” Since she has limited mobility, she thought it was a good idea to have plenty of “gifts” on hand. While this is not exactly a Reality TV-worthy hoarding story, our family faced an uphill battle getting this to stop. Sorry QVC, we had to cut her off from making those 2am calls anymore, however all of her purchases were indeed special. While this is a light-hearted example, hoarding can be a serious situation impacting someone’s health, safety and family harmony.


Hoarding is categorized as a biohazard due to the substances that might be found in your home, apartment, or commercial building. During hoarding situations there could be a wide range of things you could find from house supplies and magazines to hazardous materials and animal waste or remains. Typically, when SERVPRO of West Chester is called out to a hoarding cleanup job, it  may include not just the removal of items, but also the recovery and restoration of useful and valuable objects. SERVPRO of West Chester will always advise the homeowner to check to see if your insurance company will cover this situation or if it will be a self-pay.


If you are property manager, a real estate agent, estate lawyer, banker or a concerned family member here are some tips SERVPRO of West Chester asks you to keep in mind when assisting a client. The most important thing is that the “hoarder” lives in a safe environment. If the individual has been moved out of the property permanently, getting the house cleaned out cleaned up and back on the market becomes the next necessary steps. SERVPRO of West Chester can help you do this safely and efficiently.


Hoarding Tips:



  • Hoarders see objects having significant value

  • Often begins during adolescence around the age of 13 or 14

  • Often environmentally related

  • Depression is often related

  • Most hoarders have Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Consequences are more than a messy home- unsanitary living environment now exist

  • Increased risk of fires for occupants and their neighbors


    • Accumulation of objects

    • Blocked exits

    • Unsafe cooking and heating environment – 39% of fires in hoarding homes result from cooking


  • Safety and health risks to people, animals, and the community


Recently, I heard of a situation where a vibrant working woman about 52 years of age, took a fall and ended up unable to get around. She had no local family for support. Within a relatively short period of time, her world collapsed around this successful nurse. She lost her job and depression kicked in, she couldn’t move much while recuperating so the pets weren’t able to go outside. You get the picture. Eventually she lost her house and moved across country to a relative’s house. However, the bank now needed to get it back in shape to resell it to get it off its books.


Our SERVPRO of West Chester technicians will follow a specific contents management process and then move on to the deodorization of the scene to eliminate any and all existing odors that could have come from a number of sources. If more cleanup is necessary like, carpet cleaning, mold removal, or water damage; SPWC will put together an efficient plan  handle the reconstruction efforts.  Communnication is the key- and we provide daily and weekly updates throughout the process.


If you have inherited or are struggling with a hoarding situation, or simply want some help with your mundane spring cleaning, help is available.


SERVPRO of West Chester is certified in handling hoarding or bio-hazardous clean-ups, as well as carpets, drapes, blinds, upholstery, dryer vent and HVAC vent cleaning and much more. If it’s messy, dirty, stinky, smoky, or plain disgusting, call us to support your residential and/or commercial property needs. Reach us 24/7 at 610-692-8444 or at jeannie@SERVPROWestChester.com


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Blog by By Jeannie McGinn, Director of Sales & Markeiting at SERVPRO of West Chester