Nothing stops the professional suicide cleaner from reading and viewing narrative and slides here. I regret providing this information to crony cleaning companies, but I have no choice in the matter.
I do not recommend cleaning after death by the novice unless absolutely necessary.
Suicide Cleanup Information
Call for cleaning help or help yourself with information on these pages.
White Male Suicides - White Female Suicides - Black Female Suicides
Note: I use the term "American" for US citizens while I understand that all of the North, Central, South American geographical areas have "American" inhabitants.
Chiefly redundant, these other pages help to spread the word for those victims of violent crimes, survivors of suicide, and trauma cleaners.
The important idea about cleaning after a suicide is to take your time, remain focused, and backout whenever unsure about your next move. Always keep your distance from blood whenever possible. Always wear gloves. Always wear eye, nose, and mouth protection.
Never place your hands where you cannot see them. Always open extra bags for material.
You may cleanup a suicide so long as you do not violate OSHA's bloodborne pathogen regulation. This federal law prohibits employers from directing employees to clean up blood, unless the employees have training in bloodborne pathogens. It basically prohibits anyone from cleaning up blood for money without bloodborne pathogen training.
If a violent suicide, expect to find too much blood. So you will want to read blood cleanup for cleaning after a violent blood loss event.
Besides blood you will find other materials related to the violence. If a decomposition followed the suicide you can expect to find a large quanty of dry and drying materials, depending on how long the deceased remained down and environmental conditions, weather, humidity, and such.
Depending on the area of injury, hair, teeth, bones, cranial fluid (milky white), blood soaked fabric, blood splattered fabrics, and other materials down range if the victim used a firearm. The larger the caliber the greater the damage.
You may find puddled blood. If puddled and wet or moist, consider it biohazardous. Let it dry out thoroughly if conditions allow. If it drys to a flaky substance, it remains biohazardous. Lightly misting dried flaky blood will help dissolve it into a safe substance for removal. When possible, use a toilet for disposing of blood. Be sure the toilet works before placing paper towels in it. Be sure not to plug the toilet by placing large paper towels or too many paper towels in the toilet.
Floors in living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens present their exceptions related to floor coverings on wood and concrete.
Blood may also migrate across the floor to the walls because of the floor's tilt. The baseboard must come out. Any edges created when the vinyl floor was cut may leave an opening for the blood to seep below and under the vinyl.
Expect to find wet or moist blood between vinyl floor surfaces. This means a second layer covered the first layer of vinyl floor covering, which saves time when replacing floor vinyl.
Blood between vinyl layers may still have a bright red appearance in some cases when oxygen fails to reach it. It will have a heavy blood odor if several days have passed. It has bloodborne pathogens in it as far as anyone can tell at this point. You cannot second-guess bloodborne pathogens. They exist, period.
Blood on a vinyl floor may also migrate to one or two walls and begin to wick up the wall. This means that the blood slowly crawls up the wall as it finds empty cells in the wall’s material to fill. Construction codes require a minimum of one-eight inch between the floor and bottom of drywall panels. Most builders comply with this ordinance. Nevertheless, blood still manages to wick up wall because it coagulates in large pools neer walls, because the victim somehow contaminated walls with their body, and because carpet padding serves spong-like, carrying blood to walls.
The wall’s dry and porous material actually sucks blood up despite gravity's downward force. Scrubbing the wall with a stong solution sometimes remedies this problem. Sometimes sanding will remedy the problem. Sealing the soiled area follows only when the soiled area no longer contains blood.
Surviving the suicidal act for minutes or even hours enables the suicide victim to move about the room or house.
We call this a "walking bleedout." Now the cleaning begins throughout the dwelling and destroying property also begins.
Beware of conflicts of interest. When a company cleans after a suicide, did they insist on knocking out a wall or taking out a floor? Next, consider whether or not they want to do the repairs. If so, say, "No!". If the suicide cleanup company recommends another company for the restoration, say, "No!".
You do not need to demolish walls and floors to disinfect with typical cleaning methods. A bleach and water solution, and a good water or oil based sealer like Kilz or Zinnsser. Sea. odors if cleaning does not destroy their cause.
In over seven years of cleaning I have taken out only one entire second floor. I call this job my "butcher mother cleanup," because a crazy mother stabbed her four daughters to death. She left them to decompose for over two months. I would have behaved unconsionably by saving this blood soaked floor. The point here is that destroying a floor or wall follows only from extraordinary conditions.
Under special circumstances cleaneers remove the soiled area and only the blood soiled area. There are no good reasons to remove any more of the wall or floor, but the soiled area. Doing otherwise equals malfeasance. (return)
At least six family members or friends of suicide victims become suicide survivors. Multiply this number by the 30,000 Americans who become suicide victims every year, and we are talking about over 180,000 suicide survivors.
Suicide and attempted suicide causes great stress for those associated with suicidal behavior and its aftermath. Consider that about 775,000 make suicide attempts. As a consequence the number of Americans somehow affected by suicidal behavior equals an alarming number of distressed people.
When we consider there are few trained novices in suicide assessment, treatment, and prevention, we begin to feel even more powerless over suicidal behavior in others. "Post-intervention" for suicide's survivors would make life easier, if not safer, for suicide's survivors. At this writing insurance companies have not added this service to their policies. Some social service agencies intervene and offer some counseling.
counties try to ensure that someone follows up on suicide's survivors,
and they offer referrals to organizations for survivors of suicide. Compassionate Friends' web site offers information leading to local chapters.
In the last generation well-known suicides include Elvis Prestly (drugs), Arthur Koestler, Vince Foster, Ernest Heminway, Janis Joplin, and many others.
I cite these suicide decedents because of the temptation to find alcoholism, unemployment, relationship problems, and alienation as the greatest contributors to suicide. Anyone, any combination, or all of these factors may contribute to suicide. Include a handgun among these factors for an older male and the risk of suicide climbs. Overall, though, we cannot point to a certain group as more likely than another for certain as at greater risk for suicide, it seems.
If we include terminal illness with a pain-centered existence the risk factors for suicide would seem to climb exponentially.