As a crime scene cleaner, I’ve scrubbed brains off walls

FROM the clarification From blood-splattered walls and bodily fluids to broken glass and used needles, cleaning crime scenes is a messy business.

And it takes a very special type of person with a very special know-how to handle such a cruel job.

Cleaning up a crime scene can be a grueling affair


Cleaning up a crime scene can be a grueling affairPhoto credit: Getty

Nick Stirrup has been in the crime scene cleaning industry for over two years and currently works at REACT Specialist Cleaning.

He says: “I’ve scrubbed brains off bedroom walls and pulled teeth out of plasterboard.

“I’ve removed jaws, spikes and skullcaps and more from under trains and I’ve scrubbed and pulled blood from sofas and carpets.

“Horror movies are a lot more boring these days, I have to admit!

Cleaning fans reveal £1 hacks for removing stains from absolutely anything
Cleaning fans share a hack to remove odors from sofas with a popular drink

“All in all, I see myself providing an often unseen essential service that helps keep the world running.

“It gives me a reason to get up and go every day.

“Once you can take those positive things out of the worst of situations, this job can be incredibly rewarding.”



To remove blood from a carpet you just need to follow four simple steps.

If there is excess blood on the carpet, wipe it off with a white paper towel or cloth.

Be careful not to rub it in any more or it might spread, instead blot the blood stain.

Then use a white paper towel or cloth to apply cold water to the stain and this should help remove the stain.

Be careful not to use warm water as this will make the blood stain bigger and more permanent in the carpet.

If the stain doesn’t come off by simply applying water, add some potato starch and let it dry for 24 hours.

Afterward, vacuum the carpet and if the stain is still there, use a carpet stain remover on the blood stain.

The remover should come with guidelines for use.

‘Every day is different’

Nick first got the job after seeing a job ad for a crime scene cleaner.

He says: “I don’t shy away from being very meticulous about cleaning, which only spurred me on, with a semi-natural human fascination, to try it.

“My colleagues and I perform a variety of biohazard decontaminations that require a little more problem solving than most.

“As the name REACT suggests, our work is ad hoc and reactive.

“Every day is different, and you really have to be mentally prepared that your leisurely day of deep-cleaning the facility will be turned upside down when any of us could be called to a death.”

Dramatic transformations

As you might expect, the “before” and “after” changes are dramatic, and the job is extremely rewarding.

Nick says: “I love this job, my clients and the opportunity to communicate what I will do and what I have done.

“I love seeing the dramatic transformations I can deliver.

“Admittedly, it can be hard work at times, and the situations can often be appalling, but delivering your finished work to a truly grateful client makes it all worthwhile.

“It’s something special to know that you’ve made a real difference somewhere.”

Cleaning crime scenes is messy but hugely rewarding


Cleaning crime scenes is messy but hugely rewardingCredit: Alamy

Not for the faint of heart

In addition to training, a naturally strong stomach is also a must.

Nick says: “I spent about two to three weeks completing the necessary paperwork and working with a colleague.

“Within this renewal period, to be deployed in all imaginable work circumstances to test my strengths; my weaknesses, my competence and I would argue the strength of my stomach.

“This is definitely not for the faint of heart or those who can’t stand the unwelcome sights or smells.”


Top tips for removing stains…

A favorite among bargain hunters looking to remove stains like curry or chocolate is Elbow Grease Spray, which is just £1 from most stores.

For tricky stains on walls and carpets, including felt tip pens, many have had success with the £1 Pink Stuff from Home Bargains.

Magic sponges, also known as magic erasers, are quickly gaining popularity – and they can be found in discount stores for as little as £1. They can be particularly effective on stains like chalk and paint.

Professionalism and a strong stomach

It takes a special kind of person to excel at work.

Nick says: “Some of the most sought-after traits are a strong stomach, adaptability and a strong sense of professionalism.

“You come across some pretty graphic events in this industry and the ability to separate that and personal life is an absolute must.

“It helps that we all have a fairly tight-knit team and support each other when it’s most needed.

“It’s definitely challenging when you have to attend to a fatality on the road network, in a home environment or in a train compartment.

“The detailed tactile cleaning at a crime scene — the smells, the textures, the sights, even the sounds, have a massive impact on you.

“It changes how you see the world and how you approach your work.”

The crime scene cleanup field can be unpredictable and is extremely reactive


The crime scene cleanup field can be unpredictable and is extremely reactivePhoto credit: Corbis-Getty As a crime scene cleaner, I’ve scrubbed brains off walls

Jessica MacLeish

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