Sorry for TMI, but I lost control of my facilities. Cleaner recs?
April 1, 2024 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm very concerned and heading to UC but the long and short of it is I lost control of my facilities on both ends (throwing up, #2) and my clothes/apartment (thankfully not carpet) is a soiled, dirty, disgusting mess. Recommendations for cleaners?

I feel so embarrassed and am afraid this is new related to my cancer, so I am taking care of that part by going to UC, but I am leaving my apartment behind a smelly mess. I haven't the energy to dump the barf bowl, and I lost control of the other end as well, so clothes are a mess. I am embarrassed and overwhelmed.

Can you please help point me in cleaning services who would be willing to help? Might be considered hazardous waste as well. I can have them coordinate with my building management if needed to come in while I am out, but I am embarrassed of that as well and don't want to bring attention to this situation.

posted by dubious_dude to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The term to search on is "trauma cleaning services" or "trauma scene cleaners." If you drop a line of where you're located, I'm happy to do a search. On the plus side, what you describe is probably less messy that what they often see. And I hope you feel better soon!
posted by cocoagirl at 10:07 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]

I’m so sorry that this happened to you and think you’re making the right call to check this out.

I know this all feels horrible and mortifying right now, but unless I’m missing something, you can probably just throw out the soiled items— just double or triple bag and take outdoors. Kids lose control of their faculties all the time and this is often the way it’s handled. If you’re so inclined, you could even scrape away the worst bits, do a preliminary wash in vessel that you could clean, and then launder/wash as normal. Jolie Kerr (Ask a Clean Person) has tons of tips about this stuff.

Feel better! And you’re not alone.
posted by SaneCatLady at 10:09 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Am in DC. Thanks.
posted by dubious_dude at 10:23 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

People are going to come in here with specific recs for you in your area, but FYI this is totally a thing that companies do and you don't need to stress about it. Crime scenes, post-disaster, biohazards of all sorts -- there are companies that do this routinely, have the proper protection gear and cleaning materials, and they will actually love your situation because it's delightfully normal and probably one of the easiest things they handle all week.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:26 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]

Oh dd, If i lived close i would come over and do it.
I hope someone can recommend a service local to you.
Having cleaned up this type of mess often when my mother was still alive, my experience is that clothes soiled by fecal matter are best thrown out. It is really the best thing to do.
If they must be cleaned, glove up, scrape off solids with a piece of cardboard that you bin, and initially wash in the toilet bowl. Use it like you would a sink. But don't use detergent yet, it does not help and the foam will be gross and overflow. Rinse in the bowl and flush. Repeat until fecal matter is gone. Now it can go into the wash with detergent. Never put clothes with fecal matter in the sink (it will clog the drain) or washing machine ( it will get stuck inside but in inacessable places. Don't ask how i know). Wash several times on hottest setting until it no longer smells.
Wishing you everything good and that you can find help.
posted by 15L06 at 10:34 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]

PS grab hold of the garment while flushing to make sure it is not sucked down the drain.
posted by 15L06 at 10:36 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]

I care for a brother who has ALS. He has lost control of his bowels. This is what I do to clean soiled underware and trousers. I use the utility sink in the garage. I put on rubber gloves first. Then ZI clean any solid matter into a plastic waste bag. I run cold water over the soiled area several times and wring it with my hands. Then I put the underware in a bucket with tide detergent and swish around and let soak a bit. Only then do I put it in the washing machine. I sometimes spritz the area with pre soak spray bottle stuff. Then just a normal wash and dry. It's always come clean. I don't think it requires a hazardous waste team honestly. Any on the floor I use a regular floor cleaner. I also have put a puppy pad over a portion of his mattress to protect it. I honestly told him that if it was vomit he'd be on his own. I just mentally assume a medical assistant mode. Good luck. Open windows in living quarters to get flesh air. Ozone spray is incredible. I got it at Walmart.
posted by Czjewel at 10:49 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]

Also invest in some Depends underwear, lots of paper towels, and Imodium for loose stools.
posted by Czjewel at 10:57 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

ServPro provides these services.
posted by greta simone at 11:05 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

Ok, here are a few DC area services that seem right:
Service Master Restore looks like it handles "regular" clean ups like yours.
Bio-One specifically mentions urine and feces clean up (you are not alone!).
ABT does bio-hazard clean up.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:46 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

Are you talking rugs/carpeting, upholstery, mattress kind of items? Clothing and tile or hardwood is really not a big deal, otherwise, nobody would have little kids or pets.

If you have your own washing machine, the clothing can be washed (I wouldn't put it in a community washing machine), as can towels and sheets. Lysol laundry disinfectant is less than $10/bottle at grocery stores and Target. You put it in the rinse compartment of the washing machine and add an additional rinse cycle.

Flooring can be cleaned with disinfectant or a diluted bleach solution once any solids have been disposed of. Usually, just rubber gloves and paper towels or Clorox wipes will suffice. If anything is particularly liquid and in great amounts, you can pick up a box of clumping cat litter and put it on top. You can also go on Amazon where several different powders are specifically manufactured to absorb bodily fluids. They can be swept up and disposed of. DO NOT vacuum them - you will permanently ruin your vacuum. YOu could also just buy a small box of diapers, open a couple, and pour the interior out. They will expand greatly - it's a kind of gel material. Same idea - scoop and toss.

Get an enzymatic cleaner for fabric or light rug issues; Odoban is cheap and very effective. Home Depot has it. Folex is an *amazing* and cheap rug and upholstery cleaner is also at Home Depot. Pick up a pack of microfiber rags if you don't already have them. They are shockingly useful for everything and not expensive.

I'm one of those people who can't deal with the thought of paying somebody crazy money to do something I can do myself. I'm also an RN and have dogs, so it wouldn't even cross my mind to hire a company to do this unless it was REALLY bad. I figured I would toss the options out there to you.

I truly hope you're feeling better and it's just a norovirus. Stay hydrated and be well.
posted by dancinglamb at 12:34 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]

This is kinda against MeFi rules, since I'm not answering the question as asked, but dude, it's not like you got blind drunk and woke up in a pile of your own shit and vomit! I'm with dancinglamb in hoping its norovirus, but whatever it turns out to be, you were really sick, and there's no reason for the shame that it sound like you're feeling. I hope you feel better soon.
posted by kate4914 at 2:50 PM on April 1 [22 favorites]

Just as a data point there is a wave of Norovirus hitting in my area (northeast US) lately, and those are the key symptoms, and tend to resolve on their own in about 48 hours. So maybe it's not your cancer or med side effects? Wishing you the best at a tough time.
posted by spitbull at 5:17 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]

There is no shame in being sick, it happens to everyone sometimes. When little kids or pets have a bad #2 accident, most people I know will immediately chuck any affected clothing, bedsheets, etc straight into the trash. It's ok to throw out everything that you don't want to deal with. My elderly relative had a bowel lapse in a hospital and even the nurses just threw the soiled items away, even shoes. If even professionals don't bother cleaning that stuff, you certainly don't need to.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:53 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

I'm just north of you in the Baltimore area, and a stomach virus has been walloping the region. My kid's school has been hit hard and kids are being sent home after expelling rainbows of fruit flavors all over themselves. Please don't fret.

My kid was a late potty trainer, and I'm a major league puker due to chronic migraine. I also have unpredictable menstrual cycles due to endometriosis.

So I'm a keen cleaner of biohazards. For future reference, you can often rescue items that have been soiled by biological goo by soaking them in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. This is also a disinfectant.
posted by champers at 4:49 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

Check your MeMail.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:17 PM on April 2

Response by poster: Quick and brief update: we determined it was possibly food poisoning, especially as a friend of mine who dined with me last week at the same restaurant, had the same symptoms. I believe the symptoms hit me harder because I'm immunocompromised from cancer/treatments.

At any rate, in adherence to the original question: thanks so much for all the recommendations! A very kind friend offered to help clean it up himself, and says it wasn't that bad. Phew. I think I'll still hire a cleaning service at any rate, but a regular one, to help refresh things, and keep the biohazardous references in mind as well.
posted by dubious_dude at 5:26 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]

So glad to hear you're feeling better 😊
posted by bahama mama at 8:07 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

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